CrossFit Pacific Beach Blog

In the past decade, a global movement of fitness has helped humans better their lives through structured physical activity and nutrition.

 Look a little closer at what people are actually doing and keywords start popping up: Paleo, the Zone, CrossFit, Zumba, yoga, Pilates, and bodybuilding. There are almost infinite methodologies that allow people to practice fitness.  Zoom in a little more and you will find individual gyms and studios that create their own culture within these methodologies.  Zoom in even closer and you will find CrossFit PB, founded in 2010 by a couple of kids chasing the dream of coaching people who genuinely care about prioritizing fitness in their lives.

In our infancy, equipment was scarce, sleep was nonexistent, we worked two full-time jobs, and the future was a huge question mark.  We learned every day.  We learned how to develop athletes, how to personalize an experience, how to create a culture, and especially, how to connect with people.  We learned athlete development and personalization by creating introductory classes and developing levels to create stepping stones to the fitness program.  We created culture by surrounding ourselves with people who prioritize fitness and nutrition.  And we learned to connect with people by listening, putting others first, and always evolving to find better ways to help others reach their goals.

As we look forward, our previous focus on being the greatest CrossFit gym continues to evolve and shape our new vision of the future.  We will always be a CrossFit gym and we will always be proud of the experience and knowledge gained through CrossFit.  The beauty of CrossFit is that it requires people to work hard and commit themselves to healthy lifestyles. But there are limitations to just coaching CrossFit. What about the people who work really hard, prioritize health and fitness, but do not want to do CrossFit?  Why can’t we coach those people and help them live a stronger, healthier, and more empowering life?  And this is what motivates us today.

We are proud to announce that on December 1, 2014, the state of California will officially recognize our business entity as San Diego Athletics.  San Diego Athletics will be the home of CrossFit PB.  Our vision of the future is no longer only about CrossFit.  Yes, we are maintaining our affiliate.  We will always love and coach CrossFit.  Going forward, we want to expand our vision to coach all athletes dedicated to living a stronger, healthier life.  We want to run successful bodybuilding programs, Olympic lifting programs, gymnastics programs, surfing programs, nutrition programs, kids programs, and team training. 

San Diego Athletics is a culture of people who place a premium on their health and fitness.  San Diego Athletics is a coaching staff that brings their knowledge, passion, and professionalism to ensure every athlete receives a personalized experience every time they walk through the door.  San Diego Athletics creates value in people’s lives through fitness programs that are designed for individuals and applied in a group structure.

2014 has been a year of tremendous growth.  We reinvested over $100,000 in facilities, training, professional development, and equipment.  We operate 8,500 sq. ft. of space located in the heart of Pacific Beach—double our space in 2013.  We reinvested countless hours into coaching development that will transition into a complete internship program in 2015.  Beginning December 1, we will be adding two assistant coaches to the afternoon sessions to ensure each athlete is getting the personalized attention they need.  Additional classes, including the bodybuilding program, Olympic lifting classes, and a partnership with Mad Dog Lacrosse expand the program base.  Beginning in 2015, we will be offering free, weekly clinics open to all members and the public.  Margaux Neveu, our resident nutritionist, will be educating us on all things nutrition.  Theresa Larson, in-house physical therapist from Movement RX, will be hosting mobility clinics.  Bryan and Anders will host monthly clinics on fitness, nutrition, lifestyle, and putting it all together.  We have also begun talks with local professionals in the health industry and will be announcing dates in the new year for outside speakers to be a part of the San Diego Athletics learning experience.  The vision is growing and our efforts will make San Diego Athletics the center of health and fitness in San Diego and beyond.

In 2010, all we cared about was CrossFit.  As the business and our vision have grown, we have learned that there is no one-size-fits-all approach to fitness.  We want a diversity of programs and the programs and coaching must be of the highest quality.  Since we opened, this gym has been a family and CrossFit was the only child.  Under San Diego Athletics, we have added a sibling, bodybuilding.  The athletes that participate in this program believe in the same hard work and dedication that CrossFit demands, they just express it in a different way.   We are dedicated to providing the highest quality coaching, programming, and facilities to individuals who prioritize their health and fitness.  Your support and commitment to this journey is humbling.  It is difficult to explain the emotion that wells up inside me when I think about how lucky we are to surround ourselves with people like you.  It is important we grow and expand our vision so you can do the same. 

It is a big world and we want to impact it as much as possible. 

Welcome to San Diego Athletics.

Want to lift more?

We hear it all the time!
Your coach yells it at you, "Get tight!" But what does that really mean?
Getting "tight" is crucial to moving big weight and can mean the difference between making or missing a lift. How do you know if you are actually creating enough tension?
This week we will work breath control as well as mobilizing the pelvic floor (so you don't pee yourself) and diaphragm to help you create as much tension as possible.
Raise your ceiling of performance that maybe you didn't think could be raised this Thursday from 6-7 pm!

Over the past month, Anders and I have installed a once-weekly bodybuilding-based program on Saturday mornings at Cass. This was a test to gauge the level of interest from our athletes, and it was successful beyond our wildest dreams. The class has been filled to capacity, with a wait-list, each week. We now find ourselves with an opportunity to expand on this and implement it into the daily Cass schedule. Starting Monday November 3rd, Bodybuilding class will run every weekday except Thursday at 6:30am, 12pm, 5pm, and 7pm. Saturdays will continue to be 9am. Thursdays and Sundays are mandatory rest days.

The purpose of this blog is to supply you all with a better understanding of the structure of this program so that you can decide whether it will play a role in the future of your fitness goals.

First off, I’d like to backtrack a number of years – about 15 years to be exact. Seventeen year-old Bryan was sort of obsessed with this lifting thing. I would get home from basketball practice at about 6:30pm and spend the next four hours reading every bit of material I could find on every methodology associated with weightlifting. There were so many different theories out there – so many different ways one could get strong and look really good walking down the beach in the summer. I quickly ascertained that following the “program of the pros” from any of the muscle magazines was a really bad idea. It doesn’t take an intelligent person to realize that these monsters were on all sorts of drugs to aid their training, and that doing 25 sets per muscle group, and spending two to three hours a day in the gym just wasn’t going to work for the average person. I was on a mission to find something that was extremely effective, but that also worked within the constraints of a normal life consisting of school or work and outside-the-gym activities. In retrospect, it isn’t so surprising that I found this effective balance represented in the training programs from the 1950’s and 1960’s, prior to the steroid era. In fact, prior to CrossFit, my entire training history was based exclusively on the training programs from this era.

These people were athletes in the truest sense. They trained with a common sense approach that was both effective and time-efficient. Most importantly, they understood the meaning of intensity. There is an adage that states you can train hard or you can train long, but you can’t do both effectively. If intensity is high, you literally cannot repeat that same effort for duration. If you opt to train long, the intensity must diminish. Think about doing Fran at full intensity one time, versus doing Fran for an entire hour on repeat. How intense would your output level be if you had to do it as AMRAP 60 min? On a smaller scale, the same principle applies to all training, and specifically to the level of intensity and effort you apply to each and every set of your training program. I will always opt for intensity over volume, because this allows you to obtain better results in less time.

So, I immersed myself in 1950’s training theory. I became an expert of these training regimens and implemented them into my own training. I became the sole source of weightlifting knowledge for our sports programs at my high school. It was a small private school and we didn’t have a strength coach of any sort. I became the resident expert and I began supplying the programs for our varsity sports – and it worked! Our athletes got stronger, performance improved, and the other teams in our conference took notice. This experience solidified my belief system. This was functional training at its finest. The absolute number one most important result of this experience was that strength training and aesthetics can, and should, work in coordination. There is no such thing as a strictly aesthetically based program, and to believe that there is would be ignorant. In what world is a weak muscle also an aesthetically pleasing muscle? When have you ever seen a guy with a 135 lb. bench press max have a chest that you would want to emulate? Has anyone ever had great back and arm development that can’t do multiple pull-ups? There are certain non-negotiable concepts in training theory, and this one takes the cake. You must get strong to improve appearance. Furthermore, you must apply the principles of progressive overload (adding weight to the bar each session) to continue to improve appearance. This is the absolute number one component that defines any successful program, and understanding that this element must be present in every program is what ensures you are not trapped in the repetition of abysmal training structure. In fact, I’d venture to say that without progressive overload, you aren’t even participating in any sort of structured program. You are just going through the motions and convincing yourself that you’re doing something worthwhile, but in reality, this is only slightly better than progressively getting faster at using your TV remote.

Ok, I’m done telling you how to live – but you still can’t tell me how to live, so this is how the bodybuilding strength training program is going to run for the next 8 to 12 weeks:

1.  The program will be on a four-day cycle

Day 1 – Chest and Back

Day 2 – Legs

Day 3 – Shoulders and Arms

Day 4 – Conditioning and Abs

Day 5 – Repeat

2.  The program will run on a five-day weekly cycle

Using the first two weeks as an example, this is how it will run, and as an intelligent human, I presume that you can determine what’s going to happen on Monday of week three …

Monday – Chest and Back
Tuesday – Legs
Wednesday – Shoulders and Arms
Thursday – REST
Friday – Conditioning and Abs
Saturday – Chest and Back
Sunday – REST
Monday – Legs
Tuesday – Shoulders and Arms
Wednesday – Conditioning and Abs
Thursday – REST
Friday – Chest and Back
Saturday – Legs
Sunday – REST

“But coach, it’s just not enough conditioning – it sounds like way too much lifting and I’m worried I’m gonna get fat without spending endless amounts of time doing mind-numbing cardio.”

Well, don’t worry about that you uninformed, hamster wheel-addicted athlete. Let me drop some knowledge and tell you how to live for a moment. There are two hormonal states that result from exercise – anabolism (building muscle) and catabolism (wasting muscle). Anabolism is accompanied by an increase in testosterone and other positive gender-specific hormones that induce a positive balance and lead to increased energy throughout the day. Catabolism increases the production of cortisol (the stress hormone). This leads to lethargy, depression, sleeping problems, as well as leaching stored muscle for energy. Look no further than the difference between a sprinter and a marathon runner for a real-world example of these effects. Sprinters live in a state of anabolism. They lift weights and run short distances at all-out efforts. They are well-muscled and look healthy. Now look at a marathon runner who looks emaciated and unhealthy with little-to-no muscle development. They live in a state of elevated cortisol levels. Who do you want to emulate? Furthermore, for each pound of muscle that you gain, it elevates your Basal Metabolic Rate (BMR) substantially, increasing the amount of calories you burn at rest, doing nothing. For every marathon cardio session, your metabolism will slow down and decrease your BMR.

Short bursts of high intensity exercise will spike your metabolism for hours after you stop exercise. This is called EPOC (Excess Post-exercise Oxygen Consumption) and ensures that you will be burning calories at an elevated rate for the remainder of that day, without even doing anything beyond living your normal life. You can literally be a metabolic furnace while sitting at your desk staring at Excel worksheets. Or, you can do a long cardio session at low intensity and completely eliminate the EPOC effect, burn no additional calories, depress your metabolism, and live in a muscle-wasting existence staring at Excel worksheets. In the same manner by which you must get stronger to increase aesthetic appearance, you must also make a decision as to whether you want to build muscle or waste muscle, because these tasks are mutually exclusive.

In no way does this mean that CrossFit is bad, or that you should drop everything and immediately begin a bodybuilding strength program. In fact, CrossFit is a perfect program based on time-tested training theory – at least this is the case for the CFPB version of CrossFit. We have strength work, skill work, and short intense conditioning work. The program is beautifully effective. But what the program lacks is a short-term strength-specific focus. Anders made reference to this in his blog post yesterday. He wrote about how important it is to build a base of strength. Due to the focus which CrossFit places on being good at everything, it inevitably mitigates the ability to focus exclusively on one aspect of your fitness. I am not here to tell you to stop doing CrossFit at all. I am merely telling you that it will probably provide substantial benefits for you to spend a couple months developing a base of strength, and that it will manifest itself with increased benefits when you return to our standard CrossFit programming.

I encourage everyone to do the bodybuilding program for this first 8 to 12 week cycle. Your body is desperately hoping that you stop breaking it down. It’s time to get strong and thank your body for supporting you all these years. There are four bodybuilding classes offered daily at Cass, and I promise that you will not regret changing it up and learning how to get really strong. This will change your entire perspective on how to gain strength and improve your appearance. And that’s me telling you how to live.


In the early stages of CrossFit PB, before there was ever a brick and mortar building, there were two kids, eager to learn the best methods of training and coaching.  One lived on the east coast and one on the west coast in San Diego.  Much to our employer’s dismay, emails during their work day was the easiest form of communication, allowing for literally zero quality work to get done.  One did CrossFit and the other was heavily involved in bodybuilding training.  So much so that he had even written a book on coaching and training teenage kids interested in weight training.  The email debates would rage for days, weeks, and sometimes months.  They were just a couple kids that loved the weight room and wanted to do it the best way possible.

As you may have guessed, these two kids are Bryan and I.  We were the awful employees that rarely did what we were paid to do and were constantly debating bodybuilding versus CrossFit theory.  To a lesser degree, this conversation still happens on a daily basis.  At the time, we were too young and selfish to understand that we were asking the wrong question.  We did not understand that we were missing the key component, “What is the goal?”  In training and coaching, this is the most paramount question and the only way to find the right answer to anything.  Some people want well rounded fitness and some people are only interested in strength and aesthetics.  What we have learned is that neither camp is wrong.  In fact, both methodologies and theories are 100% correct.  They are correct because they both allow for a purpose driven focus that answers the question, “Why?”  Why do you eat the way you eat?  Why do you train the way you train?  Bryan and I are not here to tell you what is right or wrong, you make that decision.  We are here, however, to educate you on the right way to go about reaching your goals once you have made that decision.  We are here to provide the highest level of coaching, programming, and advice to take you from the person you see today; to the person you want to be in six months, a year, and the rest of your life.

In 2011, Lindsay Renteria, walked in to our office and very passively asked if she could start a gymnastics class.  I am not sure if she expected us to agree but her gymnastics class became the first of many specialty classes that we offer.  Surfing, Olympic lifting, Skills and Drills, Gymnastics, and Bodybuilding are now staples and add depth to the Fitness program.  Sometimes however, some classes stick a little more than others and they catch our eye.  There is something about them that just feels right.  For the past month, we have implemented Saturday morning bodybuilding classes and the response has been incredible.  Every week sells out, the music is loud, and people are straight up getting to work.  It is the reason why I fell in love with the weight room 18 years ago.

Starting Monday, November 3rd, we will be turning this specialty class into a full program.  Instead of this being something you do on Saturday mornings, you can now delve into the mind of Bryan Boorstein.  Before there was the CrossFit programming, there was some of the most beautifully choreographed bodybuilding programming.  Our vision has come full circle and you now have access to the entire portfolio of programming and coaching knowledge.  Over the past month, I have noticed some really cool stuff.  All the annoying things about individual bodybuilding programs and gyms are gone.  People share weights because we have the coolest community working towards a common goal so there is no reason to hoard your weights.  We share so everyone benefits.  We have a lot of squat racks and we will never do curls near them.  Another realization is that a lot of people have never been on an actual bodybuilding program.  So many people start out doing CrossFit, they do not know how hard or awesome the bodybuilding world can be.  We turn the music up, pump some iron, and we do it together.  No more headphones, awkward staredowns , or crappy energy in the gym.  Bryan and I found CrossFit only after years and years of writing and implementing these programs into our training.  You should know about this stuff, experience it, and find out what is right for you.  After all, the answer to everything you do should be, “What is the goal?”  And maybe bodybuilding answers that question.

Mobility Night @ CFPB this Thursday from 6-7pm is going to focus on How to Improve your Squat

Come learn how imbalances might be limiting your performance by over 40%, even if you think you are 'healthy'.  That's right, your body's movement limitations could be the only thing in the way of huge increases in your 1 rep maxes and your stamina over time.
Also, together we'll try to figure out how much Shakira or Charles Poliquin can squat.  Because the hips don't lie and the squat is an essential part of ANY true strength program. We'll work on motor control, stability, and mobility to help you get to a full depth squat.   The hips will be the focus, but we'll also spend some time on the feet and ankles.  
We will end with a short discussion on tissue recovery times and what under/overtraining can look like physiologically:-). 
This is for EVERYONE!  Join Dr. Theresa Larson this Thursday, set a PR, save your knees, and learn some tips you can pay forward in the community.

No ifs, ands, or “butts” about it: The scoop on poop

While the process of elimination might not seem too interesting, it’s actually quite complex and can reveal a good deal about the balance of your diet and gastrointestinal (GI) health.  Talking about bowel movements is a little uncomfortable in our culture, but rest assured you can read this blog from the comfort and privacy of your home…maybe even your bathroom.

Before we get “waste” deep in discussing healthy bowel movements, it’s important to look at how we arrive at one.  First off, the bowel is part of the GI tract.  Our digestive tract is designed to help absorb nutrients like carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals from the food we eat.  If we can’t use certain nutrients, they continue into the large intestine.  Here, water and minerals are reabsorbed, and the remaining waste is formed into a stool. 

Frequency: What’s normal?

There is no defined “normal” when it comes to how often you should have a bowel movement.  Some people go once or twice per day, some once every few days, and others once per week.  The bottom line is, as long as you feel comfortable, you don’t need to worry too much.  If passing a stool is as easy as urinating or passing gas, you are okay.  If you find yourself suddenly straining, consider if you have had changes in your diet, hydration, sleep, activity, stress level, or a possible illness.

What should it look like?

Bowel movements are usually brown because of bile, which is a substance used for digestion.  While an unusual stool color can be harmless, and can be attributed to a certain food or medication (such as iron or Pepto-Bismol, which turns the stool black), a sudden change in stool color can be of concern.  If you notice a black, bright red, pale-colored, green or orange stool that you cannot attribute to something you ate or that is accompanied by diarrhea, constipation, dizziness or weakness, contact your doctor.  These changes can potentially indicate issues that need medical attention such as internal bleeding, malabsorption, liver disease or other health issues.

The Bristol Stool Chart is designed to help class stools as seen below (1).   

If you find your stools fall into either type 1 or 2, it could be that you are dehydrated and constipated.   In this case, you don’t want your “number 2” to be a number 2!  If you are between 3 and 5 (especially type 4), you are doing pretty well. These stools are easy to pass and do not contain any excess liquid.  If you are 6 or 7, you are experiencing a loose stool or diarrhea.

Keys to healthy bowel movements

There are two key elements to maintaining healthy bowel movements: a balanced diet with plenty of fiber and water, and regular physical activity.  The recommended daily amount of fiber is 38 grams for men and 25 grams for women.  For those over 50, the daily needs drop to 30 grams for men and 21 grams for women (2).  You can easily pump up the fiber in your diet by adding some fruit with breakfast, tossing a few beans on a salad, or adding extra veggies to your favorite casserole. As for keeping well hydrated, there is no “one-size fits all” recommendation.  Several factors can influence your water needs including climate, activity level, and your health.  According to the Institute of Medicine, the adequate intake for total water for young men and women (ages 19 to 30 years) is 3.7 liters and 2.7 liters per day, respectively (3).  Keep in mind, if you are exercising or are out in the heat, these needs will increase.  In addition, the total daily water recommendations do not equate to just water or other drinks like tea or juice.  Part of your daily needs could be met by noshing on foods like melons, cucumbers or a variety of greens, which contain a considerable amount of water by weight.  This is a win-win, as these fruits and veggies also contain fiber. 

In addition to a balanced diet, physical activity is crucial for maintaining healthy bowel movements.  Exercise not only stimulates muscles in your arms, legs, and core, it also helps stimulate muscle contractions in your GI tract.  The muscle contractions in your gut help stools move through your intestines quickly.  When you pair a WOD or jog around the block with a balanced post-workout meal, you are on your way to a perfect #4!  Next time you take a visit to the bathroom, take a moment to reflect.  You might just learn a little bit more about your health.


1. Bristol stool chart. Accessed October 20, 2014.

2. Fiber. Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. Accessed October 14, 2014.

3. Dietary reference intakes for water, potassium, sodium, chloride and sulfate. Institute of Medicine.  Accessed October 14, 2014.

Copyright ©2014 Margaux Neveu All Rights Reserved.