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Nutrition Challenge Update, January 2018

On November 26, I started something different at the encouragement of Coaches Nicole & Drea. That became a seed for change in my life, so I want to talk a little bit about it.

Since even before starting crossfit in February 2013, I have danced with nutrition changes. I started at 262 pounds in October 2012. With minor changes, I dropped to 248 by February of that next year when I walked through the doors at Crossfit Continuum.

preview1-Over the next few years, we tried a few things. Whole30 was a success and I worked all the way down to 201 lbs before the end of 2013, but it didn’t last. We have stuck to a mostly paleo diet, but definitely managed to go off the rails over and over again. Lurong Challenge. Whole30. Zone. Nothing really managed to stick as far as a lasting change.

Let’s fast forward to November 2017 and some conversations with Drea and Nicole about nutrition. I was back up to 228/230 by that point and the scale was definitely not going the right direction. Time for a change.

I think one of the key points of that change came during a nutrition seminar Nicole gave. She described alcohol as poison to the body and something popped in my brain. Poison. A harsh word. Dangerous even. And definitely an eye opener for me.

It’s not like I’d ever consider myself an alcoholic, but I had definitely succumbed to the habit of a drink every now and then. And eventually that habit turned into every night. Not a lot, but enough.

food-big-salad-800pxThe weekend after Thanksgiving, I agreed to follow three key ideas for Nicole.

  • More veggies
  • No alcohol
  • Less sugar

Simple enough, right? During the nutrition challenge at the box, we added two more key ideas:

  • Sleep 7.5 hours a night
  • Drink at least 64 oz of water each day

So let’s look at some numbers.

  • November 26, 2017
  • Weight: 230.6#
  • Body fat percentage: 32.2%

scaleBy the time we started the nutrition challenge, I’d already seen some changes and added a few more measurements:

  • December 1, 2017
  • Weight: 227.7# (down nearly 3#)
  • Body fat: 31.7% (down .5%)
  • Waist: 42.5″
  • Chest: 45.5″
  • Hips: 41″

Now, what made this nutrition change a bit easier, despite Christmas and New Years’ in the middle, was that it wasn’t penalty based. Previous challenges were focused on the number of days you cheated. This challenge focused on the days you did things right and that perspective change made a huge difference.

Did you have to be perfect every meal? Every day? Heck no. But if you went off the wagon, just start again the next day. Easy. Much more forgiving than focusing on the negatives — it allowed us to focus on the days we did things right.

And we were tracking enough bits and pieces that maybe you didn’t get in your 5 cups of veggies every day, but you hit your water goal or maybe kept your sugars in check. Great! Just get back on track the next day and keep chugging forward without dwelling on the negative.

Someday-2-1024x896I won’t say I’ve been perfect, but I didn’t have to be. And before long, habits changed for the better. Even if I slipped here or there or decided I wanted some gluten (usually a flour tortilla!), life was ok. It wasn’t the end of the world.

Today marks the end of this nutrition challenge, but I’m going to keep going with the habits we’ve created.

As far as the changes that have happened? Some good ones I think:

  • January 31, 2018
  • Weight: 216.9# (down nearly 14#)
  • Body fat: 30.2% (down 2%)
  • Waist: 40″ (down 2.5″)
  • Chest: 45″ (down .5″)
  • Hips: 40.5″ (down .5″)
  • Total inches lost: 3.5″

And I don’t feel like I deprived myself of much during that time either.

Some other fun facts:

  • check-list-hiCaffeine-wise I’m down from drinking Advocare Spark and half a pot of coffee with creamer every day to just one Advocare Spark each morning. Every now and then I’ll have some tea and some days just cry out for coffee, but for the most part my caffeine intake has dropped dramatically. (Keep in mind I used to drink 6 Diet Dr. Peppers or more each day in 2012.)
  • Who knew that roasted broccoli (broccoli florets tossed in olive oil with fresh garlic and a bit of salt and pepper, then roasted at 425 degrees for 25-30 minutes) were addictive? I certainly didn’t.
  • Drinking 64-128 oz of water a day and working from home means I test the plumbing in my house regularly. Geez. Who knew?
  • Though I can’t say I feel any stronger, I feel like my endurance and mental game at the box has improved. I’m definitely faster in some ways too.
  • Being lighter has made certain things easier as well, such as chest-to-bar pull-ups, handstand push-ups, and even running to a degree.

Long story short, I don’t plan on stopping any time soon.

I want to thank our coaching staff at Crossfit Continuum for getting me started on the right path and keeping things going with the challenge. For me, it’s been another in a series of life changing events that begin and end with crossfit.

Thank you and congrats to all the other folks who have seen amazing change on this journey!!

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New Toy: Eufy BodySense Smart Scale

It’s been a while since I’ve written one of these and I got a new toy recently, so I figured it was time.

eufy-smartscaleRecently I purchased the Eufy BodySense Smart Scale from Amazon. They had it at $10 off for a bit (not any more unfortunately), so it was a steal. And I wanted something I could use to track my weight and other things like the device that they have at 5 Star Nutrition. We had a decent scale, but as a techie, I like toys — and it was in my “toy” price range at $40. ๐Ÿ™‚

Keep in mind that I’ve been on a bit of a weight roller coaster since October 2012 when I decided to get my butt in shape. At my heaviest I weighed 262 pounds and was pushing over the 38″ waist of my jeans. I started at CrossFit Continuum in February of 2013 and with a more paleo lifestyle (and some bouts with Whole30), I got down to 200 and a 34″ waist.

That didn’t last long however. I seem to average out around 229 most of the time, though I’m down some over the last few weeks and weighed in at 224.8 today, nearly 5 years since I started.

Forgetting the weight thing for a minute, I’m a much different person than I was in 2012. Fitter. More active. Happier. My body has completely changed. We all know muscle weighs more than fat, right? So my 225ish weight is a far cry from the 225 I probably hit at some point in 2013 as I was shedding pounds.

Though my eating habits have changed quite a bit, I still like bread and beer, so I’m not going to shrink quite as much as my doctor’s office might like me to.

Anyway… Back to the scale. I’m a geek and I like having data, so I’ve been looking for ways for me to gather that at home without a lot of hassle. This Eufy scale seemed to do everything I wanted. Bluetooth. Android app. Cool.

I’ve been tracking for about a week, and it’s interesting…

  • There are variations during the day (i.e. 6am 225.5/31.5 and 2p 224.8/31.2)
  • BMI is a joke. The last time I was 165# was in high school, nearly 30 years ago. I was skinny. I will never hit that again. ๐Ÿ™‚
  • I’m not sure how to interpret some of the other values, such as Bone, Muscle, and Water %. Or the various “mass” measurements.

It’s definitely interesting. I’d like to see my Body Fat % drop, but that’s less a factor of me working out and more a factor of keeping an eye on my diet.

I think it’s good to have a bit more accuracy in the scale (apparently it’s accurate to within about 4/10 of a pound, which is more than accurate enough). So now I’m at the point where I’m just trying to keep a closer eye on things. I don’t need to weigh myself every day, but it’s easy to step on the scale first thing in the morning and when I go to bed to see how things change.

But having more (and easier) data collection is very cool. It’s probably not as accurate as the cool toy at 5-Star Nutrition, but it’s a lot more convenient.

So my question for all you nutrition folks is — is it useful? What would you keep an eye on and what would you ignore?

Word for the day: “Ouch.”

Welcome to Thursday. I tend to get into the box at odd times on Thursdays. Sometimes it’s 8:30. Sometimes it’s Noon. And I think I’ve even been at 4:30 once in a blue moon. But usually I find a way.

Today I skipped a work meeting (I tend to go to this one every other week) and went at 8:30 with Ev. We had Coach Bill and a good mix of folks – we had Sam (and cute little Lilly), Carrie, and Ryan with us.

Started with a few minutes of couch stretch, moved to some lacrosse-ball induced agony on the wall in our shoulders, then did a 400m run. When we got back we did a few rounds of:

  • 20 sec each
  • Hollow body rocks
  • Med ball cleans
  • Thruster w/PVC

rogue-black-med-ball-web6_1My cleans were not up to par and Bill called me on it, which was good. But by the end of the mix, my left hip was starting to complain.ย When we did a bunch of thruster and clean drills with an empty barbell, it yelled further.And as we added weight for the workout, I thought that the hip was going to be my deciding factor. It was only in adjusting from the 115# prescribed to a more reasonable 95#.

So with a 95# bar and a 35# kettle bell prepped for weighted sit-ups, we started the workout:

  • For time:
  • 42 weighted sit-ups
  • 115/75-lb. squat clean thrusters, 21 reps
  • 30 weighted sit-ups
  • 115/75-lb. squat clean thrusters, 15 reps
  • 18 weighted sit-ups
  • 115/75-lb. squat clean thrusters, 9 reps

I clocked my head on the kettle bell in the first 42 sit-ups. Then dropped the thruster bar on it in the first 21 reps. Twice.

2013-thrusters-combined

But even with all of that it was my left shoulder screaming bloody murder that I couldn’t quite work through. I adjusted my last set of sit-ups to be just weighted, not weighted overhead (we were reaching overhead for each rep). And even after adjusting that I couldn’t bring myself to pick up the bar for those last 9 reps.

DNF. Still beats DNS, but still. Not my finest hour.

dfl-dnf-dns

So let’s tally, shall we? Left hip. Head. Left shoulder.

After all of that, it turns out to be my left knee that’s what’s causing me the most grief post-workout. Yay team. Starting a series of measures to help I hope… ice, Deep Blue, and ibuprofen.

My wife finished in the time cap (under 17 mins) with 75# on the bar and 25# weighted sit-ups. She did awesome and was pushed hard by Bill. It was good.

My goal for the next 24+ hours is to rest my body a bit and see if I can get it feeling better ahead of whatever Dave Castro has in store for the 17.2 workout we’ll be doing tomorrow night. Tonight we’ll find out what that turns out to be. I’m hoping for a kinder, gentler workout but know that’s never really in the cards.

Good work 8:30 class! Thanks Bill for pushing, sorry my body wasn’t up for accomplishing the task today!

Ring Dips and Strict Bar Work

Today is my first day back to work after 2 weeks away (staycation, but still). The girls went back to school. We were all up early. I forgot to eat breakfast. You know, the usual workday. ๐Ÿ™‚

673f5cc248af490788f00b3c2d180f97After I got my bearings again with work, I escaped my desk for an 8:30 class at CrossFit Continuum with my wife. We arrived to work with Coach Drea, Carrie, Tionne, and Andrea. A fun little class now that folks are back to work after the holidays.

We started with a 400m run in 20 degree weather. It was chilly!

From there we came back in to do some walking lunges, shoulder mobility with a PVC pipe, and some push-ups before heading to the rig to start working on those rings. 10 second hold locked out, 20 seconds of rest, 10 second hold at the bottom of the ring dip, 20 second rest… repeat 3x total. The lock out at the top was fine. The bottom… that was tough.

We followed that up with some ring dips and then some strict pull-ups with a band. That was a sign of what was to come.

The actual workout though was more skill work today for me than anything else. It was written for time, but we didn’t quite push it that direction.ย The prescribed workout was 5 rounds for time of:

  • 20 L pull-ups
  • 16 ring dips

ring-dip

Yeah, that quickly became modified to 5 rounds of:

  • 10 strict knee tucks or V-ups
  • 10 strict pull-ups
  • 10 ring dips

After 30 minutes, I was through 4 rounds and called it good. It was time for the 9:30 class to get started and they needed the space on the rig.

Definitely a challenging workout. I’ll be curious to see what we start to see showing up in the 2017 CrossFit Open. Will we see ring dips? Maybe? And more dumbbell work?

crossfit-openAnyway… It was fun to see everybody kicking butt today. Carrie was rocking out the strict pull-ups. We saw both Tionne & Andrea get pull-ups together on the rig.

We’ll see what we do tomorrow when the snow hits. ๐Ÿ™‚

And tomorrow starts the more strict diet again. We’ll see how that goes too.

Great work everybody! Have a good day!

The Merry Twelve Days of Christmas WOD

Well, I was merry when I began and exhausted at the end, so I guess it did its duty today. ๐Ÿ™‚

12_days

If you haven’t seen the “Twelve Days of Christmas” WOD in various places, it’s a workout where you follow the same scheme as the “Twelve Days of Christmas” song and do a different body weight or barbell movement for each “day”, using the rep scheme from the song…

1 squat clean, 2 pull-ups, and 30 double unders (or single unders), etc.

Today CrossFit Continuum ran the 12 Days WOD three times – 9, 11, and 1. The Fitzy clan went to the 9am workout to get it out of the way early. And we weren’t alone. ๐Ÿ™‚

Coach Larry kept us moving. We had Caleb & Megan, Clara, Vanessa, Stacy, Danielle, Brent, Bill, Todd, and a few others milling about. It was packed. We had people all over the place.

We started with a 400m team run (an “Indian run”) with a medicine ball that we passed from person to person until we hit the end and then that person ran it back to the front and started over. It became guys vs. girls pretty quickly and the girls showed us up. We won though because guile beats skill apparently. ๐Ÿ˜‰

After that we did some warm-up stretches as a group — Spider-man lunges, jumping jacks, etc. — and then Larry went through a quick refresher on some of the movements with a PVC pipe and watched us go through them.

This was a fun group so everyone was giving everyone else grief, of course. ๐Ÿ™‚

And then the real fun began. This is always a challenging workout ย I worked with Brent – he and I kind of waterfalled our way through most of the movements:

  • santaimages1 Squat Clean 135/95
  • 2 Muscle-ups/Chest 2 Bar/Pull-ups/Toes to Bar/Knees to Elbows
  • 3 30 Double unders or Single unders
  • 4 Burpees
  • 5 Box Jumps 24/20
  • 6 Thrusters 135/95
  • 7 Hand Stand Push-ups or Pike Push-ups
  • 8 Goblet Squats 53/35
  • 9 KBS 53/35
  • 10 Wall Balls 20/14
  • 11 Situps
  • 12 Push jerks 135/95

We adjusted the weight from 135# to 115# and scaled in a few other places. I did jumping C2B, single-unders, step-ups (with a few 20″ box jumps), and I did a few HSPUs but quickly fell to pike push-ups.ย The killer? The squat cleans. Wow. Those 6 reps were the roughest part of the whole thing.

Brent hummed right along through all of it. I think he said today was the first HSPU he’d done since his elbow surgery and he looked great. He did Rx movements through most of it too.

I slowed him down a bit. But we finished the whole thing in 58:34. I was the last one to finish off the push jerks I think, but wast just happy to get it done and under an hour. ๐Ÿ™‚

Ev and the girls did great. But everybody kicked butt. Great work folks!

And now… on the last day of Christmas my true love gave to me a rest day! ๐Ÿ™‚ And maybe some ice for my sore body parts after 6 days of workouts this week. ๐Ÿ™‚

christmas

We wish a big Merry Christmas to every one of our friends and coaches at the box — and all those CrossFit peeps we’ve met this year from all over the place. It’s been another fantastic year of CrossFit for us and it’s not even quite over yet.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Well Wishes for Everyone!!

Burpees & One-armed Thrusters

There are few movements like burpees in the CrossFit catalog thatย people either love or hate. Until recently I was on the hater side. But something shifted and now they’re tough, but not as bad. That puts them on somewhat neutral ground now — it only took nearly fourย years. ๐Ÿ™‚

We had a great class – Coach Drea had her hands full. It was me, Ev, Sarah, Brent, Jenny, Todd, Adrienne (with Jayda), and Jake. Started with some couch stretch on the wall and then transitioned to another warm-up like yesterday… 3 rounds:

  • 10 calories on the devil’s tricycle or rower (chose rower)
  • 10 air squats to a med ball
  • 10 push-ups
  • 10 roll-to-candlesticks

kaars_afrollen2

Still working on roll to candlestick, but the rest was ok even though I was dreading the actual workout today. We went over the movements – burpees and dumbbell thrusters. And any time I have to make my left and right side work independently I get into trouble. I’m incredibly right side dominant so my left side might as well belong to another person. That was certainly the case today.

burpees_m_workoutlabs

The workout was a 20-minute metcon:

  • 10 rounds of:
  • 30 seconds of burpees
  • 30 second rest
  • 30 seconds of dumbbell thrusters (45/30# Rx, 30/20# Level II, 20/14# Level I)
  • 30 second rest

1012-thrustersI grabbed a pair of 25# and got a couple of warm-ups in but my left arm was already giving me grief.

  1. 9 burpees / 6 thrusters (2 arms)
  2. 9 burpees / 7 thrusters (2 arms)
  3. 10 burpees / 5 thrusters (right arm only)
  4. 7 burpees / 5 thrusters (right)
  5. 8 burpees / 6 thrusters (right)
  6. 7 burpees / 6 thrusters (right)
  7. 8 burpees / 6 thrusters (right)
  8. 7 burpees / 5 thrusters (right)
  9. 7 burpees / 5 thrusters (right)
  10. 7 burpees / 5 thrusters (right)

Totals: 79 burpees / 56 thrusters = 135 total reps

Burpees were tiring, but I was able to get 5-7 reps in, take a breath, then do one or two more usually. Thrusters though… I felt like my left arm was going to clobber my head with a dumbbell and my arm bent in weird directions where it just didn’t feel safe.

I need to do something to retrain that left arm (and leg) to work normally again. Not sure why they’re that out of whack, but hey – why shouldn’t they be?

It’s funny to look at how far I’ve come as an athlete. I’m stronger, faster, and have a hell of a lot more flexibility and endurance than I’ve ever had in my adult life. And I have many, many things left to work on. That’s the beauty of crossfit in a nutshell. There’s always something to work on.

Great work today folks – you all killed it. ๐Ÿ™‚ Have a great day!

Dang You Helen!

Today was one of those days I knew would show up eventually. I typically try to avoid running. As we’ve seen, I’ve been improving – but it still takes a lot out of my system and is a struggle. So when I saw Helen show up… I said a lot of words in the vein of Luke Cage’s “Sweet Christmas” swear that weren’t quite as sanitized for sensitive ears.

1dhkgx

So I arrived for the Noon class with Coach Drea. Bill was finishing a workout and Vicky, who I’ve not worked out with before but seems nice. We did a bit of mobility work with a foam roller and then dove into some running warm-ups back and forth across the gym. Then we did a bit of pull-up work.

And then… it was time for Helen. 3 rounds for time:

  • 400m run
  • 21 kettle bell swings (53/35#)
  • 12 pull-ups

I had to go back and look up my previous times for Helen.

  • 19-NOV-2013 – 23:38 (Rx)
  • 7-MAR-2016 – 21:19 (Rx)

Ev did it this morning and went from a 18:11 time back in March to 13:26 – shaving nearly 5 minutes off her time. She did awesome.

So how’d I do?

1dhkk2Well, it sucked. Took me 18:56. That’s nearly a 2 and a half minute improvement, but I had to scale to get there. I lost grip quickly and couldn’t breathe.

  • 400m run (ran all but 50m)
  • 21 kettle bell swings (53#) unbroken
  • 4-4-4 pull-ups
  • 100m run, 100m walk, 50m run, 150m walk
  • 15-6 kettle-bell swings
  • 3-3-3-3 jumping pull-ups
  • 400m walk
  • 16-5 kettle-bell swings
  • 3-3-3-3 jumping pull-ups
  • DONE

It was not fun. None of the running ones are for me. Vicky did great – she got through it in about 14 minutes I think she said.

That said, I was amused by the fact that as my biceps and shoulders got more sore from the kettle bell swings I couldn’t run. And my grip disappeared quickly, so I had to adjust along the way. Grip has been a big issue for a while now, so I need to figure out how to fix that.

1dhkrwThe grip thing I expected. Somehow though I didn’t expect my breathing difficulties. I didn’t panic exactly, but it was a stressed situation for a while running, which is why I stopped completely. Not sure if it was something in the air, the small smoke cloud I ran through a couple of times, or the fact that I simply didn’t take my allergy medicine this morning.

So… here’s my thing. I’m trying to look at the glass as half full.

  • Did I complete Helen? Yes
  • Was I faster than last time? Yes
  • Did I have to scale the workout to my current physical state? Yes

Two out of three ain’t bad. ๐Ÿ™‚

Thanks for all the encouragement Drea & Vicky! I needed it. ๐Ÿ™‚

Have a great day folks!