Jump o’er the line, move your body in time…

I must start with apologies to classic R&B singer Harry Belafonte and songwriter Lord Kitchener for butchering the lyrics to ย “Jump in the Line (Shake,ย Seรฑora)” for my post title. After 600 times over a jump rope, I’m a little punch drunk I think.

Here’s the song from Bettlejuice if you too want to get it stuck in your head. ๐Ÿ™‚

Evelyn and I arrived for an 8:30 class with Coach Jimmy and got to see Coach Drea with little Noah as well, so that was a nice surprise. We were joined by Todd, Melissa, and Carrie, so it was a smaller class. I expect class size to balloon next week once school is out for summer across the city and after the Memorial Day holiday.

rowboatWe started with a 1000m row (a little more than 4 minutes on the rower) and then shifted quickly to some barbell work for the squat clean. From the squat clean progression, we added weight to the bar and warmed up to our working weight.

Can I just say that 95# squat cleans felt phenomenal? I knew I had to add more weight. ๐Ÿ™‚ 115# didn’t feel quite as phenomenal, but still not horrid.

From there we talked about bar muscle-up progressions. Either full bar muscle ups, jumping muscle-ups, banded muscle-ups, chest-to-bar, banded or jumping c2b, etc… After Jimmy demonstrated a jumping muscle-up on the low bar, I just nonchalantly walked up to it and tried it with a “like this?” as I suddenly realized I was on the top of the frigging bar. And all of a sudden I realized I’d be mixing jumping bar muscle-ups with jumping c2b for the workout.

My bar muscle-ups looked nothing like this ๐Ÿ™‚

What was the workout? A lot of reps. For a Games-level athlete, maybe 10-15 minutes max. For me? 30+. ๐Ÿ™‚

stopwatchFor time:

  • 150 single-unders
  • 20 bar muscle-ups
  • 10 squat cleans, 115/75#
  • 150 single-unders
  • 15 bar muscle-ups
  • 15 squat cleans, 115/75#
  • 150 single-unders
  • 10 bar muscle-ups
  • 20 squat cleans, 115/75#
  • 150 single-unders

My workout looked like:

  • time-371226_640150 single-unders
  • 12 jumping bar muscle-ups, 8 jumping c2b
  • 5 squat cleans, 115#; 5 hang squat cleans, 115#
  • 150 single-unders
  • 9 jumping bar muscle-ups, 6 jumping c2b
  • 15 hang squat cleans, 115# (perhaps one or two hang cleans in there)
  • 150 single-unders
  • 6 jumping bar muscle-ups, 4 jumping c2b
  • 20 ugly hang power cleans and just power cleans @ 95#
  • 150 single-unders

That took me 32: 18.

Evie flew through this thing with 75# squat cleans and banded chest-to-bar in 23:23. She did awesome.

I was just happy to get done. ๐Ÿ™‚


Great work 8:30 class and thank you Jimmy and Evie (and everybody else) for the encouragement and guidance. I appreciated it even if I grumbled a little. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a great day folks!

(Only bad part of my day is an angry left shoulder, which is what forced me to drop weight in the last round of cleans… but this too shall pass. Thank you honey for wrapping my shoulder with the ice pack!)


Lurong 2017, Week 1: Struggling with my Gut-Brain Connection

As we embark on a new adventure with macronutrients, I’m left exploring one of the newer ideas about gut health. In recent years, I’ve seen many articles crop up about the mind-gut connection. This one from Mindful is pretty good. So is this one from Johns Hopkins.

protein-carbs-fats-wheelBut other than occasionally being irritable when I’m having GI issues, I’ve really never had reason to ponder it deeply. Now, I’m seriously looking at it and how to make my gut happier.

So here’s the thing… When you clean up your diet and cut out some of the things that we use to mask other issues, such as coffee or alcohol, sometimes it uncovers things you weren’t expecting.

First thing I’ve noticed after a week… I don’t need coffee to survive. I’ve been starting my day with a serving of Advocare Spark (we like Limeade and Mango Strawberry, though the girls like Blue Raspberry) for many months now and then supplementing it with coffee. I never even thought to drop coffee completely until we started this Lurong Summertime Challenge a week ago.

spark-limeadeWhen we did a Whole30 challenge 4 years ago, I dropped caffeine cold turkey. I was MISERABLE as you might imagine. I had spent the previous 20 years largely addicted to soda in many forms. At the time, I was going through a 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper every week or more. So the caffeine withdrawal was awful.

Since Spark has a bit of caffeine in it, I haven’t had that issue. Now, I’ve had some serious energy crashes in the afternoons, but I think that’s due to trying to find a balance between carbs and protein more than anything else.

Second, the alcohol, though pleasant, isn’t necessary. It was more of a habit than anything else. I would, at the end of most days, sit down with a cider beer. And if I felt I deserved it, I would pour an Amaretto on the rocks.

Again, there’s no withdrawal symptoms — because I wasn’t really consuming that much alcohol in the first place. But I was happy to find that to be the case. I’ve seen regular use of alcohol turn into a bit of abuse of the stuff through the years with a few folks, so I didn’t want to go that way.

0511-1005-0201-0040_Black_and_White_Vintage_Cartoon_of_a_Man_Asleep_at_His_Desk_clipart_imageThird, damn my get-up-and-go has got-up-and-left.

I’m usually good through the first half of the day. And in the afternoon, I start to tank. Badly. I’ve had a couple of days, especially on workout days, where I’ve simply crashed for a good 20-30 minute nap. This isn’t a good thing in my book.

So I need to find ways to combat this without resorting to a second round of Spark in the afternoon.

And fourth, and the topic of this post, the strange road of depression on some days has been a huge challenge. Before we began the Lurong challenge, I started doing daily journaling again with the intent of focusing on a practice of gratitude to reflect on all the positive things in my day rather than the negative. I tend to dwell on the bad things and forget the good things, and usually when I go back and look at it at the end of the day, there was more good than bad.

journal-clipart-black-and-white-10735Gratitude is tough to find when you’re stuck in the depression well. I’ve never been what anybody would call a happy, go-lucky individual. And I’ve hit some dark spots here and there. But damn… I’ve been pissed off at some normal things that go on in my life for no good reason.

My journal entries lately are full of angry words. Swearing. And accusations. Not at all like the first few entries where I focused on gratitude.

But let me say this… I’m aware enough now that it’s my head that’s largely the problem, so I don’t mind vomiting all this negativity on the page rather than spewing it on my family or friends. So the journaling has been a HUGE benefit to offload my mind during some of these periods.

protein-granola-bite-fuelSo my gut, as it adjusts to a less carb- and caffeine-centered existence, is forcing my brain to deal with some of the issues I’ve been masking for years. And I think that’s a good thing to a certain extent. I just wish I could find some magic gut biome happy juice that would make me a bit happier.

I’ve added some trail mix to my afternoon routine (Bite Fuel’s Protein Trail Mix has been a godsend). But the additional carbs have definitely slowed down the weight loss. (I will easily snack on a cup of the stuff, which isn’t exactly carb friendly even if it does pack in some additional protein.)

Can anybody hook a guy up? I’m wondering if I’m the only person this weird depression crash has hit when adjusting to the macro’d lifestyle. I seriously doubt it.

I’ll write more later on this challenge as it progresses, I’m sure. I’m already down about 5-6 pounds in a week, so I won’t complain about that aspect. But I really don’t like the mental/mood swings.

Ideas are welcome. Thanks!

Karen Plus Box Jumps = Burn

Today I decided to heed my chiropractor’s advice (Thanks Caleb!) and tape up my knees before doing the workout. It turned out to be a very good idea.

Not sure why, but I’m running a little slower today than normal, but I made it to an 8:30 class with Coach Jimmy. We had a great crew today. Caleb, Todd, Jenny, Sarah, and I were ready to tackle the workout — or so we thought.

We started with a little three round warm-up:

  • 30 second row
  • 30 seconds of jumping jacks
  • 30 seconds of air squats (jumping air squats for the last round)
  • 30 seconds of inchworms

And then we did a long mobility routine that I think Jimmy really needs to write up or do a video for. I would love to use it as a regular warm-up even on my rest days. We went through quite a progression and I’m not sure I remember it all, but here’s an idea:

  • pose_pigeonPick a side and do it on each side for about 30 seconds per position
  • Kneel on the knee on that side and put your other leg behind you with your foot pointed so your toe is on the ground
  • Shift around on that knee so that you push out over the hip on the same side of the knee, then shift forward, left, and back. Move around and try to work the whole hip area (maybe a minute doing this)
  • Shift to a pigeon position and hang out there for a bit, shifting around
  • Shift to a scorpion position and hang out for a bit, shifting around
  • Position yourself over the shoulder on that side and straighten that arm, then use the other arm to stretch the elbow/shoulder (tough to describe this one – but it was a tough pose for me to hold)
  • Shift to a seated position and pull the leg towards your chest, attempting to bring your calf to your chin (one of the only ones I was actually flexible at)
  • Now repeat the sequence on the other side

rogue-black-med-ball-web6_1I actually found this to be a great stretching combination. It was uncomfortable, but later on I felt like it hit the major areas I was going to need for the workout. And when I was done with the workout and recovered a bit, I wasn’t walking like a duck. ๐Ÿ™‚

But the workout itself was going to be a doozy. We were pretty warm by that point, so we just grabbed our wall balls and did a few wall ball warm-ups to keep things moving…

  • 3 wall ball front squats
  • 3 push-press-style wall balls (wall ball but without a full squat)
  • 3 regular wall balls

Then we grabbed some plyo boxes for the box jumps and got ready to go.

20170523_094413The workout was:

  • 50-40-30-20-10 reps for time of:
  • Wall-balls, 20/14# medicine ball
  • Box jumps, 24/20″ box

Though I used a 20# ball, I only did 20″ step-ups. My knees were already bugging me by the time I finished the first 50 wall balls, so I didn’t want to torque them off any further.

It took me 26:41 to finish. Dead last. The 9:30 class was starting their warm-ups by the time I was done.

Apparently people were finishing in the 15-20 minute range earlier. Caleb finished in 14:59 with 20# wall balls and 24″ step-ups. Todd was right there with him. Not sure where Sarah & Jenny ended up exactly, but they were both done by the 20 minute mark.

The bad part was my knees — they were burning pretty much non-stop for the first two rounds. I would do 5 or 10 reps of something, walk around, let it subside, then go back and do another set. So it took a while. There was a bit of a convincing process — I had to convince myself that I wanted to finish the next set, which would get me closer to be done. And that seems to have worked.

The good part was that I taped both knees before I left the house, then added my knee sleeves on top of that, so they were pretty stable. Right now they don’t hurt. They’re a little wobbly, but not in pain. I’ll take it.


Lesson learned: Listen to your chiropractor. ๐Ÿ™‚

Speaking of which, thanks for the encouragement on the last couple of sets. I appreciated it!

Have a great day folks!

6 Minutes of Crazy With 2 Minutes of Rest

Today was Monday, so back to the box I went. And today also happened to be the 2nd workout of the Lurong Summertime Challenge. I have a separate post on some of the challenges with the dietary portion of the challenge, but will focus on the WOD today here…

dr-evil-air-quotes-yes-this-is-what-we-call-a-warm-upI arrived and found Coach Bill waiting for Jenny, Sarah, and I… We started with a nice little three round warm-up:

  • 250m row or 1m on bike (we all rowed)
  • 8 push-ups
  • 8 air squats
  • 8 kettlebell swings (I used a 35#)

From there we did some work with an empty barbell:

  • 5 good mornings
  • 5 back squats
  • 5 strict press
  • 5 straight leg deadlifts
  • 5 overhead squats

always-warm-up-thoroughlyAnd then we started loading up the barbell with weight to warm-up to the workout weight. I did:

  • 135# deadlifts
  • 135# back squats
  • 95# push press
  • 165# deadlifts
  • 165# back squats
  • 125# push press
  • 185# deadlifts
  • 185# back squats
  • 135# push press

After that, the fun began:

  • 2 Minutes of Deadlifts #275/175
  • 1-Minute Rest
  • 2 Minutes of Back Squats #225/145
  • 1-Minute Rest
  • 2 Minutes of Shoulder to Overhead #185/115
  • For masters men, the weights dropped to 225# deadlifts, 185# back squats, and 135# s2oh.

That minute of rest is a joke. ๐Ÿ™‚ During the minute you had to swap weights around and I was lucky if I ended up with 10 or 15 seconds of dedicated rest during the workout.

baby-raised-eyebrows-hmmm-why-do-i-feel-like-this-is-going-to-kick-my-butt-laterI got through:

  • 225# deadlifts, grab and go style, x26
  • 185# back squats, x12
  • 135# s2oh (mostly strict and push press), x16
  • Total: 54 reps

My wife did this workout at 5am this morning with the women’s masters weights:

  • 145# deadlifts, x35
  • 115# back squats, x18
  • 85# s2oh, x15
  • Total: 68

Result: She did awesome. ๐Ÿ™‚

So I think we’re doing ok. We’re one week in and getting more efficient (sort of) at the macro diet stuff, though it seems I’m always in the kitchen or doing meal prep. We will survive and make this work.

Great work 8:30 class and thanks for the encouragement Bill!

Just in case your shoulders weren’t tired enough…

After taking a couple of days off earlier this week, I had two meetings I couldn’t escape this morning at work… so I had to wait for a Noon class to attend. Arrived in time to chat a bit with Coach Bill and then Coach Jimmy arrived to lead us.ย Kirsten and I were as ready as we were going to be I think. ๐Ÿ™‚

Gymnastics-ringsWe started with a 3 round warm-up:

  • 250m row
  • 10 ring rows
  • 10 wall balls (20/14#)

Once that was done, we did some shoulder mobility work with a band before working with an empty barbell:

  • 5 strict press
  • 5 Sumo-deadlift high pulls (ish — just the standing part)
  • 5 push press

And from there we added weight and got ready for the workout.


  • For time:
  • 15 push presses
  • 5 rope ascents
  • 12 push presses
  • 4 rope ascents
  • 9 push presses
  • 3 rope ascents
  • 6 push presses
  • 2 rope ascents
  • 3 push presses
  • 1 rope ascent
  • (Use ยพ body weight for push presses)

This was a doozy. Especially after Tuesday’s shoulder press-palooza.

When I went in, I had every intention of trying 175# (which is 3/4 of my current bodyweight), but you know what they say about roads and good intentions…

  • Started with 135# off the bat, did 3 warm-ups
  • Then did 3 with 155# on the bar.
  • I felt like that sucked, so I should add more – but I fought the urge and decided to stay there.

climbing-rope-atje23--853-pSo when the clock started, here’s how it went:

  • 8 push press reps @ 155#, 7 reps @ 135#
  • 5 rope climbs from floor
  • 12 ย push press reps @ 135#
  • 4ย rope climbs from floor
  • 9 push press reps @ 135# (by this point my left arm was struggling to straighten out)
  • 3 rope climbs from the floor
  • 6 push press reps @ 135# (ugly ones)
  • 2 rope climbs from the floor
  • 3 push press reps @ 135# (even more ugly)
  • 1 rope climb from the floor
  • Time: 16:14

Meanwhile, Kirsten was flying through the workout with a lighter weight on the bar but real rope climbs and finished in less than 9 minutes I think.

This was ugly. I got to the point a couple of times where I couldn’t hold the bar in a front rack when I cleaned it from the floor — simply because my left arm wasn’t holding close enough to make it work. A lot of it I think had to do with hand position on the bar. Too far in or out and I chicken winged to the point where it wasn’t strong enough.

But once again… I finished. It was ugly. And I think some of the reps probably shouldn’t have counted. But I finished.

Thanks Jimmy!

Ah, push it

Somehow some Salt-n-Pepa lyrics fit today’s workout. The soundtrack we listened to was suitably 70s, 80s, and 90s in a weird mix, so I’m actually surprised we didn’t hear the song. ๐Ÿ™‚

At any rate, there were a few of us who joined Coach Jimmy for the 8:30 class this morning… Myself, Nic, Jenny, and Sarah prepared to do a ton of overhead work to tax our shoulders.

arm-and-shoulderWe started with a 500m row, then some shoulder work to get everything moving. That included some painful mobility work with a lacrosse ball and our hands behind our back that was… interesting. Jimmy’s Torture Time was definitely in session. One of the more interesting parts was doing wall ball “shots” as a push press instead of a thruster, so no squat at the bottom. It really puts a lot more stress on the shoulders — especially when you try to hit a 10 foot target doing a strict shoulder press to get it there. (I was glad I was using a 14 pound ball. HA!)

Once we were good and warm, we grabbed an empty barbell to do a little skill refresher before adding weight and getting into it.

Today’s Metcon was:

  • 7 rounds for time
  • 21 strict shoulder presses (75/55#)
  • 21 good mornings (75/55#)

shoulders-military-pressNow, looking at it last night I suspected I might be ok for a couple of rounds before I had to switch over. HA! I got through 1 round Rx and then had to start scaling…

  • 21 strict press (75#)
  • 21 good mornings (75#)
  • 21 push press (75#)
  • 21 good mornings (75#)
  • 21 push press (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)
  • 21 push press/push jerks (75#)
  • 21 banded good mornings (green)

If you’re counting, that’s 147 shoulder presses or push presses. I was breaking it however I could — 14/7, 11/10, 7/7/7, 7/4/8… Sometimes I’d hold the bar. Sometimes I’d drop the bar. And I was laughing at myself as my left shoulder/bicep started getting more and more ticked off.

In the last three rounds, I got some amazing jerks going just to pop under it, but I felt more and more like the right arm was popping it up and the left arm was just struggling to get under it.

Had to switch to banded good mornings because my elbows and biceps were not getting any kind of break while hanging onto the bar, taxing those bits and the bits above them even more. It was a challenge and everybody got done way before me. I just kept chugging through a handful of reps at a time until I was done.


I might have been dead last, but I finished. And I’ll take that today.

Great work 8:30! And then I watched Brent in the 9:30 class do it Rx+ with GHD extensions instead of Good Mornings and 75# on the bar — in about 12 minutes. Half my time. He rocked it.

Really everybody did. I was slow and steady and got it done. That’s what matters.

Thanks for the encouragement everybody! And great work!

Let’s See Those Elbow Pits!

If you’re wondering about the subject line, don’t worry — I’ll explain it in a while.

First, let’s get a couple of things out of the way.

  1. lurong-challenge-2017Today begins the Summertime Lurong Challenge. It’s a combination nutrition and workout competition that they do every year. This year they have both a Paleo and a Macro option for nutrition tracking, so we’re doing it again. I tried Macros a while back and I think it can be effective, but it requires a lot of preparation, which is something we kind of fall down on…
  2. Today is my birthday, so I’m a bit more lenient than I should be on some of the tracking. That said, so ย far I have to admit I’ve kept to the program pretty well. The only slight slip was going with a gluten-free brownie with my tasty, tasty lunch at Progressive Paleo. But I’ll still count myself as on track. ๐Ÿ™‚

Evie took the day off to spend it with me, which was awesome. And we started the day by heading into CrossFit Continuum for the first workout of the Lurong Challenge.

Coach Jimmy had Ev & I, Sarah, Joe, Jenny, Carrie, and Nic to contend with. We started with a bit of mobility as everybody arrived, then had an episode of “Jimmy’s Torture time”…

  • 3 rounds
  • 1 minute jump rope (single or double)
  • 10 PVC pass-thrus
  • 10 PVC overhead squats

When that was done, we did some work on overhead squats with a PVC pipe before shifting to an unloaded barbell. And that was over, we grabbed a foam roller and the torture really began… Lay on the floor, put the barbell over your head and the foam roller under your shoulder/upper back… Then let the torture begin.

Honestly though I’ve done that particular stretch before I’ve never felt it like I did today. Definitely shifted some muscles in different directions than normal.

And we also did some runner’s lunges with some pushing and pulling of knees. That was a challenge as well. I think I was already sweating pretty good when we got through the warm-up.

Once all that was done, we started warming up our power snatches and overhead squats with weight and then it was off to the races.

  • 1p3cnx12 minute double AMRAP
  • 95/65# barbell
  • 5 minute AMRAP of
    • 10 power snatches
    • 10 box jumps @ 24″
  • 2 minute rest
  • 5 minute AMRAP of
    • 10 Overhead squats
    • 10 box jumps @ 24″

So a couple of things off the bat.

  1. Overhead squats are not my favorite. Though I’ve improved a ton with them over the last four years, it’s still uncomfortable in a workout. (Yeah, I know – I’m supposed to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. Still working on that.)
  2. I forgot my knee sleeves. Didn’t think about taping my knees. And my knees didn’t like step-ups. But I did 20″ step-ups anyway.

It was a good push. Breathing was a challenge, but we pushed through the first chunk ok. The second chunk wasn’t as good however. I struggled with the overhead squats and my knees were starting to complain about the step-ups.

20170515_093127So how’d we do?

  • I got into the 3rd round of step-ups (53 reps)
  • I got into a 3rd round of overhead squats (43 reps)
  • Total: 96 reps

Ev did better than I did with 55# on the barbell and 20″ step-ups:

  • 3 rounds + 2 reps (power snatches) (62 reps)
  • 3 rounds + 2 reps (overhead squats) (62 reps)
  • Total: 124 reps

She did awesome. I did ok. Been a while since we’ve done overhead squats. And I honestly think that sometimes the warm-ups do a great job of wearing me out before I actually get to the workout itself.

That said, I have a couple of fun things:

  • Jimmy really likes the idea of “elbow pits” — I think he said that particular phrase so much that Jenny even looked at me at one point and said that “Elbow Pits” had to make its way into my write-up. Here it is. ๐Ÿ™‚ We had to focus on turning our Elbow Pits out quite a bit, that’s all I’m saying. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • And one thing that may have finally stuck is how we’ve been dropping the bar from overhead during workouts where we’re doing multiple reps in a set. Instead of lowering both arms slowly, stressing the joints and muscles as you take the loaded barbell back down the bar path — roll the wrists forward and just let gravity get it. That saved me quite a bit of wear and tear today even though I was slow as molasses.

So thanks Jimmy! Between torture time, elbow pits, and learning how to drop the bar more effectively, I think I learned something even if I didn’t do all that hot during the workout itself. ๐Ÿ™‚

Great work everybody else! Y’all killed it!

A site about my crossfit journey…