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Athlete Spotlight: Cheryl Blank

Posted by Melody

"The most important thing that I have learned is that it is ok to go light to practice form. If I need a rest day or some recovery, I now know my limits and I take the time."

This post is an extra special one for me to write up. Not only is Cheryl an avid Paradigmer who has stepped up her game immensely in the past year, but Cheryl and I go quite a ways back! In fact, I'm pretty sure she was my second personal training client ever. She took a risk on me...the newbie trainer at 24 Hr Fitness...with a 10-session training pack and it's been history every since!
Over the years, I have come to admire several things about Cheryl. First, she is incredibly committed. She is the only client of mine who has never no-showed...that's a pretty big feat in all the years we've been together! When Cheryl says she will do something or be somewhere, you can be very certain that she will be. That dependability and consistency has served her well. Cheryl is always on time, prepared with her equipment, and prepped for whatever lies in store for her training that day. Sometimes it's easy to look at other people who aren't running late and frazzled and think, "well it must be nice to have all that free time to be prepared". Ya...not really the case with Cheryl. She is a mom to two daughters and a very involved Grandma to her little grandson (yes you heard me right...I know she doesn't LOOK like a Grandma!!) Her career currently has her working insane nocturnal hours which means she sleeps when she can. But this hasn't gotten in the way of her avid training schedule. Cheryl routinely makes it in to Paradigm 5-6 days per week.
Second, Cheryl is always quick to encourage others and provide kind words when needed. She is positive and believes in people and is quick to express this.
Finally, Cheryl is not afraid of hard work..which is something I deeply admire. She naturally has that "inner animal" that can be hard to develop in people. She is ambitious and is not daunted by the work that must be done to achieve her goals. Years ago she just wanted a pull-up. Now she can handle WODs with Chest-to-Bar pull-ups. She has set her eyes on some competitions to come in 2015 and we cannot wait to watch her challenge and surprise herself with these goals! Keep up the great work Cheryl - you are an inspiration to those around you.

Full Name: Cheryl Leigh Blank
Hometown: San Jose CA
Occupation: Warehouse Supervisor
Started CrossFitting: at Paradigm when they first opened in October 2011. (She is also very proud to have the first ever, original Paradigm key card!)
Favorite WOD:" Helen"
Favorite CF Moment: When she got her First Pull-up!
Least favorite WOD: AMRAPS
Favorite skills to train: Snatch and Pullups
Nemesis Skills: Double Unders & Rope Climbs
Favorite healthy food: Turkey burger with mushrooms and onions sautéed on top with a side of sweet potato fries
Favorite cheat food: Pizza & Margaritas!
When not CrossFitting: She loves to spend time with her Grandson and enjoy hanging out on the beach.

Tell us a little about your "fitness story"...
As a child I swam on a swim team for 7 ½ years. During that time, I also played Little League baseball for a season. As I was getting into my teenage years, I twirled Baton and was on a dance team where I competed all over California. After that, I stopped doing any sports or anything fitness related. Health and fitness was not really a priority for me in my adult years until I was 37. I then started at a gym and was training 2 days a week with Melody. Next I became a Turbo Kickboxing instructor for about 2 years. During that time I started to take better care of myself and I thought my nutrition had fallen into place until I later learned what good nutrition really is. So while my eating changed a little, my results were slow because I kept going back and eating what I wanted. When I started CF I was still eating kind of healthy but not enough for results to really show. Ronny kept telling me” it's in your nutrition”. It changed a little bit more but still not enough. Then I did the Whole life Challenge and felt really good and I saw results! After that my eating has changed a lot and I continue seeing more and more results. Over the last few years I have learned that when I eat clean my performance excels and I feel good. I know how different foods make me feel and I choose the right times to eat them. While I still struggle some days with the snacks that are around, I now eat very clean and I have one cheat day a week.

What brought you Paradigm?
I ended up at Paradigm due to Melody and Ronny. I was training with Melody on and off at the time and she told me that they were opening up a CF gym. I was very excited because I knew a little about CF already. I did not hesitate at all. I was ready for my fitness to be consistent and I knew that my workouts were going to be good because I trained with Melody and I knew about Ronny from the previous years and could not wait to start. I knew that I would get a good workout. Now I look forward to going to the gym!

Do you remember your very first WOD?
I do not remember the actual WOD that I did but it was in April of 2011 in Scotts Valley. The board had a WOD on it and then an arrow on the side going back up. I thought, "that’s not bad"... until I found out that the arrow going back up meant that you did the WOD from the top down and then the bottom up! After that WOD I sat there for about 20 minutes in a daze.

You are very passionate about CF and dedicated to your performance. What do you especially love about it and what about it pushes you?
I love that it is more like a family than just a gym. It makes a difference when everyone cheers for everyone else - and when you are at the end of your WOD, that cheering pushes you on! The coaches here are awesome and really take the time to work with every client. I love the way that I feel after a killer WOD!

What have been some of your favorite accomplishments in the last few months?
On July 4th I finished "Airforce Wod" and was so excited to make the leader board! I also finished "Badger RX" for the first time.

What performance goals are on the horizon for you?
My skill goals are a HSPU and of course a Muscle-Up! I would also like to compete in the Master's Division next year as an individual and also on a team.

Your attendance is freakishly consistent and of course you are always punctual! What makes this possible?
Training has become a huge part of my life. I like to have a routine when it comes to fitness and I rearrange my schedule throughout my day to make sure that I am able to be at the class that I choose.

Any advice for other CrossFitters during their first year?
Stay with it and keep moving. At times it will seem very hard and that is when we push ourselves and when the real work begins. Make sure that you take rest days and include active recovery. Some weeks or days it might not seem like you are progressing and that's ok -it happens to all of us. Just keep coming consistently!

The Deal with Vitamin D and M3 (Magnesium)

Posted by Ronny

Through the holidays, our pro-shop will be featuring a different item each week which you will be able to purchase at discount through Saturdays. Today, we are putting the most important supplements on the 'buy one get one free' deal. Magnesium and Vitamin D... Read below on what the deal is. If you want additional reading, I've included some people's articles who can geek out on it.

What's the deal with Vitamin D (D3)?
Vitamin D is one of those "super supplements"... why? Because without it, we'd literally feel so down and out we'd wanna die. Here's what Dave Asprey says about it (he's a super geek bio-hacking genius that I respect) :
"Vitamin D isn’t just the most important supplement – it is possibly the most important biohack. Vitamin D acts on over 1000 different genes and serves as a substrate for sex hormones like testosterone, human growth hormone, and estrogen. It moderates immune function and inflammation. It assists in calcium metabolism and bone formation. It’s no coincidence this is one of the few vitamins humans can make on their own. Without it – we’d be dead. It’s true that you can get adequate vitamin D from sun exposure, but for non-nudist non-equatorial dwellers it’s not enough. If you’re getting adequate vitamin A, it’s almost impossible to overdose on D."

Dave Asprey is not the only one who touts Vitamin D as one of the most important supplements to take, but it's also touted in high regard from the likes of nutritional and lifestyle guru's Mark Sisson, Robb Wolf, and Chris Kresser.

Why M3? (Magnesium & Zinc)
Magnesium is a supplement I kind of stumbled upon. I take it basically to get better recovery from workouts (I do not get as sore the next morning) and I get a MUCH better night's sleep, along with having some nights with trippy dreams (gotta love those). It does not get the credit that's due to it... I admit, it's not NEARLY as sexy as "NITRIC OXIDE" and "Creatine", but it's WAY more important.

Here's also what Dave Asprey says about Magnesium: " This is almost as important as vitamin D, and almost as under appreciated. Magnesium is used in over 300 enzymatic processes, including all of those involved in ATP production. It’s also vital for proper transcription of DNA and RNA.
Magnesium deficiency is a serious problem. Symptoms include heart arrhythmias, tachycardia, headaches, muscle cramps, nausea, metabolic syndrome, migraines, and pretty much everything else you don’t want. It’s also associated with cardiovascular disease diabetes, asthma, anxiety disorders, and PMS.
Almost all Americans are deficient in magnesium. The majority of people don’t meet the RDA, which is already too low. Due to soil depletion and poor farming practices, it’s almost impossible to get enough magnesium from your diet. Without a doubt – everyone should supplement with magnesium."

Mark Sisson Also talks about magnesium in his article (Click on his name). Don't just take my word for it though, try it yourself... I'm pretty confident you will feel the improvement in sleep quality if you take it consistently for a longer period of time (don't do it sporadically... take it regularly!)

Both of these supplements should be taken at night before bed. With or without food it doesn't matter.

Why Pure Pharma?

Simply speaking, its a good quality product at a very competitive price. Delving into it farther, I looked at all the top companies that sold Fish Oil, Magnesium, and Vitamin D - Pure Pharma ranked amongst the best, had 3rd party independent quality testing, and the owner of the company is down to earth. I've spoken with him twice over the phone and he's a Level 1 seminar staff for CrossFit in Europe. So, that definitely helped- we all like supporting friends, right? Can't go wrong with good customer service, a good price, a friendly owner, and some damn good quality / value - and right now at buy one get one free, it's a great deal!


Workout for Tue, November 18, 2014

Get in the gym and check it out for the week! The whole week is Bring A Friend week! Except Weds and Saturday. wink

Planks-giving Week 3

Posted by Melody

Mountain Climber Plank

This week we will have several progressions based on your core strength level. We are also stepping it up a bit from 3 minutes to 4 minutes. It's still ONLY 4 MINUTES! Find the time.
1. Start in a plank on elbows & toes.
2. At 15 seconds, move into a push-up position on hands. (Please tuck your butt better than this baby....) The midline stays tight during the transition with as minimal hip shifting as possible.
3. After another 15 seconds, move back onto elbows and forearms. Continue transitioning every 15 seconds for 4 minutes, making for 8 segments on hands and 8 segments on elbows.

-scaled option: drop to knees when needed
-Beastmode option = parallel forearms in elbow plank position and 1, 2 or 3 pushups every time you move onto hands

Come into class tomorrow to start it off. If you can't make it in, make up on your own. Let's get in 5 days straight this week!

Planksgiving Week 2

Posted by Melody

Here goes week 2 of our "Planksgiving" core challenge for the month of November. Last week, the goal was to hold a solid 3 minute plank for 5 days. This week the exercise will again be for 3 minutes, but with a different plank type and varied format. TRY for the upgrade option if you want to really get to those obliques this week!

-20 seconds in a side plank, 10 seconds "transition" in a regular plank, followed by 20 seconds in a side plank on the opposite side
-6 rounds total, making for 3 planks on each side, and a total working time of 3 minutes
-scaled option: hold on feet for as long as possible and if needed, go to knees when at failure
-upgrade option: slow and controlled plank rotations for the duration of the 20 second holds (you should get about 5 turnovers every 20 seconds if the speed is correct)

If you missed Monday, you can makeup on Saturday! Put reminders in your phone so that you don't miss a day this week. Your 6-pack will thank you.

Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner

Posted by Melody

Join us for an early Thanksgiving meal at Paradigm! Besides enjoying good food and relaxing together, we will all come away with some new healthy recipes to incorporate into our holiday meals. The dinner will be potluck style, but please sign up at the gym for what you will be bringing (that way we don't get 20 mashed potato dishes!)

*Friday evening, Nov 14th @ 6:30pm.
*Sign up for who is coming and what they're bringing.
*Non-members welcome! So feel free to bring a spouse, roommate, friend, boyfriend...whatever. We just ask that you RSVP for them and that you bring a little bigger dish OR have them make and bring their own recipe.

Because one of our main goals is to come away with some alternative recipes, there are a few guidelines for your dish of choice. I want to note that there are a TON of healthy thanksgiving recipes out there, most of which are absolutely delicious. Your recipe does not have to be "Paleo"...don't get too obsessed with titles here. But if you think "paleo-ish", you will probably be on the right track! Try looking at cookbooks, Pinterest, CF blogs, or simply Google. There's plenty of good stuff out there! If you aren't sure about your recipe, just bring it in and ask me if it passes the test.

1. Use the freshest ingredients you can in your recipe. Try to avoid canned fruits and vegetables. Since your Thanksgiving dish is likely to incorporate in season produce, use the fresh stuff, and organic if possible.
2. Avoid regular sugar. If you are making a dessert as your dish, try to choose a recipe which uses honey, maple syrup, or dates as the sweetener. The next best option would be coconut sugar. Please skip the white sugar, brown sugar, agave, or fake sweeteners.
3. Some dairy is ok (cheese, milk, yogurt, cream...) but we do ask you to use good quality organic dairy if possible. Many "Paleo" recipes will call for coconut milk instead.
4. Skip the refined wheat flour. Try a grain-less recipe instead. There's a ton of better alternatives, like almond flour or coconut flour, and this is the chance to experiment with them. Almond flour is amazing for your holiday pie crusts (I like Honeyville brand). It won't work to simply exchange wheat with almond though, so you will need to select the right recipe to begin with.
5. For your oils, stick to using butter, coconut oil, olive oil, nut or seed oils, bacon or animal fat, or avocado oil. Please avoid vegetable and canola oils, and shortenings.

See you there on the 14th!

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