Keep Calm CrossFit On

20 02 2013

Yes, I didn’t do a blog post yesterday.  And that is just the beginning of the disappointments this week.  I missed CrossFit yesterday because it was too tight time wise to hit the 4PM class and get home in time for my wife to leave for her Zumba Class.  Guess What?  I also missed the class this morning because I was just too tired to get up at 5AM.  I am registered for the 4PM class tomorrow and then the 6AM class Friday.  Come hell or high-water, I will be there.  I just can’t handle any public shaming for missing more classes.  If you recall, I had a Monday cheat day dessert.  This included one piece of blueberry pie and a small portion of potato chips.  I decided to hop on the scale Tuesday morning to see what kind of damage was done.  I was SHOCKED that there was a 4LBS difference between Monday and Tuesday morning.  At first I thought that this was just my scale acting like an evil son of a bitch, but this morning, I still had a  two pound increase from Monday!  Really Really annoying…

But, I am not going to dwell on it.  As the British Say “Keep Calm Carry On.”  I am, instead, just going to focus on the big picture and keeping the game plan in tact for the week.

The last two days have been good eating days.  Both days I had smoothies for Breakfast.  Tuesday I had left over beef bowl and today I had tuna salad.  We had spaghetti squash with salad and chicken last night for dinner and tonight I had chicken sausage with a mixed green salad and three perogies.  Snacks galore over the last two days included, celery with peanut butter, hard boiled eggs, turkey pepperoni and yogurt.  To be clear, I did not have all of that each day, I had a mixture over the two days.

I happened to catch a portion of “The Talk” the other day when my wife was watching.  They had a 20 minute segment on the benefits of Atkins Diet frozen meals.  I was shocked that this was allowed to be on TV.  Frankly, flogging preservative filled diet food is one of the reasons for the obesity epidemic.  It has been reported that our generation is the generation where we are expected to have a shorter life expectancy compared to our parents.  Why?  In my opinion, it is because of the food that we eat.  I am not taking about fat, gluten, sugar – I am taking about high-fructose corn syrup, GMO soy, and any number on unpronounceable food additive.  Pink Slime ring a bell?  I sure love my ground beef to come with ammonia… These items simply did not exist 30 years ago.  People actually ate dinner at home.  Fast food like McDonalds was a occasional treat – not a regular part of a meal plan.  Back to my point about the talk.  You have a bunch of high profile people on national television promoting fad diet food.  Atkins, like any other fad diet is not safe or healthy.  They are the biggest reason for yo-yo weight loss.  Believe me, I have been there done that.  Aside from the fact that ultra-low carb diets can be quite dangerous, the ultra high-fat nature of Atkins makes it even worse.  To the point where studies have shown liver damage due to the high fat content in their meal plans.  Any diet that tells you a double cheeseburger is OK, but remove the bun, is trouble.  Keep moving.  Media is to blame for poor self image and now you have talk shows and Hollywood “glitterati” promoting unhealthy and unsustainable diets.  This garbage is OK to show on live TV, but god forbid you say ass or shit.  In my opinion, promoting shit like Atkins on TV is more hazardous to youth then a few swears and some skin on the big screen.

Stick to the outside of the supermarket.  Try fresh not frozen.  If you can’t pronounce an ingredient on the label, perhaps that is code for move on.  I’m not perfect, but I make an effort – that is what counts.  I am not trying to vilify or judge, just express the downward spiral I see our society in.

See you in the produce aisle….





Sleepless in Edmonton

18 02 2013

 

I know, it has been a while since my last post.  My 9 month old son decided that this was a great week to not sleep.  When I say not sleep, I mean that he has been up every hour almost all night.  So, my wife and I took every opportunity we could to sleep and the blog became an after thought.  So, my apologies.  Today, being a result day, it is important to provide an update and summary of this past week.

I officially graduated from CrossFit fundamentals on Saturday.  It was another intense week and I loved every minute of it.  As I updated last monday, I had to miss class last Monday due to a board meeting.  Let me tell you, Wednesday’s class made up for it.  For the skills portion , we reviewed the different squats and lifts and then it was onto the most intense Workout of the Day (WOD) that we have done in fundamentals.  We had to complete four sets of: 30 24″ Box jumps, 20 20LBS WallBalls and then a 30 Sec handstand hold.  I was not able to do a handstand hold so I piked on a box instead.  It was still really difficult.  By the end, I was one wall ball or box jump away from puking.

Friday was a little easier.  We again, reviewed all the squats and lifting, but we also learned rope climbing.  Rope climbing is so easy looking, but so difficult to do.  It is absolutely more skill than anything.  It still takes a lot of strength, but once you get the foot work down, it is a hell of a lot easier.  For the WOD, we did a weighted progression that started with clean, jerk, over head squat, back squat, over head squat, front squat and reset.  I am really going to enjoy the lifting in CrossFit.  Snatch(ing) is just about as much fun as a good clean (and) jerk.

I had a really good week food wise, ate a lot of tuna, chicken, salad, eggs.  Really good.  I pulled a lot of recipes from http://www.paleoplan.com.  Again, I am not following paleo, but they do have a ton of good, high protein recipes.  Oh and smoothies for breakfast everyday.

On to the results portion… Today I rocked the scale at 223.4LBS.  I am down EXACTLY 6LBS for the week and 21LBS overall.  I crossed that 20LBS barrier and  I am only 3.5LBS away from my february goal of breaking out of the 220’s.  I dedicated tonight as a cheat night and I had dessert after dinner.  I had a piece of blueberry pie (well, two half size pieces) and right now my wife and I are watching the biggest loser and having a few potato chips.  I worked hard this week, and I am allowing a cheat night.

I did workout today.  I tried to make a mini-crossfit workout on the track at Servus Place in St. Albert.  So, I did five reps of 500m row, 10 push-ups, 15 back squats with a 30LBS bar and 15 kettlebell swings with a 30LBS dumbbell.  Want to hear something stupid?  Servus Place will NOT allow you to use their real kettlebells unless you book and pay for an hour with a personal trainer.  I pay my membership dues, and should not have to pay extra to use the kettlebells.  They are simply price gouging and cashing in on the popularity of this old school Soviet workout.  I am pretty sure the Soviets would disapprove of using their kettlebells for profit making…  I will say the Rowing Machine and I have a love hate relationship.  I hate it and it loves to hate me.  It is such a great hard workout and I look forward to spending more time on it.

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This is my new arch nemesis.  Designed by the devil himself and evil to the core…

This week will be a week of daily updates come hell or high water.  I have full intention of going to my first big boy crossfit class tomorrow at 4PM.  I am really nervous, but for progress to be made, I need to step out of my comfort zone.  Admittedly, I am a little excited as the coach is Dylan from the pepper and Dylan show (104.9 virgin radio).  Imagine me, rubbing elbows with Edmonton A-List celebs!  Although I truly hate the majority of the music they play, I really enjoy the morning show.  It is always good for a laugh.  I just switch to Sonic 102.9 when Virgin interrupts their morning show with garbage like Maroon 5, Rhianna or Nicki Minaj…  Plus Virgin seems to have an awful lot of Spence Diamonds adds. Ben (the voice of Spence Diamonds) is more annoying than Adam Levine.  And if you have been following my blog, you know how much I hate Adam Levine.  Honestly, if I could punch one person, it would be Ben from Spence Diamonds – square in the throat.

Thats it from me tonight.  Until tomorrow with my first big boy post crossfit class update! And even more importantly -my son has decided that he enjoys sleeping again! Must have been a growth spurt – hooray!





Row

18 02 2013

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Day 42 – Results Day With No Results

11 02 2013

Today was a kick to the teeth, for the most part anyway.  When I got on the scale today, I saw 229.4 screaming back at me.  I was, to say the least, extremely disappointed with only losing 0.6LBS.  Honestly, I was thinking a good number was in sight with how hard I was working this week.  Four days of CrossFit and a shit load of work at home, and nothing showed up on the scale.  I ate pretty good all week, no junk food and for the most part I was on track with the meal plan.  Really, really annoyed today.  I know, that 0.6LBS is still a loss, but it just feels like I was cheated!  Overall it is a loss of 15LBS since January 1st (or 6.3%)

So, I took my self-loathing self to work today and was chatting with the two fittest ladies I know.  Both whom are personal trainers.  They basically told me to STFU and the number on the scale is not as important as inches and what I accomplished overall this week.  I KNOW that I gained muscle mass and lost fat.  Muscle weighs more than fat, so overall, I should be happy with what I accomplished.  However, the only measure I have for week-to-week is the god-for-saken scale.  The crusher of dreams, the destroyer of accomplishment.  A sadist invented the scale that is for sure, just to mess with your head.

I am not going to lie, I am absolutely scale obsessed.  To a fault.  OCD bad.  I will, every day, get on the scale in the morning before I shower, after I shower, when I get home from work and before I go to bed.  Yup, obsessed much?  It is crazy, obnoxious and down right depressing.  You wanna lose motivation?  Hop on the scale and see you weight 2 or 3 pounds more than you did in the morning.  It is absolutely 100% expected and normal.  But, it still cuts a little deep.  I need to get my wife to start hiding the scale from me until Monday mornings.

We as a society need to become less number obsessed and more results driven.  I was reading some CrossFit boards about how well CrossFit is for weight loss.  The best quote I read was as follows: “Who cares what the number on the scale says.  If you can do Fran in 3 minutes – that is what your body should look like.”  That is the single best thing about CrossFit philosophy.  It doesn’t matter what you weight – what matters is what you can do.  That is a huge paradigm shift for society and I think that it is imperative the mainstream adopt this line of thinking.  We need to get off the scales.  Again, your fitness level has nothing to do with how much you weigh, but it is what you can accomplish.

On the food side of things, today was a pretty good day!

Breakfast

Protein Smoothie – Shocking, I know.  I had half a banana, a few strawberries, vanilla protein powder and almond milk.  As always, it was the highlight of my morning.

Lunch

I made spicy tuna salad again.  It was a can of tuna, dash of mayo, hand full of chopped olives, a boat load of celery, green onion, jalapeno and red pepper flakes.  It was amazing.  Honestly, I could eat this every day and not get tired of it.  It is just so so good!

Dinner

I have been craving tacos for the last week or so and I was trying to find a way to work them into the meal plan without using the corn shells.  I found a great recipe that builds the tacos in lettuce wraps instead.  AND, I replaced the beef with fresh ground boneless skinless chicken breast.  I ground the meat myself with our kitchen-aid.  Really good – like a Mexican lettuce wrap.

Snacks

Morning snack was a bowl of sugar free yogurt and a mini cucumber.  I hate cucumbers, but I am trying to learn to love them.  For my afternoon snack I had an apple and two pieces of turkey pepperoni.

I was pretty devastated after my weigh-in this morning and I had to miss CrossFit tonight because of a board meeting.  So I went to the office early and worked out.  I did four reps of running for 5 minutes, 10 push-ups and 10 weighted airs squats.  I would have done overhead squats, but we don’t have a bar at the office, just dumb bells.  So I held a 25LB weight in each hand as I did the squats.  I was a sweaty mess after the work-out and nearly dead.  Loved it.

I know that after today with a pretty bad weigh-in, I need to refocus my goals.  It is the Biggest Losers fault because they all get upset and freak-out when they lose only 10lbs a week.  It is perpetuating such a terrible ideal.  I want to focus on strength and endurance rather than weight.  I will still continue to weigh-in, but I need to establish another metric for tracking progress.   I don’t know what that is yet, but suggestions are appreciated.

That’s all for today.  I might be just a wee bit lighter, but need to re-calibrate my mindset.

Strength is not measured in pounds…





Days 40 and 41 – Nice Snatch

10 02 2013

Saturday marked the completion of my first week of CrossFit.  It was a fun, challenging, exhausting and ultimately sore week.  I loved every minute of it.  Right know as I type this, all I can think about is how bummed I am I cannot go to the class tomorrow because I have a board meeting I need to attend.  Even last night when my wife went out for drinks with a friend, I sat at the computer looking at videos of different CrossFit workouts.  Jesus are they intense.  Google “Filthy 50 CrossFit” and tell me you are not sore and sick to your stomach just watching the video.  I sure as hell was.

I zipped up to our local gym tonight to check out what additional equipment was up on the indoor track.  Turns out they have rowing machines, kettlebells, weighted body bars and apparently olympic lift equipment as well.  I wanted to see what was available so once I am more familiar with some of the CrossFit workouts, I could head to the closer gym to workout in between CrossFit classes.  What I find quite unique and interesting about CrossFit is that you really need such a minimal amount of equipment for a workout that you can really do anywhere.  One of the trainers, Ed, at ChampCity CrossFit in Edmonton was telling us yesterday how he went on a fishing trip to northern Manitoba last year and took some resistance bands, a kettlebell and rings.  Everyday he utilized different pieces of equipment to get a good workout in.  For example, he used the picnic table for box jumps, a heavy log for overhead squats and he tied the rings to a tree.  Simply amazing.  Not only is that the definition of dedication, but it is such a cool story it almost makes you want to get lost in the woods and see what exercises you can come up with.

CrossFit, for me anyways, is all about taking me out of my comfort zone.  In order to change your lifestyle, you need to forgo the status-quo and really push yourself into uncomfortable situations, that you previously feared.  I would have been terrified of a group workout before.  In fact, when I first pulled into the parking lot for the first CrossFit class, I almost puked watching these people through the Window.  You can’t make change by living in the status quo.  At least I can’t.  My previous lifestyle was full of fast food and inactivity.  I really feel like CrossFit is going to be a great way for me to change that.  I absolutely know how out of place I am at CrossFit right now.  No delusions here.  But it is motivating to know in maybe a few months, I can be completing benchmark workouts and holding my own with some people there.  Instead of right now where I feel like my lungs are collapsing after a 400m row.  The intimidation factor is a major motivator.  I don’t mean intimidation from the people at the gym – because they themselves are not intimidating.  In fact, the people at ChampCity are very welcoming and very helpful.  The intimidation comes from just how fit these people are and what they can accomplish.  If that doesn’t motivate you – I don’t know what will.

The Saturday Fundamentals class was all about cleans and snatches.  No, not what you are thinking.  We basically spent the hour and a half learning the different lifts and how to execute properly.  It was really fun and I think that I am going to really like the lifting portion CrossFit.  Apparently I have a nice snatch.  Day four at the gym and I have already been sexually harassed!

I am going to keep the post simple tonight.  Tomorrow is results day and I am not expecting much in terms of weight loss.  I could be surprised, but don’t want to get my hopes too high.

I will leave you all to think about how nice my snatch really is…





Day 39 – Row not Roe

8 02 2013

Yes, I missed posting yesterday.  I spent the day stretching my perpetually sore shoulders by trying to chip 4 inches of ice off my driveway and sidewalk.  When I say 4 inches, I really mean 30 inches compressed into 4 inches.  My arms were killing me from Wednesday’s Crossfit and chipping and scraping did not help.

A quick summary from Day 38 was that the meal plan was bang on!  If you are curious what that means, please check Monday’s post and take a peak.  In terms of exercise, I kept it pretty low key.  I did a LOT of stretching around the office and banged out my 80 push-ups.  I started to bring my hands closer together to make the push-ups a wee bit more difficult.  That, people, is Day 38 in a legume shell.

On to more important things – mainly day 39.

I can honestly say that I was more sore today than yesterday.  I was told by the fitness gurus at my office that is to be expected.  Just because it is to be expected doesn’t mean that I have to like it.  When I got up this morning I could barely lift my hands above my head – my shoulders were that sore.  I am not saying that crossfit on Wednesday and the sidewalk chipping was responsible, it is just an extremely good measure of how out of shape I am.  Even as I sit here right now, I need to take breaks to stretch my shoulders out.

I walked around the office a lot today.  Which, unfortunately, is counter productive to work.  So, after I am done writing this blog I am going to have to sledge over a few hundred emails to get caught up for Monday.  No big thang.  Every doorway I passed I used it as an opportunity to stretch my shoulders out to try and get them loosened up before crossfit tonight as I knew we were doing some more lifts.  So, I took every opportunity to chat with co-workers and use their doorways as a stretching pole.  I didn’t get any complaints so either the ladies liked watching me stretch or indifferent.  Probably indifferent.

When I got home tonight, I was back at the driveway trying to chip away little-by-little.  Probably not the best thing to do to warm-up for crossfit.  I only lasted about 20 minutes before my shoulders could take no more beatings.  I came in, made dinner and got ready for the gym.

Crossfit is very much like a cult – in a good way.  It is a pretty tight nit community and so far I have found everyone very friendly.  In my opinion, it is a very conducive atmosphere for getting fit.  Every night when I get home, I am thinking about the next class and what is going to happen.  And this is just the fundamentals!  I am super stoked for the real time classes.  I know it is not going to be easy and I know that I am going to have a really hard time keeping up, but 3,6 or 9 months down the road I am looking forward to completing my first benchmark workout.

A gal at work who got me involved in crossfit, Melissa C of Mel C Fitness (http://melcfitness.weebly.com), said today that Crossfit is like the Scientology of fitness and I totally see that.  It is really easy to lose yourself in the culture and community – but in a good way!  I have heard that some crossfit centres are not very conducive to new-comers and I have found Champ City (www.champcitycrossfit.com) in Edmonton to be just the opposite.

Anyway, back to the day.  Today was learning how to properly do dead lifts and I think clean-and-jerks.  It was difficult to get the technique right, but the correct way feels “correct” to the body and when you something incorrect, you really feel the difference.  Looking forward to putting a little weight on the bar in a few weeks.

The Work-out was pretty tough for me, but I got through it.  It was three reps of: 500m Row and 10 Overhead Squats.  This needed to be completed in 10 minutes.  I got through in 9 min 42 seconds.  That rowing is a killer.  Honestly, if you have never hopped on that innocent looking machine at the gym, give it a try.  It will rip your soul out.

Here is food for thought – literally:

 

 

  Planned Actual
Breakfast Protein Smoothie Protein Smoothie and Peanut Butter and Banana
Snack Banana with Almond Butter and Coconut Milk Hard Boiled Egg, Turkey Pepperoni
Lunch Tuna Melts on Rice Cakes Spicy Tuna Salad on Rice Cakes
Snack Hard Boiled Egg Apple with Peanut Butter
Dinner Chicken “Parm” with Rice + Veggie Chicken “Parm” with raw veggie and tzaziki dip
Snack Protein Shake Nothing.

 

On the meal plan side of things, today was a bit of a fail in that I really didn’t stick to my initial plan.  However. it was a success in that it was another healthy eating day.

 

To end my day today I needed to zip to Wal-Mart to get some salt for the sidewalk to aide me in getting that god-forsaken ice up.  I also needed to pick up a few things for our rental property and some fruit.  Me, without a list, was very disorganized.  BUT, the 20KG Bags of salt were sitting right at the door when I walked in.  So like a goomba, I picked up two bags walked all the way to hardware, got one thing for the rental unit, hauled ass over to the food section and got my fruit, realized I forgot something in hardware and hauled ass all the way back over there to pick up what I needed.  THEN, I still had to get though the check-out.  This is exactly the thing I wanted to be doing after crossfit…  As if my arms were not sore enough.

 

Until Tomorrow! (Hopefully)





Day 37 – AMRAP

6 02 2013

Today I learned the pain of AMRAP…  It probably was not too bad for normal people, but for an out of shape schmuck like me it was torture.  AMRAP means “As Many Reps as Possible.”  It is a timed workout with various components depending on the day.  As I am in the newcomer class, we did what is called a “Mini-Cindy.”  This was a 10 minute workout composed of 5 Pull-Ups, 10 Push-ups and 15 Air Squats.  Then like conditioner, you repeat – in this case, as many times as possible in 10 minutes.  Well, my fat ass managed to sweat through 4 full reps.  The pull-ups killed me.  I had to do “jump” pull-ups as I was not able to do a single standard one.  You try pulling 228 pounds straight up against gravity.  Not easy.  Not easy at all.  Push-ups were OK for me as I have been pumping them out every day like a machine.

I was told today that I have tight hips.  Not street talk “tight,” but code for you cannot get down far enough on your air squats.  As I was moving through the reps I could feel my hips loosen up and was able to get further down in the squat.  On the skill side of things tonight, we learned proper technique for the press-push, shoulder press and push jerk.  This was pretty interesting and there is a lot of technique and skill involved with preventing injury.  Again, this is why I like Champ City Cross Fit (www.champcitycrossfit.com).  They are hardcore on technique and skill.  They want you to get the fundamentals down solid to prevent injury when we get to the real boy classes.  The terminology is interesting and pretty funny at crossfit.  Clean and Jerk is an interesting one and soon the day will come when I need someone to check my snatch.  Yup, I never ever thought I would say that.

Tomorrow I am going to be sore, there is no doubt.  I am sore already and at the end of the workout, I could not feel my arms.  As long as I can type some emails, I should be OK.

Another good day on the food front:

  Planned Actual
Breakfast Protein Smoothie Protein Smoothie – Orange Juice, Ice, Banana and Protein Powder
Snack Hard Boiled Egg Banana and Peanut Butter in Almond Milk
Lunch Spicy Tuna Salad Spicy Tuna on Rice Cakes.  This was amazing and you can find the recipe here: http://www.paleoplan.com/2009/12-31/spicy-tuna-salad/
Snack Turkey Jerky Turkey Pepperoni (could not find turkey jerky)
Dinner Pork Chop Rice and Veg Pork Chop with Ranch seasoning baked in the over with rice and veggies.
Snack Post Crossfit Protein Smoothie Hard Boiled Egg, 1 Turkey Pepperoni and some celery and carrots dipped in Tzaziki.

 

Overall, another pretty good day where I stuck pretty close to the meal plan and got my ass kicked at crossfit.  It was another hour and a half that flew by and I cannot wait to see what Friday has in store!

If I can move my arms to type tomorrow – there will be a blog.