The 2014 Ultimate Lift Off

Tuesday, August 19 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


It's that time! Mark Saturday, September 13th in your calendar. Why? Because you'll be competing in the ULTIMATE LIFT OFF! This is out biggest competition of the year -- complete with medals and PRs for everyone! We will be cheering our faces off, as we watch 48 of our UB members compete in a super-total (combining Oly and Power lifts together in one glorious event)... so get excited!!

Here's how its gonna work:

  • You will have 20 minutes to find your maximum per lift
  • You will have 3 attempts at your heaviest weight for each lift.
  • You will perform all the lifts in order: snatch, clean and jerk, back squat, bench press, and deadlift. To participate in the competition, you must attempt every lift.
  • Heats will start in groups of 4 every 20 minutes. If you are late, you cannot lift.
  • Your score will be calculated by Sinclair for your Oly lifts and Wilks formula (each lift by pounds lifted to body weight) for your power lifts. You will be weighed in 20 minutes before your heat.
  • A complete list of rules (including the requirements for each lift) will be posted Friday in the gym
  • To secure your spot, make sure to sign up online
  • This competition is for UB members only (next year we intend on inviting outsiders), so if you are new to competing this is a great opportunity to get a taste in a supportive environment surrounded by your fellow athletes.

    Space is limited to 48 competitors, so make sure to sign up online. Heat times will be announced Wednesday, September 3rd.

    Monkey Clean
    So very angry!


    AMRAP in 20 minutes:

    - 5 muscle ups
    - 10 handstand pushups
    - 15 wall balls

Food for Thought: Chia Pudding

Monday, August 18 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


For those of you who weren't at the potluck on Friday, you missed out on a lot of great food. One dish that stuck out for many was Claire's chia pudding. They were so delicious, many had 2 or three servings! Claire was kind enough to post her recipe. Here is the recipe with some suggested additions! Thanks Claire, for sharing your delicious treats with us on Friday night!

chia pudding

Chia Pudding

Ingredients: Base

Makes about 20 ounces (or 6 of the servings from Friday night)

  • 2 cups coconut milk
  • 1/3 cup chia seeds
  • 1/4 cup honey (or maple syrup)

Ingredients: Things to Add

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • cocoa powder
  • fruits - banana, strawberries, blueberries... etc.
  • toasted almonds
  • pecans
  • coconut flakes
  • cinnamon


  • Whisk coconut milk together with honey (or maple syrup).
  • When the honey is completely mixed in, stir in the chia seeds.
  • If you want to add any spices, stir in 1/4 teaspoon now
  • Pour into cups and let chill in the fridge til the chia seeds puff up and the pudding is firm (4-5 hours)
  • Top with the fruit of your choice and serve


Burgener Total

3 attempts at your 1RM - Snatch
- Clean and Jerk
- Front Squat

United for Youth

Sunday, August 17 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Thank you to all of you who came on Friday night to help us celebrate UB's 4th! It was a great turnout and we hope you had a great time in our "gym bistro." I would also like to give a shout out to our two teams of athletes who rocked a solid weekend of competition (recap to come)! Lessons were learned, PRs were made, and most importantly, lots of fun was had. Great work guys!

It's that time for our awesome fall schedule of events. With that comes our announcement of this year's Fight Gone Bad! We are very excited to announce that on Saturday, November 8th we are will be hosting the fundraiser "United for Youth" benefiting the Westside Athletes Association - a new non-profit organization born from the awesome creative minds of United Barbell members. This event will be both open to UBers and non UBers as well as be hosted at other gyms across the bay area!

The workout, you may have guessed, will be Fight Gone Bad! Here is what you need to know to participate in the day:


The Cause

Westside Athletes Association is a new non-profit organization dedicated to transforming the lives of at-risk teenagers by providing CrossFit scholarships and support in cultivating healthy lifestyle habits.


For those of you who have not yet had the joy of experiencing a Fight Gone Bad workout. Here is what you will be conquering:

Fight Gone Bad

3 rounds:
AMRepsAP in 1 minute:
- Wall-balls (20# | 14#)
- Sumo deadlift high-pulls (75# | 55#)
- Box Jumps (20")
- Push-press (75# | 55#)
- Row (Cals)
- 1 minute rest between rounds
Scored by the collective rep total from all three rounds.

The Day

This will be United Barbell's first event open to the public! That said, this day will run a little different than it has in the past. There will be no regular classes. Athletes will check in at 8am, be briefed at 8:30am, and the first heat beginning at 9am and the last heat at 1pm. Prizes will be awarded to the top 3 male and female competitors at the end of the day.

We are requesting all participants raise at least $50 dollars (and will receive a shirt as a thank you). Another prize (TBA) will be given to individuals raising at least $500. There will also be a prize for the top fundraising individual, as well as the top fundraising gym, so let's show UB's pride and get after it! To start your fundraising efforts, check out the fundly page, select "join this team", and then click "become a fundraiser."

Westside Athletes and UB are looking for volunteers to help judge the event and keep our first public event as smooth as possible - please give me a shout out or post to the comments if you are interested.

Monday's WOD

3 rounds:

1 Minute Max Burpees
1 minute rest
1 Minute Max Toes to Bar
1 minute rest
1 Minute Max Row for Calories

Strength Workout Of The Day

Deficit Deadlift

2x8 75%

Block Pulls

2x3 85%


10 Leg Raises
20 DB Shrugs x

Sunday WOD

Saturday, August 16 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Good luck to both Moxy Madness teams today!


AMRAP in 14 minutes

- 10 wall balls (20# | 14#)
- 12 ball slams
200m run every after every 3rd round

Saturday WOD

Friday, August 15 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Good luck today to everyone competing at Moxy Madness in San Jose today and tomorrow!!

Noon class and some wall ball goodness.


For reps:

1 minute max double unders
1 minute max dumbbell snatches (50 | 35)
2 minutes max double unders
2 minutes max dumbbell snatches
3 minutes max double unders
3 minutes max dumbbell snatches

Strength Workout Of The Day

Floor Press


Bench Press


3 Sets

- 12 DB Shrugs
- 12 Seated Press
- 20 Evil Wheels

Fitness at 40: How to Train Hard and Play Smart

Thursday, August 14 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Reminder! Today 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there! Looking for something to do over the weekend? Go support 8 of your fellow UBites competing down at Moxy Madness in San Jose Saturday and Sunday and show your UB team spirit!

In honor of this weekend's masters team competing in the Moxy Madness, I thought I would post a I saw about masters training

Still Go Hard (Just Not Every Day)

For some reason we seem to think athleticism must stop at forty. That’s no great surprise given that back in the 1950s and ‘60s the medical profession was telling us that after age forty you shouldn’t exercise anymore. They said it was too much strain on the heart. In other words, you were expected to just slide gently into the grave from then on.

While there aren’t many stand-out professional athletes in their forties, the fact that there are a few shows us it is possible to still have some good days. I’m well aware there are a growing number of active mature athletes who pursue their passion thanks to HRT, but I want to look at what is possible for those of us who don’t want to go down that path.

For me, the most important thing to realize was that I may feel like a young me still, but my body doesn’t. I wake up stiff sometimes and often have to hobble around the room for a minute until things start to loosen up. And while I can still go hard, I can’t go hard every day like I used to. In a given week, I will likely have two hard workouts with the remainder being far more moderate, as I simply can’t withstand so many hard sessions. In other words, I just don’t recover like I used to.

Athletes at 40

Rebalancing the Body

After every hard session, regardless of age, the body needs to rebalance itself. It does this through two primary mechanisms - food and sleep. Training for most people generally falls either early in the day before work or later after work. In both cases it is important to get a decent meal in post training. It won’t kill you if you don’t do it, but by the end of the week the benefits from quickly refuelling your body can be felt.

I won’t bore you with quoting studies as by now you should have seen the thousands of articles written about the importance of post-workout nutrition, so try to get a meal in within thirty minutes if you can. Don’t be scared of carbohydrates either as they will need replenishing after you’ve used them up during training.

As you get older one of two things happens. Either you realize you can’t get away with poor choices anymore and that a fast-food meal makes you feel horrible for days. Or, you realize having a six-pack isn’t as important to you as having a glass of wine with dinner each night and enjoying some of the less health conscious and tastier options out there. Neither is right or wrong and only you can decide which is the right path for you. But if you want to keep pushing hard past forty, then you’re going to need to make good food choices more often than not.

Time, Food, and Sleep Management

Food is like the petrol our body needs to keep running. The better the quality of fuel we put in, the faster and longer we can rev the engine. But sleep is like preventative maintenance. Forgoing sleep to watch TV or stay out late will halt your progress faster than anything else I can think of. One of the problems about passing forty is that often by this stage we have serious jobs that may require working outside normal hours, or there might be kids. Or there might be kids and work.

Most people’s time management skills are awful. They waste time on unimportant things, watch too much TV, and don’t prioritize looking after themselves by getting to bed early. While life is never perfect and there will be situations (particularly for those with kids) that require changing your schedule on the fly, getting people used to your routine is essential. Everyone knows not to expect an answer from me after 8.30pm at night as I am already starting to get ready for the next day. Clothes are laid out. The alarm is set. It’s rare that I am in bed after 9:00pm.

That may make me seem like an old man, but if you want to have enough energy to train well the next day, then you must get enough sleep. For me, I find that eight hours is critical if I plan to have the energy not just to train well, but also to have a clear head for the work that comes after it.

The other part of the sleep equation is taking a nap during the day. I know this makes me seem like even more of an old man, but currently I train twice each day and without that nap in the middle the quality of the second session is low. My total sleep for every 24-hour period is eight hours overnight and another hour during the day.

Balancing the Training

After food and sleep comes balancing the hard work in your training versus the easy work. I shouldn’t really call it easy, because it’s not, but when looked at in relation to the hard sessions you’ll see why they’re called easy. A hard day may look like this:

  • AM - 70min hill run as 20’ warm up easy, then 1’ at 8% followed by 5’ easy, 2’ at 6% followed by 5’ easy, 3’ at 4% followed by 5’ easy. Repeat for another round followed by 10-15’ cool down.
  • PM - Front squat and power cleans for strength followed by approximately 60 min of some type of interval weight training (IWT). IWTs are usually a compound resistance exercise followed by a 2-min cardio exercise, with a rest to work ratio of 1:1.

After a day like that you’ll find you wake up the next day stiff and tired. That’s actually my current Friday workout, which means that Saturday has to be “easy.” In this context easy doesn’t refer to actually taking it easy, but in deliberately choosing activities that won’t put as much stress on the body as the day before. A typical Saturday looks like this:

  • AM 1 - Easy run of 40 min. Eat immediately after and take a short break.
  • AM 2 - Strength session, predominantly upper body, followed by a bodyweight circuit.
  • PM - Easy swim.

If you pull the thread on this second day and compare it to the first, you’ll see a big difference. A flat, easy run is refreshing after the pain of the hill run the day before. A strength workout that is mostly smaller muscle groups and confined to the upper body is far easier than squats and cleans. The use of bodyweight circuits is also far easier than an IWT (which if you’ve done one before, you’ll know can be an absolute killer). And the swim combines more easy aerobic work with cool water, which has an anti-inflammatory effect.

The Take-Away

There’s no reason to stop working hard as you get older, you just need to be smart about it. You need to be diligent with your food and sleep in order to recover properly between sessions. And don’t try to train hard each day, but follow hard days with easy ones to allow your body to recover while still gaining fitness and strength. Fit at forty is possible - if you are smart about it.


Handstand Push UPs

3 x Max

EMOM in 10 minutes

- 30s L-sit
- Max Consecutive Ring Push Ups

The Weekly Dose of Awesome

Wednesday, August 13 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Reminder! This Friday at 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there! Looking for something to do over the weekend? Go support 8 of your fellow UBites competing down at Moxy Madness in San Jose Saturday and Sunday and show your UB team spirit!

This week's awesome is brought to you by coach Wong.

Ah yes, this week's Awesome has you saying "What's 'Cook'-ing Good Looking?" This early morning riser is always roaring to go. He has been a fixture at the 6:30am, SWOD and Saturday classes for a while now. He always arrives early to mobilize and secure his premium shower spot.

Steven Cook has been putting in quite the work for some time now - both in the UB community and on the bar. Don't have a partner in class? Steve's the first person to make your solo into a duo. Feeling a little lag in your WOD step? Let Steve's 110% help inspire you to drive past your midWOD slump. And since coming to SWODs, Steven's numbers have been climbing in every lift and getting deeper squat depth that gets thumbs up from me.

But what really sets Mr. Cook apart is his ability to enter the shower room after every class and transform into a quite dapper fellow. No one would ever know that this sharp dressed man was just, moments before, in an all out grinder at UB. Steven, next time you adjust that tie, do it with the air of awesome you deserve!

Steve Awesome
The man can inspire your workout or your wardrobe. You decide.


Gymnastics Skill Time

Athlete's Choice

Ascending Ladder for 7 minutes

- 20 Double Unders + 1 Deadlift (275# | 185#)
- 20 Double Unders + 2 Deadlifts
- 20 Double Unders + 3 Deadlifts...

Strength Workout Of The Day

Deficit Deadlifts

2x8 @ 70%
4" Block Pulls 2x3@80%


2 Rounds
- 100m Farmers Carry
- 15 Weighted Sit Ups
- 10 DB Shrugs (per side)

T-Shirt Contest Voting!

Tuesday, August 12 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Reminder! This Friday at 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there! Looking for something to do over the weekend? Go support 8 of your fellow UBites competing down at Moxy Madness in San Jose Saturday and Sunday and show your UB team spirit!

.....Speaking of UB team spirit, the submissions are in! Let the voting begin!

One week later and the entry page has been filled with potential UB slogans for our 2014 T-shirt. We will be giving all of you 1 week to put in your vote beginning tomorrow (Thursday) for our special order run! May the best UB slogan win! Three votes per person.



Front Squat

Work to a 3RM

Nicole in Rounds

4 rounds:
- 400m run
- max pull ups
compare to 10.31.12 ; 4.20.12

Reminder! This Friday at 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there!

Recently I was listening to a few friends talk about sleep issues when I realized just how common sleep deprivation is. Here is part 1 of a blog from Wellness Mama on the subject. You should also check out "Lights Out: Sleep, Sugar, and Survival" if the subject at all interests you.


...Statistically, most of us (me included) don’t always get enough quality sleep. Some of us struggle to fall asleep, others to stay asleep, and others to make time to actually get enough sleep.

Not surprisingly, sleep is a hormone dependent process, and with all the variables in our lives that can affect proper hormone balance (foods, toxins, artificial light, etc) it makes sense that many people struggle with sleep. This is also why times when hormones change often have a negative effect on sleep (menopause, puberty, pregnancy, etc).

While mainstream thinking might recommend a pharmaceutical option to help deal with sleep issues, artificially augmenting the hormone system to induce sleep isn’t without its problems (just check out the side-effects and warnings list!) and can have an impact on other hormone functions as well.

Often, lack of quality sleep stems from one or more lifestyle causes, and it is important to address these underlying issues as they can impact more than just sleep.

The Problem

Lack of sleep = Stress on the body = weight gain, premature aging, hair loss, hormone imbalances, infertility, and lowered immune function.

Hormone problems that cause sleep disturbances don’t just begin at bedtime, and they can’t be fixed by just addressing them at this time. Ever noticed that animals don’t have trouble sleeping and waking when they are supposed to? They don’t toss and turn to fall asleep and they don’t need pills to help them do so (speaking about outdoor animals… I don’t have any, but indoor animals could potentially have some of the same struggles that humans do).

Proper sleep hormone production (melatonin) depends on proper hormone function during waking hours (serotonin and others). As the endocrine system is a complete system, hormone imbalances (PCOS, Endometriosis, etc) can often lead to poor sleep and vice versa.

Stress hormones can have a tremendous impact on the sleep cycle as well, and it is a two-way street. Lack of sleep elevates stress hormones, and stress hormones can cause sleep problems.

Optimize Sleep While You Are Awake

To optimize sleep during the night, one must also optimize factors during waking hours including food, supplements and exposure to light/outdoors.

Getting a quality night of sleep actually begins when you wake at the beginning of the day and there are many factors that can have a dramatic impact on sleep length and quality.

Foods for Sleep

Just as foods can impact health in other areas, foods can contribute to good or bad sleep. To help improve your chances of quality sleep, these are the best foods to consume:

  • Healthy Fats- such as coconut oil, organic and pasture raised meats, eggs, avocado and butter all help provide your body with the necessary building blocks to manufacture sleep hormones.
  • High Antioxidant Foods- Also important for hormone production and removal of toxins that can impede sleep. Focus on vegetables, high nutrient fruits, and herbal or green teas (green tea early in the day only).
  • Quality Proteins, especially at dinner: For best sleep, it is better to stop eating at least 4 hours before bedtime, and preferably by 6pm every night. Your evening meal should include proteins, vegetables and healthy fats. Eating enough protein at this meal will help prepare the body to enter the sleep cycle.


  • Sugars- Sugars and carbohydrates, especially at night, can cause a blood sugar spike and crash that will lead to difficulty falling or staying asleep. Many people crave carbohydrates (chocolate, anyone?) in the evening, which is a sign of an underlying hormone problem to begin with but eating carbohydrates late at night can cause problems falling asleep or lead to waking in the middle of the night when blood sugar levels drop.
  • Grains- I’ve written before about the negative effect grains can have on health, and if you have an intolerance to grains, this can cause physical stress in your body, which alters the hormone cycle and can impede sleep.
  • Vegetable Oils- No one should ever eat them anyway, but I have a theory that just as these artificial fats can cause problems in new skin formation (skin cancer) they can cause problems in the hormone cycle, as hormones need (saturated) fats for production and giving the body the wrong building blocks for hormones can wreak havoc with hormone production.

Supplements for Sleep

Sadly, it is often difficult to get enough nutrients from foods as our soil is depleted and foods are picked before ripe so they can be shipped around the world. Especially if you struggle from a health challenge or sleep problem, it is often helpful to supplement some key nutrients, at least in the short term, as you build your body back up.

  • Fermented Cod Liver Oil/High Vitamin Butter Oil Blend (also great for remineralizing teeth)-I have personally noticed a difference in my sleep quality since adding this to my regimen. I take it in the morning and at night (about 1/2 tsp each time) and don’t sleep as well when I don’t. The presence of fat soluble vitamins A, D and K plus Omega-3s can explain why this particular supplement is great for promoting hormone production and improving sleep. For this reason, it also helps balance other hormones (in cases of infertility, etc) and is great for growing children.
  • A couple tablespoons of coconut oil melted in a cup of herbal tea per day can help give the body the building blocks to make sleep hormones
  • Magnesium- Many people are deficient in Magnesium and this particular deficiency can have a big impact on sleep quality. Some people find that just adding a product like Natural Calm about 30 minutes before bedtime can really improve sleep.
  • Gelatin- Many of us eat a disproportionate amount of animal muscle meat compared to bone broths, organ meats and marrow. If you aren’t a fan of consuming liver daily, drinking natural gelatin (from grassfed sources) can help balance your intake. Consumption of only muscle meats, which are higher in stress hormones, can cause problems in the sleep cycle. Personally, I often drink a cup of chamomile or herbal tea with a tablespoon of gelatin dissolved in it each night a couple hours before bed.
  • If you have a solid diet and are already taking the things above, specific sleep related herbs might help your fall asleep. Try my sleep tincture, or some chamomile or catnip to help you relax.

Stay tuned..... Next week we will continue Wellness Mama's conversation with developing a healthy daily routine for sleep, cold therapy, and your sleep environment.


14.4 Retest

AMRAP in 14 minutes
- 60 calorie row
- 50 Toes to bar
- 40 Wall balls (20# | 14#)
- 30 Cleans (135# | 95#)
- 20 Muscle ups

Go Coach Kristin!

Sunday, August 10 2014 Posted by Jenny Werba


Reminder! This Friday at 730 we are having a UB Anniversary Potluck at the gym. We hope to see you there!

awesome kristin

While you were enjoying the sun this weekend, coach Kristin was up in Reno earning her title of wonder strong(wo)man. She competed in the Northern Nevada's Strongest Man this past weekend, taking 2nd place in the middleweight class. And if landing on the podium, pulling a huge dodge truck with 9 300+ lb people on it, or deadlifting tires isn't bad ass enough, she also qualified herself for the strong man nationals, which will take place in Reno the first weekend of October!

A video recap of Kristin's awesome day!

Watching Kristin do her strong(wo)man thing had me beaming with pride - both as a friend and as a fellow coach! (After all - how often do you get to see someone you know pull a truck??) Way to go Kristin!

Monday's WOD

Snatch Balance



21 - 15 - 9
- Overhead Squats (95 | 65)
- Sumo Deadlift High Pulls

compare to 10.04.13; 10.28.12; 6.18.11; 10.04.10

Strength Workout Of The Day

Back Squat


5's Pause Front Squat