Barefoot Shoes, the Revolution of Evolution!

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Origin Athletics

Do we need heels?

Heels were actually invented around 1500 AD to make it easier to ride horseback, and NEVER used for walking! Later, heels became a status symbol: the taller you appeared, the wealthier you must be. Now we look at each other's cars, and lengths of driveway to determine status anyway, so maybe it's time to lose the heels?

Discover your foot...

It's time to re-discover the results of more than 8 million years of evolution. We figured out how to get to the moon in only a few hundred years! Imagine the refinements that have been made to our feet over millions of years to make standing, walking, jumping, running, and lifting more efficient.

Take your foot, grab the ball of your foot, and move it around in a circular motion. Now push it up and down. 20 muscles, 26 bones, 33 joints, 100 ligaments, and 7200 nerve endings all working together. Modern robotics has never been able to replicate the human foot; it's simply beyond current technology.

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The TrainingFX and CrossFit Vancouver VO2 Max Challenge

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Origin Athletics

"It's not how you start the race, but how you finish..."

VO2 max is a person's maximal capacity to extract oxygen from the air and transport it to their muscles, which is ultimately a reflection of their physicial fitness.  A VO2 max test is a maximum intensity physical test that requires using as many parts of the body as possible, especially the largest muscle groups. For the VO2 Max Challenge, a rowing machine will be used. The test starts with a low intensity warm-up, which builds incrementally for 8 minutes. The point is to burn out your anaerobic system, placing maximal demands on your respiratory system.

Being aware of your VO2 max will help you as a CrossFitter and an overall athlete. The main thing training your VO2 max will teach you is how to pace yourself for maximum results. CrossFitters, for example, often go out "balls to the wall" and end up "flying and dying" because they have no idea how to pace themselves. No professional sports, including CrossFit, go on instincts; there should always be a methodology. Athletes need to learn how to train in the right zone, which means hitting their VO2 max but not exceeding it. When VO2 max is exceeded, the workout becomes totally anaerobic and therefore no longer helpful. By training to their VO2 max, athletes might be uncomfortable but won't go right to failure, which will allow them to crush the end of their workout because they'll have more in the tank. Ultimately, as your VO2 max gets better, you'll be able to maintain a higher intensity for longer and you'll recover quicker.

VO2 Max test in progressDoes having a high VO2 max guarantee you are going to be an awesome CrossFit athlete? No, obviously there are a lot of additional skills required to round out an athlete. Will training your VO2 max make you a better CrossFit athlete? Hell yes!

Think of your heart like a fuel pump feeding an engine. Your heart is not driving your intensity level. It is responding to the demands the rest of your body places on it. Your heart does not care what type of activity you are doing, like CrossFit, rowing, cycling, or sex! Yes, training your VO2 max will make you a better lover! If your muscles place an order for oxygen, your heart responds to deliver.

So what does monitoring your heart rate have to do with CrossFit and why is knowing your VO2 max heart rate such a powerful tool? The intensity required to actually exceed your VO2 max heart rate is very high and short lived as a result. In CrossFit terms, think 20 wall balls at the maximum weight you can finish without stopping.  Or for "Fight Gone Bad", look at your performance on your first set of FGB versus your third set. Yet, if you can hold your intensity level just below your VO2 max threshold, you can greatly extend your training interval without needing a rest, shorten the time you need recover before you start your next interval, and increase the number of intervals can perform before complete failure.

What's great about VO2 max training is that it is quantifiable. You can test to determine how to train in the zone and then go out and nail that zone knowing you are getting your money's worth every time. The moment our muscles are depleted of stored energy and need more we become aerobic athletes. Every time you start panting for breath you are performing an aerobic exercise! What do you think all that breathing is doing? The better your body is at delivering that precious oxygen to your muscles to create the power that moves you, the better an athlete you become!

The VO2 Max Challenge


As a participant in the VO2 Max Challenge, you'll be tested twice. After your first test, which Anthony will coach you through, you will receive your VO2 max index (essentially a number that will let you know where you are on the scale compared to everyone else).  Participants will then be given a program to help improve their VO2 max and will be re-tested in 60 days.  The participant with the biggest improvement wins a prize (sponsored by TrainingFX).

The cost to participate is $95.00, which includes the two tests and the improvement program.

Although entrance to the Challenge is closed for this round, an announcement about the next Challenge will be on this blog.  If you would like to pre-register your interest in the next Challenge, send an email to challenge@trainingfx.com.

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Vitamin D

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Origin Athletics

You may have noticed this subject of Vitamin D ("D") showing up more often these days, especially if you are living north of the 39th parallel. D's role in your basic health is well documented, but lately more information is appearing on its impact on your daily life.

Historically it was known that D, in combination with calcium, promoted strong bones and as we age we need to increase our D intake. However in the last few years, we now realize D does much more. Proper levels of D have now been connected to the reduced risk of various forms of cancer, heart disease, and MS.

Interestingly, D is not technically a vitamin. To quote the Vitamin D council,

"Technically not a "vitamin," vitamin D is in a class by itself. Its metabolic product, calcitriol, is actually a secosteroid hormone that is the key that unlocks binding sites on the human genome. The human genome contains more than 2,700 binding sites for calcitriol; those binding sites are near genes involved in virtually every known major disease of humans."

The more you dig, the more you realize just how important D really is!

The most recent findings and most interesting part when it comes to athletes is D's role in activating our immune system. Essentially, our body needs a certain level of D to activate T-cells. This is a critical function of our immune system. Our immune system can't function optimally if there's not enough D available. It does not affect the production of T-Cells but affects their mobility and memory. Think of having a huge army at your disposal but not enough trucks to move them, even worse the ability to tell them what to do!

As athletes we really give our immune system a workout. This is why athletes actually tend to get sick more often! Especially if we are over training and not getting enough rest. This becomes even more of a factor when we bring our training indoors, or at the Crossfit studio as we handle equipment that has been handled by others, kick up dust during our workouts and leave and transfer sweat.

Recently, Dr Michael Colgan, a BC native based on Saltspring Island, of the Colgan Institute of Canada, released a study that discusses the subject of D and sunscreen. It's a brilliant read so I have attached it to this post. His article could be considered somewhat controversial if you are a sun screen company. The article is very detailed but to summarize one of the key point; if you need sun exposure to get D, and you're wearing sunscreen all day, how do you get enough UV? You will be protecting your skin but will you be getting the dose of UV you need to get your D? What are the broader health consequences to sub optimal D levels ? He outlines several risks of sub optimal D levels.

The bottom line: if you are north of the 39th parallel, you NEED to supplement your D.

The UV levels in our northern sun exposure are not generating the D levels we need. If your levels are very low, your athletic performance and your immune system will be affected. As athletes we affect on our immune system every day, and now with the link between D and our immune system established, you're just asking for trouble if you do not monitor your levels and make an effort to keep you D in the green.

If you want to find out more about you D levels and how to supplement, I will be continuing the subject in future posts. I also have D kits for testing your level. Stop in if you want to find out more!

For more information, have a look at some of these articles:

Look who is taking D these days:


D's Role in our Immune System:


Vitamin D and Living north of the 39th Parallel


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Water Bottle Plus!

Posted on January 27, 2013 by Origin Athletics


One of my new bike fit customers, Hon, rolled in with a very sweet custom "Seven" and the coolest waterbottle cage tool kit I have seen. I asked him for the details of its construction so we could share! Here are Hon's detailed instructions. Enjoy!
  • The softshell Trek waterbottle toolkit is perfect to hold a minipump, inner tube, tire levers and patch kit while minimizing clutter. During wet weather, however, it's not as good since it's not waterproof and soaks up water. They are also discontinued.
  • The 750cc Shimano hardshell waterbottle is better for wet weather, but there is a lot of empty unused space inside, and the loose contents tend to rattle over bumps.
  • The smaller 500cc Shimano hardshell appears to be the perfect size, but does not accomodate a mini pump. You could use C02 cartridges instead, but that's not how I like to roll. I prefer the security of a pump.
500cc bottle, 750cc bottle, Trek softpack

I decided to make my own version:

Step 1: Assemble your parts

  • 1 500cc shimano hardshell storage bottle
  • 1 mini pump of your choice, I like the Lezyne pressure drive in size small
  • 1 big rubber grommet that will fit tightly around your mini pump (electronics or hardware store)

Step 2: Drill a hole in the top cap of the storage bottle

You can use a Dremel tool, but it takes patience and a steady hand. For a cleaner cut, I used a drill press. Note: the hole is offset from the centre to maximize storage space inside.

Step 3: Slip rubber grommet into the hole

If you measured correctly, the fit should be very tight and form a nice waterproof seal.

This is what it looks like on the underside->


Step 4: Slip mini pump onto the rubber grommet

If you have selected the correct size grommet, the fit should be tight and form a waterproof seal:

Step 5: Load inner tubes, patch kit, tire levers into storage bottle and screw on cap

Insert storage bottle into the cage and enjoy the clean look. Rattle free, while keeping contents inside nice and dry!

Do not drill hole too close to the outside edge. Otherwise you will not have enough clearance at the top lip of the cage (some cage designs do not have this lip so you may not have this problem).

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