Tag Archives: exercise

FIT’s Rick Fath Wins Bridge to Bridge 10K Swim

12 Jul

When Rick emerged from the frigid Bay water at the base of the Golden Gate Bridge, he had a giant smile on his face. With a time of 1 hour and 40 minutes, Rick was the first swimmer to finish the Bridge to Bridge 10k swim last Saturday.

“I swallowed a lot of salt water,” Rick recalls, “But it felt really good to finish. I love the feeling of accomplishment when you fulfill a commitment.”

Rick has been open-water swimming for 12 years and is no stranger to races in through the Bay. In fact, he got started when, years ago, a friend “invited” Rick to do a group swim around Alcatraz. Once Rick got his ‘feet wet’ (pun intended) he began swimming in two to three events a year, including regular trips swimming across the Golden Gate Bridge.

When asked why he enjoys racing, Rick explained, “It keeps me focused and gives me a goal.” Each January Rick looks at his calendar and commits to a few races each year. These races help Rick plan and maintain his training regimen both in the pool and here in the gym at FIT.

For Rick, racing in these events each year is just part of his strategy to staying active and healthy. And who could question the activity level of someone whose swim workouts involve a brisk two or three mile swim? To put that in context (for us non-swimmers), that’s 100 hundred laps in the pool!

Now that may sound daunting even to the most committed weekend warrior, but Rick understands the heart of the matter: “The key is to set a goal. And then to create a plan.” For example, Rick printed swim workouts from a reliable source in order to ramp up for this long swim.

Have a plan. Wise words, indeed.

Moving forward, Rick intends to maintain a similar pattern of competing in two or three races each year, maybe travelling to other locations to race. “I’m always looking for new and fun experiences,” Rick says.

So here’s to you, Rick. Thank you for representing FIT well in the gym and in the water.

FIT Barbell Club Takes Over Redwood Open

10 Jul

Last Saturday, FIT’s Olympic Weightlifting Club sent four members to compete in the Redwood Open osted by Freddie Myles of Myles Ahead Weightlifting Club.

This meet was hosted in a unique venue, a gazebo in the Cotati town square. This set the stage for a very casual, fun environment for families and friends to spend a day cheering on the lifters in the sunshine.

Among the many highlights of the meet, FIT BBC’s newest member, Jen Larson, competed in her first ever Olympic weightlifting meet. Jen was able to successfully complete all six of her lifts. She matched her personal bests in both the snatch and the clean and jerk, totaling 105 kg combined to take 2nd place in the 58kg division.

Mary Wang, a veteran of the FIT BBC, also competed in the 58kg weight class and finished with a snatch of 55kg and a clean and jerk of 68kg, finishing with a total of 123kg to take first place.

Fellow newcomer Nick Steinhillber competed in his second weightlifting meet in the 94kg class. Nick got off to a great start, snatching a new personal best 100kg. He continued strong to clean and jerk 130kg, totaling 230kg for a 2nd place finish.

Then, FIT BBC veteran nathan “Bear” Schadle capped off a long day of competition with a spectacular performance. Bear, weighing 105kg, snatched a staggering 118kg for a new personal best.

Bear nearly followed this up with another PR in the clean and jerk were it not for narrowly missing 147kg. Still, his performance was good enough for another FIT 2nd place finish.

It was a gread day of sun, heavy lifting, and camaraderie. Coach Rob demonstrated his skilled expertise in coaching all the lifters from the morning into the late evening.

If you’re interested in learning the Olympic lifts and training in a team-oriented environment, contact Rob abot FIT’s Barbell Club!

Jeff P. Gets A ‘Strong’ Education

12 Jun

Here’s the second installment of Jeff P’s recap of his trip to the East Coast to learn from some of the brightest and most experienced minds in the world of strength and conditioning. You can read Jeff’s first post here. To learn more about these coaches, follow the embedded links.


The 3rd Annual Eleiko Strength Summit was equally exciting to attend. Here, the Swedish company that produces the best barbells and plates in the world hosted guest speakers to present on topics related to weightlifting and strength development. Here’s a quick summary.

Charles presented on the eccentric/concentric ratio and its application to sports as well as a demonstration of exercises. Preston Greene, the head strength coach for Florida Gators basketball, lectured on strength and conditioning methods for college athletes and took us through his training methods for an entire basketball season. It was interesting and humorous watching a montage of the athletes’ strongman workouts.

Al Vermeil, the only strength coach to sport two championship rings (one with the 49ers and the other with the Chicago Bulls), lectured on “the art of coaching” and was extremely enthusiastic about aspects of positively motivating athletes to perform at their best. Many of us stayed after to keep talking with Al about training methods.

Tamas Feher, the current UK Olympic weightlifting head coach, lectured on strength development of athletes particularly in relation to using the snatch and clean and jerk. It was interesting to hear from his point-of-view, as weightlifting has greater emphasis overseas than it does in the US. Another Olympic weightlifting coach, Jon Broz talked about his experiences with weightlifting using high volume to achieve maximal levels of strength. Finally, the 1997 World champion and head of Eleiko Russia, Maxim Agapitov spoke about his experiences with weightlifting and coached us through the clean and jerk exercise.


This was one of the more memorable trips I have taken. This post doesn’t do justice to the wealth of information but at least it can provide some insight into the new movements and strategies I hope to implement for the benefit of everyone at FIT!

For more information, feel free to contact me at: jeffery@focusedtrainers.com


Jeff P. loves helping people to get stronger whether you’re an athlete, a weekend warrior, or looking to achieve optimal health. Just ask him.

FIT Partners with Bald Eagle Summer Camps

8 Jun

In our efforts to build up the leadership and health of our youth, FIT has partnered with Bald Eagle Summer Camps. FIT trainers will be coaching at the summer camps every Wednesday starting at 9:20am. Summer camps run every week from the week of June 11th to July 18th (except the week of July 4th).

What are Bald Eagle Summer Camps?

Good question. Bald Eagle offers 3 unique Summer Camps on one location, and in each venue the Positive Coaching Alliance message is taught and modeled.  Parent Testimonials rave that Bald Eagle Camps is one of the best summer experiences you can give your child.

What will kids learn at Bald Eagle Summer Camps?

Campers learn what it means to be a Triple Impact Competitor, making the most out of themselves, being a great teammate and having a positive impact on the game and community around them.  Every coach at Bald Eagle is a Certified Double Goal Coach through PCA, creating a camp culture that is rich with encouragement, inclusion and passion to be your best.

Parents have three camps to choose from:

CAMP 1: Summer Sports Camp (1st-8th graders)

  • Campers participate with their team in the morning in our non-traditional inclusive yet competitive games
  • Afternoons are traditional activities such as swimming, basketball, volleyball, hockey, whiffle ball, frisbee golf, arts & crafts, indoor Activity Arcade, kickball, flag football and many, many more.
  • Our message on how to be a great competitor is emphasized throughout.

CAMP 2: Basketball Summer Camp (3RD-8th)

  • Basketball campers will walk away with improved skills and a deeper passion for becoming their best.
  • Skill development stations, Fundamentals,  Fun Competitions, Game Play
  • Free Choice period where they get to spend 45 min doing any activity across our Sports Camp like swimming, etc.
  • Daily Emphasis Skills, guest speaker, tournament games or competitions.
  • Our message on how to be a great competitor is emphasized throughout.

CAMP 3: Jr.High Leadership Camp “NEW!” (7th-8th)

  • How important is it for a young person to have clarity on the type of person they are aiming to become while they trudge through the onslaught of peer pressure in Jr. High and High School?
  • Bald Eagle Camps founder, Bob McFarlane, is a Special Ed & PE teacher at Los Altos High School.  He is also the Head Varsity Basketball Coach and the founding Advisor of the Fellowship Of Christian Athletes (FCA) Club at LAHS.  This camp design serves a broad range of camper strengths, skills and interests.
  • The benefits from our Leadership Camp are immeasurably positive because it teaches and tangibly develops the skills to support a successful transition to being a young adult.

Visit www.baldeaglecamps.com , or call (888)505-2253 for more info.

You can also email Danielle Durante at danielle@focusedtrainers.com

Jeff P. Embraces New Strategies for Fat Loss

5 Jun

At FIT, our trainers take their education seriously. We pride ourselves on seeking out the best information available to continually serve our clients better. On occasion, our trainers take time to attend education. Today’s post is brought to you by Jeff P. who recently attended a seminar by well-respected strength coach Charles Poliquin.


Last month, I spent 7 days at the Poliquin Performance Center in East Greenwich, RI to take the Biosignature Modulation course, as well as attend the 3rd Annual Eleiko Strength Summit.

Developed and taught by Coach Charles Poliquin, Biosignature Modulation (or, biosig for short) is an individualized method of body fat loss. Basically, specific receptor sites on the body are blocked and lead to dysfunction- that is, there is a relationship between where you store body fat and your hormones. Technically speaking, there actually is such a thing as ‘spot-reduction’ in fat loss.

For example, that stubborn tummy-fat is an indicator of prolonged exposure to the hormone cortisol (a.k.a. low grade adrenaline). Cortisol stimulates abdominal fat synthesis by inhibiting growth hormone. The good news is that this can be reversed through recommended dietary and supplement intervention.

During class we discussed the relationships of 6 key hormones and 12 sites on the body as well as the methods for modulating these sites. For example, increasing magnesium intake has shown to improve insulin sensitivity, improve quality of sleep, and improve cortisol management (anti-stress).

We also practiced measuring the sites 3 times a day for 30 minutes each. Coach Poliquin’s teaching method is geared for 70% retention: 40 minutes lecture, 10-point review, 5-15 minute break, repeat with or without 20-30 minute practice. With over 100 pages of notes, I’ll testify that it is quite effective and consequently very helpful!


If you’re interested in finding out how Jeff’s Biosignature practice might be able to help you, feel free to contact him at jeffery@focusedtrainers.com.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of Jeff’s experience where he shares his insights from the Eleiko Strength Summit.

Exercise Reduces Neuropathic Pain

3 Jun

ScienceDaily recently reviewed an interesting study examining the effect of exercise on nerve pain such as that caused by trauma or diabetes. The study suggests that “Exercise helps to alleviate pain related to nerve damage by reducing levels of certain inflammatory factors.”


The Gist

Researchers examined the effects of sciatic nerve pain in rats. Post-injury, some rats performed progressive exercise including swimming and walking on a treadmill over several weeks while researchers monitored observable pain behaviors.

The researchers noticed a significant reduction in neuropathic pain in the group that performed exercise post-injury. Those suffering from nerve injuries are known to have abnormal pain responses to changes in pressure or to changes in temperature. The researchers observed that the exercise group did not show abnormal pain responses when they encountered changes to these elements and thus the researchers attributed this to a reduced pain response.


The Nitty-Gritty

Previous studies have suggested that inflammation (including pro-inflammatory cytokines) play a significant role in the neuropathic pain response to nerve injury. Researchers found that exercise led to an increased expression of a protein which may have contributed to a reduced expression of the inflammation-promoting cytokines in sciatic nerve tissue.


Why We Care

When dealing with nerve pain that cannot be controlled with conventional pain medication, many attempt to regulate nerve pain using antidepressant drugs or others that carry unwanted side effects.

We know that exercise can help reduce pain in people with chronic conditions, so why not also in those with neuropathic pain?

While exercise may not eliminate nerve injury pain, if it can reduce pain up to 50% as demonstrated in this study, this is a significant step in the right direction towards reducing the inflammation in injured nerve tissue.

FIT Buddies Take 5

29 May


Coach Jen’s class shows us how to Take 5–simple strategies to stay healthy and happy. Watch the video. It will definitely be worth your time.

Just in case you forgot, here’s the 5!

Take 1 Eat Well

Take 2 Move Around

Take 3 Drink Water

Take 4 Sleep

Take 5 Have Fun

We love what Coach Jen is doing with the FIT Buddies program. What’s more, the life habits she is helping to form in her kids are applicable to all of us.

So Take 5, and be ready to follow the lead of our FIT Buddies!

Rick Gives All at CrossFit Regionals

27 May

Every athletic competition tells a story of heroic feats and heart-breaking setbacks, all in the face of tremendous adversity unfolding moment-by-moment, right in front of our eyes.

And this year’s CrossFit NorCal Regional competition was no different for coach Rick and his FIT contingent of supporters.

Rick had already overcome a number of injuries that prevented him from training at full tilt all year round. Rick made no excuses and came into last weekend’s competition quite confident that he could make another run at a top ten finish.

The competition opened with a classic CrossFit workout affectionately named “Diane”. Rick had to perform twenty-one deadlifts at 225# followed by twenty-one handstand push ups, then fifteen of each, then nine of each as fast as possible. Battling fatiguing shoulders, Rick finished with a time of 5:30 to start off the competition in 32nd place.

Later that day, in the second workout, Rick rowed 2,000 meters, then did 50 1-leg squats, and then 30 hang cleans at heavy 225# in only 16:00 to move into the top 20. With a solid first day in the books, Rick was optimistic that he could continue to climb the standings on Day 2.

Rick came out of the gates firing on all cylinders Day 2’s first workout. Snatching a 100# dumbbell and sprinting a total of 400m, Rick’s time of 4:08 put him in 5th place in that event. The second event of Day 2 proved to be a treacherous test of mental and physical stamina and endurance. Completing a circuit that total 150 weighted squats, 120 pull-ups, and 90 push presses just under the time cap of 17:00, Rick sat in 16th place at the end of Day 2.

Day 3, the final day of the competition, was set up to test the mettle of even the most seasoned athlete. The first event of the day involved testing the athletes’ heaviest snatch. The catch was that they had to move up a ladder of barbells beginning at 155#, moving up 10# each step on the ladder. In between each progressively heavier barbell, Rick had to perform 20 double-unders with a jump rope.

Rick had warmed up to a comfortable 210# snatch in the warm-up. Then had to wait nearly 45 minutes before he could begin the ladder.

On the first snatch, a mere 155# that Rick could do in his sleep, he felt a sharp pain shoot down the side of his leg.

Rick had re-aggravated an old injury. He had torn a muscle in his quad.

With his back against a wall, there still was not a single hint of quit in Rick. He managed to eek his way several lifts up the ladder, but at last failed to snatch 185# within the time limit.

FIT’s fan contingent watched Rick battle his competitors, the workouts, and himself all weekend. And while Rick came away from the weekend disappointed to be knocked out of the competition by injury, his supporters were amazed by the tremendous heart, tenacity, and grit Rick put on display.

We’re proud of you of the way Rick represented FIT and CrossFit Los Altos with such class and poise.

And we look forward to another epic performance next year in 2013.

FIT Kids Summer Camps are Coming!

25 May

At FIT, we believe in the vital importance of long-term health and fitness.

And we also believe in equipping our young generation with the physical and mental tools to cultivate long-term habits of health, confidence, and teamwork.

One way we get to do this is through our Kids Summer camps. You’ve seen the banner. You’ve seen the fliers. Now check out the details below and get on board!

What’s it about?

Kids will explore themany different aspects of fitness through new sills and exercises involving movement patterns, strength, flexibility, jumping, footwork, speed and agility all in a structured and fun way. Camps are taught by certified fitness professionals.


June 25-28

July 16-19

August 6-9


All run from 10am – 2pm


7 – 12 years


For more information, contact Danielle or Kevin at 650-947-9831 or see the flier at the front desk.

Dont miss this opportunity to get your kid FIT!

Get Lean. Do Sprints.

12 May

At FIT, we love sprinting.

We love sprinting in all kinds of forms. And we’ve probably shared our love of sprinting at some point with you.

Maybe it was on the rower doing 250 meter repeats. Or maybe on the treadmill sprinting for twenty seconds, resting ten seconds, and then doing it all over again. Or maybe you have even been lucky enough to push that crazy contraption we affectionately call the “Prowler” through the parking lot.

And at some point, you’ve probably wondered something like, “How is this going to help me lean out for summer?”

Perhaps defying conventional wisdom, short sprint intervals are actually more effective than continuous aerobic exercise for influencing body composition and fat loss.

A new study shows that sprint intervals will help you lose more fat while training a fraction of the time it would take to lose a comparable amount from continuous endurance exercise.

The study, published in the journal of Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise, compared the effects of a high intensity sprint interval program with an endurance running program on two different groups over six weeks. The sprint program consisted of 30-second sprint intervals and the endurance program consisted of running 30-60 minutes at approximately 65 percent of maximal effort.

The results were dramatic. Fat mass decreased by 12.4% among the sprint group compared to only 5.8% amongst the endurance group. What’s more, the sprint interval group decreased their fat mass by training 1/18th of the time as the endurance group–6.75 hours compared to 13.5 hours over the six week program.

In other words, the sprint group lost more fat mass in a fraction of the time.

The results are likely due to the fact that doing sprint intervals increases post-exercise oxygen consumption which elevates your metabolic rate and energy use after the workouts.

So, the moral of the story? Sprint.

Ask your FIT coach about how you could maximize your training time to get lean and save time by doing sprint intervals on the rower, on the bike, on the road, or, yes, even on the Prowler.