Posts tagged mary

Coach Carl Paoli: Learn to Move so you can Move to Learn


Yesterday, I went to a workshop about movement. “Learning to move so I can move to learn” was the theme of the day, coached by Carl Paoli of Naka Athletics out of San Francisco (one of my favorite cities).

Coach Carl’s Freestyle Connection

I had no real assumptions about what this workshop would be about other than knowing Coach Carl had a gymnastics background and knowing he works closely with Kelly Starrett of Mobility WOD – including mobility as a major component of his approach as well.


Carl began the day with a short overview of the framework he follows which encompasses Position – Movement – Purpose and how we are going to learn, practice and apply movement and skill transfer principles by using gymnastics and body-weight training.

  • Position always has a start, transition and finish
  • Movement is general, functional
  • Purpose: Why is the athlete doing it? When? Who?

He asked us to define Functional. Many of us Lv1 1 Trainers & CrossFitters talk about functional movement everyday but when pressed to really dive deep into its meaning – we are at a loss.


  • safe
  • an efficient application of force

Do you want to be a Ferrari or a Prius? Depends on what you are trying to do.

LOCAL level-it can mean:

  • strength
  • Capacity to move (shoulder/elbow/wrist) –

Can the athlete stand, sit, touch their toes, raise their shoulders?

A movement can be simple, have few demands and few variables and then can be made more complex as you progress and evolve — as you evolve you increase the demands, increase the variables and make it more complex.  So think about it — you work on push ups as a beginner – you maybe start on your knees (although Coach Carl suggests having the athlete spread the legs out instead of going on their knees),  then you progress to standard push up, and then you progress to one handed push up each arm, and you make it more complex as you progress through the scaling stages. There is always another addition you can make it to keep moving through… Make sense?

  • Demands are high
  • Variables are Low


  • General Shape
  • Mechanics of a Movement is the Skill of the movement

photo (10)
Think about it this way: If basic movements are put into a grid and you as an athlete are looking to improve certain movements, you can look to see what skills to work on to help build up to that movement. You need to understand the concept of skill transfer and that they can be applied to multiple domains.

So if you wanted to improve your HSPU, you can see that the skills beneath it are push ups and ring rows (as an example only) — the skills you are going to work on to improve the HSPU are all underneath that grid. You peel back the layers of the HSPU and start there. How is your push up – does it need work?

photo (11)

I just found this entire workshop fascinating, challenging and fun –the day went by way too fast and Coach Carl is the kind of guy you just want to hang out with forever — laid back, patient, funny and has the ability to make you feel at ease. Which is good because he regularly calls on people or offers to help diagnose issues and it’s very hands on and you are definitely put into some compromising positions.

So Freestyle, defined by Coach Carl is strength + skill and is based on your level of ability. You start on A and you progress through the alphabet depending on the complexity and mechanics involved. So one builds on another.   Fall>Connection (Point of Contact)>Flow

He also went over the Fantastic Four in Gymnastics: the four movements that people struggle with universally:

  • Hand stand push ups
  • Pistols
  • Muscle Ups
  • Burpees

It’s because they are complex movements with millions of connections! We spent the day working on progression techniques to help coach up to these four and the tips and tricks he shared were seriously amazing. A few of the athletes got their first muscle up yesterday after learning how to break it down and practice it.

At the end of the workshop, a light bulb went off for me –that all of this movement is connected. A Muscle up is a series of fundamental movements combined and if you work on the separate movements skill wise and build your strength – you will get it.  I just want to learn more and more about the science of all of this –and it really all ties together and makes sense. Body Awareness and learning how to move your body is the foundation of EVERYTHING! Ding, Ding, Ding!!

carlandmeI would recommend this workshop to ANYONE and Everyone that is into fitness, as a coach or athlete. It inspired me, fired me up and opened up quite a few locked doors in my mind that I have been struggling with. It also reminded me that it’s not a race and I shouldnt be in a hurry to rush through the movements just to beat a time on a clock. If i take the time – work on skills and strength in parallel – I will see progress.  That is what I focused on during today’s workout. Taking my time on Pistols and doing them the way we reviewed yesterday. Focus and no shortcuts!

I’m excited to take what I  have learned, share it and apply it to my own training. Should be FUN!

Oh and I can’t forget to mention that Coach Carl is not bad to look at either! I did not complain at all about spending the day with him — It’s one of the awesome benefits of the CrossFit community. Great looking people everywhere you go!


  • 800m jog
  • Mobility
  • DROM
  • 20 TGUps


  • Pistols
  • HSPU


  • 5 HSPU
  • 10 Pistols
  • 15 Pull Ups


Blame it on the CrossFit


I had the busiest, best weekend – Saturday, the staff at CrossFit Impavidus held a Teen CrossFit Competition. A first of its kind in the area. We hosted 30 teens from around the area to take part in a three WOD competition. It was such a great success. It was run well, the kids were awesome and it just reaffirmed what I do each and every day is worth it.

MomI was thinking about how there are times when I am just so over committed and have too much going on.  I worry that I don’t do enough with my kiddos and husband, don’t take care of my house enough, don’t have enough down time and that — are you ready for this?–am turning into my Mom.  Don’t get me wrong, I love, love, love my mom (isn’t she gorgeous?) – but she is ALWAYs over committed and short on time. When I was growing up, I didn’t get it and now that I am busy, I do.  Being busy doing stuff we love makes us happy on a personal level.

My family makes me happy of course but on a different level of course. The thing though that gets me is my kiddos are growing up so fast. Hannah is going into middle school next year – how can that be? Am I going to regret doing all the other stuff later?  My kids are so comfortable at the gym now because we are there a lot.  I just have to deal with it — and I am doing the best I can.  I am sure there will be a ton of stuff they blame on me when they get older and I will just blame it on the CrossFit.

Here’s some great info I found about CrossFit, for all you newbies:

And a great Paleo Banana Bread recipe for you all to try!


  • man makers with lunges
  • mobility


  • Pistols


  • 5 HSPU
  • 10 Pistols
  • 15 Pull Ups

total rounds: 9

And although last time I did Mary I did 10 rounds –this time I did it with one less Abmat and my pistols were definitely better than they have been ever. I love starting a week off seeing progress in my fitness! It makes all the difference, yo!


Renew, Reflect and Refresh!


I almost took the morning off but I realized that I may not get to workout tomorrow and will be heading off on a biz trip on Monday so I wanted to make sure to get one in.  I hit the snooze but got up before it went off again. And to ever prove my point — I didn’t regret going!

It is getting chilly in the early mornings which takes some getting used to but I like the change of seasons. It’s the time to renew and refresh things in your life and of course reflect. Renew, Reflect and Refresh! I like those three words together.

The past few days I have been trying a new approach to dealing with people in my life – and I have spoken about it before. It’s going into things believing that we all have the best of intentions and what I have found is that often, communication is the key to cooperation! We all filter and explain things differently and some of the styles that people we have in our lives are not naturally compatible with our own.  And then it turns into a thing because you both are sitting there analyzing the situation with your personal filter and coming to some assumptions about the other person when it wasn’t at all coming from the place we assumed it was.  Wheww!

What I find out usually is that neither of us ‘got’ what the other was saying and both of us were coming from reasonable places and that if we had actually talked FACE to FACE, it would have never been misunderstood. All of this digital connecting is making communication effectively harder. Nothing replaces the efficiency and effectiveness of a face to face, let’s talk meeting. Every single time! Keep that in mind the next time you are having a misunderstanding via email or even a phone call and give the face to face a try.

So a win for me today to share. I got a PR (personal record) for my strict press — 95#, which is up 5# from last time I did it in May! If you keep working hard, you get better! Everyday I’m shufflin’.

600m run
bear crawl
crab walk
10 Handstands

shoulder press


15 min to get a Press 1RM
then 10 min of “Mary”

  • 5 Handstand Push-ups
  • 10 One legged squats
  • 15 Pull ups

95# 1 RM Press


Feb 4: World Cancer Day


It’s Friday and it’s my birthday weekend. Hard to believe it’s February already and my birthday is here again.  And tomorrow it’s World Cancer Day — What a great way to kick off the weekend.

World Cancer Day is this Saturday, 4 February 2012. It is the occassion to unite the world in the fight against the disease through raising awareness, educating the public, and lobbying for change. 

It is only by every person, organisation, and government, individually doing their part, that the world will be able to reduce the global cancer burden.

So get involved and do something this World Cancer Day – because Together it is possible! 

In light of what’s going on with Susan G. Komen Foundation  – if you are looking for another non-profit to support that helps breast cancer patients and cancer patients around the world, consider the American Cancer Society.  They do great work for support and research and deserve lots of support from all of us!

Do I look tired in this pic or what — I took it after my CrossFit workout. Mary, one of the mean bad girls of CrossFit reared her head this morning and holy crap – she is a force to be reckon’d with.  I mean who invented pistols aka a one legged squat?  Squats are tough enough, now let’s be evil and make em do it with one leg. Jeesh.  Thank goodness for scaling -balance, coordination and strength all wrapped into one seems to challenge me every time – but practice makes better!


General Stretching
25 DUs
10 Squats
10 Push Ups
10 ?? (I can’t remember for the life of me!)


Pistols (one leg squats)


10 Pistols
15 Pull Ups

Total: 10

Today’s workout felt great. My kipping is coming along and boy it makes a difference when you are doing long workouts with lots of pull ups. It’s night and day and it’s so energizing to me. Every time I get the right momentum, inside I get all giddy. I so, so, so  needed some progress to reignite me and there it is. Now — on to the rest of my day so I can get ready for my big birthday celebration tomorrow with the CF girls of CrossFit Impavidus. Watch out World — Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Labor Day Intro to CrossFit Girl Mary


3 days of not working out and man do I feel it. I needed to work out bad this AM.  I did a bunch of stretching before I went to bed last night because I was so tight and stiff. Long drives are tough on the body, plus it has been super humid and we have been outdoors a lot. It takes a lot out of you physically. I was more than happy to head to CrossFit this AM.

Dynamic stretches
heel to butt
run backwards
bear crawls


Complete as many rounds in 20 minutes as you can of:
5 Handstand Push-ups
10 One legged squats, alternating
15 Pull-ups
total rounds: 9

I did modified pistols (holding onto a beam) and jumping pull ups. It was one of the girls and each one is worse than the other I swear. Pistols is a form of torture — and I didn’t even do them right. It’s about balance and I need a lot of work on that.

Go to Top