Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

What a ride! has been online for just over 22 weeks now and I'm glad to see so many other folks using it.

As the clock strikes midnight here in the San Francisco Bay Area, we'll have ~180 members who have logged well over two thousand workouts.

Several gyms have also signed up to use this year.
Surface Warfare Functional Fitness Training (SWFFT) was founded by AJ Kruppa, a friend of mine from High School. It's been fun to reconnect over Crossfit!

Enjoy a nice non-paleo beverage tonight, and best wishes for 2009.

Keep tracking!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Download your stats

Recording your workout logs on is quick and easy. You get nice graphs charting your progress. You get to share your performance with your friends. You might even document the details of your WOD suffering with a pic or two.

These features are a part of the tool, but this is your data. Go ahead, take it. Back it up. Save it in your vault in the Pyrenees. When you view your profile page on, you'll see a link to "Download your stats to your computer". You'll get a file that you can open in any spreadsheet application, to do with as you please.

This is the first of several planned features to open up your log data to you in various formats. As usual, please send in your feedback and suggestions. It's quite helpful to hear what you'd like to do with your data outside of Stay tuned, and keep tracking!

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Tweet your stats!

I've been using twitter for a while now (@briandoll). Now is on twitter too (@statulous)!

Last month, a member and twitter user, @jgrantmarshall asked if could post to twitter.

Enter twitterfeed! To get your log posted to your twitter account:
  1. Log into twitterfeed (with an OpenID provider, like Google)
  2. "Create New Feed"
  3. Enter your twitter credentials
  4. On, go to the "My Log" tab
  5. Copy the URL from the link named "with your own RSS feed!"
  6. Paste that URL into the "RSS Feed URL" form field on twitterfeed
  7. Keep the "include link" checkbox checked, to include a shortened link in your tweets back to the full version of your log entry.
I'll be using twitterfeed to add the blog posts to the twitter account.

Have fun!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

What better time for nutrition advice?

While this post isn't specifically about, I think it is quite relevant to each of us as we aim to keep progressing through the holidays.

A friend of mine recently started Crossfit at my gym and another friend is prepping for his second marathon. I'm focusing on broadening my diet a bit and getting in 4+ Crossfit workouts each week. Nutrition, for all of us, is critical to our success. After being asked a few times for advice on nutritional books, recipes and shopping strategies, I've decided to respond via this blog.

It should come as no surprise that the nutrition information I'm recommending here is exactly what you'll find on a million other Crossfit websites. I hope that by combining much of this information in one cohesive post, it will provide more value than it's otherwise scattered parts.

The Food:

We Crossfitters would say that we "Zone our Paleo". We "Eat high quality foods, in proper portions". This breaks down to:
High quality foods == Paleolithic foods
Proper portions == Zone diet portions

Hitting the books:

Good Calories, Bad Calories, by Gary Taubes (@amazon, New York Times review)
Hardcore science journalism that digs into both the science and politics of why most of us are so incredibly wrong about nutrition. The bibliography of this 447 page book is 113 pages long. It's hard to refute that quantity of research and review. Read this to gain a better understanding of why fat is not bad for you, cheap carbohydrates are, cholesterol has little to do with what you eat and diabetes has more to do with bread than candy canes.

In Defense of Food: An Eater's Manifesto by Michael Pollan
When folks read Pollan's exciting tale of four meals in The Omnivore's Dilemma, many asked "so.. what should I eat?". Pollan's take on that question is simple, and stated right on the front cover. Eat food. Mostly plans. Not too much. Read this for rather simple, while not very prescriptive, suggestions on how to better your diet, with some mild politics and science thrown in for good measure. This book is not technical at all, and very friendly for those looking for a light read on the subject. If you're looking for nutritional information for performance, look elsewhere.

Enter The Zone by Barry Sears (@amazon,
Dr. Barry Sears is the originator of the Zone diet, and author of several books on the zone. Enter The Zone is the first book he wrote, which spends as much time describing the science behind the zone portions, as it does with making recommendations. This is a great read to gain a better understanding of insulin response, and why protein/carb/fat ratios are important. While this and other zone books are great at driving home the logic behind the famed "40:30:30" ratio, none of these books are great for making decisions on what specific foods to eat. Use the zone to determine how much of your paleo foods you should be eating.

The Paleo Diet for Athletes by Loren Cordain and Joe Friel (@amazon)
While I have not read this book, I have read the Cliff Notes (pdf). This book adds to the otherwise traditional peleo diet and makes specific recommendations for what to eat before, during or after long endurance activities.


Cooking for Health & Performance by Scott Hagnas with Robb Wolf & Nicki Violetti
This is the single best recipe book I have found. This eBook is in your typical cookbook style with photos, great descriptions and directions along with ingreedients and other information. Each recipe also has zone block information, which is quite handy.

Performance Menu Journal by Catalyst Athletics
The Performance Menu journal is my second favorite fitness publication, second only to the Crossfit Journal itself. Each issue has several great fitness related articles and finishes with a few recipes from the folks that wrote the eBook listed above. This is a great resource and a total bargain.

Crossfit Journal - Nutrition section
If you don't subscribe to this yet, do so now. It's an insanely great resource for fitness and nutrition, for Crossfitters and other athletes alike. The nutrition section is another great resource of hard science and empirical data on athletic performance and the nutrition that supports them.

In order to keep a reference of all the great recipes I've found in these and other publications, I've been keeping a binder in my kitchen with print outs of each recipe inside a sheet protector. It sounds a bit overkill, but it's been really nice to categorize meals by protein source and have breakfast, snack and other recipe categories easily accessible. To keep my time in the kitchen efficient, I type up the recipes by hand, in order to minimize the amount of instruction necessary into simple bullet points I can read at a distance.

Shopping Strategies

You've probably heard some of this advice before. "Shop at the edges of the supermarket." "Don't buy anything with a nutrition label on it." "Buy things that spoil fast, and buy them frequently."

I enjoy cooking quite a bit, and I tend to get more satisfaction out of improvising on well-known recipes than trying out esoteric ones for the first time. For the record, I eat some variation of eggs for breakfast every... single... day. While I do get variety in my meals, I don't like to get so complicated that I need a special shopping run for a specific meal. I buy virtually the same stuff, every few days, at our local Trader Joe's.

It seems incredibly simple to me now, but I remember how stressful the first few shopping trips were after I saw the Paleo light. "Can you eat this?" "Can you eat that, now?" Here is what's usually in my cart every few days:
  • Meat: ground turkey, chicken breast, steak (grass fed), turkey breast on the bone
  • Fish: tuna (in the pouches), frozen salmon patties
  • Eggs: Those really good Omega-3 plus Trader Joe's eggs. I eat over a dozen a week.
  • Veggies: broccoli, cauliflower, onions, mushrooms, zuchini, spinach, salad greens
  • Fruit: apples, grapes, pears, berries (frozen for smoothies)
  • Nuts: almond butter (i eat one jar a week), raw walnuts
  • Dairy: Natural organic yogurt, skim milk (for coffee), low fat cottage cheese
  • Others: I buy the Whole Foods brand of protein powder for smoothies, where I also get fresh ground flax which I add to many dishes.
Send in your suggestions!
Be sure to add your comments to this post if you have additional recommendations on athletic nutrition and peformance.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Profile photos!

I'm terrible with names. I've worked out with some great people at my gym and while I'm sure we've exchanged names, after a 21 of this and 50 of that I can barely remember my own. If only there were a way to see a picture of your workout pals, so you'd remember never to partner up with them on Angie again!

Now you can. On your "My Profile" page, click "Edit your profile" and upload that photo of you with 300# overhead. You know the one...

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Private custom named categories

It all started with a great suggestion from a user. Do you have a workout that you do frequently, that you'd like to track on Would you like to have those entries grouped together and appear in your graphs? Now you can!

On your profile page, you'll see a link to manage your private custom categories. Create as many as you like! These categories will be available to you only, every time you log an entry in

Thanks for the feedback gang, and keep tracking!

Friday, November 14, 2008


Announcing a new search feature for! Now you can search through your log entries or any of your friends logs to quickly find what you're looking for.

Your search text is compared against your log comments, the category name and description. Results are ordered in reverse chronology. Happy searching!

Also, if you have connected with friends on, you'll get a direct link to their nutrition log on your friends page. The link will only appear if your friends have tracked nutrition on, so nag them if you don't see the link!

Happy tracking!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Track your workouts with your friends and clients is, in my opinion, the best way to track Crossfit workouts. You get to access your workout log from anywhere and see your progress visually in graph form. If you belong to one of the Gyms affiliated with, you get to see an aggregate workout log for everyone at your gym, too.

But what about your friends? For trainers, what about your clients? You can privately share your work log, a single log entry or even a graph, but how quickly do we lose track of those links? How is your friend progressing on Fran? How are your clients tracking their nutrition and home workouts between sessions?

Track our friend's and client's workout logs? Yes we can!
You'll notice the new "My Friends" tab on starting today. Find your friends, ask them to connect with you, and automatically share your workout log and graphs with them.

Friend requests, along with their approval or (gasp!) denial will appear within the "My Friends" tab as well. No emails will be sent to either party. Who needs more spam, anyway?

So go ahead, find your workout pals on, or sign them up! It's time to get tracking!

Monday, October 20, 2008


For the first time since writing, I looked into some performance improvements. Today I've launched some new code that should make feel much faster. If you experience anything to the contrary, let me know.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

New Categories Added

As requested by a contributing member, the following categories have been added to
  • Max 1 Rep: Back Squat
  • Max 1 Rep: Front Squat
  • Max 1 Rep: Overhead Squat
  • Max 1 Rep: Deadlift
  • Max 1 Rep: Bench Press
  • Max 1 Rep: Clean
  • Max 1 Rep: Jerk
Several users have also started using the custom workout feature to track their nutrition. While I never saw as much of a nutrition tracker myself, I certainly see the benefit of having all your workout and nutrition information in one place. Now that I have also started to track nutrition on, I've added a "Nutrition Log" category for that purpose.

Some folks have asked me how I format my entries to get bullet points and basic formatting. Check out the textile formatting guide to get your posts looking their best.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

New Feature: Gym-specific workouts

I announced earlier that you can associate yourself with your gym on Now we've taken that a step further. I received some feedback that it would be nice to add gym-specific workouts to Now you've got it!

If you associate yourself with a gym on (click on "My Gym" for more info) you will see the general log categories as well as categories specific to your gym.

This means I'm also happy to announce that in honor of Margie from TJ's gym, the "Margie" workout is now available in the logs for anyone who has signed up with TJ's gym on

Hey TJ, send me more named workouts!

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

New Feature: Time-based custom workouts, new categories

The great feedback on keeps pouring in. Yago asked about a feature that I'm sure all of us have been missing. Time-based custom workouts.

For new custom workout entries, check the "Timed Workout?" check box to indicate that your entry should always be displayed in time format (12:12 vs. 12.2).

For existing custom workouts, you can edit your entries via your profile page. Click on the "Edit" link next to the workout in question, and select the "Custom Workout" and "Timed Workout" check boxes. That's it!

Also, for you rowers out there, now supports 500m, 1000m, 1500m and 2000m Rowing workouts.

Keep Tracking (and keep that feedback coming!)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

New Feature: Gym group logs

So far you've been able to share an individual workout, your entire workout log or an individual graph, with a special link. This works great when you want to share with someone outside your workout group.

What about the community at your gym? What if you could "join" your gym on and have your stats automatically show up in a "group log" for your gym. Now you can.

You'll notice a new menu item called "My Gym". If you have not joined a gym on yet, you'll get a listing of the gym's we're currently working with. If you see your gym listed, join the fun! If you don't see your gym listed, tell them to contact me.

Once you "join" your gym on, you'll be able to view all the stat entries for your gym, including yours, in one place!

Keep Tracking!

Monday, August 25, 2008

New Categories!

I've received lots of great feedback on so far! I'm happy to announce that more workout categories have been added, as requested.

For Crossfit workouts, I've added:
Angie, Badger, Barbara, Chelsea, Cindy, Daniel, Eva, Griff, Isabel, Joshie, Karen, Murph, Nicole, Randy, and Tommy V.

For runners, I've added:
400m, 800m, 1200m, 1600m, 5k, 10k, Half Marathon and Marathon distances.

Keep Tracking!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

New Feature: Share a graph!

You can share your workout log, or an individual workout. Now you can share any of your graphs, too! Each graph in the "My Graphs" section now has a "Share this graph" link, which you can use to send to any of your friends. Want to show off you much you've improved on Fran? Post that link and let's see!

Keep tracking!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

New Feature: Logging stats in time format

Many Crossfit workouts are not only tough, but you're supposed to do them as fast as you can! So far, on you've only been able to enter time in numbers. A time of 10:30 is easily logged as 10.5, but what about all those other not-so-nice looking fractions?

Starting today, will accept both numeric and time-based log entries. You may enter 10.5 or 10:30 and we'll do the right thing with it. You'll notice that your workout log and RSS feed has been updated appropriately. keeps track of other types of data too. You wouldn't want to see your weight logged in minutes, would you? You'll notice that some workouts, along with running pace and weight are displayed as numbers. This is also true for "Custom workouts", since each of those entries could be different.

Keep tracking!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

New Feature: Quick Feedback!

While suits my needs perfectly right now, I'd like to get other users feedback on how it could be improved. Today I added a feedback forum powered by UserVoice.

You'll see a feedback tab on the left side of the screen, which you can use to quickly provide site feedback, or vote on current ideas. As specific ideas get voted on, I'll consider those as high priorities for enhancing

Keep tracking!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

New Feature: Share your stats with anyone

I've been using to track each of my workouts so far, and I'm really happy with how it works. One thing I noticed was that I'd get done with a particularly intense workout, and want to share my results with someone. I came up with a few ideas, and I'm happy to announce that now features sharing of workout stats!

Now you can:
- Share a specific workout entry with someone
- Share your entire workout log with someone
- Share your workout log as an RSS feed

Keep in mind that this sharing feature uses some nifty technology to ensure that if you share one workout entry, that person won't be able to find other workout entries of yours. This way, you could choose to share that crazy workout from last Tuesday, but not your weight stat you recorded on Saturday!

Keep tracking!

Monday, July 28, 2008 launches!

As soon as I started getting into Crossfit, I realized that it would be important to keep track of my workouts to track my progress. Lots of folks use the Crossfit message boards to post workout results and others create their own blog to jot down their stats. Unfortunately, both of these options make it pretty hard to tell how much you're improving.

I wanted something better. I wanted to track my workouts easily. I wanted to see a nice graph, depicting my time for a particular workout over time. How much faster was I getting? How long did it take to make that 10% improvement on my "Helen" time?

I looked around and found a few attempts at this problem, and found them all lacking. I started to jot down notes of how I'd like to see a fitness tracker work, and decided to build one.

My wife had a girls weekend away planned, which left me with two evenings with not much to do. After two nights of hacking, I'm happy to announce the first official public release of!

The site is free to use for everyone. If you have any suggestions or other feedback to give, let me know!