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Tuesday
Feb102015

Rest Day

Glimpses of CrossFit intersecting work at CLINIC, Todd C.'s company

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How to Bring CrossFit to Work, Literally 

By Kate Reece 

For CrossFitters with 9-5 office jobs, the list of reasons why sitting all day is bad for you is just as long as the list of ways to creatively incorporate movement in an otherwise inactive day. Business Insider interviewed coach Chris Fox about a four-minute workout you can do in the office, involving squats and push-ups. You can bring a lacrosse ball to tack-and-stretch your muscles against a wall. You can build or buy a standing desk. Or you can Google “workouts you can do at your desk” and a glut of articles with catchy titles will flood your browser.  

Todd Cavallo was in college when he got his first job in NYU’s computer lab. As a college student, he was mostly into Star Trek and Cheetos, and golf was the extent of his forays into athletic activity. After graduating, he worked in IT—meaning he’s been sitting in front of a computer for work more-or-less since 1998. He says he took the mostly sedentary lifestyle of programmers and the IT world as a given, until he found CrossFit in 2011. Todd now co-owns a tech company, and over the last year, he’s found ways to shake up the familiar scenery of sitting, all day, every day, with shitty posture in front of a screen. He’s extended that change of scenery to his employees, by literally bringing CrossFit into his company’s offices in both Manhattan and Manila.

When Todd wasn’t traveling to the Philippines or some other far-flung locale, we chatted with him about that process. When we read his well-received post on the CrossFit Message Boards last year, we decided his story was cool enough that we needed to share it with everyone at CFSBK. Enjoy, and feel free to ask any follow up questions in the comments, as Todd has agreed to follow along and answer them.

CFSBK: Tell us about your company. How did you get started? What do you do?

TC: We are CLINIC, a technology services company with specialties in Infrastructure Management and Web Development. We started out as an IT services company about eight years ago, and I have been managing the development arm of the company for the past five years. 

CFSBK: When did you get into CrossFit? What compelled you about it?

TC: I have been doing CrossFit for almost three years now. I had been lifting and running on my own and a friend told me I had to check it out. I started doing some of the workouts on my own before first training at CFMNL (CrossFit Manila Philippines) while working out of our Manila offices. Shortly thereafter, I signed up for Foundations at CFSBK when I was back in the States. It's the same story you've heard a million times: I thought I was in shape until my first real WODs left me in a sweaty sobbing heap on the floor, and after I could stand up again I wanted more.

CFSBK: What does your training look like now?

TC: Over the last year or so I have been focused primarily on weightlifting and my training centers around the lifts with squats and auxiliary work. I do try to get some conditioning in occasionally, usually when David makes me, but it's hard for me to stay at a competitive weight if I "move around" too much. This isn't the best example for my team but some of them are also getting into weightlifting so its another thing besides "the WOD" that we can geek out about in the office, which I feel is great for team building.

CFSBK: How did you decide to bring CrossFit into CLINIC?

TC: We were looking for a way to combat the sedentary lifestyle that accompanies most tech work, and because I was into CrossFit, I thought, Hey, let’s bring that into the office. We want to support a lifestyle that we believe is healthy. My business partner, Karl, had brought an old shitty bench press setup into our office after moving apartments, and I noticed the guys starting to use it. I said, "Let's do this right," and a few large (and heavy) orders from Rogue later, we basically had a fully outfitted CrossFit box in the corner of our office. On my next trip to our Manila office, I found some local equipment manufacturers to outfit the office there with most of the same equipment. Things started off with me doing some Foundations-style classes for the teams and putting together some basic strength and conditioning workouts that could be done within the confines of the office environment and with the shared equipment. 

CFSBK: Describe the logistics of what you offer your employees in terms of membership reimbursements and what's available in your offices.

TC: We eventually decided that the employees were better off getting some regular coaching, so we now offer full reimbursement for any box memberships in New York as long as the employee goes at least three times a week. I obviously find CrossFit valuable because of everything that goes along with it—it’s not only a better workout than if you went to some random exercise class or globo-gym, but if you go to a good box, it’s safer and the overall lifestyle is healthier. Yes, it’s more expensive but the results that you get from it are well worth that expense.

The economics and available space in the Manila office actually allows us to bring in a coach from the local affiliate twice a week to lead a coached class right in the office gym. There's usually one or two strength movements followed by a varied conditioning piece. They all sweat together and lay on the floor after the WOD, and then talk about it for the next few days until the next session. So they’re really into it. They also have strength work they do on their own for the rest of the week.

In the New York office, at first, I programmed some WODs that we did as a group. Now most people go to various boxes in the city, but Kenny and I sometimes still lift together in the office, and some of the other guys do too—squatting, benching, deadlifting. It’s worth mentioning that everyone has a convertible standing desk in the offices, too.

CFSBK: What kinds of benefits have you seen from implementing this program and bringing all that gear into your offices?

TC: We’re a small company, so I’m not really looking at how this impacts our bottom line. Given our size, we don’t have the capabilities to process the data on the effect of the initiative on sick days or general health, but the fact that so many of the team members are taking advantage of the program and really getting into the training is all the feedback I need to know that we made the right call. The team building is the most obvious benefit, but the employee wellness factor was what really drove the process from the beginning. 

A great example is CFSBKer Roosevelt, one of my employees who works in our New York office. He started going to CFSBK, and he took it further and went Paleo and did last year’s LFPB Challenge. Since he began CrossFit, he’s lost 73 pounds. He still makes and brings his own lunches, usually steamed vegetables and grilled chicken.

We’re willing to go the extra mile and pay $100 to $200/month in reimbursements, instead of $15/month for a membership at a place like Planet Fitness, because we reap the benefits of better health and wellness in our employees. But—we also have a ping-pong table in both offices, just because it’s fun, and we go out drinking, too. Those things are also important. 

CFSBK: What advice would you offer to someone who wants to do the same thing with their company or in their workplace?

TC: Just do it. If you are in a position where you can afford to invest in employee wellness, do it a bit at a time until the program can grow into itself. Listen to your employees, and find out what would help them achieve their fitness goals. We now offer reimbursements for martial arts classes and globo-gym memberships as well for employees that haven't fully embraced the CrossFit lifestyle. We do have some "fully committed" CrossFitters too—one of our office managers in Manila is gung ho about joining the local box there so he can start competing, and he has plans to get his Level 1 Certification as soon as there's another one in the area.

_____________________
My Dad, the Pornographer The New York Times 
Want to Limit Overeating? Get More Sleep Psychology Today  
Inspiration from Luke Ericson Ross Training 

Reader Comments (26)

Wednesday's Programming

Back Squat

Fitness: 3 x 5 Linear Progression
Start a bit below last cycle.
Performance: 95% x 1, 75% x 10

Post loads to comments.
e3/8
_____________________

5 Rounds For Time:
30 Double Unders
5 Dumbbell Deadlifts
5 Dumbbell Hang Power Cleans
5 Dumbbell Thrusters

Post time and Rx to comments.

February 9, 2015 | Registered CommenterDavid Osorio

6am

HBBS 225x5x3
I felt yesterday's metcon here. This was harder than expected.

WOD 6:10 with 40# Dumbbells
Tripped once on the last round of doubles. DB work unbroken except for last round where I broke up the thrusters 2-3.

Recovery row 1k @ ~2:20 pace

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAlex C

6am with Jess and McDowell

Yesterday's Work

Bench Press 225# X 1 and then all 10 reps at 175#. Still moving well.

WOD:
C&J - 18 reps
T2B/PU - 68 reps
Row - 53 Calories
Total Reps - 139

6am-ers we need to find a night to grab drinks and properly send off Elliott. Hopefully some of the coaches can join us.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMattyChm

Nice article! Todd's office setup sounds seriously amazing. I know CF has a lot of popularity among tech people -- I heard about CrossFit originally when I was working in a startup. One of our engineers went to Black Box, and described the workouts as "you run around like crazy for ten minutes and then you're done." I googled "crossfit" near me and nothing workout-wise has been the same for me since. Wish more offices were like this -- good read!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAmanda Mc

T-bone!!!! Great article! I have seen this set up once in person and it's really really awesome!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCam

Monday's workout:

Bench
330x1
265x10
Felt good. Was sore from Sunday's presses, but still moved well.

WOD
Took the first three minutes to do Grace, 30 C+J for time.
Finished in 2:14 RX, which is a 20 or 30 second PR. Yay!

T2B/Push-ups
Got 4 + 5 T2B. Really felt gassed and tired from Grace, but tried to move quickly. T2B broke down for me on this one.

Row: 66 cals - tried to stay at a low stroke rating with hard pulls.

Nice little group of workouts.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMatt Katz

6am with Jess and McDowell. Bench press 3x5 at 165. The last rep on all of these sets was slow going up - especially on the last two sets. in once instance, I didn't bring the bar all the way down to my chest, but rather reversed direction with about 1/4 of an inch between the bar and my chest. Unsurprisingly, that made the rep tough to grind out. On the last rep of the last set, McDowell noted that I brought the bar down too fast - probably overcompensation. Going forward, I'll have to keep my mind on staying on tension and keeping a smooth, even bar path.
In the WOD, I got 20 C&J at 95 lbs; 4 rounds plus 14 situps and 6 pushups (subbed 14 situps for t2b to save my palms/grip and keep myself moving); and rowed 49 cals. The C&J were heavier than I usually go when these are programmed in a WOD - and it felt heavy after a few reps but overall went well. The last time I rowed 3:00 for calories was for the lfpb capacity test about a month ago - and I improved that performance by 9 cals. I'm excited to do that whole workout again later this week.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterShawn

Nice write up on TC. Nice to see him and his company taking things above and beyond. Sounds like a good company to work for.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterk2h2

Awesome article, Todd! I wish my company did a fraction of what you are doing for your employees. Instead, we get chocolate everyday around 3pm. At least I happen to work at another place where there's lots of heavy shit to lift and people are really into fitness... :)

Been out sick the past couple of days (I think my body has been in shock readjusting to this weather), hoping to get back into the gym to workout tomorrow.

Make-up from Friday in Oakland:
DL
5x135
3x165
3x225
1x255
1x270
1x280 (PR)
1x290 (PR!)
Fail at 300.

Very exciting and gratifying to see hard work pay off.

Annie: 6:33 Rx (just needed to do something to get my heart rate up, but nothing too taxing after the deadlifts). All double unders and sit-ups unbroken, but I was slow on the transitions and had some trip ups as I was starting double unders.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLil JB

8:30pm last night. Olympic lifting. Snatch (2 pulls to power position + snatch + overhead squat) @ 110#. Received permission to start working on catching lower. Doing so messed up my pull a bit. One step forward, two steps back. Clean & jerk (1 clean + 2 jerks) @ 176#. Need to keep my shoulders over the bar longer on the cleans. Jerks were feeling good, though I need to concentrate on keeping my back foot turned in. Has a tendency to splay out.

@MattyChm: BK and I nominated/conscripted MichaelA to organize something.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterPeter

Yesterday's work:

Bench singles at 205 and 220, with the drop set at 175. Everything felt great and moved pretty well.

Loved this WOD:
25 C+J
47 T2B/PU
71 Cal row
Total - 143

Really wanted to get a full Grace in the first three minutes, but I just ran out of gas. I did three sets of five to start, then rested too much and pulled singles earlier than I should have. Oh well.

I realized the other day I have known Todd C for 17 years, and was definitely on the couch watching Star Trek with him in college. He's the guy that got me and Cam to come here. Very thankful for that, and to have known such an awesome dude for almost half my life!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael C.

6am at Crossfit Doubletree Cambridge

(a.k.a the gym in my hotel in Cambridge, MA)

The hotel had a brand new Concept2 (much to my chagrin), so I did a mash-up of some workouts from the last few days.

(Stretch)
Coffee
DROM's

(Warm-up)
2 rounds NFT
Row 250m
10 windmills each side with 20# DB
20 hollow rocks

(Lift)
DB bench press ladder
45# x 10
55# x 10
65# x 10
- heaviest they had

(Conditioning)
1000m row
50 DB thrusters at 30#
30 burpees

Came off the row at 4:45, then finished the wod at 6:35.

@Matt - i'll send an email re: elliot's last day

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMichael A.

I want in on Elliot's drink up. Also I want a job with Todd. Good on you, Cavallo!

Squat
285x3x4
285x2x2

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFox

Much respect Todd!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJay-Star

Oof,, my dream of squaring the circle and getting in both Monday 8:30pm Oly class and my much-craved pre-work 6am Tuesday WOD hit the reality of AMRAP C&Js. My knees were pretty fried from last night's class so i tried to weasel through some junk "enhanced reverse curls" but it wasn't pretty. Oh well, I will atone in the next life, aka tomorrow night. Really nice Oly class -- my body is finally showing signs of letting go of some pretty deeply grooved bad habits on the snatch. (Though ideal mobility for the snatch is like a beautiful beach I'm watching from the deck of a ferry as it's pulling slowly away.) Bench press 245 x1, 195 x 10. 17 "c&j" at 115#; 3 1/2 rounds of 7 t2b, 3 rounds of 7 push-ups, 43 calories on the ERG. Bravo to Todd C - very impressive. Definitely want in on raising a glass to Comrade Elliott.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterScott

@MichaelC, though I was definitely a nerd in high school, it was you who got me hooked on Star Trek Voyager and eventually TNG in college. Also I should point out that it was most likely Munchos and not Cheetohs I was eating at the time, as it was before I had been cured of my veganism.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterTodd

12noon w/ Coach McDowell
(Semi-personal training session! Spent the time discussing baby daughters and humidifiers.)

Future Squats:
LBBS: 240x5x3
It sounded like I was crushing small tacos or large roaches that were placed behind my knees, but otherwise these felt great. I may go 250 for e/4.

WOD: (w/ my man Juan)
8:40 35# dumbbells
I now know how those tacos/roaches felt.

Row:
Around 8mins keeping it under 2:20 pace.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterChris Yun

I wish I knew anything at all about technology so I could work for Todd!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterStella

Todd - I admire for the great approach to health that you bring to your company!

6am. Not a great day for me. BSQ: 135x5 / 185x4 / 225x2 / 255x1 / 290F / 225x10. I went to bed fearing this heavy single and woke up ready to fail. Probably didn't help. I hit 295 right before I hurt my finger and thought I had caught back up to my previous peak, but perhaps not. My descent here was slow, perhaps because I was worried I wouldn't lift it back up. 280 went up last week so I think I'll just try to hit this again next week.

WOD: 7:48 @ 40#. DU just were not happening today. First round was unbroken and things were feeling good, but those thrusters knocked it out of my for some reason. I really tripped up on every other round. I broke up the thrusters on the last 2 rounds. Really bummed about my performance today but it happens, so hopefully I'll make it up on Thurs.

6am guys - thanks for the drinks idea - we'll make it happen.

February 10, 2015 | Registered CommenterElliott

Oly Cycle.

Snatch- 2 shifts from the knee, power snatch, OHS 5 second hold.
33 x 3
53 x 3
63 x 3
68 x 3 x 5

Clean and jerk- clean, pull, jerk.
33 x 2
63 x 2
73 x 2
83 x 2
88 x 2 x 2
93 x 2 x 3
88 x 2 x 2

***
Press
45 x 5
65 x 4
75 x 2
85 x 3 x 3 (PR)
70 x 8

That last rep of the third set took about a whole minute. Ha.

WOD
18 Clean and Jerks @ 95#
3 rounds T2B/K2E push-ups
44 cal.

Jeremy made me Rx the weight. I didn't think I could do it.
I had to scale to K2E after first round- should have scaled volume from the beginning but they felt pretty good in the first round so I didn't but I just couldn't get my toes up there at all after that. Glad I tried though!
The row was as I expected. I could have sprinted for a bit longer at the end, if I am honest.

Glad I jumped in for this workout. Fun!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterCharlie

CrossFit is humbling.

Monday's work. 190 Bench. Ready for a jump.

Only 22 reps. Grace Fail. That kinda pissed me off.

Row was harder than anticipated.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan L

TC Livin the dream!!

Pause below the knee Snatch
253x1x4

Clean+Jerk
220
264
286x2
308x2
319x2
330x1x3

Pause below the knee snatch pulls
308x3x2
330x3x2

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJakeL

Fitness squat @145. Not raising my legs and torso up simultaneously. This is a constant issue. I have dropped significant weight off my squats multiple times over the last two years to fix this problem, but it's not working. Not sure if it's due to lack of core strength or coordination problems. Or both. Ugh.

WOD in 8:49 with 20 DUs and 20# DBs. Got about 4-12 double unders at a time. Probably should have gone for 30 each round. I did everything else wrong today. Was squatting the DBs instead of deadlifting then was muscle cleaning instead of power cleaning. Thankfully Whit got me back on track. My left arm fatigued really quickly for some reason from all the DB movements. Overall today was meh. Maybe it's due to the two cheat meals I had this week.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterKLove

Evening session
Snatch
88x3x3
99x3x2
Grooving positions

Snatch Pull
195x3x3
Grooving positions and apparently pulling the bar pretty high. Good training day.

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterFox

Todd!!

Oly class today was humbling as usual. New levels of keeping it light and drilling down on technique. Really appreciate Frank's attention to detail and persistence.

Snatch complexes

2 snatch pulls and snatch from deck
25, 30, 32, 35, 32

2 shifts (mid to high hang) and hang snatch
30, 32, 35, 32

Did these many times. Working out kinks in the 2nd pull. Frank suggested I snatch every day. From the hang? "Yes. I don't want you pulling from the floor without me there." So.. I guess I have some room for improvement..

C&J
35, 40, 50, 55, 57
Last one was the best

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterLauren

An excellent 530 PM with Whit and Jeremy

Close-grip bench press to accommodate my right shoulder: 157.5x5x3

WOD:

30 power cleans @115lbs
4 rounds + 7 situps
48 calories

That new space is going to be ROCKING!

February 10, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSamir Chopra

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