Please note our planned Holiday Week Schedule (click for details).

With Thanksgiving a day away people have been asking me about this blog post from years past, especially given the QoD discussions surrounding holiday season foods.  So here it is in its original & un-changed form, complete with "2015 domoic acid crab season crisis" and "is Jon Snow actually dead?!" references and all... Bon Appétit! 

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Arena Ready. 

That's code for "my wife is going to kill me for posting this many negative opinions." Enjoy! 

Last week at the gym many of us talked about some Thanksgiving meal likes and dislikes, and it got me to thinking... eh, who are we kidding, I think (and talk) about food all the time, as you all know.  Growing up in San Francisco, and being from a multi-cultural family, Thanksgiving at our house usually meant (among other things, including the standard Turkey Day fare) Dungeness crab.  Like, almost literally, a ton of Dungeness crab - as in my Filipino mother wheels-in two coolers full, like we're prepping to hibernate for the winter and have to stuff ourselves like Mr. Creosote (don't click on that bad boy unless you like Monty Python, lest you be offended... or worse, lose your own lunch).

Sadly this year, due to the toxic algae bloom that has made Bay Area headlines for weeks, there will be no Dungeness on the table for me to fatten-up on before Jon Snow comes back to life and Winter arrives.  The absence of my favorite seasonal food prompted me to jot down some current thoughts on culinary opinions (i.e. realities) in the "world according to moi."  

Some may read this and think, man this guy is a jackass.  In some cases I would not disagree.  But as many of you at Arena Ready know, I state these with tongue firmly in cheek and will happily debate any or all of them with you while we laugh about it in good humor.

Funny thing is, I'm not a picky eater whatsoever.  My dear wife will tell you that I'd eat (or at least try) just about anything - she likes to say that if we were on Survivor, The Amazing Race, or Fear Factor together she'd want me there specifically to clean house on the challenges that involve eating bugs and cow brains, etc.  I enjoy haute cuisine and street food, healthy fare and crappy processed garbage (not that I eat much of the latter), and everything in-between.  

"So why so many strong opinions?" you may ask.  I don't know exactly.  Maybe I just like the heated & humorous conversation it starts with you all in the gym.  I like spending my time coaching and hanging out with you guys and gals, and I really like when you argue with me over asinine stuff that I ramble on about.  So, without further ado (like my eggcorn avoidance there, Margaret?), here you go...        

1) If you're from the East Coast and want to argue with me about how much better Blue crab tastes than Dungeness crab, but you eat said Blue crab caked in Old Bay Seasoning, then how in the world do you even know what that Blue crab tastes like?  

[I'll admit, that was an aggressive start.]

2) Non-dairy ice cream and sweet potato fries are to real ice cream and white potato fries in the same way that regular athletic shoes are to weightlifting shoes.  The former are just fine and get the job done fairly well, but then you have the latter and think to yourself OMG WHAT THE HELL HAVE I BEEN DOING WITH MY LIFE?!  

3a) Goat cheese is on the list of what I like to call "societal pressure edibles." By my approximation, nearly half of the people that claim to like/love goat cheese are simply faking it.  But the risk of falling out of favor with a set of strategic acquaintances or aspirational friends is far too high to play the honesty card.  It's cool, I get it. 

3b) Goat cheese tastes like cellophane dipped in someone's post-workout B.O. (side note: this is why I have no friends).

4) Persimmons taste like soap.

5) I know grass-fed beef is supposed to be better for me, but holy crap sometimes it tastes like it's rancid.

6a) If we're at Patxi's together eating pizza, and you ask the server for a side of ranch dressing, I will not judge you.  In fact, I will likely tell him/her to make it two, please.

6b) I order the gluten-free crust at Patxi's because it actually tastes better, not because I'm trying to be a hipster with self-diagnosed celiac disease.

7) If you're an adult male working in the Financial District, and you find yourself lining up to get a FroYo at one of those trendy, high-end yogurt places, be aware that when you hand the cashier your frequent customer punchcard an invisible little fairy simultaneously (and very gently) removes your man card from the back pocket of your dress slacks. 

8) If you eat Skittles fast enough they get spicy.  

9) Enough with the Scriracha already.

10) I like every single ingredient in a Bloody Mary but I don't like Bloody Marys.

11) Excessive and/or creative use of rosemary can render a perfectly delicious dish completely inedible.

12) People like to state, "If you order a steak well done it's like saying 'please give me the worst piece of meat you have, my good man.'"  Similarly, if you order "spicy tuna" anything it's like asking for the leftover bits of crappy maguro drenched in Sriracha (see also #9 above).

13) If you're super aggressive about telling people how spicy you like your food (usually accompanied by antagonizing others at the table about how lame/bland/weak they are because they're not also floating their chicken in Frank's RedHot), I'd like you to know ,"We got it, Hoss. Message received. Loud and clear."  Just like your MMA t-shirts and your kick-ass lifted truck... trust me, we all noticed.  Please stop yelling at the table, I'm right here next to you and you can speak in a normal inside voice.  I'm pretty sure everyone in the restaurant knows you're here and no one's gonna mess with you.

14) Pickles are the edible universal bond that unites us all.  Every cuisine has their version and applications.  If someone doesn't like pickles they're like someone who doesn't like dogs (or deadlifts)... not to be trusted.  

15) If you like catfish then you like the taste of mud in your mouth.  Unless you only like it when it's fried.  Then, yes, of course it's delicious. 

16) I'm happy that many folks have recently pledged their love for bacon and doughnuts.  Like, REALLY pledged their love.  Incessantly.  On social media.  On t-shirts.  At their gym.  Hey, I'm not arguing with you, both of those things are delicious... but man, they've been around forever, so let's chill out a little on the daily dramatic professions of Instagram adoration, as if these are new discoveries in culinary science.  Many of us have been eating both of these items all our lives and were quite aware of how good they were the entire time... so welcome to the party, I guess. 

16) I don't know a single person who doesn't like a refreshing slice of watermelon on a hot summer day.  Scratch that, Coach Alyssa hates watermelon (WTF?).

17) If you're at an ethnic restaurant (and it's not of your own ethnicity) and you insist on speaking to the servers in their native language, but they continue to speak back to you in English, then let's never hang out.  

18) If you order anything "Benedict" at a restaurant then I consider you either a very trusting person or a really big risk taker - both are qualities that I aspire to myself, so either is a compliment really (a compliment rooted in jealousy that I cannot do the same).  Because while I agree that Hollandaise sauce is delicious, I have no faith whatsoever that any restaurant can keep Hollandaise at the correct temperature and ensure that it's not a petri dish of hectic kitchen bacteria.

19) I can't accept food or snacks if you hand it to me with your bare hands.  Don't take it personally.  I know, I have problems.  But I've been too traumatized by the overwhelming majority of humanity that seems to think the soap and water in a restroom are just there for interior design, like a vase and nonfunctioning fireplace of sorts.      

20) When someone tells me they've never been on a vacation cruise before and they're wondering what it's like, I ask them if they've ever eaten at The Olive Garden.  If they say yes, I tell them "Imagine eating at The Olive Garden every day for seven days in a row.  With complete strangers.  And they're all dressed up in weirdly fancy suits like the handlers on the Westminster National Dog Show.  And you have to smile and pretend like you're enjoying the Chef's previously frozen sodium cheesy Chicken Alfredo like the guy next to you who's asking for thirds.  Yeah, it's pretty much like that."     

[And finally, let's end on a positive note to tie it all back to fitness.]

21) Think of fitness as food.

WOD For 11-21-18:

5 Rounds For Time:

21/16 Calorie Row, Ski, or Assault Bike

18 KB Swings @ 53/35 lbs

15 Box Jumps @ 24/20 in

12 Pistols (alternate)

9 Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups

Holiday Week Schedule

Holiday Week Schedule

Please find our planned schedule for this week, and note that this is PENDING satisfactory air quality and MAY BE CHANGED as needed for safety purposes due to the constantly shifting Air Quality Index.

Tuesday, November 20th:

Normal class schedule.

Lots of time with the barbell to limit heavy breathing.

Wednesday, November 21st:

Normal class schedule EXCEPT 7pm class cancelled.

Assuming the forecasted rain arrives and provides air quality relief expect an increased aerobic stimulus to compliment Tuesday’s time with the barbell.

Thursday, November 22nd (Thanksgiving Day):

TBD depending on air quality & weather (we’ll update you again on Wednesday evening)


Thanksgiving Holiday Classes — 8:00am and 9:15am (@ Arena Ready)


Thanksgiving Holiday Turkey Trot — Time TBD (@ the track)

Friday, November 23rd:

Open Gym at 9:00am and 10:00am

Saturday, November 24th:

Normal Saturday class schedule.

Sunday, November 25th:

Normal Sunday Open Gym schedule.

Please let us know if you have any questions, and thanks for your attention.

WOD For 11-20-18:

With a Partner For Quality AND Load:

Bench Press:


Power Clean:


Partners use the same bench press bar and power clean bar, changing the weight between sets as needed.

Both partners work toward a top set of 3 for both movements.

Touch-and-go is not required for the power cleans.

AR Athletes at 2018 Rite of Passage Meet

AR Athletes at 2018 Rite of Passage Meet

AIR QUALITY UPDATE: As of 8pm on Sunday evening it looks like Monday classes will run as planned. We’ve left the air filters on our HVAC system running and at Open Gym on Sunday the air inside the building was much better than the previous two days. We will, of course, continue to monitor things as Monday and Tuesday progress, and if the AQI takes another a turn for the worse we may need to re-evaluate once again (hopefully not!).

Arena Ready Athletes CRUSH IT at 2018 Rite of Passage Meet

All three of our weightlifting athletes CRUSHED IT this weekend on the competition platform at the 2018 Rite of Passage Meet — a HUGE congratulations to Jeannie, Cassie, and Liz for the incredible performances at their first-ever officially sanctioned weightlifting meet!

Jeannie started the weekend of competition off by going five-for-six on her lifts, snatching 39kg and clean & jerking 51kg for a 90kg total in her first ever competition involving any sort of barbell, weights, or crowds LOL. She even cleaned her final attempt at 53kg easily but the jerk just wasn’t quite there this time. Her 90kg total qualified her for the USAW Masters National Championships puts her JUST ONE KILO shy of the IWF Masters World Championships qualifying total — a mark we are sure she will make, and surpass, should she decide to compete again. Not too shabby for a first-ever competition… way to KILL IT OUT THERE JEANNIE!


I mean, we all knew she was badass AMIRITE? Now lots more people know too.

Next up was Cassie, and as many of you saw on the live feed, and in person at the meet, she basically LIFTED ALL OF THE WEIGHTS by going a perfect six-for-six. Cassie snatched 77kg and clean & jerked 93kg for a HUGE 170kg total in the 59kg bodyweight category. This easily qualified her for the 2019 USAW Senior National Championships, making her the 8th Arena Ready athlete to qualify for a national-level and/or international-level meet. Cassie’s big day was also good enough to win the meet overall (across every lifter and all bodyweight classes) on Sinclair total — a victory which came with a $1,000 prize check awarded to her by 1972 OLYMPIC CHAMPION, two-time Olympian, and former USA Weightlifting National Team Coach, Zygmunt Smalcerz:


Nice work, Cassie! Can I borrow a thousand bucks?

On Sunday, Liz topped off the amazing weekend with one of the gutsiest performances in recent memory. She set post-baby PRs on her way to a five-for-six performance, snatching 60kg and clean & jerking 75kg for a 135kg total. Liz even cleaned 78kg fairly easily on her final attempt but just barely missed the jerk behind — regardless her total was good enough to qualify her for the 2019 IWF Masters World Championships… making Liz officially the 9th Arena Ready athlete to qualify for a national-level and/or international-level meet! Another amazing notch in the competition belt for Liz, one the fiercest competitors around…


Huge props need to be given as well to our fantastic team of experienced weightlifting coaches — Coach Hillary, Coach Kate, and Coach Sarah all did a marvelous job managing our athletes in the warm-up area, keeping their nerves calm, timing the perfect warm-up sequences, and calling clutch attempts on the competition platform. At these meets it’s so awesome to witness how their calm, cool, collected demeanor and vast competition experience makes for a smooth and successful game day for our athletes — even when the surroundings are chaotic and tense. Great job, Coaches!

Lastly, we need to say thank you to all the Arena Ready supporters who braved the crappy air conditions and came out to watch and cheer in person, as well as those who screamed from afar by watching on the live stream. Your support and enthusiasm is a big part of what makes events like these so memorable — somehow no matter where we go we seem to have some of the loudest and proudest cheering sections around!

These photos are missing lots of people (Yami, Brian D, Michelle, Linds B, Kathy, and probably a few others I’m forgetting, GAH!) but they were the closest I could get to a group shot…


Hooray for friends, babies, weightlifting, and GIANT CHECKS!

Since the nasty air put us all out of commission on Friday and Saturday we thought it would be great to start off the week with what we meant to end the week with on Friday —so here we go! A re-post of Friday’s programming but this time it looks like we’ll actually be able to do it — and coincidentally the time domain, loading, movement order, and general stimulus fit really well if you happened to take several days off.

So let’s get back at it and start the week off right!

WOD For 11-19-18:

AMRAP 9 Minutes:

9 Deficit Handstand Push-ups @ 4/2 in

15 Med Ball Cleans @ 20/14 lbs

21 AbMat Sit-ups


Back Squat:

15 Minutes to Establish a Heavy Triple For Today (Not a 3RM)

Air Quality Gym Closure: Friday & Saturday

From Coach Sarah:

Ok friends... I wish there were a page in the "how to be a gym owner" handbook for "how to evaluate the risk of member exposure to toxic fumes" but sadly that chapter (and that manual) does not exist.

Here's what I know: SF air quality index (AQI) is 271 currently (as of 3pm on Friday), and seems to be holding steady or getting worse. It appears to be forecast to be like this until at least Tuesday.

People are advised to stay inside with their doors and windows closed. The gym is sort of inside, and we have HVAC, but we also have gaps in the rollup doors, and I don't at my core believe that the HVAC is sufficient to make the gym a safe space to work out.

As a result, we're making the call to close the gym tonight (Friday) and tomorrow (Saturday), with Sunday and early next week TBD. I realize this will be unpopular for many of you, and trust me I hear you. I won't be working out either.

Ultimately, I believe people come to Arena Ready in part because we do our very best to keep people as safe as possible, as much as possible, and I feel like this is a case where we need to do just that. Sometimes it's better to be safe than sorry.

Rest assured, even when I was training for the Olympics we took two weeks in a row off literally sitting on the couch at least once per year. While I know it feels like you might, you won't lose material fitness in a few days, or even a few weeks.

As I understand it, you could actually get very sick from working out in this smoke, and so I reluctantly am going to make this call. I very much hope you understand.

I wish you all safety and health despite these conditions. If there's anything Rob and I can do to help you make it through to better air, please let us know.

Sending up prayers for everyone affected by these fires.

Air Quality Safety Measures

Air Quality Safety Measures

UPDATE: With an Air Quality Index of 263 at the time of this writing we are sad to say that we’ve cancelled this evening’s (Friday) 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm classes.

UPDATE: Friday’s 12pm class is cancelled as well. Check back for updates on Friday’s 4pm, 5pm, and 6pm evening classes. Stay safe, friends!

Sadly, as many of you are aware, the air quality has worsened and as a result we are quite concerned for everyone’s health and safety. While our gym does have full HVAC we dont’ feel confident enough to say that the HVAC filtration is enough to bring the current conditions down to safe levels for intense exercise (or really any exercise).

As we messaged about and posted in our Facebook Group, Thursday’s afternoon & evening classes (4pm, 5pm, 6pm, 7pm) have been cancelled, as well as Friday morning’s classes (6am and 7am).

Friday’s 12pm class and afternoon & evening classes (4pm, 5pm, 6pm) are TBD based on conditions hopefully improving. We’ll update this blog post and the Facebook Group on Friday morning (likely mid-to-late morning) as soon as it’s clear what to do either way.

If you have any questions or concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to us. Stay safe out there, friends, and thanks for your attention.

Arena Ready at The 2018 Rite of Passage Meet

Arena Ready at The 2018 Rite of Passage Meet

Arena Ready has a long history of competitors in Olympic-style weightlifting, and that tradition will continue with three of our athletes competing in their first-ever USA Weightlifting sanctioned event — the 2018 Rite of Passage Meet!

Jeannie, Cassie, and Liz will take the competition platform this weekend with AR coaches and supporters cheering them on. Our friends at Speed Power Strength (SPS) host this competition every year at their amazing facility, and they do a fantastic job organizing and running one of the most fun weightlifting meets around.

So make the short trip over to Oakland to watch some big lifts and cheer for our three athletes. Meet location and session start times are listed below… GOOD LUCK Jeannie, Cassie, and Liz!!!

Meet Location:

Speed Power Strength

2140 Livingston Street

Oakland, CA 94606

Session Start Times:

Jeannie - Saturday (Nov 17) @ 9:00am

Cassie - Saturday (Nov 17) @ 1:30pm

Liz - Sunday (Nov 18) @ 3:30pm

WOD For 11-15-18:

Every 90 Seconds For 12 Rounds (18 Minutes):

Rounds 1-4:

3 Power Snatches + 1 Squat Snatch

Rounds 5-8:

2 Power Snatches + 1 Squat Snatch

Rounds 9-12:

1 Power Snatch + 1 Squat Snatch

Climbing as your technique allows.


For Time:


Power Snatches @ 115/80 lbs

Chest-to-Bar Pull-ups

The Ghost

The Ghost

If you asked yourself “what would be the exact opposite of Tuesday’s WOD?” perhaps you’d arrive at this gem for some Wednesday fun…

WOD For 11-14-18:

“The Ghost”

6 Rounds of 1 Minute Per Station For Max Reps:

Row For Calories


Double Unders

(Rest 1 Minute Between Rounds)

Aim for as many reps as possible of EACH exercise, not just total score. Post separate totals of calories rowed, burpee reps and double-under reps completed.

(Workout courtesy of CrossFit.com)

I Got a Fever and The Rx is More Barbell

I Got a Fever and The Rx is More Barbell

Members: Dude, really? Two programmed days in a row with no barbell? Is this still Arena Ready or what?!

Me: I see you, fam.

WOD For 11-13-18:

With a Partner, AMRAP 20 Minutes:

1 Deadlift @ 225/155 lbs

1 Power Clean

1 Front Squat

1 Jerk

This is a “You go, then I go” format. Complete one FULL round then switch.

Any style of jerk is allowed (push, power, split).

If you’re doing this workout unbroken either:

A) You should be training for The CF Games and we should talk

… OR (more likely for the rest of us)…

B) You’ve scaled it too light

(Workout inspired by HyperFit)

Thank You To Our Veterans

Thank You To Our Veterans

Thank you to those serving, and to those who have served.  And a special thanks to our veterans here at Arena Ready -- we appreciate the sacrifices you've made, and we're grateful to know you and to have the opportunity to coach you each and every day. 

WOD For 11-12-18:

On a Running Clock…

A) At 0:00

For Time:

40 Overhead Walking Lunges w/Plate @ 45/35 lbs

40 Box Jumps @ 24/20 in

40 KB Swings @ 70/53 lbs

40 Wall Balls @ 20/14 lbs to 10/9 ft

B) At 15:00

For Time:

30 Overhead Walking Lunges w/Plate @ 45/35 lbs

30 Box Jumps @ 24/20 in

30 KB Swings @ 70/53 lbs

30 Wall Balls @ 20/14 lbs to 10/9 ft

Sweaty Saturday Partner Plate Partaaaay

Sweaty Saturday Partner Plate Partaaaay

Sadly not the kind of plates you might want to see at a party with your friends. Nevertheless it should be a fun time anyway.

Get your weekend started right and get in here!

WOD For 11-10-18:

With a Partner Against a 24-Minute Clock For MAX CALORIES:

80/70/60 Calorie Row (MM/FM/FF Pairs)

40 Toes-to-Bar

40 Plate Burpees w/Ground-to-Overhead @ 45/35 lbs

60/53/45 Calorie Row

30 Toes-to-Bar

30 Plate Burpees w/Ground-to-Overhead

40/35/30 Calorie Row

20 Toes-to-Bar

20 Plate Burpee w/Ground-to-Overhead @ 45/35 lbs


*Only one partner working at a time, switch whenever you like (tagging not required)

*Score = total calories rowed after the completion of the descending-rep movement sequence (or where you were in the sequence at the 24-minute cap)

*Plate Burpee w/Ground-to-Overhead movement standard is:

  1. Chest touches the plate on the floor

  2. Plate is lifted overhead with arms locked out and hips & knees extended

  3. Plate is lowered back below the knees to complete the rep (dropping from above the knees is a NO REP)



The classic benchmark workout “Elizabeth” can be performed in a couple different ways depending on your gym’s or coach’s preference. At Arena Ready “Elizabeth” has and always will be done with FULL (AKA “SQUAT”) cleans — even though the WOD is traditionally written as “cleans” (i.e. you can clean it anyhow… power, split, muscle, squat).

We’ve done so many variations of ‘Elizabeth” over the years, including powers, running, rowing, burpees, and many other movements added to the mix. But on Friday we’ll re-test the most classic and true variation of the WOD there is… a simple 21-15-9 couplet with full cleans (and ring dips too… woohoo).

Happy Friday, friends!

WOD For 11-09-18:

Every 90 Seconds For 8 Rounds:

1 Power Clean + 1 Front Squat + 1 Squat Clean

Climbing as your technique allows



For Time:


Squat Cleans @ 135/95 lbs

Ring Dips

(Compare to 11-28-16, 07-02-15, 04-24-14)

I Can't Feel My Legs When I'm With You

I Can't Feel My Legs When I'm With You

But I love it. But I love it.

Inspired by this year’s 2018 Wodapalooza Team Qualifier Workout 9 and adapted for a better class structure and to maintain sustainable use of your legs in the days following (because you know, you’re an adult with a job and things to do… and not being able to walk properly because of “this killer workout brah” is sort of counterproductive) we give you this little gem.

Don’t underestimate these DB Box Step-Overs (you’ve been warned LOL).


WOD For 11-08-18:

FOUR Cycles of 3:00 Work / 3:00 Rest For Max Calories:

60 Double Unders

16 Dumbbell Box Step-Overs @ 35/20 lbs (per hand) & 24/20 in

Max Calorie Row

Score = total calories rowed across all 4 cycles.