CrossFit Southern California Regional 2012

Mom, Wife, Teacher, Fittest Mom in the world!

CrossFit Southern California Regional 2012We have a lot of moms and ironically teachers at our box.  Wait hold on…..We have a lot of “fit” moms and teachers at our box ;) Few understand the struggle that can be your personal fitness when you have busy schedules that include families, lunches to make, kids to dress before school, class work for your kids at school, and tests to grade. Lets not forget in-service days, parent teacher conferences, lesson plans……need I go on? However somewhere along the lines many men and women reach a point where they say to themselves “I’ve got to do something about me”, “I can’t stand being out of shape”, “I’m tired of feeling like crap”.  Can I get a AMEN?

Well ladies meet CrossFit Games athlete Val Voboril. Like the rest of you moms she even competes in the games with a smile on her face, see pic above. Some of you have much in common with her, some may not, however I encourage you all to follow her as the 2014 games play in the background of your respective homes as you go about your days being the life savants that you all are.  Val is the fittest mom in the world, Val is a school teacher, Val is also the most consistent finishing female games athlete and is currently sitting #1 in her region.   Did I mention Val is the fittest mom in the WORLD?


Pics and Video courtesy of CrossFit Games and CrossFit HQ YouTube page. CFHF does not claim any content to be its own.


Lindy Barber – A CrossFit Story

Lindy Barber broke her back in 2011. Doctors told her she would never squat again. Her determination is an inspiration to all of us, to push hard for our goals and not let anything get in the way of it!… Lindy competed in the 2013 Crossfit Games, and is currently training for the 2014 Games!


Content Information and video provided by ShaughnTillmanFilms Youtube page and CFHF does not claim it to be its own.


April Athletes of the Month – Tina McDonald and Mike Grabowski

There are a few reasons we do the whole Athlete of the Month blog. First off there are dozens more people who deserve recognition but month to month there will be people who stand out to the Coaches for one reason or another.  People from all walks of life come through our doors with different backgrounds, hobbies, abilities, and goals. Being chosen as athlete of the month could be prompted by anything from making an awesome PR, being a leader in class, always striving for excellence during every movement, lift, or even making every rep count during the warm up.  We don’t look for nor do you have to be the strongest, most athletic, or fastest athlete in the box  but you should always strive to be the strongest, most athletic, and fastest YOU that you can possibly be.

319670_4013608740404_1934581426_nAthlete : Tina McDonald - Tina is currently home schooling two of our  younger athletes Erin and Allie who consequently are state champion weightlifters. Apparently those apples didn’t fall far from the tree.

Q: How did you come to start at CFHF? Why?

A: At one point I had lost a large amount of weight by greatly restricting calories and walking on the treadmill for an hour a day. After a while I became tired of this routine and returned to my old ways of eating lots of junk food and doing nothing in the way of exercise. Needless to say I gained about 65 pounds back in a matter of months. I then decided to join a local fitness franchise, but quickly grew tired of doing the same exact work out routine every single day, and so I quit.

In the mean time I kept seeing posts on Facebook from my friend, Karen Broadhurst, about this Warrior Bootcamp. After months of seeing these pictures show up in my newsfeed, watching people change physically and hearing them change mentally, all for the better, I decided this was something I wanted for myself and my family. I showed the pictures and stories to my husband, who in turn showed them to his friends. They became very interested and decided to join.

Since our husbands had already joined, my friend, Marci Howell, and I thought this would be a great thing for us to do, not only for ourselves, but also for our children. Since we both homeschool our children and didn’t really have a formal phys ed program for them, this seemed like a perfect fit. And so it began!

Q: When did you start?

A: July of 2012

Q:What is your favorite lift, WOD, movement?aprilaom

A: I love power cleans, push jerks and split jerks. I also love any WOD that has power cleans and/or jerks, like The Chief, Grace and Tank.

Q: What is your most memorable PR ?

A: When I RX’d Tank! The first time I ever did Tank was Nov. 2012 and I used 55#. On Dec. 31, 2013, I was able to do it RX with 80#, best feeling ever!


Athlete: Mike Grabowski  - Mike currently is a math teacher in Tamaqua Area high school and has had 2 years of active duty and 7 years in the National Guard.

Q: How did you come to start at CFHF? Why?

A: I was always involved in athletics and remained active throughout high school and in my time in the military. But, I felt like I fell in a rut with working out and was looking for something different. I heard about crossfit from some friends and was very interested. I did a little research and read an article about warrior boot camp in the newspaper and was sold! CFHF makes me feel like an athlete again. The best benefit is being able to keep up with my 3 kids and participate in all their activities right along with them.

Q: When did you start?

A: I started in March 2012.

Q: What is your favorite lift, WOD, movement ?

A: I enjoy Olympic lifts and want to continue to improve my technique. I don’t have a particular mikegWOD that stands out above the rest. There are a few that make me cringe when I see them on the board. But, I am always glad I gutted it out when it’s over!

Q: What is your most memorable PR for both of you?

A: My most memorable PR is a 400+ lb deadlift.


CFHF Member Referral Program

CFHF Member Referral Program :486093_449053731831219_1740371683_n

For every new member a current member refers that completes a 6 month or longer contract with CFHF, that current member will receive a free month membership (valued at $95.00)

For the member to qualify, the new prospective member must write in the name of the current CFHF member that referred them on the CFHF Member Referral form that will be provided upon request at sign up.

*Applies only for the period from March 17th to May 17th ,2014 CFHF academy classes.

*There will be a limit of 2 referrals per current CFHF member/account .

*Family or Couples account can not use more than one name . They must use primary account holders name.

* Referral must complete full contract for program to be valid

* break in contract renders program invalid .

*add ons to current accounts not valid for program

Paleo For Novices

keep-calm-and-eat-real-food-4Several months ago, a friend sent me a message that said, “Help. I want to start eating better. What do I do?” This was my response.

It’s all about planning for success, especially in the beginning. Make sure you have good foods in the house. If I know I’m going to have a busy week, I like to have a go-to plan for a couple meals with the same basic ingredients. For me, that’s usually some seasoned and grilled chicken breasts. I’ll make a bunch, and eat them just so with veggies, or in a salad, or make a soup or a stir fry. Obviously, I don’t want to eat them every day for the whole week. If I have some left after a couple of days, I’ll slice them and throw them in the freezer to pull out in an emergency.

Don’t be afraid to try something new, especially veggies, or if you find a recipe you like, don’t be afraid to switch out one veggie for another. Aim for having fresh (or frozen if necessary) veggies, meat/eggs/nuts, and a healthy fat for each meal. Throw some fruit in here and there. The fat might be oil (olive over low heat or coconut are best) that you use in preparation. It might be butter. It might be avacados, or nuts, or olives, etc.

Avoid all processed foods. Avoid grains, even “whole grains.” For one thing, they might not be 100% whole grain, but they’re still using the label. And they raise your blood sugar a lot, setting off craving cycles. They also can cause a “leaky gut” which wreaks havoc on your immune system. Avoid beans – like kidney, great northern, etc., also for the blood sugar reasons. Green beans, peas, snow peas, etc, are ok. The goal is to eat highly nutritious foods, have a consistent slow burn of the real foods you eat, which keeps energy and blood sugar steady, and cravings at bay. Avoid dairy. It may or may not have side effects in your body, and you won’t know until you eliminate it for a while. Avoid sugar. Period. No explanation necessary!

For the days you have to get out of the house early, plan ahead so you don’t have to cook eggs for breakfast. Instead, eat a banana and some nuts (seasoned ones are good), or make some egg muffins (quiche) ahead with meat and veggies in it. Have hard boiled eggs with veggies or fruit. Or just eat leftovers or soup for breakfast. Sounds crazy, I know, but typical breakfast foods are loaded with junk. And real food is so much more satisfying and nutritious.

For lunch, do leftovers from the night before, or a couple slices of meat and raw veggies. I like peppers and carrots with a hard boiled egg. Or soup. Or fruit and nuts. Or tuna salad or egg salad on lettuce or on slices of bell peppers.

For dinner, the recipes are endless. And there are some crockpot recipes you can come home to. A pork or beef roast with sweet potatoes and carrots and onion. Pulled pork roast that you just have to shred, add some sauce if you like, and throw veggies on to complete a meal. A hearty soup, maybe with canned full fat coconut milk as a cream, paired with a salad. A curry dish. Steak. Fish. Jambalaya.

My go-to recipe sites:
*Fast Paleo – they have an app where I can put in a few ingredients I want to use and it’ll give me recipes that contain them.
*Whole 9 Life, Whole 30 – the people who say try going clean for 30 days. Great resource!
*theclothesmakethegirl blog
*Against All Grain
*Paleo Parents
*Civilized Caveman

The goal is to eat real foods. The paleo people have FABULOUS recipes, and the resources are endless!

Here are some of my favorite recipe links:

Fried cabbage is a cheap and super delicious side dish, by the way.

I’ve also made it with shrimp. Just don’t put them in until the last hour, or steam them and add them when you serve it

OH MY! one of my absolute favorites! It can be made stove-top or in a crock pot.

Make your own sausage – any kind of meat – without all the nitrates. Use it either as meatballs, patties, or just leave it ground and add veggies to it, use it in a tomato sauce over rice pasta, stuffed peppers, for breakfast

I have also used rice pasta.

You could omit the honey/coconut sugar, and make this more chili-ish. I made a basic bbq sauce with about 1/2 c ketchup and 1/2 c tomato paste, 1/4 c water, some coconut aminos [clean version of soy sauce], olive oil, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, liquid smoke [skip if you don't have], garlic & onion powder, s&p, chili powder.

Burgers made fresh, with garlic, onion, s&p, other spices in it, smothered with lettuce, onion, tomato, avacado, etc., and eaten without a bun. I often throw some mayo and blue cheese on them, too. Mmmmm!

What are YOUR favorite recipes? Care to share them?

Written By: Marci Howell – CFHF Athlete

In case you missed part one of Marci’s series on clean eating go here —>


Athletes of the Month – Ruth and Mike Maberry

10149884_10203191427930553_267078694_nCrossFit Hail Fire would like to take an opportunity to recognize an athletic husband and wife duo Ruth and Mike Maberry as our Athletes of the Month.  The two of them work very hard at the box and you can see them working out together at the box multiple times through out the week.  Their dedication to CFHF and trust in our programming and coaches has paid dividends for this husband and wife team!  They answered some Q&A for us and we want to share their story.

10009726_10203191429690597_517092045_nHow did you two come to start at CFHF? Why?

Ruth: I knew someone in passing that had tried CFHF and spoke well about it. I did research on CrossFit in general and thought that I would give it a shot. I have never been motivated to work out on my own. I have tried other gyms and after the first few visits they don’t seem to care if you show up or how you work out so I would be unmotivated to continue. I like CFHF because they keep me motivated. The workout changes on a daily basis but with a purpose. You can’t avoid working on a certain area or a movement that is difficult. Once you pass through the doors you are doing whatever is on the white board.

Mike: My wife joined and really enjoyed it so I decided to try it also. [Good Reason Mike :)]

When did you start?

Ruth: October 2013

Mike: January 2014

What is your favorite lift, WOD, movement for both of you?

Ruth: My favorite lift is the Dead Lift. WOD is Tabata. I like throwing stones and the punching bags.

Mike: Favorite lift – all of them, anything but burpees and wallballs. [Many will agree with you!]

What is your most memorable PR for both of you?

Ruth:My most memorable PR happened this week when I did a 1 rep max deadlift at 185lbs . It may not seem like much but in October I could hardly lift the 30lb bar.

Mike: 360 Deadlift and the big stone.

The Coaches are very proud of you guys! Your hard work and dedication bleed through in your progress and we think its safe to say you guys have official found your “inner athlete!” You are the epitome of what CrossFit is all about!


The Coaches


Super Humans of the Future

kidlifterThe beginning strength foundation of any human being is seeded early in life through learning how to move our bodies through space. From the first time we are able to pick up our heads under our own power to our first attempt at climbing a tree, we develop our bodies according to our environment and the level of activity we are exposed to. Each task we complete is then forever hardwired into our neuromuscular system. I see this in clients from day to day. Anywhere from their level of coordination to their posture, shoulder structure, core stability and flexibility, they are mirror indicators of their life style up to the point they make their way into the gym.
I’ve seen numerous examples of young folks who seem to have a major problem keeping spinal stability, especially in the deadlift. I am not talking about a max deadlift where the lifter rounds in the pull for a bit before finishing the lift. I am talking about a 25 year old female that can’t lift 50 pounds off the ground without rounding their back severely. A coach could use a hundred different cues but not a single one would work. Why? Because that individual has virtually no spinal erectors, like someone forgot to put the transmission in a car, it’s just absent. Your nervous system can’t fire signals into muscles that aren’t there. A little small talk and one can quickly figure out that the individual has done virtually no manual labor of any kind, not even gardening or shoveling snow. Therefore a primary muscle group that was meant to be used constantly was never developed and now has to be woken out of dormancy gradually in order for that person to make any progress in the gym.
No one needs me to state the obvious here, but technology seems to have a way of keeping people sedentary. The frustrating thing is that it isn’t just adults that have this issue. It’s the children. My brother use to ask his students in the Marine Corps if they had played any sports in school. There were a few times the show of hands had dwindled embarrassingly. His work was cut out for him. He had to produce an elite fighting force derived of video gaming couch potatoes. Parents all around need to kick their kids off the couch, off the ipads, and onto the field or court.
A huge issue I take with society is the lack of outdoor play by young school age girls, which seems to be lessening as society makes progress. I don’t want to generalize too much since things are changing for the better, or sound presumptuously chauvinist, but I can’t remember the last time I saw a girl climbing a tree or building a dam in the local creek. When I was a kid I don’t think I remember many times where it wasn’t just all boys digging in the dirt or getting yelled at for going too high into the backyard tree. Again, I am sure there are women out there that had a childhood that encompassed those experiences. However far too many young girls are kept indoors or are kept from acting “tomboyish”. Even the women in my family can readily display this issue. Their mothers didn’t allow them to play outside for fear of their dresses getting dirty. My own mother was kept from participating in high school athletics and it shows. She is making leaps of progress now, but she shows her frustrations now and then when it comes to certain workouts. The social stigma is still present; I see it all the time. But I do feel many parents are beginning to make progress and start seeing their children as capable beings instead of just boy/girl. From my point of view it seems to me that there are WAY more girls participating in sports that traditionally had been the realm of mostly boys and that token tomboy.
At the other end of the spectrum I’ve seen grown men you say they’ve never lifted weights in their lives but can deadlift double their body weight the first month they are in the gym. How can this be? Could it be that they went outside at an early age and did the yard work, helped dad cut trees and move lumber, brick lying, mixing concrete? There weren’t any steroids being taken by these gentlemen. The moral of the story is let them play, let them get dirty, let them climb trees (supervised of course). Make them shovel the snow for the elderly neighbors, chop wood, try new sports. There is no replacement for physical labor and play. 36493_1392284130988379_1903980511_n
The gym and the strength sports should be a place to amplify our already strong bodies as well as give an outlet to show off our athletic prowess. The human body was designed to be in constant motion. Instead we are all trying to fix ourselves and the damage from years of misuse and abuse of our bodies. Hopefully we’ve all learned our lesson the hard way and will instill it in our youth so they don’t make the same mistakes. We might not be going to the CrossFit games or the NFL, but we can still better ourselves and set an example for our children to live by. I am almost jealous of them. I’m never going to the Olympics. Maybe one of these toddlers watching their mother doing snatches just might do something we never could, or at the very least be a better healthier version of their parents. All these kids in the gym that I enjoy working with so much, they will surely be something to see years down the road. Virtually superhuman compared to us. Stronger in mind and body, ready to tackle anything that this sometimes scary world will throw at them.

“You can’t out work a lousy diet!”

How many times have we heard that quote? Ask around at the box, and you’re sure to find someone who is living proof of this. Either they struggle and feel like they aren’t making much progress while eating crap. Or they have seen drastic changes in their performance and are certain it’s more diet than wod’s. But there are some who feel stuck somewhere in between. What do we do with that?

The key to getting on the right track is to view your diet as FUEL for your body and for your workouts. Not just by counting calories, but looking honestly at the quality of the foods you’re eating. Are you getting a wide range of nutritious foods throughout the day? Or are you eating junk all day and just trying to eat a decent dinner with a few veggies? Are you trying to eat low fat, and leaving your body starved for important fuel? We all need a good balance of protein, carbohydrates, and fat. But our balances are all unique.


So, how do we find that balance? Experiment. If you aren’t sure what the point of paleo is, do some research. Check out the effects foods have on our brains, hormones, gut, and immune systems. It Starts with Food by Dallas and Melissa Hartwig is a fabulous place to start. Armed with the knowledge of the potential problems, you will find it easier to make better choices. If you can’t imagine yourself doing 30 days of a Whole30, aim for 2-3 weeks. It takes that long for the cravings to get out of your system and for you to create new habits. And you’ll feel so good after about 2 weeks, the rest of the 30 days are much easier!


The goal is to eat real foods, with no ingredient labels: meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, some nuts and fruits. Add in healthy fats like coconut oil, olive oil, avocado, etc. The categories to eliminate or limit considerably are sugar (definitely an elimination goal!), wheat/grains, dairy, processed foods. Don’t count calories. Eat as much nutritious foods as you’re hungry for. You’ll be surprised at how well your body shuts off hunger when you’re feeding it beneficial foods. Don’t live on grilled chicken breasts and boiled broccoli! Don’t starve yourself. Many of you might benefit from checking out online calculators on caloric requirements. It’s an amazing thing to see that you should aim to eat 2000 calories or more based on your activity level! Not that we want to count calories, but it’s important to get a grasp for the amount of foods your body really needs.


Get creative. There are tons of great recipes online, and lots of great resources. Yes, it will take some planning. Yes, you will spend some more time cooking and preparing meals. But there are some shortcuts. Cook ahead over the weekend. Make a couple of meats, and combine them with different dishes throughout the week. A whole chicken can be paired with veggies, and the leftovers go great with a salad, added to soup or a stir fry. A pork roast can be served with veggies, and then be turned into pulled bbq pork. You could cook both the roast and chicken the same day, and then eat them gradually over a few days.


The biggest change we have to make is breakfast. We can imagine a salad or soup or leftovers for lunch, instead of a sandwich. But what can we do for breakfast when we aren’t eating toast, bagels, pancakes, waffles, cereal, etc.? Well, ask your grandparents or great-grandparents what they ate for breakfast. All those high carb options were few and far between, or nonexistent. Convenience foods are killing us! You CAN eat leftovers or soup for breakfast. No, really. If you want something other than eggs, try for a sausage, sweet potato, and spinach stir fry. Throw leftover meat and veggies in an omelet. Bake the eggs and leftovers ahead of time in a quiche and grab and go in the morning. You’ll be amazed at how much more energy you have to start the day, and at how much longer you last until you’re hungry again.


In future posts, we’ll talk about recipe ideas, why we try to avoid certain foods, where to buy the best foods we can afford, and many more things. So, check back, and let us know if you have questions you’d like to see addressed.

Written By: Marci Howell – CFHF Athlete