All posts by Tina

On the 11th Day of CrossFit…

my coaches gave to me:


I am sure many of you caught on when the coaches explained how a lot of these benchmarks are “sprints”. Well, here is another!

And there’s this thing about Grace. Some people say you will be faster if you do the clean and jerks as singles. Each and every rep: drop, reset, go. Drop, reset, go. Drop, reset, go. Even-paced. No breaks that are longer than the time it takes to: drop, reset, go.

Other people say, “No way! Why would I want to drop and reset each time, especially if I can cycle through big sets?

Well, it really depends on how long you REST between those big sets.

When you do a 400m sprint, you don’t **STOP** halfway through, catch your breath a bit, and then start sprinting again, do you?

For time:
30 Clean & Jerks 135/95 lbs

Coaches Notes:

Rx and Scaled: No matter what your approach is on this one, this is similar to Isabel: a conditioning workout that uses a technical Olympic lift to get you there.

Pay special attention to your coaches’ advice, tips, and any individual coaching tips! They know your clean and jerk positions, and YOU KNOW how confident you feel with weight overhead. Let these things guide you in your weight selection.

Reset QUICK, but reset WELL. Get your feet in the right place, and do it QUICKLY.

You might be feeling crazy tired now, but if you still have something in the tank and want to see if you set a new personal record, this is the time.

Rx: Thirty reps overhead at Rx weight is going to take confidence, commitment, and POWER. No second guessing–GET IN THERE!

Use your LEGS to get that bar overhead, not [just] your arms.

Hold steady in that midline.

If you are comfortable with Rx weight, you will finish just faster than, or just slower than, 3 minutes. Don’t get nervous. Get BOLD!

Scaled: Scaling your weight to match where you are and what you are FEELING on Thursday is an excellent idea. Your choice may largely be determined by how much you are comfortable with overhead. Practice good positions and don’t get fixated on the time you might or might not set. Just get started, see how it feels, trust yourself, and you will do GREAT!

On the 8th Day of CrossFit…

My coaches gave to me: ISABEL!

For time:
30 Snatches 135/95#

Coaches Notes:

Isabel, despite it including a technical and highly-skilled Olympic lift, is a conditioning workout. It is meant to be fast and completed within minutes.

Use a moderate to fast pace on the first 10-20 reps, then sprint through the last 10.

Any style of snatch is acceptable (power, squat, split, etc).

Rx: If you can comfortably snatch 135# (men) or 95# (women) on any given day, then this is all you today! Keep it sharp, keep it tidy (not sloppy!). Find your footing and maintain your balance. Show us some TEXTBOOK snatches!

Scaled: MOST people in the gym will (and should) choose to SCALE the weight on this one. When scaling, keep in mind you want efficient, not sketchy, movement and to make it under a 10:00 minute time cap. Keep your feet planted on the ground and work on that overhead balance and stability.

Pay special attention to your coaches’ advice, tips, and any individual notes!

Some ideas for scaled down weights include, but are not limited to:

Men: 115 lb, Women: 75 lb
Men: 75 lb, Women: 55 lb
Men: 45 lb, Women: 35 lb

If you have a shoulder injury or issue preventing you from snatching with confidence, discuss options with your coach for a substitution that will get you the same stimulus.

On the 5th Day of CrossFit…

My coaches gave to ME:

HELEN! Woooooo!

Helen scores from the 12 Days in 2014!


Now, what IS an American Kettlebell Swing?

In American KB swings, the KB extends overhead. It does not stop at eye-level (Russian KB swings), though there is a time and a place for both versions.

You might get a whole new slew of thumb callouses so tape those thumb-pits!

3 RFT:
400m Run
21 KB Swings 53/35 lbs
12 Pull-ups

Coaches Notes:
Rx: If you are still feeling fresh and up to the challenge, this is a solid one to approach Rx.

Helen is mostly a RUNNING workout. The other elements are meant to be done unbroken, so consistent RUN EFFORTS are where you will MAKE GOOD TIME. After the last pull-up, lean in and get your feet taking you out the door and out onto the path. One step at a time is closer to 400m than resting is.

You can only go so fast on the KB swing portion. Each swing is going to take a minimum amount of time. Find a rhythm and get your breathing to match. It helps.

KB swings should be unbroken. Related to that: avoid a death grip. Same with kipping pul-ups: there are moments where the KB is weightless. Soften your grip a bit and hold only when you need to. (**And please don’t toss or drop the KB as 25-50# orbs shouldn’t be tossed anywhere.)

Pull-ups should also be unbroken so if you can, go for it! If not, try to keep moving on them, even if they turn into singles. Singles are faster than standing/waiting to feel fresh for a double, or hopeful for a triple. Knock. Them. Out. Especially at the end of round 3.

Scaled: All the same notes for Rx apply for Scaled.

If you struggle with the Rx weight on the KB swings in OTHER workouts, you might choose to scale down on for Helen this time. Totally ok! Aim to do the KB swings unbroken, and if you don’t have a shoulder injury or other ROM limitation, then plan for American Kettlebell swings.

If an injury or previous issue prevent you from running, you can substitute 500m row for the 400m run. Row like you MEAN BUSINESS!

Challenging ring rows are the scaling for pull-ups.

For both Rx and Scaled, I am SO CONFIDENT that you can do what you set your mind to!

Helen is a classic benchmark and comes up with regularity. Keep track of YOUR notes and how YOU approached this one, so you can better gauge your progress when it comes up again.

On the 3rd Day of CrossFit…

On the third day of CrossFit, my coach gave to me….


Fran scores from 2014’s 12 Days of CrossFit at Hale!

I remember about 5 years ago, I said to Jay: “Fran isn’t that bad. It’s really not the big deal that everyone makes it out to be.

He didn’t even laugh at me. Instead, he said something like: “You should start doing it Rx now. And in less than 5 minutes.

So the next time Fran came up, I was all: “Man, I LOVE thrusters! My pull-ups are so SNAPPY. Rx FRAN IS GONNA BE MY JAM!

Pie in mah face.

Much of what I remember about my first Rx Fran was, every time I rested, Jay was shouting at me.

For example, I’d take a break on the pull-ups because, you know, tired.

Get back up there! You have to keep going!

It was as if I wasn’t supposed to rest, like, at all.

So I’d get back on there, even though I didn’t really want to. Hard!

Another example was, I’d put the barbell down during the thrusters in order to, you know, feel better about where I was in life.

Pick it up! You have to keep going!

Again, it was like I shouldn’t expect to rest, even a little bit, on the thrusters.

So I’d pick it back up, and tell my quads it would be over soon. So hard!

The best example of the shouting, though, came during the last 9 pull ups.

It was like, there were only 9, then 8, then 7, then XX reps left, so I really had no reason to rest any longer.

There was more shouting as the seconds on the clock were quickly approaching the next minute because a “sub-XX:XX minute Fran” is a thing.

So much more shouting with things like “C’MON! BLAH BLAH BLAH TINA! BLAH BLAH SECONDS LEFT!”

When it was over, I pretty much was just a pile of human being, under the pull-up bar, and I eventually started to understand words again. It totally was as bad as people make it out to be.

Some of you might be wondering if I got it in less than 5 minutes.


I did NOT! Ha-ha! But if you thought I did, thank you for believing in me. I think my score was 06:58.

But the next time I did Rx Fran, it got better! In fact, here are my notes from 11/2014:

score: 06:28


Best RX time yet which is great. Thrusters don’t feel as heavy as they used to and pull-ups are easier than ever.

Still flat out on the floor at the end though.

Some people say, when you get better at Fran, Fran gets better at YOU. That is what Fran is meant to feel like, and folks, I BELIEVE YOU CAN ACCOMPLISH THAT!

Let’s DO THIS!

21-15-9 of:
Thrusters 95/65lbs

Coaches Notes:

For both Rx and Scaled: Keep MOVING.

Rx: If you are healthy and able-bodied to do this workout as prescribed, go for it.
This is a sprint, to end all SPRINTS.

Eliminate transitions. Do not rest. If you find yourself resting, cut it short. Hop back up on the rig, or pick that bar back up.

If you find yourself resting in order to get just a little bit more comfortable, consider that is not actually going to happen, and so you may as well KEEP MOVING.

Scaled: Scaling to match the stimulus of this workout is a GREAT idea! You know yourself best.

Choose a weight for the thrusters as close as possible to Rx that YOU are able to do more or less CONTINUOUSLY, but isn’t too easy, either. Big sets!

Same with the pull-up scaling. Choose either challenging ring rows or jumping pull-ups. (No banded pull-ups in a WOD–this would not meet the desired stimulus.)

For ring rows, I strongly recommend you mark your STARTING foot position. As the workout takes its toll, you may have a tendency to “back up” the ring rows to make them easier.

Same plan as Rx when you scale a workout: this is meant to be a SPRINT. If you walk away from Fran like I used to, saying it wasn’t as bad as people make it out to be, get it closer to RX, AND keep moving.

Athlete Spotlight: Sean M.

At CrossFit Hale, we like to give a public shout out to folks we feel epitomize our core values: consistency, hard work, positive attitude, overcoming of fears or obstacles and community spirit.

We are lucky enough to have a gym full of amazing people and today we are shining a spotlight on Sean M.!

You have probably seen Sean in a workout, often on the weekends. He works hard during every WOD and is an athlete that many of us look up to. He is a great example of what consistency, focus on skills, and hard work allow you to do.

Let’s get to know Sean a bit better:

Age: 45

Day job: Teaches Computer Science at Albany High School and works on a web-based data visualization project with a Transportation research group at Cal.

Dream job:  My career is awesome. I have been given enormous opportunities.  I just need less of it all!

Can you give us some of your benchmark stats?
• Fastest Mile Time: 6:15
• Power Clean : 165#
• I am most proud of my Power Clean; I remember a year ago trying to Power Clean with the 10# bumpers!

What is your athletic/fitness background?
I was always into sports (baseball, basketball, soccer) as a kid. I started lifting weights in high school and was off and on over a couple decades. I thought I was in good shape until I showed up at Hale(!)

What’s your biggest strength in the gym?
I can clear my mind and grind just about anything out.

Biggest weakness?
Snatch, OH squat and that DANG kip! I struggle a bit with finding my limit on the barbell exercises. I tend to go light until I am sure I know the movement. Sometimes I leave some on the table.

What’s your drink?
Whiskey is fun, red wine, sour beers — whatever seems right

What is your current fitness goal?
I never know how to assess this. It depends on what I struggled with during the last workout:) — Double Unders are almost there, Kipping Pull-ups/Chest to Bar are almost there. Break a six-minute mile – that would be huge. Get to the Advanced level. All fun.

What do you enjoy most about Hale?
The people and coaches above all; I love working out with my wife in the morning. The physical intensity and challenge is next on my list.

What are some improvements you have made since joining Hale?
Above all more functional pieces like eating better and such, I see myself as an athlete. In high school, I was 100 lbs(!) and my ability to compete with my peers to get on teams was gone once I got into 9th grade. With only the big sports available, I didn’t get to play at that level.  I never realized how important it was to me until I started coming to Hale.

Any advice for those new to or considering Hale?
Show up and have fun(And go to every possible extra training offered)

Most importantly, what do you think is the greatest SPORT MOVIE of all time?
I remember Pele and the movie Victory from my childhood. I think the political pieces mixed with the soccer pieces touched me. Does White Men Can’t Jump count as a Sports Movie?

Athlete Spotlight: Karen V.

At CrossFit Hale, we like to give a public shout out to folks we feel epitomize our core values: consistency, hard work, positive attitude, overcoming of fears or obstacles and community spirit.

We are lucky enough to have a gym full of amazing people and today we are shining a spotlight on Karen!

Karen joined us a year ago, in September 2016 with out MissFit program.  Karen always shows up with the willingness to try anything, do her best, and increase her skills. Karen not only works hard and kills it in her workouts, but her care for others has added a lot of joy to CrossFit Hale. You may remember the amazing decorations and team spirit Karen and her partner-in-crime, Carrie, brought to the Hale Open for Team Tigerclaw this year!

Let’s get to Karen a little bit better!

Age: 49 (stop saying you are old, Jay!)

Day job:  Family glue stick

Dream job: I think I’d really like to bottle feed baby lions and tigers, and maybe pandas. Or be a taste tester for TheKitchn, TastingTable, Bon Appetite, or Saveur.

Can you give us some of your benchmark stats?
The achievements I’ve been most proud of (think strutting around the house like a peacock) have been: 30″ box jump. Running 800m in 4:18 (It took me the entire 6 week challenge to barely run it non-stop). Getting my first toes to bar and then being able to link three! 165# back squat and #175 deadlift. There was also a WOD where the girls almost beat the boys (1 second off!) – I rode that high for a week!!  LOL!  I’m also pretty proud of being able to keep pace with some folks half my age.  That feels really good.

What is your athletic/fitness background?
I was a swimmer in high school. “No Pain, No Gain” was our coach’s favorite saying and it still rings in my ears.  I played some lacrosse in college and became addicted to step classes. Lol! I miss step aerobics. Generally I was just active. Starting a family derailed my fitness patterns (kids come first) and juggling schedules and being exhausted was a perfect excuse for not staying physically active for… oh, about 18 years. Eek.

What’s your biggest strength in the gym?
I don’t like to quit. I really like breaking down workouts into steps, they feel more achievable and I can jump to the next mini-goal as soon as I complete the last one. It’s harder for me to think big, I like to focus on what’s in front of me.

Biggest weakness?
I believe every strength can be a weakness and vice versa.  It’s all about balance.  See how I answered the biggest strength question?  LOL  Self doubt is probably #1 on the list though.

What’s your drink?
Just one? G&T (Bombay Sapphire with a lime – perfect summer drink).  You know how everyone has that ugly tequila story?  Not me, love the stuff.  My ugly drunk story would include sweet rum drinks so, no.  No rum.

What is your current fitness goal?
Pull up, just one measly pull up please! And ten linked double-unders. I really need these life skills.  I’m positive they will be important in my future.  And not just for next year’s Throw Down or Open.

What do you enjoy most about Hale?
The community. I look forward to my Hale time. I’m basically running out of the house with a smile on my face. I’m making lots of friends, have a lot of laughs, and feel like each day I come is a good day. I enjoy the variety of the workouts; I never get bored and I’m sooo appreciative of the thoughtfulness the coaches put into planning the workouts as well as coaching us through them.  I like the competition, it’s low key and mostly all me against myself (see mini-goals above). And I’m enjoying that my son, Henry, has been equally welcomed at Hale and that he feels proud to call Hale his gym, too!  This is pretty huge for us.  I’m absolutely grateful for the support and the camaraderie at Hale

What are some improvements you have made since joining Hale?
Putting myself first, if only in this one thing.  I’m learning barbells – Woot!  I’ve improved my family’s eating habits. I’ve reintroduced me to myself. I did my first Whole30 and since starting MissFits last September, I’ve lost 27 pounds and found myself again. “Hey, there you are! Long time no see, Karen! Super long vacation there, Buddy!” I’ve also found my inner athlete again, the one that grits her teeth and pushes through. So much of the last 20+ years of my life has been about mental growth that I’d forgotten how to push myself physically and what kind of effort that takes. It feels good.

Any advice for those new to or considering Hale?
The kool-aid is gooooood. Have fun, be open to some pain, set some mini-goals for yourself, keep coming. Laugh!!

Most importantly, what do you think is the greatest SPORT MOVIE of all time?
Aliens – there’s a lot of sweat and adrenaline in that movie, so it counts.


Workout of the Day for 2-16-16

Have you signed up for the Open yet?

Open WOD 11.4
As Many Reps as Possible in 10 minutes:

60 Bar Facing Burpees
30 Overhead Squats (120/90 lbs)
10 Muscle-Ups

Coaches Notes:
Our “Open Weeks” continue with Open WOD 11.4. Warm up those shoulders and get ready to go!

The burpees must be bar facing. Scale the weight to something you are comfortable with. For the muscle ups, use the same scaling as last week if necessary.

The OHS are surprisingly tough on this one, so warm up well.


On the 2nd Day of CrossFit…12-8-15

Nice work to everyone who made it out for Day 1 of our 12 Days of CrossFit! We had an awesome turnout! Let’s keep up the momentum wth Day 2.

Hey, what is the WOD for Day 2?

Check it out at the bottom of this post. But first, let’s find out the CF Hale Coaches’ Must Have Gear for 2015!

I asked each of our coaches to share two items they cannot live without in their gym bag. It could be their most favorite pants, or their can’t-live-without weightlifting shoes.

This is the gear we have with us at all times and what we are willing to schlep back and forth, or even have duplicate versions of so that we are never without, because when you walk into the gym you never know what to expect!

Product info and purchasing links are at the bottom of the graphic.

CF Hale Coaches’ Must Have Gear 2015

CF Hale Coaches' Must Have Gear

Coach Lilly:
1. Wrist wraps give my wrists extra support when we do overheads squats, snatches, or anything with the bar over head. I feel super secure and ready to lift some heavy weight.
2. This rope makes double-unders feel so much better and I feel like I’m going super fast. It makes them fun!

Coach Heidi:
3. These tights have great compression for muscle support (feel great for squats), cute details, and add a little fun to night- or outdoor workouts.
4. These shoes are supportive enough for heavy lifting WODs, light and nimble on runs, and literally barbed-wire proof. They’re super comfortable and I expect them to hold up well over time.

Coach Tina:
5. I always tape my thumbs before snatch or clean + jerk. When I use this stuff, it stays on. No sweating off! It is also easy to tear.
6. Jay chuckles every time I pull this out of my bag, but I love it! Branched-chain amino acids are essential nutrients but my main issue is: my eating schedule doesn’t always jive with my workout schedule, leaving me prone to light-headedness and weakness if I am not careful. This gives me energy before and after a lifting session or metcon. And the watermelon flavor is the business.

Coach Mike:
7. These keep me from tearing my hands when we do workouts with lots of pull-ups and are also super flexible so you can keep them on while lifting or doing something like handstand push-ups.
8. Weightlifting shoes give a solid platform for great support during the Olympic lifts, as well as various squats. The raised heel helps with keeping the chest up and knees out. (There are a lot of price points so shop around for what makes the most sense for you.)

Coach Larry:
10. These pants keep my legs warm before and after my workouts. I like to think that it helps my recovery and I credit all my progress at Hale to my Lululemon jogger pants.
11. These knee sleeves keep my knees warm during my Olympic lifts. Nice security blanket.

Coach Jay:
9. I’ve made use of compression gear for years now. Since we are heading into winter, they are a good layering piece for cold, outdoor WODs (or cold gyms!) .
12. Nike MetCons feel great while running, feel solid in the heel during lifts, and in the toe (for toes to bar). They can take a beating in the gym!

Forward rolls
Wall climbs
Toes to bar
box jumps

Workout of the day:

Seven rounds for time of:
3 Forward rolls
5 Wall climbs (wall walks)
7 Toes to bar
9 Box jumps, 30/24″ box

30 min cut off

Coaches’ notes:
Scale the box jumps height as needed, and toes to bar to knees to chest or sit ups. Wall climbs are sometimes called wall walks. If you struggle with these (midline is unstable), you can go halfway up the wall, or do inch worms instead.


On the 1st Day of CrossFit…12-7-15

It is the first day of our annual Twelve Days of Christmas! What does Coach have under the tree for you today?

The WOD is at the bottom of this post. But first——

When it comes to health and fitness, we are all about having a plan. We find that plans come in handy particularly when things like travel, celebrations, or surprising life events interject themselves into your daily routine.

What is your plan for those things? Will it affect your goals?

We highly recommend giving some thought to how you plan to enjoy this holiday season, without any of the guilty feelings or putting on extra pounds. It is possible! You are not at the mercy of December events.

You are in control!

We’ve updated our Holiday Nutrition & Workout Guide, a free PDF with tips and suggestions on what to do for workouts and nutrition this holiday season.

Three work parties and four friends/family celebrations between now and New Years?
We’ve got you covered.

Living in a house full of distant relatives in the snowy midwest for ten days?
We’ve already thought of that!

Tired of feeling guilty each time you have a third piece of pie or fourth serving of mashed potatoes?
We know it!

Download our Holiday Nutrition & Workout Guide, read through it, and borrow a few tips and tricks. It’s not complicated stuff.

Have a plan. At the very least, have some ideas on how to have a good time this season and not completely go off the rails. Our guide has lots of ideas.

Now let’s get on with this 12 Days of CrossFit, shall we?


Air squats
Muscle ups
Hang power cleans

Workout of the day:
“Nasty Girls” –
3 rounds for time of:
50 air squats
7 muscle ups
10 hang power cleans 135/95
15 min cut off

Coaches’ notes:
Scale the muscle ups to push ups and pull ups as needed.

A CrossFit Shopping Guide

CrossFit Gear List

A CrossFit Gear Guide

When new athletes start training with us they often have the same questions about their training gear:
What kind of XXXX should I get?
Is XXXX better than XXYZ?
I heard that XXXX is bad and XXXX is best. Is that true?
What should I wear?!

The short answers are:
Find what works for you.
Buy, or don’t buy, anything you like.
Research and make your own decisions.
Wear anything you are comfortable working out in.
You really don’t need much.

That said, if you’ve been training with us for at least a few months, you might have a few items you want to update or take to the next level. Plus, the holidays are approaching and you might like to use this as an opportunity to update your training gear!

So here are the long answers to the most common questions on WHAT SHOULD I BUY?:


We often recommend something like Inov-8 or Reebok Nanos.

Both are great for our varied workouts but the fits are very different (Inov-8’s are narrower than Nanos) so try them out to see which fit you prefer.

I wear these Inov-8’s for running-based training, and Nano 4.0 for almost everything else.

We are not attached to brands. Any brand works. What we are looking for in shoes is that they let us feel solid and stable on the ground, don’t have a thick, spongy sole, and they fit in such a way that we don’t think about them during training.


Yes! If you are ready to take this step, we say “Do it!” Lifting shoes are beneficial during clean & jerk, snatch, some presses, overhead squat, back squat, and/or front squat.

During heavy, fast lifts they keep me feeling solid, stable, and my feet aren’t squishing and slapping around inside of my shoes.

There are several options but if you want to go all out from the start, Adidas is the most common brand, followed by Nike.

There are also some other awesome classic brands out there such as Pendlay and VS.

Try not to wear them outside (I will walk to the 100m mark in them but that’s it!) and they will last long enough to be the only pair of lifting shoes you’ll ever need.


If you want to wear gloves, please do! Gloves might come out during multiple rope climbs or pull-ups.

I’ve noticed a handful of folks in the gym wearing gymnastic grips similar to these or full gloves like these.


I mostly leave them alone but if they get thick and keep a “pinched” look after a workout, I tend to them with a callous shaver.

You might find other advice on the matter. There are lots of lotions, potions, balms, and salves on the market. There are also a lot of maintenance routines. If you’re anything like me, you might buy things like these but only use them for a couple of days before forgetting you have it. So, use any moisturizer you already have, try a callous shaver once in a while, and keep any tears/rips clean and dry. Simple.


For us, our weight belts tend to come out during max weight lift sessions (which don’t come up often). We don’t wear them for every lifting session but sometimes we do. (How’s that for ambivalent?)

Consider a Velcro belt like this because it will be easy to tighten or loosen between lifts. For those that like pink, this one is saved in my Amazon cart at the moment.


There are a lot of you who don’t check the WOD the night before. If you are one of these people, then you might consider keeping a couple of the following items in your gym bag–in case rope climbs are in the WOD:

A. Leggings/compression pants (full length, like this). Gents, you can wear your shorts over these.
B. Longer shorts + knee socks
C. Longer shorts + compression calf sleeves (I love these!)
D. Legless rope climbs

(If you do get rope burn, keep it clean, disinfected, and dry. Very important!)


Consider a long sleeve compression top or compression arm sleeves. I will also occasionally wear my compression sleeves during pull-up WODs.

8. You might consider getting your own jump rope.
These are incredible, these have several customization options, and here are just a whole bunch of options.


We usually recommend 3 Fuel because it is clean and delicious, or the Bulletproof Upgraded Whey or Bulletproof Collagen protein powders.

That’s it! Feel free to ask us about anything else, or share your own experiences on things you have tried and/or recommend.

And I’ll say it one last time: find what works for you. Try not to be too persuaded by what everyone else does.

If CrossFit is your sport, choose whatever makes it the most fun for you.
Sports Basement (new location on 2727 Milvia St., Berkeley, CA): CrossFit members get a 10% discount at all locations.