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An Incredible Time….

By Michael Crespo

We live in an incredible time. Last week Andy wrote a blog about the ReCODE study and CrossFit Novato’s involvement. The ReCODE protocol is used to slow and reverse Alzheimer’s, a neurodegenerative disease most often marked my rapid cognitive decline and that was previously thought to have been a genetic fate which nothing could be done about. 


The ReCODE Protocol was developed by Dr. Dale Bredensen,internationally recognized expert in Neurogenerative Diseases.  Dr. Bredensen was also the founding CEO and President of Novato’s Buck Institute in 1998. Dr. Bredensen earned his Doctorate in Medicine from Duke University Medical Center and served as Chief Resident in Neurology at the University of California. It is safe to say Dr. Bredensen knows the brain having studied cognitive decline extensively. 


There are around 44 million people living with Alzheimer’s or other forms of Dementia. Alzheimer’s alone is purported to possibly bankrupt medicare. According to the center on longevity, “Every 66 seconds this year, an American will develop Alzheimer’s disease, according to the Alzheimer’s Association annual report. By the year 2050, that number is expected to double to one every 33 seconds.” Which is to say this is a massive problem for all of us. 


Dr. Bredensen has dedicated his life to researching the prevention and reversal of cognitive decline. I’ve had the honor of hearing Dr.Bredensen speak once at a Ted Talk in San Rafael, CA and have also heard his interviews on a few recent podcasts. It is worth noting that Dr. Bredesen’s wife is a Functional Medicine Doctor who mentioned back at the beginning of his research that whatever cure he found would be rooted in a systems approach. This is the really exciting part!


A systems approach to our health utilizes different lifestyle interventions whose sum work, treats illness. It is for this reason that the goal of the ReCode study is to prove that multiple components work to treat and reverse Alzheimer’s together and one is not more important than the others. Participants in the ReCODE treatment:

  1. Are put on a low carbohydrate nutrient-dense Keto-Flex diet
  2. Are asked to do 2-3 days of Strength Training and 5 days of Aerobic Exercise a week (High-Intensity Interval Training when possible)
  3. Have a goal to obtain 8 hours of high-quality optimized sleep a night
  4. Participants also participate in Heart Math training for stress reduction
  5. Participants also take a variety of supplements that help with brain support, immune support, antioxidant support, and digestive support. 


You may have read up to here and thought well that’s all good and dandy, but how does that help me? Well, the reason I wrote this blog post was for you to realize no matter your genetic disposition the choices you make every day have a profound effect on your health! 

We live in an amazing time. Functional doctors are prescribing diet, exercise, nutrition, stress reduction, and supplementation. I will leave you with “The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest his patient in the care of the human frame, in diet and in the cause and prevention of disease.” -Thomas Edison. Perhaps the Doctor is in and you simply need to walk through the door



“Alzheimer’s: The Disease That Could Bankrupt Medicare – CNN.” Longevity.stanford.edu, 17 Mar. 2017, http://longevity.stanford.edu/2017/03/07/alzheimers-the-disease-that-could-bankrupt-medicare-cnn/.

ReCode: The Reversal of Cognitive Decline Study

By Andy Boone

I’m writing to share some exciting news. CrossFit Novato and Novato Health have been invited to participate in a clinical study to help measure treatment impact on typical progression of neurocognitive decline observed in patients with Alzheimer’s Disease (AD) and patients exhibiting Mild Cognitive Decline (MCI). Our team is quietly working among a group of healthcare practitioners embarking on the first rigorous trial of a very promising protocol designed to halt the progression of cognitive decline. The endeavor is “ReCODE” or the Reversal of Cognitive Decline study. I humbly and respectfully could not be more proud of this opportunity!


The ReCODE trial is employing Dr. Dale Bredesen’s ReCODE Functional Medicine approach to reversing mild cognitive impairment and early dementia. You may be familiar with Dr. Bredesen’s book, The End of Alzheimer’s. There are approximately 30 people participating in the study. Up to 10 participants will be under the care of our partner physician, San Rafael-based Dr. Ann Hathaway. 


Here is a detailed description of the study published at clinicaltrials.gov


A training program for each study patient will depend on individual history, symptoms, and comprehensive labs including digestive function and microbiome, nutrient and hormonal status, cardiovascular assessment, infectious etiologies, mold, and chemical toxins, and advanced genetic analysis. So far, Michael and Andy have the lead on working with clients. Subjects will adopt a specific diet (working with a certified Nutritionist), commit to regular exercise, work to optimize sleep and adopt stress-reducing activities (working with our team!). 


I’m very proud of our CrossFit roots and our ability to deliver really smart fitness. This January marks our 10th year operating as a proud CrossFit Affiliate. Five of our coaches are now also ADAPT Certified Functional Health Coaches (A-CFHC).  Supporting physicians and their patients more directly – including now stepping into clinical research – is an exciting next chapter for this community. 


It’s That Time of Year…..Again!

By Gillian Boyd

Wait, wait, wait. ANOTHER CrossFit Open? Didn’t we just have one this past February? What is going on?!?

We feel you. This year has seen some big changes to the CrossFit competition season. Last year saw the removal of the Regional qualification process, which was replaced with qualification through The Open or a Sanctional event. This year, to allow a longer season for Sanctionals, CrossFit HQ has moved The Open from February to October. Since this year is the transitional year, it is necessary to have two Opens. Following this year, The Open Will again be a yearly event and happen during October. 

Moving forward, so we don’t conflict with the new Open schedule, the In-House Derby competition moves to February. This will allow us to run two annual events – one in October and one in February – and still allow for focused training cycles.


Just in case you were wondering, we are currently three weeks into a six-week ‘Open training cycle’. Instead of focusing on PR’ing lifts, we are maintaining strength, building proficiency in the Olympic lifts and increasing metabolic capacity.


You might notice metcons with increasing volume and lots of pacing work. Expect at least one sprint/rest type metcon each week. This is where you can play around with pacing including managing larger sets and practicing more efficient transitions. The best Open athletes often not only have great capacity, but they are also strategists. They understand and demonstrate proper pacing and think about how they attack and manage movements in a workout. We want you to enter this year’s Open with more clarity and confidence and encourage you to start thinking more about how you manage your work and rest.


The Open is an event that challenges you to push your limits and reach for PRs! We want you to participate regardless of how long you’ve been in the program. 


Sign-up at https://games.crossfit.com/


Starting on October 10th, one workout will be released each week and this will continue for five straight weeks. Workouts are announced on Thursday evenings and must be completed by the following Monday at 5 pm. We will run Open workouts in all classes on Fridays and then mornings Downtown from 8am-10: 30 am. To make it even more fun and competitive, we will be awarding prizes throughout The Open to our top client performers! Please note that you do need to sign up at https://games.crossfit.com/ in order to be eligible for prizes. 


To kick The Open off, we will be hosting a potluck BBQ on October 11th at 6 pm. Location is across the Annex at 1105 First St. Mark your calendars! 



“Oh The Places You Will Go… With Your Fitness!”

By Coach Andrea Moreira

About six months ago I received a once in a lifetime invitation to backpack the Grand Canyon. My friend had the backcountry permit, trails mapped out, and excel sheets packed with information. I was in! I had never been backpacking before but I had six months to prepare, how tough could it be?

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Member Spotlight: Amber Hatfield

By Michael Crespo

This month’s Member Spotlight is about the amazing Amber Hatfield. If you know Amber, then you know that she has a heart of gold. I regularly see her in my 5:30 AM class at Pacheco Valley and this week I had the opportunity to interview her so that we could get to know her a little more. I was amazed by every second of our interview during which we explored how Amber came to CrossFit, how she uses her training outside of the gym, and an amazing fact that few people know about her.

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CFN Programming: Here’s What’s Next

By Andy Boone and Gilly Boyd

As the 2019 CrossFit Open draws to a close, this blog post represents our time to pause and reflect on where we have been and where we are going! We find ourselves in a unique situation, heavily invested in providing two clean, well equipped fitness spaces at both ends of the same town we love and call home. When we pause long enough to zoom out a bit further and consider what we are building, there is a tremendous pride that comes with supporting two locations and offering enjoyable, evidence-based curriculum that’s available seven days a week.  One that produces results for all ages and ability levels. We very humbly sleep well at night knowing that our program works. We love and believe in our coaches and know that we have exceptional humans who make-up our client community. We are both grateful for what we have and committed to growing and getting better.

Over the past few weeks, we have been gathering opinions and suggestions about the program. Many people love having two locations within the same membership. Some love the coziness and convenience of the Pacheco location while others prefer the openness Downtown. Many people choose the gym that works best with the crazy schedules we all follow. If something is missing in the gym location you call home, please let us know.

Re: the CrossFit program, we’ve gathered some constructive feedback from several of you. As we move into April 2019, we are going to try and revamp the program in ways that will provide a little bit of something for everyone, while still providing a top-notch general strength and conditioning program. Starting this week, you will see the following changes:

1). The Endurance style philosophy ie longer metcons often reflecting sustainable, repeatable paced efforts, will now be programmed three days/per week. We will no longer have a designated “Endurance” day, however you can expect approximately 18 min to 40 min workouts designed to build aerobic endurance and increase metabolic capacity. These workouts will be constantly varied; sometimes involving interval work, sprint work, and/or long grinds. They will include monostructural movements classically seen in endurance training (running, rowing, biking, etc) along with a mix of gymnastic movements and weighted/barbell movements. We hope that this style will please both the people who loved the Endurance programming along with those who love long grinder CrossFit workouts.

2). Three days per week will be devoted to strength work. Two days per week, this will look like 20 min – 40 min of class time focused on learning about a barbell movement, working on efficiency, and then allowing lots of time to work up to the load of the day.  This will allow your coaches much more time to coach and cue each athlete. A conditioning piece at the end of class will either be very short or optional. The third “strength day” will often include a strength accessory piece followed by an eight min to 15 min conditioning piece.

These six days of programming will rotate, so that everyone gets exposed to every stimulus, regardless of the days they tend to take classes. And, as always, there will be some variation week to week (with holidays, special hero workouts, birthday workouts etc). For the most part, the above represents CFN’s basic weekly template.

3). The Fitness track will now be called the “Foundations” track. The Foundations track is returning to its original intention: a track written for the beginner CrossFit athlete building their base of fitness or for the experienced CrossFitter looking for a more foundational and basic approach to the workout of the day. In May, we are planning on hosting a month-long Open House event, and the Foundations track will allow brand-new athletes to feel comfortable in our classes. As always, athletes are still encouraged to scale the Performance track as needed or scale up the Foundations track as desired to meet their needs in a given class.

4). No more prescribed warmup. After two years of the guided, specialized warmup, we feel our coaches are well equipped to provide effective activating warmups on their own. The coaches notes will include some recommendations to the coaches on what to include in their warm-ups to make sure athletes are primed for the work they are doing that day, but the elimination of the prescribed warm-up allows them more freedom to dig deep into the curriculum and really teach the movements. We hope this allows for more learning, work and fun each 60 minute session.

5). An All-New DarkHorse Strength Program:

Previously, the DarkHorse Strength program included two days of powerlifting and accessory work, one day of Olympic lifting focused programming, and one day of Strongman Programming. We have decided to revamp this program to meet the needs of those that want more focused barbell work along with those seeking to advance their abilities in the competitive side of fitness.

The DarkHorse Program will now host two days per week of “Comp” training. This 30 min to one hour of extra programming is meant to supplement the regular class programming, allowing athletes to spend more time developing and honing their advanced gymnastic skills, their strength and extra volume to better prepare them for competition.

On Mondays and Fridays, this extra programming will be available to all athletes under the “DarkHorse” track included in the SugarWod app feed (if you need help finding this track, please ask a coach). Any Unlimited athlete can complete this extra work any time the gym is open, seven days per week. For example, if you take the 5:30 am PV class, you could attend the regular class on Monday morning and then stay after and complete the Comp training extra programming during the 6:30 am PV class. Or, if you take the 8:30 am DT on Tuesdays, you could stay after and do the extra work during the 9:30 am Tuesday class.

Please remember, freedom to access the gym during additional class times requires an Unlimited membership. Two day/week and Three day/week memberships allow you access to instructor led class sessions including Olympic Weightlifting and Open Gym.

The DarkHorse Program will also include two days of strength-specific programming, along with two classes devoted to the programming! The two days of strength-focused programming will be in SugarWod under the “DarkHorse” track on Wednesdays and Saturdays. For Unlimited members, this work can be completed any day, any time that the gym is open. However, most athletes are encouraged to attend the DarkHorse Strength classes on Wednesdays at 6:30pm Downtown and/or Saturdays at 10:30am Downtown (NEW CLASS launching this week!!). This strength programming will by Olympic lifting focused, with some Powerlifting and Strongman mixed in. You will tend to see more Powerlifting on Wednesdays and more Strongman on Saturdays. Any unlimited athletes interested in getting stronger and spending more time under the barbell are encouraged to attend class or do the work on their own. Athletes with Two day/week and Three day/week memberships can attend these classes, but it does count as one of their weekly classes out of their limit of 2 or 3 classes.

In summary:

CFN has evolved into three days of longer, endurance style metcons. We are offering three days of focused strength work. We also have four additional days of programming for those interested in Comp training and more Strength. Our Unlimited members have unlimited access to two facilities. We have over 20 coaches ready to answer questions and offer advice. Simply reach out to any of our coaches via email and ask away. We really, really, really want to hear from you!

Are you willing to reach out to a coach and wrestle nutrition as a topic? What about prioritizing lifestyle changes or maybe you want to discuss setting a few goals with a coach?

We hope that you give these new changes some time to settle on you and your body and mind. We hope that you are willing to shift and evolve with us! Not sure how this all feels or have more questions? Reach out to Andy and let him know. He can be reached at andy@crossfitnovato or 415-290-2964

If you would like to learn more about the science of programming and the “Why” behind what we do, please attend the next Educational Series on Tuesday, April 2nd at 7:30pm Downtown with Coach Gilly. Bring questions, bring curiosity.

And please give our newest CFN7 Podcast (listen here) episode a listen for more background on programming and the most recent changes! Thank you, thank you again for sharing your thoughts and supporting CFN. We are grateful for you!

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CrossFit Novato - Downtown

Address: 7427 Redwood Blvd
Novato, CA 94945

Phone: (415) 290-2964
Email: andy@crossfitnovato.com

CrossFit Novato - Pacheco Valley

Address: 5420 Nave Dr
Novato, CA 94949

Phone: (415) 290-2964
Email: andy@crossfitnovato.com

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