My Nutrition Conundrum, Part 2

Holy cow that last post was long. Sorry about that. Wait until you see all the crap I take at the END of my day as well, but we’ll get through some other stuff first.

Breakfast. “Most important meal of the day.” Haven’t we all heard that forever? And I believe it, but it’s been a challenge to get that driven into my head even as an adult.

I like breakfast. Don’t get me wrong. But time is a factor, even for a guy who works at home. I’m usually the first one up at my house and get my morning Spark and supplements in by 6 am most days. That doesn’t always translate to getting a meal in before 8am when I head to Crossfit however.

I have a few go-to things for breakfast.

The Scramble

johnny-automatic-breakfast-of-bacon-and-eggs-800pxThis is one of the things I could do every day and hardly ever waver from it.

  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 Aidell’s Chicken & Apple Sausage
  • 2 or 3 stalks of green onion, diced
  • a bit of pepper
  • Ketchup (not as much as I used to, but I still like ketchup on my eggs, sorry)

According to MyFitnessPal, this boils down to:

  • 385 calories
  • 13g C / 28g F / 29g P

I’ve toyed with going with egg whites over whole eggs. I’ve toyed with other meats. I usually add a sprinkle of shredded cheddar to it (figure 1/8 cup — 55 cals, 1 carg, 6 fats, 4 protein).

Some days I’ll dice up some mushrooms and add those.ย Some days I’ll put in some leftover chicken fajitas (we do a paleo crockpot chicken fajita recipe frequently) or carne asada (another great recipe) or try a different sausage. But this is pretty common.

The Shake

Blender-800pxThe other thing I’ll do some days is have a protein shake.

  • Ascent – Vanilla Bean Protein Powder, 1 scoop (120 cals, 1g F / 2g C / 25g P)
  • Vital Proteins Collagen Peptides, 2 scoops (70 cals, 18g P)
  • Vanilla Almond Milk, 8 oz. (50 cals, 4g C / 4g F/ 1g P)
  • A banana (large banana, 121 cals, 0g F / 31g C / 1g P)
  • Handful of berries (1 cup strawberries, 49 calories, 3g C)
  • Maybe a cup of power greens (25 cals, 4g C / 2g P)

Again, according to MyFitnessPal, this boils down to:

  • 437 calories
  • 53g C / 5g F / 48g P

Lots of carbs, but lots of protein.

The Guilty Pleasures

johnny-automatic-bagel-800pxGP#1 – Bagel with egg, ham, and cheese

  • 2 eggs, scrambled
  • 1 slice cheddar or swiss
  • plain bagel, toasted with a little butter
  • deli ham
  • MyFitnessPal calls this 567 calories, 56g C / 25g F / 37g P

GP #2 – Soft boiled eggs on toast

  • 2 pieces of bread, toasted, with a little butter
  • 2 eggs, soft boiled
  • MyFitnessPal calls this 454 calories, 58g C / 16g F / 24g P

Infrequent Entries

  • Protein pancakes with fruit or paleo preserves
  • Non-paleo waffles
  • Breakfast burrito (whole tortilla, egg, potato, cheese, salsa)
  • Bacon
  • Homemade Ground Chicken Sausage (Paleo)

Not Awful

I’m not bad with breakfast. It’s lunch and dinner where I start to fall apart. My issue is I like fruit, cheese, and bread. And I have to remember to eat.

But I’m sure I could do better. Not sure how to get more veggies into the mix.


(Ham)Stringing up some Lunges

I felt pretty good Monday prior to starting the first workout of the week and was a little worse for the wear afterwards. Tuesday’s shoulder, bicep, and tricep push may have done me in. Even after going to see Dr. Caleb, chiropractor supreme, on Tuesday night, my body was telling me nasty things. Amazing how a few days changes your outlook. ๐Ÿ™‚

1th9hbYesterday was a “rest” day (though not very restful, as it was a high stress day) and though I tried to do a little mobility (and even a late day meditation), it wasn’t the best of days. (I did however manage one meal using the new approach we’re trying with more veggies every day, so we’ll take that.)

So as I headed in this morning, I have to say my body was telling me some fairly negative things. Biceps, triceps, and knees, were all ticked off at me and staging a coup. But I made it in anyway with my lovely wife. First time we’ve had a chance to work out together in weeks, it seems.

We had Coach Drea this morning and a good crew, as per usual: Melissa, Sarah, Logan, and Bri. Everybody was happy to see Ev, since she’s not been in for a while (driving across the country for your non-profit and soccer games tends to do that).

Much Faster Than My Crab Walk

We began with some foam rolling and then shifted to the animals warm-up we’ve been doing… And I have to say, my body wasn’t having it. Some movements worked ok (bear crawl and duck walk), but anything else (like the crab walk) — ugh.

From there, we worked on lunge mechanics (90 degree angles, straight up and down, etc) along with better shuttle sprint mechanics. Rather than tip-toeing around the cones, stopping, pivoting on one foot, and then heading the other direction. And I knew from the first set of “sprints” that today was not going to be very fast.

Laughingly I asked how long it took folks in earlier classes. She said 10 minutes was the longest time so far. I said I could beat that (and I did — funny how the mind somehow gets the body to follow through on those threats).

bodyweight_walking_lungeThe workout as written today was:

  • Performance
    • 5 rounds for time of:
    • 30-yard weighted lunge, 35/20-lb. dumbbells
    • 60-yard shuttle sprint (5-10-15 yards)
  • Fitness
    • 4 rounds for time of:
    • 30-yard weighted lunge, 25/15-lb. dumbbells
    • 60-yard shuttle sprint (5-10-15 yards)

Mine became:

  • 5 rounds for time
  • round 1 – 30-yard weighted lunge, 15# dumbbells, 60-yard shuttle “sprint”
  • round 2 – 30-yard weighted lunge, 15# dumbbells for half and then no dumbbells, 60-yard shuttle “sprint”
  • round 3 – 30-yard walking lunge (no weights), 60-yard shuttle “sprint”
  • round 4 – 30-yard walking lunge (no weights), 60-yard shuttle “sprint”
  • round 5 – 30-yard walking lunge (no weights), 60-yard shuttle “sprint”
  • total time: 11:43

The weight on the lunges had nothing to do with my issues. The lunge movement always just makes my quads cranky, which makes my knees cranky, which makes me cranky. I was happy to get sets of 3 to 5 lunges in a row, then pause, and do a few more. That was pretty good for me.

i-survivedAnd sprints? Not my thing either, but I kept moving through the whole thing and worked on the pivot mechanic to transition through the back and forth.

Big thing was I kept moving, even if I was slow.

I was only done a few seconds before my wife, but everybody else did awesome and finished well before us. Sarah did the assault bike instead of the sprints and still kicked our tails. ๐Ÿ™‚

We worked a ton on hamstring and quad mobility after the workout was done… Banded hamstring stretches straight up, out to the side, and then across the body. Lacrosse ball in the hip capsule. Lacrosse ball in the area above the knee just to the inside. Good times. Definite “Torture time with Drea” today. ๐Ÿ™‚

And when that was done we chatted a little about the nutrition challenge coming up for the holidays. Sounds like it’s structured a bit like the Lurong challenges of the past, so we’ll see how we do. ๐Ÿ™‚

My Nutrition Conundrum 2017, Part 1

We recently dove back into the whole nutrition piece of the puzzle at Continuum with Coach Nicole, ahead of a new nutrition challenge that Coach Drea is putting in place. So we know it’s coming. And it’s a good time for it to come up, at least for me.

tom-Bathroom-scale-800pxIf you know me, you know I like food. Most folks do, I think. But I’m more likely to dive into a big juicy burger with all the trimmings than I am a salad. And if there’s a blueberry pie, brownie, or chocolate chip cookie afterwards, who am I to turn that down? Plus, I enjoy my Amaretto, cider beers, and wine from time to time as well.

However, I’m noticing the scale creep up again. And I know I need to cut out (or at least severely cut down) the alcohol. That’s definitely not helping me in any way, shape, or form. (Unless the goal was to become more stout in the mid-line!)

So it’s time to examine what I’m doing currently and what I need to change.

Let’s start with my pre-breakfast routine and supplement intake.

First Thing – Spark

My day before I started crossfit used to include Diet Dr. Pepper. After crossfit, that was replaced by tea and coffee. These days it’s mostly coffee and Advocare Spark.

I’ve found that a single serving of Spark (pick your flavor), offers a bit of a pick-me-up in the morning that goes well beyond the caffeine.

spark-limeadeHere’s the ingredient list for Spark:

  • Vitamins A, B-6, B-12, C, and E
  • Thiamine, Riboflavin, Niacin
  • Pantothenic acid
  • Zinc, Copper, Chromium, Choline
  • L-Tyrosine, Taurine
  • Caffeine (woo hoo!)
  • Glycine
  • Citrus flavonoids and citric acid
  • L-Carnitine (as tartrate)
  • Inositol,ย Maltodextrin, andย Silicon dioxide

Wow. That’s a lot of stuff. Want a complete listing of amounts? Check out this great PDF.

As for calories, we’re not talking much here based on what I’ve found at MyFitnessPal, but more than I was expecting:

  • 185 calories
  • 19g F / 3g C / 0g P

Plus, different flavors add other bits. These are some of our favorite flavors at our house:

  • Blue Raspberry flavor: Natural & Artificial Flavors, Spirulina Extract (for color)
  • Cherry flavor: natural and artificial flavor, beet root powder (for color)
  • Fruit Punch flavor: natural and artificial flavor, beet root extract (for color)
  • Limeade flavor: Natural Flavors, Spirulina Extract (for color), malic acid
  • Mandarin Orange flavor: natural flavors
  • Mango Strawberry flavor: natural and artificial flavors

I’ve been watering mine down, usually mixing one serving with 16-20+ ounces of water, so it’s not quite as intense. But you get the picture. And I usually only do this once a day, though occasionally I’ll throw in an afternoon dose as well which probably isn’t wise — but it seems to be easier on my system than drinking coffee after 3pm.

Second Thing – Coffee

As far as my coffee goes, I used to go through a lot more than I do now. A pot a day at times. Now I may drink one cup of iced coffee (16-20 oz, several ice cubes, some almond milk creamer, and coffee) a day. Occasionally I’ll do a second one, but that’s rare. And usually I do this AFTER I eat breakfast, not before.

Van_almond_lgSo that’s coffee, some ice, and usually my creamer of choice is Silk’s Vanilla Almond Creamer. And I definitely overdo it, since I’ll put 2-3 oz in instead of the tablespoon serving they recommend (it’s never enough).

  • 1 tbsp = 1 serving
  • 25 calories
  • 1g F / 4g C / 0g P

Essentially I’m doing 4-6 servings (2-3 oz with 1 tbsp = .5 fl. oz). Let’s average that to 5. So that becomes:

  • 125 calories
  • 5g F, 20g C, 0g P

Mid-way Check… Drinks Total

So just with my “drinks” for the morning (beyond normal water), I’m seeing a lot of calories:

  • Spark:ย 185 calories,ย 19g F / 3g C / 0g P
  • Coffee w/creamer: 125 calories, 5g F / 20g C / 0g P
  • Totals: 310 calories, 24g F / 23g C / 0g P

Ugh. And that’s without FOOD.

Third Thing – Supplements

pillabuse-800pxThen we have the handful of supplements we add to the mix:

  • Baby Aspirin (Heart health, recommended by my doctor) (81 mg)
  • Fiber (1500 mg organic psylium husk powder)
  • Alive! Once Daily Men’s Multi-vitamin
  • Advocare Biotune
  • Red H Nutrition Super Flexy (not every morning, but now and then)

I’ve noted a nice change by taking the Super Flexy (I usually take it in the evening before bed and then sometimes double up in the morning if I’m really sore joint-wise with knees or shoulders).

Advocare Biotune

  • Zinc
  • Selenium
  • Curcumin
  • Amla extract
  • Cat’s claw extract
  • Boswellia serrata extract
  • Grape seed extract
  • Quercetin
  • Ellagic acid
  • Green tea extract
  • Reservatrol

Supplement facts

Alive! Once Daily Men’s Multi-vitamin

Formulated to support:

  • Energy*
    • Vitamin B1 (thiamin), B2 (riboflavin), B3 (niacin), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 and B12 to help convert food into fuel*
  • Cellular Health*
    • Vitamin A, C, E, selenium and zinc
  • Eyes*
    • Vitamin A, C, E, lutein and zinc
  • Heart*
    • Vitamin B6, B12, C, E and folic acid
  • Immunity*
    • Vitamin A, C, D, selenium and zinc
  • Muscle Function**
    • Vitamin B6, D and magnesium


Red H Nutrition Super Flexy

  • Vegan Glucosamine
  • MSM Powder
  • Chondroitin Sulfate
  • Cissus quadrangularis
  • Turmeric Root Powder


My Concerns

confusedboy-800pxDo you ever get the feeling that you’re just throwing shit at the wall to see what sticks? That’s very much where I feel I am these days with my supplementation.

I know I’ve got a persistent thyroid problem that I’ve had since I was 12, so I’m on a prescription for that. And I’ve struggled with cholesterol/triglycerides forever, which is largely an issue with diet and exercise.

But beyond that and the fact that things like turmeric and glucosamine do seem to help with joints and the B vitamins helping with energy, I have no clue what half this stuff does to my body. For the most part, I just apply the “it’s vitamins, so it must be healthy” philosophy and hope for the best.

What’s the best approach to take here? Cut it all out and see what falls apart first except for my prescription medication?

Sorry this got so very, very long and boring. But I thought it would be interesting to work through what I’m doing to figure out a better plan going forward.

Shoulders are on Fire

There are workouts where you know you’re going to come out of it stronger than before and there are those workouts that flirt with pushing you to failure. Today was the latter.


Headed in for an 8:30am workout and we had a heck of a large class for Coach Drea. Bill & Amber, Sarah, Lara & Jordan, Carrie, Melissa, Caleb, Logan, and Matt & Abigail. There were people everywhere!

We started with the animals warm-up, moved on to push-up form, and then grabbed bars to practice push jerks and push press. And she did demos of bench press and ring dips. Plus we did some work on HSPUs and progressions.

Yes, this was going to be a doozy of a workout.

  • For time:
    • 40 push-ups (Performance) (or 30 knee push-ups Fitness)
    • 30 ring dips (Performance) (or 25 modified ring dips Fitness)
    • 20 handstand push-ups (Performance) or (20 pike push-ups Fitness)
    • 20 bench presses, 115/75# (Performance) (or 15 bench presses 75/55# Fitness)
    • 15 push jerks, same weight (Performance) (or 10 push jerks Fitness)
    • 10 push presses (Performance) (or 5 push presses Fitness)


Early classes used the Ace Ventura scene to the right to describe how they felt afterwards. And I can definitely concur.

We went in two heats and I was in the second heat. I finished in 15:38, but damn this was awful and my shoulders were on fire.

  • 40 push-ups
  • 2 ring-dips, wondering what the heck just happened, 3 more ring-dips, then transitioning to jumping ring dips where I would jump into a locked-out position and lower myself to the floor as slowly as possible
  • 1 pike push-up on the floor, laughing because I almost smacked my head into the ground. 1 pike push-up attempt from a plyo box, continuing to laugh. Moved to 20 strict dumbbell presses with 25# dumbbells overhead.
  • 1 95# bench press. shifted to 75#. did sets of 5, then a bunch of 3s.
  • 15 ugly-ass push jerks at 75#. Nicole did her best to coach about foot position and knees, but my shoulders were so fired up I could barely hold on to it for more than 2 or 3 reps at a time.
  • 10 push presses — ugly, ugly push presses in small sets

That was an awful, awful 15+ minutes. By the end my right arm worked, but my left arm was barely able to go over my head with assistance. I scaled every single part of the workout after the push-ups.

my-shoulders-are-on-fireThat was by far the ugliest performance I’ve done in a long while in class, simply because my shoulders were on fire the whole time. The push-ups didn’t feel bad, but by that first ring dip I was wondering what the heck I’d gotten myself into.

Wow. Tomorrow is going to be a rest day because I may not be able to raise my arms over my head. ๐Ÿ™‚

Great work 8:30 class! (And 9:30 class, since I stuck around for the nutrition seminar with Nicole at 10:30!)

Burpees. Why did it have to be burpees?

This weekend was another blur. Spent a good portion of it participating in an online gaming convention on Friday night and Saturday afternoon, which was fun. Did get to work out Friday and Saturday at least. And then Sunday I spent most of the day writing something close to 5,000 words on various projects.

1zaxahSo today I definitely needed to move. Due to some mysteries with the scheduling app we use at the box, I had no idea what was on the docket for today however. Thankfully I didn’t give it much thought and just headed in for the 8:30 class with Coach Drea.

We were joined by Melissa, Sarah, and Logan, plus two newcomers to the box — Matt and Abigail. They seem like fun folks!

What wasn’t fun? Looking at the board when I got there and seeing two things… Rowing (yay!). Burpees (boo!).

We started with the same warm-up we did with Nicole during Gymnastics class on Saturday… Animals, animals, everywhere… Bears. Spiders. Ducks. Crabs. Lunges. Ok, so that last one really wasn’t an animal, but we’ll get over it. ๐Ÿ™‚

burpees-suck-white-e1415664950623All I can say is I was pretty winded after the warm-up, so looking at doing burpees really wasn’t a great proposition.

We started with a rower refresher. Four of us would be able to row. Two of us did the assault bike instead. Sarah and Matt bravely volunteered for the devil’s trike. That left Logan, Melissa, Abigail, and I on the rowers.

The workout was:

  • 20 minute AMRAP (Performance)
    • 15 burpees
    • 30/20 calorie row
  • 15 minute AMRAP (Fitness)
    • 10 burpees
    • 20/10 calorie row

So how’d it go? We were supposed to shoot for 5-7 rounds in the time frame, averaging 1:15 or so on every row and managing a round in around 3-4 minutes.

Honestly, the first round wasn’t too bad until I got to the rower. My 15 burpees were done in about 90 seconds and then I took nearly 2 minutes to row 30 calories. Let’s just say it got slower from there.

By the time the 20 minutes were done, I made it through 4 rounds plus 12 burpees. So almost 4.5 rounds. And honestly I’ll take it.

Now I’m tired, but that’s nothing new or different. And back to our regularly scheduled Monday, we go! Great work, 8:30 class!

Gymnastics, 11-NOV

We had a really small class today for Gymnastics with Coach Nicole, but it was a nice change. There were five of us – Clare, Isaac, Drea, Logan, and myself. And we still worked our butts off. ๐Ÿ™‚

Bear-Grouping-2016011955-800pxStarted with a fun warm-up that involved a bunch of “animal” style movements from one cone to another, about 10m away.

  • Bear crawls, bent knees and straight legged, forward and back
  • Crab walk forward and back
  • Spider crawl forward
  • Lunge with stretch, alternating, forward and back
  • And maybe one or two others

When that was done, we got going on the first of two three round workouts.

The first combined three rounds of two movements:

  • Box holds, locked out straight-armed on two 30″ boxes (sort of like locking out in a ring dip, but hands flat like a handstand) – hold for 30s
  • And then an interesting hollow hold with a press-out on a foam roller and hands on weights – x5

Gymnastics-ringsThe second combined three rounds of three movements:

  • Lat pull-downs with a banded PVC pipe, 10 reps
  • Shins on a medicine ball or foam roller in a plank position – then shift forward, tuck chin, raise shoulders and hips to the ceiling, 5 reps
  • Strict skin the cat on the rings, but from the floor, 3 reps

Honestly there was a huge amount of shoulders and abs today, so I’m guessing I’ll feel it in a day or two. Definitely fun though.

Thanks Nicole!

J-Hook’in it

So once upon a time, I hated rope climbs in PE class. Why? Because it scared the crap out of me to be high on the rope and couldn’t climb the dang thing. As an adult, I still have issues the rope and rope climbs are one of my many goats in crossfit.

climbing-rope-atje23--853-pI don’t usually go in on Fridays, but decided that I should go in today. First, I definitely need to work on my rope climbs. Second, and more likely, I didn’t really want to sit at my desk at home all day and crossfit gave me an opportunity to escape.

Made it to an 8:30 class with Coach Drea, Vivien, Maria, and Logan. We spent a lot of time with Drea’s lacrosse ball torture time (at least 4 minutes) working on shoulders and the rest of Nicole’s warm-up. And when we were all done, the fun began.

Today’s WOD was all about rope climbs. And if you are a crossfit badass, ropes may not be a big deal, but for many of us it’s a serious struggle. The full prescribed workout was on mainsite a few weeks ago and looked awful. We did some seriously modifications to this thing. ๐Ÿ™‚

The workout itself for us was more about skill work than anything else. Maybe if you were masochistic you could push yourself to complete it for time, but for us mere mortals it was more about getting more comfortable with the rope.

  • Metcon, for time
  • Performance
    • 2 modified L-sit rope climbs
    • 4 legless rope climbs
    • 8 rope climbs
  • Fitness
    • 1 minute hanging knee-tuck hold on pull-up bar
    • 8 standing rope pull-ups
    • 12 lay-to-stands

We started with a whole lot of skill practice before we even got to the workout itself. Grabbed some plyometric boxes and sat on them to work on our J-hooks.


Sitting on the box on the 30″ side really close to the rope, we essentially grabbed the rope, put our feet into a J-hook, and stood up, then carefully sat back down. (Fun story… my box was a little rough on one corner and I snagged my left calf on a splinter that got me good.) But I did manage to get my feet somewhat consistently (every 2 out of 3 attempts) into a solid J-hook on the rope so I was able to stand on it.

We did a variety of interesting tuck work in place of the L-sit climbs. Knee tucks, L-raises, and other fun things while pulling up on the rope from a standing position. And then doing those from the floor was even more of a challenge.

My history with the rope in crossfit has been punctuated by one single shining moment. I did essentially a legless rope climb one Saturday at team WOD without thinking about it and got almost to the ceiling. I haven’t been able to pull that off since. And I’ve not managed to spend much time on getting my feet right on the rope either.

Definitely not me. ๐Ÿ™‚

So today, my goals were pretty small. Essentially I wanted nothing more than to practice J-hooks until I could do them pretty consistently. And somehow I managed to do that from the box and from a standing position, when I could position the rope and basically stand on it with my right foot.

My workout looked a lot more like this:

  • Standing next to the rope, grab high with the right arm (my dominant hand) and low with the left, then pull into a L-position, lowering back down slowly
  • Do the same with the left arm (my side that might as well belong to another individual)
  • Repeat once again
  • Standing next to the rope, jump to get a good hold on the rope and try to swing myself to move one hand up further on the rope.
  • I managed that once and attempted three more times
  • And then I did what felt like about 12-16 J-hook attempts both from the box and standing beside the rope, probably achieving it 2 out of 3 attempts for a bit, then it fell to maybe 1 in 3.

My only other injury was losing a bit of skin from the pad of one finger, but nothing major. Grip failed. Muscle fatigue set in. But it was a good run at skill work on the rope.

Once all that was done, I tried to roll out my lats on a foam roller for a bit — they needed it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Great work 8:30 class — Vivien and Logan were both killing it. Maria and I were giving it a valiant effort though. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thanks Drea!

A site about my crossfit journey…