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The latest research performed by Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) supports earlier findings that use of a light-emitting electronic device adversely impacts your health.  Participants reading on iPads [but also “eReaders, laptops, cell phones, LED monitors, and other electronic devices, all emitting blue light] took longer to fall asleep than participants reading printed books, were less sleepy in the evening, and spent less time in REM sleep.  The [electronic device] readers had reduced secretion of melatonin, a hormone which normally rises in the evening and plays a role in inducing sleepiness.  Additionally, [electronic device] readers had a delayed circadian rhythm, indicated by melatonin levels, of more than an hour.  Participants who read from the [electronic device] were less sleepy before bedtime, but sleepier and less alert the following morning, even after eight hours of sleep.

“In the past 50 years, there has been a decline in average sleep duration and quality,” stated Charles Czeisler, PhD, MD, FRCP, chief, BWH Division of Sleep and Circadian Disorders.   “Since more people are choosing electronic devices for reading, communication and entertainment, particularly children and adolescents who already experience significant sleep loss, epidemiological research evaluating the long-term consequences of these devices on health and safety is urgently needed.”   


It is well established that short-wavelength or “blue” light is the most melatonin-suppressive; this is the type of light typically emitted by devices such as televisions, computer screens, and cellphones.


Why do we care about our melatonin being suppressed?  Melatonin suppression caused by exposure to light-at-night and shift work has been definitively linked with

Obesity and metabolic syndrome:

Cardiovascular disease:


and Cancer (specifically colorectal, breast, and prostate):


What can we do?

“There are a few possible solutions for reducing your exposure to blue light at night”, claims Chris Kresser. 

“One that is commonly used in the ancestral health community is a program called f.lux, a program that makes the color of your computer’s display adapt to the time of day, warm at night and like sunlight during the day. This program can be installed on computers, iPads, and iPhones, and may have a significant effect on your melatonin secretion when using these devices at night. 

A better option, in my opinion, is to use amber-lensed goggles once the sun has gone down. These blue-blocking lenses are highly effective in reducing the effects of blue light exposure, and in most cases completely eliminate the short-wavelength radiation necessary for nocturnal melatonin suppression. (22, 23, 24) These goggles have been shown to improve sleep quality as well as mood, simply by blocking blue light and simulating physiologic darkness.

The main reason I recommend using these goggles is because normal room light alone is enough to suppress melatonin at night, and unless you’re shutting off all the lights in your house when the sun sets, you’re still at risk for disrupting your melatonin-driven circadian rhythms. (25) While f.lux is a useful tool for your backlit devices, it’s nearly impossible to address all sources of melatonin-suppressing light in today’s world of modern technology and late-night work and entertainment habits. Amber-colored goggles are one of the only tools available to completely eliminate all blue light exposure at night, without ‘going off the grid’ and powering down your entire house after 7 PM.” 

The two amber-colored goggles Chris recommends, which have received rave reviews from his patients, are the Uvex and Solar Shield brands.

See Chris Kresser’s site for links to supporting resources:

When it comes to injuries, there is one thing you should always do: seek medical advice. We are trainers, but not trained in recognizing how serious an injury is, whether it is minor or not. So, just as you go to experts when it comes to training, you should do so when it comes to injuries. If a physician is unable to tell you what went wrong and all he can say is that you shouldn’t exercise, you went to the wrong one.

That being said, there are couple of things you can expect from trainers and coaches, mainly in relation to injury prevention and rehabilitation. Before I go into that, let me introduce a couple of distinctions. Injuries are either a result of an accident or of simply overusing your body. (Of course, there are accidents, which happen due to overuse, but let’s not go there now.) You cannot really do anything to prevent accidents, in the sense that you cannot predict completely how and when they occur. Let’s say, you stand on the bus in a sloppy position, then it breaks suddenly and you fall and hurt your shoulders.

Injuries due to overuse are a different animal. One can distinguish between two types. One type occurs when you simply push hard and don’t allow your body to recover from previous workouts. Pain in the shoulders, knees, hips, or what you have is the result of performing basic movements. These should disappear once you introduce proper recovery methods such as rest days, good food, sufficient intake of Omega 3 to just name a few.

The other type of overuse occurs because one muscle group takes over some work from another group due to poor movement patterns and insufficient muscle recruitment. Not engaging the core properly when doing push ups/pull ups, presses is an example, how shoulder pain can surface. Tight hamstrings with zero gluteal activation, sets you up for lower back pain. Surprisingly, mostly the source of the problem is not where the pain actually surfaces or manifests itself.

In any case, if you ever wondered why we crawl/roll in seemingly weird positions during our warm up, there you have your answer. The aim is to activate the proper muscle groups and increase your mobility in the hips, ankles and shoulders, before we stress and tax them during our WODs or strength sessions. There is not one person who is not restricted in mobility in one or all of these areas. A warm up in the class can only play a minor role in setting you up for better and more efficient movement, so I encourage each of you to work on these areas on your own as well. RCFN coaches would be happy to assist you to get some additional fun stuff to improve your movement patterns.

As a starter, we will post some videos here from which you can select means to your own torture. Here is the first one for the shoulders. Super D is the guy with bands. Even Kelly Starrett went to learn from him some stuff. Enjoy!

Source: Reebok Crossfit Duna

Most of you have heard this before, but I’ll now join my fellow pontificating blowhards in using the internet to articulate my tirade.

I abhor bands.  Period.  And since I am doing the programming for the next four weeks, no one at RCFN will be using bands in the month of May.  The bands are gone, and gone means not in the gym.  So don’t ask for me to go get them from the office because they are not there. Gone.

But I have a heart.  If you would like to come in and complain about how you can’t do pull-ups without bands, I would be happy to listen to you.   After you prepare your Opening Arguments, make sure to bring an open Grüner to set on the counter.  That beautiful brown bottle will let me know what you want, and I will listen to you until said beer is gone.

Now before you make a mad rush to the Getränkemarkt, let me review a few scaling options.

Pull-ups—the number one culprit for band use.  Your first option is to look to your left, or maybe your right, and ask the kind-looking person standing there for some help.  You heard me.  It is okay to ask for help from a stranger.  No matter what your mom told you about strangers, it does not apply in CrossFit boxes.  Have your newfound friend press up on your back with his or her hands to help you through that sticking point, or put your feet on your friend’s legs so that you can press with your legs and control the amount of help you receive.  Or it could be possible to help yourself!  Set up a box under just one foot.  Ensure it is at a height that you can stand on that one foot to push your body up as you pull.  Please don’t forget the pull part, or we have just moved on to pistol practice.  If you are still not satisfied, we could work on some negatives.  Help yourself up from a box or one of the hooks so that your chin starts over the bar then resist plummeting back to the earth.

Ring dips—the source of your newfound appreciation for Olympic gymnastics.  This may sound familiar, but you can also ask someone for help on the ring dip.  Have Friend hold your feet to take a bit of pressure off of your shoulders.  You can again control the amount of help you receive by how much you push with your legs.  Friend could also help lift your body by lifting your legs as you raise yourself, but you will lose a small amount of control over how much help you receive, so communicate.  But wouldn’t that be a great story to tell your kids?  “I met the love of my life because I couldn’t do a ring dip and had to ask for help.”  Just make sure that you invite me to the wedding.  Afraid of social interaction?  RCFN is fortunate enough to have adjustable rings, so go ahead an lower those rings so that you could reach the ground and have One Leg help Shoulders with that dip.  If all of the rings are already in use, then set yourself up between two boxes/parallettes/stacks of bumper plates and dip.  If the stack is high enough, you can maintain your upright trunk with hip underneath your shoulders.  Now you can keep the same range without the unstable platform.  If you struggle to dip with your bodyweight, then lower the stack so that you can again use your legs to assist.


Note that none of these scales decreased the range of motion or dramatically changed the stimulus.  You may find a partner or trainer for assistance during our skill work and then switch to a self-help scale during the workout—isn’t that a novel idea!

This post is by not meant to exhaust the list of scaling options.  Instead, it is meant to simply illustrate that options exist.  

Stay tuned this month for a little more background on my illogical disdain of these colorful elastic loops. Topics may include motor recruitment patterns, concentric/eccentric loadings, accommodating resistance, and more.


    So we have a great community here at RCFN right! Well lets keep it that way! I want this to be a place of honesty, integrity and moral courage, a place where my boys grow up and learn the important things in life. If you come into our house we do not ask much of you, just hard work during the WOD, honesty about your performance and that you bring in some beer every once in a while. So where am I going with this? This morning after a WOD from hell (well at least for me) I went into the locker room to find that one of our members broke a locker. Look I get it accidents happen but MAN THE F$%K UP and come tell us, don’t sneak out of here like a coward!. Why am I being so harsh you may ask? Well a while back we had a thief and we dealt with it the same way harsh but fair and guess what, that person is gone. Cut the head off the snake I say! Please help keep our Box and our community great, WE control the atmosphere here at RCFN and the type of people we want to work out/hang out with.

That is all


Here is a an awesome article I stole John Welbourn’s web site “Talk To Me Johnnie”.


A little background first:

My wife and I own an old-school bodybuilding style gym.  We have been doing CrossFit for a few years, and started the CFFB program about 9 months ago.  The program is great, and the results we have seen are fantastic, so thank you for that.  Anyhow, I have learned a couple of things since we have been running our gym:

1.  A guy will do any silly-ass exercise, as long as he can watch himself in the mirror while he does it.

2.  For people who spend so much time in the mirror, their egos are surprisingly fragile.  Imagine my shock when after watching my wife flip a 450lb tractor tire, not a single guy in our gym was willing to give it a try.

3.  For guys who spend so much time comparing muscle tone, practicing poses, and generally hamming it up, they are really reluctant to actually compete in anything.  We have an annual bench press contest (it had been running every year, for years before we bought the place, so we continued it), and getting more than a handful of guys to sign up is like pulling teeth.

So my question is this:

How do you foster and encourage a competitive spirit in a place where most dudes would rather stand around in the mirror admiring how awesome they are?  I would love to have some awesome competitions with lots of folks really pushing to be the best.  I would also love to see more dudes in our place practicing more fundamental, functional training, but you can’t have everything.  Our squat racks only get used by about 8% of our membership, and some of those guys are curling!  I would be happy to just see more guys talking less trash, and putting their money where their mouth is, in the form of real, honest competition, bodybuilders or not.

What would you do?

-Jerod, Grover Beach

sick triceps


I was recently gifted a book about the world’s top CEOs and how they deal with pressure.

The book is called Better Under Pressure: How Great Leaders Bring Out the Best in Themselves and Others, written by Justin Menkes.

The book goes into great length about management styles of great leaders and how they deal with pressure. The author gives memorable accounts of the most pivotal moments in various leader’s careers, their successes and failures.

The author discusses a common thread that connects all these great leaders: their ability to see the shore through the storm and make the right decision when things look bleakest. He discussed how great leaders have great vision, and while many around them cannot see the future, the great leader is unwavering in his commitment to it. But all the while, still having the flexibility and humility to listen to those around you and make changes if need be.

Great leaders provide vision, thus creating a culture that perpetuates that vision.

Your vision is one of a warehouse gym loaded with Olympic platforms, barbells, tires, ropes, dumbbells, prowlers, turf and other odd implements to be lifted, hoisted and pulled by athletes who want to compete daily.

However, the culture at your gym is the complete opposite. Whether, you created it or it was created before you took ownership, the culture of the gym is one of aesthetics, comparing vascularity and practicing posing. I am sure your gym is crammed with countless machines, a cardio area and a more leg presses than squat racks.

How can you ask someone to compete in that environment?

“Hey bro…lets see who can do the most reps of preacher reverse curls…”

vision and culure #2

“Bro…I invented preacher reverse curls.”

I remember this oddity from when I used to train at Gold’s Gym back in the day. I remember seeing guys, 5 deep, waiting in line for the seated cable row. The only positive was there rarely was a line for the squat rack, but the negative was scrounging plates was a nightmare as the 5 different leg presses were using most of them.

As the leader of your gym, you have to offer vision and then provide a culture that supports your vision.

In a perfect world, I would start by removing all mirrors. The minute that people stop training to improve how they look and start putting emphasis on performance, they end up looking the way they want as a by-product.

Form follows function.

Second, I would replace all the machine-based equipment with barbells, dumbbells and kbs. Replace the leg press and leg extensions machines with a few squat racks. I would replace the cardio area with Olympic platforms and bumpers. I would line up a dozen atlas stones where the cable cross over machine used to go just as a finishing touch.

vision and culture #3

Now that the vision is complete, it is up to you to create the culture.

The only problem is you could possibly lose your entire cliental and be left with an empty gym full of functional fitness equipment with rent due.

You can either go option A day one or do it over the course of a year. Start by “remodeling” half of the gym to cater to a new, younger cliental that is more focused on performance. Over time, as that section grows, you can make the decision on when to cut the cord and do a full renovation.

Create a daily leader board and central training times, and foster competition.

We have adopted a motto around my gym first made famous by Steve Yurosek: “show me someone who is OK with losing, and I will show you a loser.”

Either way, one of the toughest things to do is create culture. It takes constant focus and unwavering commitment to the vision. It takes just the right people believing in the vision and their undying support to it.

If you want an example of vision without culture, look no further than the NFL. Take a team like the Philadelphia Eagles. Andy Reid takes the helm in 1999 with the owner’s total support. Over the next 8 years the Eagles are one of the top teams in the NFL, making 4 NFC Championship games and 1 Super Bowl. But then things change and they begin a downward spiral over the next 4 years, possibly resulting in wholesale changes to the coaching staff and roster.


The coach is the same, the owner is the same, and the vision never changed (i.e. win the Super Bowl). The facilities have not changed and the coaches are basically the same.

What changed?

Why would the culture change?

The coach can only provide vision.  The players in the locker room and those that play on Sunday create the culture. It is comes down to how players practice, if they are on time for meetings, and if they are quality players or people or bad eggs. It comes from players who hold themselves and those around them to a higher standard: the standard of being the best. When players believe in the coaches, the game plan and their teammates, they win games.

If you want your culture to match your vision and thus convert the masses, you will need soldiers. This is true in Fortune 500 companies, the NFL and small gyms the world over.


I would like to start out by telling every member, both current and future what an honor it is to be your coach! Ginger and I found CrossFit back in 2007 while I was deployed to Afghanistan and were instantly hooked. We both came from a background of endurance sports (I know that is hard to believe) like Ironman Triathlon and Ultra Marathons but with our hectic lives we had little time to train. With the birth of my first son and me being deployed we found it impossible to remain “fit”. I was introduced to CrossFit by a friend in Afghanistan, our first WOD was 30 muscle-ups for time and since we had no rings (not like I could have done it anyways) we did 120 pull-ups and 120 dips. 45 minutes later, and I am sure a ton of “No-Reps”, I was amazed that I finished. For the rest of the week I could not use my arms and thought I had done some serious damage.  The next day I told my wife about CrossFit and she fell in love with it because she could knock out a WOD in 20 minutes while my son slept. So a few friends and I started a group of CrossFitters in Afghanistan. While doing so we continued to run 3-8 miles every morning and strength training on top of all the rest. In about 3-4 weeks I was completely beat down and broken.  I thought to myself, without speaking about it, I must be a wimp if I couldn’t handle this routine. I continued on for the next 3-5 months and then upon redeployment from Afghanistan Ginger and I signed up for a Level 1 training Seminar, we knew we needed more of “It” whatever “It” was.  Ginger and I attended our Level One in Stockholm, Sweden and to describe us as “lucky” is an understatement. We had legends like Chris Spealer, Pat Sherwood,  and Chuck Carswell as instructors, and then Nicole Carrol and Coach Glassman talked to us about what CrossFit is.  During those days back in 2008, Ginger and I decided that CrossFit would consume our lives and we told Coach Glassman that we wanted to be the center of everything CrossFit in Germany.  During the same weekend we met, at the time relatively unknown, Karl Steadman, Mads Jacobson and Courtney Rife; they became essential parts of CrossFit Europe and were key players in getting Ginger and I to where we are today. To you guys thank you, we are forever in your debt.

Fast forward about a year when Ginger and I were lucky to have the support of COL Cho and CSM “Buck” Oneal to start our first affiliate, Landstuhl CrossFit. During the next year we learned  what Coach Glassman meant when he said “the biggest adaptation in CrossFit takes place between the ears”.  We witnessed people change both mentally and physically because of what CF did for them.

Fast forward another year, when I was given the opportunity by CF HQ to become an Intern for the Level 1 Seminar Staff.  Through this experience Mads, Karl, Courtney and I developed a pretty good friendship. They hooked me up with an oppertunity ti interview with Reebok.  I met Daniel Hindelmeir and Matthijs Mattner in Herzo with no expectations of leaving the Army, but when I left that day I knew my family’s life would soon radically change!

So here we are in August of 2012, more than a year after meeting that day with Matthijs and Daniel.  We have 80 plus members at RCFN, Justin has left the Army and moved from Japan to Germany to be our partner. Ginger and I moved from K-town to Nürnberg, and bought a house with our “Oma” who sold her life in Virginia to help out with our kids.  We are all 100% sure that it was all worth it and we know that CrossFit changes lives!  We are coaches and friends with all 80 of our members. I wake up every day and look forward to working with every single person that comes to the Box to sweat, scream, cry, celebrate and most importantly laugh with us and our family.  So Thank You, for all of those that helped us get to where we are and to all of our future members/friends for helping us get to wherever it is we are going.


Most importantly Thank You to CrossFit!

We have been busy at RCFN, but fortunately we will be able to offer the Rapid Start Saturday on 30 June.

The four-hour Rapid Start includes all the information from the regular six On-Ramp session.  We begin at 08.00 and will work until 12.00.  You will learn squats, presses, deadlifts, kettlebells, weightlifting, and more.  This class will be limited to the first 6 to contact us, so sign up now!

Image from study published in The Physician and Sportsmedicine, Sep 2011: cross-sections of the quadriceps of sedentary individuals compared to those of 40-81 year old athletes (averaging 4-5 training sessions per week).

“many of the diseases and infirmities exclusively attributed to aging are more accurately related to the effects of sedentary living”

It is possible to maintain your independence as you age and to minimize functional decline – don’t ever stop exercising.  



Main pathways in endocrine regulation of growth - shown on  Sveinbjorn Sveinbjornsson from Iceland

CrossFit weight/resistance training by design stimulates the release of growth hormone, begging the question:

Why is Human Growth Hormone (HGH) stimulus so good?

Adaptations to exercise and consequential improvement are dependent on neuroendocrine or hormonal responses. Among the hormonal responses vital to athletic development are substantial increases in testosterone, insulin-like growth factor, and human growth hormone [1].

HGH has been dubbed the “youth hormone.” Young adolescents secrete Human Growth Hormone at a rate of about 700 μg/day, compared to around 400 μg/day for healthy adults. [3] Human growth hormone is an anabolic hormone, absolutely critical in a number of processes including the body’s growth and repair of tissue, increases in calcium retention, growth of bone, stimulation of the body’s immune system, increases in lean muscle mass, mobilization of fat stores and even the metabolic shift to burning fat as a fuel source [6]. HGH has also been proven to battle consequences of aging by increasing bone mineralization and skin thickness [2]. Innumerable studies support benefits of Growth Hormone; just to provide you with a few sources, use the following links: Mayo Clinic, Journal of Applied Physiology, Colorado State, The Journal of Clinical Investigation & EB Medicine

One study and frequently cited example showcasing the effectiveness of HGH was performed by a group led by Dr. Daniel Rudman, and published in the New England Journal of Medicine[4]. Dr. Rudman et al. showed that tiny amounts of growth hormone injected under the skin produced unbelievable results in just 6 months: lean body mass increased 8.8%, adipose-tissue mass (body fat) decreased 14.4%, bone density increased in the lumbar spinal bones, and skin thickness increased 7.1%. Subjects didn’t change their diet or exercise levels – meaning all of these changes were a result of the growth hormone increase. According to Dr. Rudman, the improvement experienced by these subjects was “equivalent in magnitude to the changes incurred during 10 to 20 years of [reverse] aging”. No wonder injections of HGH have enjoyed such widespread abuse in sports since the 1970s!

Here are some natural stimulators of growth hormone release:

  • Decreased blood glucose levels
  • Increased blood protein levels
  • Fasting (14 hrs for women, 16 for men)
  • Increased protein diet
  • Free fatty acid decrease
  • Stage IV sleep
  • Exercise – especially weight lifting, and especially when done at high power/intensity


Heavy load weight training, short rest between sets, high heart rates, high intensity training, and short rest intervals, though not entirely distinct components, are all associated with a high neuroendocrine/HGH response [1].

Weight lifting strengthens joints, increases bone density, prevents osteoporosis, increases muscle mass, improves endurance, decreases insulin levels, and stimulates the release of growth hormone.

CrossFit coupled with a Paleo/primal diet will increase your Human Growth Hormone levels better than any other method short of injection, meaning you’ll look younger, will have more energy and will be more powerful. Your muscles will not necessarily become larger (especially if you are female, and lack male hormones), but certainly will get denser and more tone in appearance. Still wonder why CrossFit is so effective and addictive? It works.


Further Reading Encouraged:

What is CrossFit?
Understanding CrossFit
How to Start
CrossFit Journal (free download) What is Fitness?
CrossFit Journal (free download) CrossFit’s Foundations

1 CrossFit Foundations, CrossFit HQ 2002,

2 Baechle, Thomas R., Roger W. Earle, Age and Sex-Related Differences and Their Implications for Resistance Exercise, Essentials of Strength Training and Conditioning, third edition, National Strength and Conditioning Association, 2008, pp142-157.

3 Gardner, David G., Shoback, Dolores (2007). Greenspan’s Basic and Clinical Endocrinology (8th ed.). New York: McGraw-Hill Medical. pp. 193–201. ISBN 0-07-144011-9

4 Rudman, Daniel M.D., Feller, Axel M.D., Nagraj, Hoskote M.D., Gergans, Gregory M.D., Lalitha, Pardee M.D., Effects of Human Growth Hormone in Men over 60 Years Old, The New England Journal of Medicine 1990; 323:1-6 July 5, 1990

5 Kanaley JA, Weltman JY, Veldhuis JD, Rogol AD, Hartman ML, Weltman A (November 1997). “Human growth hormone response to repeated bouts of aerobic exercise“. J. Appl. Physiol. 83 (5): 1756–61. PMID 9375348

6 Wikipedia.Com “Growth Hormone”



■ Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.

■ Practice and train major lifts: Deadlift, clean, squat, presses, C&J, and snatch. Similarly, master the basics of gymnastics: pull-ups, dips, rope climb, push-ups, sit-ups, presses to handstand, pirouettes, flips, splits, and holds. Bike, run, swim, row, etc, hard and fast.

■ Five or six days per week mix these elements in as many combinations and patterns as creativity will allow. Routine is the enemy. Keep workouts short and intense.

■ Regularly learn and play new sports.

From CrossFit Journal Article What is Fitness,, CrossFit HQ Oct 2002



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