For a bit over a week now I have been back on eating nice and clean. In doing so, my kitchen time has increased quite a bit and I have come up with a few fun creations. For those of you who have been following this blog for a while, you might remember the old Courageous Meals posts I began doing back when I moved to California. Well, now that I'm back in the kitchen thinking up different creations, I thought I'd reintroduce a couple of those into my posting (the main thing is to just get back to regular posting!), This past week, while very good on the nutrition front, I've been completely out of the gym. I intentionally took a couple extra days off from training, then, got pretty sick and ended up taking the entire week off. I am super excited to get back onto the program this coming week, along with the new-found wonderful meal plan; I am expecting great things!
So, on to a few of the meals I came up with! First, at the start of this whole thing, I was strolling through Whole Foods picking up some essentials, and decided I'd just grab a few things, head back to the house and see what i could make! This ended up being a really fun time. I literally had a bag full of wonderful food, laid it all on the counter and let my imagination run wild, and came up with the following:
Chicken sausage and shrimp collard green wraps
I broiled some great chicken sausage (I learned from my good friend who worked at Whole Foods for a while that their personal sausages are in fact, organic, free-range ground chicken, spices and pork casing, that's it. Totally cool with that!). Heated up some pre-cooked shrimp, chopped up tomato's, onions and jalapenos and put the mess into a large collard green leaf. Wrapped it up and boom, there's your meal! It turned out to be unreal! After that, it was open season in my brain for coming up with some new things (new for me at least, I am pretty sure I have been beat to the punch with all my ideas long ago, but I just don't research this stuff enough, so, I like taking the credit!)
Steak tip over eggs w/ coconut wasabi and asparagus
My lack of grill is killing me, so, it was back to the broiler for the meat. To add to the fun, I cooked up a couple eggs over easy in a pan with coconut oil and steamed the asparagus. The kick to the meal was the wasabi. I found a great little powder at Whole Foods, added water and coconut oil and just like that, a slightly sweet, crazy spicy paste to throw on top of most meats! So damn good! Some great red meat meals led me to realize that I hadn't cooked up chicken in a while, so, I thought I'd try something great!
Bacon-wrapped chicken with Brussels sprouts
Yep, back to the broiler for this, again, this lack of grill is killing me! Either way, I wrapped up my 3-inch cuts of chicken with some thick cut bacon and threw it in the oven for a good 20 minutes. This was paired with halved Brussels sprouts cooked in coconut oil along with some almond slivers. Yet again, another awesome meal (Lindsey is the Brussels sprouts genius of the household by the way, it's great!). But what about a different style of dinner, like a soup you say?
Old Fashioned Chicken Soup
Cubed up a bunch of chicken, cut up carrots, celery, onion and butternut squash along with some finely chopped bacon, and threw the whole sh'bang into a pot with a mixture of chicken and vegetable broth and water. Simmered it for a good 25 minutes and we had a perfect soup for a cold Sunday night! But what about the sweet tooth? My plan and goals for the next few weeks is to avoid this sort of thing as to control my emotional desire for sugar in certain situations (...); but, yesterday Lindsey and I went to a Halloween party and we needed to bring something perfect!
Almond Butter Cups
This was the one that everyone on Facebook wanted to know all about! Go figure, right? You have all this wonderfully good, healthy food posted up, then you post of dessert and get bombarded with questions as to how to make it! Well, if you want to make a quick buck, start a dessert company I guess. Either way, it was super easy (time consuming and messy yes, but easy)! I'll give a little more detail on this one for you all then. And of course, you can expect a few super detailed Courageous Meals posts over the coming month. A note to make before all this: you can use any type of chocolate, depends your taste.
I bag semi-sweet dark chocolate pieces
1 bottle almond butter
Small paper muffin holder things
Put all the chocolate in a large bowl or plate, then place over a small pot with a little water in it. But it on the stove and bring the water to a boil. This will slowly melt the chocolate. As this is happening, take about a cup or two of almond butter into a bowl, add about a quarter cut coconut, 2 tbsp cinnamon and 1 tbsp nutmeg, mix it all up and set aside.
Once the chocolate is melted, let cool for a minute or two, then take about 2 tbsp and pour into the muffin holder things. Use the back of a spoon to coat the whole paper thing as best you can (this is the messy, time-consuming, annoying part). I made about 15 in my batch, just as a heads up. Once the paper things are all coated, set them in the fridge to harden up.
Once they are hardened up, add a couple tbsp of the almond butter mixture into each cup, then coat the top of it with another tbsp or two of chocolate (you may have to re-heat the stuff). Again, use the spoon to make sure the entire top is coated, then, if you want to be pretty about it, add a little swirl to the top to make it look professional! Pop in the fridge and about 15 minutes later you have the perfect Almond Butter Cup! You can make this as healthy or unhealthy as you want really. Mine were pretty damn good healthy for a dessert. No added sugar, just the smallest amount in the dark chocolate. The spices and coconut in the almond butter added a bit of a kick to the whole thing that o think really made these things that much better. Now I am really curious about making these with zero sugar. I'm sure they'll be nasty, but it's worth a try! Let me know how yours turn out!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, yet again I have failed in the posting-blog-posts-at-specific-times-to-give-a-little-more-order-to-my-life. But, so be it. I'll get there some day. Perhaps when I post up five straight without any grammatical mistakes I can actually call myself a real blogger...! Anyway, I think it's about time I do a little update write-up as a handful of things have gone down in the past week that should be great to share! So, here goes!
I ended up taking last Saturday off from training because my body was beyond beat up. in fact, I was so fatigued that I actually DNF'd my metcon from Friday. Yeah. I am pretty sure that's the first time I have ever done that on a workout that didn't have a time limit. I just had nothing left physically and mentally and I had to call it quits or I probably would have gone crazy. Then, As I began to get in my work on Monday, it hit me like a ton of bricks that I was just no physically there. I needed to take a couple more days off and eat about 50 pounds of meat. I think the crazy awesome amount of heavy lifting and technical lifting has just taken it's toll on me. So, took the rest of the workout off yesterday, took toady off (except for a great yoga session and an hour of touch football!), ate a lot of good food and am itching to get back in the gym. I will play it by ear as to whether or not I get back after it tomorrow, or wait until Thursday. The ultimate goal is to be making constant and great progress!
Now, the food thing. Last week, after getting fed up with the amount of sugar I'd been consuming for about a month or so, I just up and stopped. As of last Thursday I am winging the program called Whole 30. This isn't all that tough for me as I realize i was basically doing exactly that program except for the sugar. As motivation, and to get a little support for the whole thing, I started a month-long challenge where I set up a "private" site for a group of people where we can all hold each other accountable. I chose to not start some sort of strict "paleo challnege" thing, just wanted a group of people to submit a collection of nutrition goals, then post up their food intake each and every day. By the way, if you want in for this, anyone is more than welcome to join. Just let me know and I'll get you all the info you need! It's super easy, you don't have to do my program, you just have to commit to a better nutritional lifestyle through specific goals, then use all of us to stick with it as your life changes for the better!
Finally, I'd like to utilize this blog as a place to bitch and moan briefly about the speed-bumps I have hit in trying to open up a larger gym space. Bureaucracy sucks big time!! 'Nuff said. I will share however, I am well on the way to securing an absolutely AWESOME space, not gonna say where, not gonna say when, not gonna say how, just that Courage Performance is about to blow, up! Pumped!
So, ready to get to sleep, get some good work done tomorrow, and, oh, thanks to my food goals, I'll be cooking a good deal more, expect the return of Courageous Meals super soon!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
If you head out and grab the November issue of Men’s Health, you’ll find an incredibly good article about CrossFit tucked into the middle of the thick magazine. I was initially amped up about this piece because I bought the magazine to entertain me during my plane ride out to California. Much to my delight, I opened the pages to see a picture of my good friend and old training partner Blair Morrison! Pretty cool.
Well, as I write this I am actually on the plane (will probably finish n my old Starbucks in San Mateo seeing how we are only 20 minutes out!) and I am so eager to keep my eye on shit-show that will be CrossFitters complaining about how stupid the article was. Interestingly enough, my initial reaction was similar. How dare this guy rip on the fitness methodology and now sport that I believe in so much? How dare he go so far as to even use the nutritional upper-lord Robb Wolf as a resource to strike up more controversy about the program? Well, once I put my angry kettlebell down, cleaned up the chalk, and put my short back on I realized something: this was one of the best articles on CrossFit I have read in a long time. I say thins because the truth was written.
My frustration with the piece was similar to that of one written by a Washington Post Express journalist who decided to try out the whole minimalist shoe craze. He bought a pair of Five-Fingers and went out on a 5 mile run. He then promptly ripped the craze a new one because he couldn’t walk for a week! Well, any somewhat smart human would understand that he was an idiot. If you spend your whole life running in moon-boots and then one day go barefoot, you can’t expect run for hours and be cured of all your problems. That would be like an obese person deciding to eat healthy, doing so for one day then saying it doesn’t work and is stupid because he didn’t lose 100 pounds! The writer of the CrossFit piece became so turned off by CrossFit that after one final humiliating day where he finished dead last in a workout surrounded by women, he walked out, never to return.
Well, my immediate reaction was: out of the now 3000+ affiliates around the world, perhaps you just went to a crappy one? Perhaps if you went to an affiliate who’s coaches understood that learning the kip as part of foundations is probably going to lead to a lot of injury. Or where they don’t program 4 days of weighted, heavy loaded snatch work in one week. Or, where they don’t ask you to deadlift 225# in a 15 minute AMRAP on your first day! Unless you’re “drunk on the kool aid” you’re probably going to burn out at some point pretty quickly at a place that pays no attention to your needs. I mean, all of the problems this guy had at his “box” pissed me off because I would never let those happen at mine. So, I found his article stupid.
Then I realized something. His article was clearly NOT stupid. I mean seriously, I have been to some 50 CrossFit affiliates and I would say that well over 30 of those could easily be placed in the category of CrossFit that the author was writing about. If you went and talked to the coaches you’d hear them talk the same way founder Greg Glassman talks about the program, that it’s about become generally physically prepared, that it’s about becoming overall athletic, and not specializing, and that their program is the best thing you could do for your body. Most coaches (and depressingly, nowhere near all of them) could even go into the science behind why CrossFit style of training is so beneficial. They talk about the need for good form over good times, about how they teach a full understanding of the basic movements. They talk about avoiding injury and how their program is scalable and modifiable. Then you walk into their gym and see 15 people thrashing around trying to complete “Fran” as fast as humanly possible. Backs are rounding, heels are off the floor, hands have a death grip on the bar, people who cannot perform 2 consecutive pull ups are swinging around the pull up bars, screaming as they push out one more rep. And those coaches who talk so wonderfully about their program, about how focused they are in avoiding injury and taking care of each and every one of their athletes? They are standing their screaming at everyone to get back on the bar, fight through, keep going, don’t stop, go faster and on and on! All of a sudden everything they just talked about is thrown out the window and the truth comes out as to how this place is run.
Damn, I guess this guy was right! I guess when we step out of the crazy cult following CrossFit has become and look at the whole thing objectively, you find something pretty damn scary. Step back in and do a little searching and you find some really freaking great places that take the time and energy to do things right. But with 3000+ affiliates around the world, how many of those do you really think do it right? Judging by the poor quality of gyms, trainers and coaches out there in general, we can probably assume that not too many of them are all that great. So what does that mean for you? Well, this is where you, as the consumer must take on a bit of responsibility and take the time to make sure you’re finding the right fit. And of you find that fit, I can pretty much guarantee that your life will change for the better! If you don’t take that time, if you just expect things to work out for you the first time you walk into any CrossFit gym, well, as sucky as the truth is that you’re probably going to be let down, just the writer was.
Oh, and a HUGE point that should not be taken lightly: just because a head coach knows how to talk about CrossFit, does not mean he/she knows how to teach it. Think of it this way: if some guy is really good at pithing his amazing new smoothie, how healthy and good tasting it is, would you just go ahead and buy ten boxes of it right then and there? If you would, your kind of an idiot. No, you’d probably want to see an official ingredients list, and taste the damn thing, right? Same goes for finding your perfect gym. If a coach tells you that he/she has the best training program, yet tons of the athletes there are getting hurt, are out of shape, complain, or just don’t; represent what the coach is pitching, well, maybe it’s not the best place for you! But don’t write off CrossFit gyms in general because of that; just write off that one! What I really need to write actually is a note to all CrossFit coaches to stop putting out crappy programming and so on and do better! And well, I have that post started already. But please, please, please, as a consumer, as athletes or soon-to-be-athletes who want a better lifestyle and are looking to CrossFit to be that change, take it upon yourself to find the perfect fit. Find a gym that programs intelligently, supports each and every member equally and passionately, supports an honest, healthy lifestyle, and doesn’t just talk about it. If you take the time, you should be able to catch on to this within one or two classes. And if the gym won’t let you try their space out for a few classes before committing to some crazy membership scheme, well, go find another place!
Remember, finding the right gym for you is just as important as eating the proper foods, working at a good job, finding a great partner and so on. It should be a complete part of your entire lifestyle, one that YOU want a part of. So be patient, be demanding and be open. And to all those would be CrossFit bashers out there, if you want a better view of CrossFit, give me a call, if you can’t come to my gym, I have a pretty good list of gyms you could go to to have a great experience!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past weekend I was out in the Bay Area visiting old friends, training a few people, workout out like crazy and enjoying the absolutely incredible California wilderness! here is a little rundown of the 5 days I spent out there:Showed up mid morning on Wednesday, grabbed some food with CrossFit San Mateo's owner and head coach Brendon Mahony, then stocked up on some food, Courage Bar ingredients and soon enough hit the gym for a good workout. Thursday and Friday were much of the same, with Lindsey getting in Friday, and one of the toughest workouts I have ever done crushing me so badly that I am still feeling the effects of it as I write this post today! It was a descending ladder of rope climbs and DB squat clean to thrusters, and that damn rope climb beat me down like nobody's business! I took my time on the climbs as I knew my technique was not spotless and I wanted to conserve the grip strength. But, no matter what the approach, by the third round my grip was so far gone, I basically had to take almost a full minute to recover between each one to be able to get back up. The crazy part of this whole thing was that I never had the ability to cardiovascularly recover. i think I was so worked up by the whole thing that my heart rate just never came down. 19 and a half minutes later I finally finished, and it took me close to three hours ot actually feel like i was somewhat normal again! And to top it all off, I ripped my ankle up so much I was having a tough time walking! The one positive takeaway from the workout was my 345# back squat for 13 resp, AWESOME!Anyways, Saturday morning brought even more fun. Core Foods owner Corey and his girl met up with me and Lindsey and we all got workouts in at the gym. Mine was a 5-workouts-within-one-hour mes that left me craving 10 pounds of meat and a 6-hour nap! But, we all geared up and drove down the Peninsula for a few hours of trekking though the woods! this turned out to be such a a blast. We explored the different paths, talked about all sorts of different things, interacted with a buck within 15 yards or so (so much fun to see wildlife that close up!) and stayed out there as the fog and darkness began to cover us completely.We then wandered back to our cars and drove down to Half Moon Bay to see if we could find some camping at the beach. Seeing how it was the famous Pumpkin Festival weekend, the known camp-site was totally booked up; but, with a couple phone calls we were directed a couple miles south to Cameron's Pub. This was one of those placers that causes sensory overload with the amount of crummy, hoarded items they keep hanging on walls and tucked into corners. The place was like a haunted museum of beer cans and tin signs; and in the back, a huge field set aside for RV's and campers to hang out for a night or two (or weeks or months as it seemed some were doing). We found our way to the very far end of the field, just outside a spooky abandoned greenhouse and set up shop. Corey got a great fire going and we enjoyed flank steak, asparagus and grilled bananas before catching a few eukaryote songs at the pub and then crashing for the remainder of the night.After meeting up up another friend Lisa (check out here awesome blog here) for breakfast, we connected with Justin Gubser and his buddies to hit the Pacifica surf for a couple hours. This was an all around blast! And the best part: our last wave had Lindsey and myself riding all the way to the beach, literally side by side, pretty freaking sweet! The cold water and the entertaining crashes and here-and-there wave catches worked our appetites up enough to feast at Guerrilla BBQ and it was off on our separate ways after that. Lindsey and I hot up our favorite burger joint, Roam Burger, in the city before catching our red eye back East. Man what a trip!I must admit, it'd been a real long while since I've been able to just spend some good quality time with a small group of awesome people, and while I was a little bummed out that the Into The Wild weekend didn't take off like I had planned, and that a few people never showed up for the weekend that had said they would, it turned out to be a weekend I will never forget. Sharing that deep connection to the great outdoors with Lindsey and another couple;e that clearly appreciated being out there just as much as me was so energizing. It inspired the need to do this sort of thing WAY more often! Oh, and yet again, surfing is one of the most fun things to do in the world! Yet another reason to head back out to our second home-town on a regular basis!Miss all my West Coaster already, but I'm excited to get back to training in The Garage with all my awesome athletes and friends here in the DC area! This is going to be a crazy brutal week of training for everyone, so let's all keep up the support and get after it!!Never Stop, GET FIT.Josh Courage
You know how sometimes a really simple statement hits you so hard that it seems like your world is turned upside down for a moment? It’s statements, or stories, or even visuals that “blow you away” and make you see things completely differently. Well, this happened to me the other day and it made me view a problem I have had for my entire life in a whole new light. The crazy thing is that I have no idea where I read this, but it was only a few days ago (yeah, I’ve been reading a real lot of articles lately) and it hit me hard enough to put the article down, mouth open, and my brain going: “yeah, totally!”
It basically said that when you are down with your day, sitting on your couch at night, watching TV and letting the old habits creep in like, “I need some snacks to go along with my late night TV watching”. If you see yourself as a helpless, out of shape, sad, stupid, and whatever other negative view one could have type of person, you’ll probably head to the kitchen and scoop a bowl of ice cream. Or, in my case, run down to whole foods for a bag of chocolate covered almonds! But, if you see yourself as a fit, healthy, happy, good person, you’ll turn the TV off and go to bed a little early knowing that the extra sleep and avoiding a late night insulin spike will get you even better.
I realize this isn’t some new concept, I have written over and over again tat if you want change in your life, you have to change from the inside. You can’t just force yourself to all of a sudden be a healthy, happy, fit person. You have to become a different person, with different views of yourself and life so that those changes can become a PART of your life rather than a part of your life's’ schedule. Perhaps this hit home foe me the hardest because it touched on the aspect that I personally struggle with the most. When I am roughing through things, I tend to stay up later and later at night, watching TV. I do this because I feel like it’s a distraction from all the crap I don’t want to deal with. If I can watch an episode (or 4…) of Family Guy I convince myself that it’s healthy for me because I can escape a little into the show and just let my mind go free.
But that is not happening. That would happen if I got into bed, maybe wrote a little on a pad of paper and tried closing my eyes. Then I wouldn’t be straining every system in my body. Then I wouldn’t allow my problems to sneak up on me while I was distracted by the TV and all of a sudden I start to feel sorry for myself and justify eating something I know I don’t need or want. I know all of this to be so strong because when I am on top of the world, I am in bed at 10pm, the TV is rarely on and thoughts of self-pity never go through my head.
And what I also know to be true: if I want to overcome all this, if I want to get better sleep, eat better, become happier, become healthier and let those healthy habits positively effect the rest of my life, I need to change the way I view myself and my life. I can’t just sit back and hope it goes away. I can’t just put a Band-Aid over the problems and issues and then claim myself healed. No, rather than becoming really good at suppressing my issues under false strength, I need to become good at overcoming my issues. When I look at myself in the mirror, I don’t want to see something I am dissatisfied in, something I am ashamed of and angry with. When I look in the mirror I want to feel GOOD. I want to feel confident that the person looking back at me is understanding first, strong second. The order of this is key because if you are strong without understanding, you have no control over yourself. This is mentally AND physically. I must understand why I am deadlifting and how to deadlift perfectly if I ever expect to become great at deadlifts. And I must understand why I feel something and how those feeling work if I ever want to have any control of my emotions.
When I look in the mirror today, I am not happy with what I see. So do I avoid the mirror, distract myself with things like negativity, TV, food, pity and so on? Do I pretend it’s all OK and try to force myself to be what I think I should, be? I mean come on, I’ve been there before so it should be that easy, right? Hell no. It’s time for a perspective change, a self-induced paradigm shift, a deep look within.
Go look at yourself in the mirror. Really, really look; soak it all in. What do you see?
Forgive the depressing aspect of this post. I know that I can sometimes be a little too open here, but I find it extremely helpful for my process. Interestingly enough, after writing this, I feel so much better. I feel like I have taken a HUGE step forward! I hope, if you are feeling in any way off or down, that this might be a little inspiration towards the right.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well folks, been a crazy few days, sorry for the delay in posts! So, because of that delay I’ll just go ahead and update a bit on it all! First, my training:
Things have still been gong pretty well with all the gym work, and I was able to get a couple good conditioning sessions in on top of it all. On Thursday, I generally take my yoga class then hit the pool for a bit, but I was feeling so crushed I just took the whole day off. I hit a good salt bath and that felt real good.
As I hit the last week of my first month on this program, I am looking to do a full review/critique of what I’ve been doing. As of now, I feel like it’s been a bit overwhelming on my shoulders. But at the same time, perhaps I need to chill out on the extra work and allow the gym work to be the main aspect of what I do. I just want to stay about as healthy as possible through all this, so I am being perhaps a little sensitive to it all! Either way, I am digging working so hard and I’m excited to keep pushing myself to see where things go! So yeah, while my training continues to go so well, I still really need to get back on the good fueling practice. The habits I formed a while I moved back East have kept me mostly on track, but with the emotional roller coaster I’ve been on in the past few months have led to some rough little binges here and there. I am quite aware that I am an emotional eater, so right now I am working to find replacements for food when I am feeling like I need something! Perhaps a nice little trail run or something… we’ll see.
I haven’t really talked much about the Into The Wild and that’s because it’s been really tough to get tons of people to register for something I am not around to promote. That being said, I think I am pretty much folding the concept. As difficult as it is for me to do so, I am going to have to get rid of the charge and allow people to join the fun for free of they so desire! I will be out on California starting tomorrow and have a bunch of sessions lined up for private clients. If anyone else wants to train, just let me know (or, if any of the gyms I spent time at want a guest coach…). Then, I am headed out with a few people on Saturday for some outdoor adventuring, exactly as I planned for the Into The Wild weekend. And, if anyone wants to join, just let me know and we can get you in for the fun at any point!
Hm, what else? I actually have three posts that are written, but need some editing before I post them up. So, expect some good ones this week!
That’ll be it for today!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
My first ever experience with Yoga came when I got to Florida before my first ever pro baseball season My mom had given one of those Byron Baptist yoga DVD’s with a mat and some blocks and said I should give it a try. So, one afternoon, in the little empty college townhouse room that I was crashing on before Spring training started, I slipped the DVD into my computer ad gave it a try. First impression: this is stupid. It was boring, way to fru-fru and spiritual for me I felt, especially with those damn cross-legged “om” chants at the end. So, I slipped the DVD’s into the bottom of my bag and went about my life.
A good 5 years later, baseball was over, and I had dedicated my time to training for my first marathon. Now, as an avid runner that this point, I was becoming quickly aware of the stigma of runners, tight as hell! So, I wanted to find a way to keep my flexibility and mobility even while looking ridiculous miles each and every week. So, I began doing a little research to maybe join a yoga class near by. I tried a couple places, and while I felt better than my DVD yoga trial, I still didn’t feel any sort of connection to the whole process. I honestly felt that all I needed to do was commit to stretching for a good 15-20 minutes after each workout I had and I would get all the same benefits. Still, I could not really find a logical argument against the millions of people worldwide who so passionately practiced yoga. The history of it, the greater benefits of it, not just increased flexibility and mobility, but strength both outwardly and inwardly. If so many people could feel so great about it, I wanted to feel great about it too!
I finally found a cool little place that practiced a form of yoga called Ashtanga. What attracted me to the place was it offered classes at a time that worked really well for me, the instructor for those times was an avid ultra runner, and Ashtanga, from what I could understand, was a pretty “strong” style of yoga. Very quickly I found out what all the hype was about! I hit a sort of “zone” within my second class and I just focused in on each and every movement and pose, trying to connect my breathing with each movement and trying to sink further and further into each pose. I was by no means “good” at yoga (what I mean by this is that I couldn’t even come close to finding the positions most of the other practitioners were finding), but the positive support by the instructor kept me going. This helped me realize that being “good” at yoga simply means you understand how to practice in the moment. It means you’re not crazy restless, looking around, thinking about random other things and so on. The second you are able to just exist for each breath, movement and pose, you become a yogi, and that’s what all the fuss is about!
I practice Ashtanga for about 6 months, twice a week without fail. Then, once my marathoning took a turn for the crazy (doing one every month, and doing that damn 50-miler), I just sort of stopped going. Until now. I have thought about returning for a couple years, I even took a class here and there at other locations, just never found that groove again. But now, I am about a month into the same class schedule I have almost 3 years ago and I am really feeling all the positive effects yoga has to offer.
Now, I realize that everyone’s practice means something different to each person. And this of course, is what I like so much about it all. But what I personally like is that I have an organized time slot where I can focus my mind and body in on the same thing. Each time I go in I am asked to push my mobility and strength to new limits, all while straying inward and focused. It is hard work but is SO rewarding each and every minute! I normally don’t like repetitive, redundant things, they tend to bore me; but for some reason, the amount of focus I put into all of this allows each movement to feel totally different each time. It’s a pretty cool experience.
So, if you are a yoga practitioner, keep up the good work (and make sure it’s not the ONLY thing you doing for fitness!). If you are not, if you’ve tried it and don’t like it, or if you’ve never tried it at all, take a new approach and give a fair chance. I would generally make a pretty confident assumption that if you don’t like it, it probably has less to do with the yoga, and more to do with your inability to focus. Take the time to find an instructor you have confidence in, and a space you feel comfortable in, and then begin to focus on YOU!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, I am officially two weeks into my pretty insane training program and am feeling very confident with it all. I have stuck with it all very well (except for a couple missed jiu-jitsu sessions) and I am feeling very strong. The only glitch in the system is trying to figure out the whole fueling process for the amount of work I am doing. The latest note in my workout/nutrition journal says that I am feeling a strong disconnect between my training and my fueling and I need to figure that all out somehow. Also, I am still struggling with the overwhelming desire to have a large handful of chocolate covered almonds every day. Couple that feeling with Lindsey and my move to an apartment complex literally attached to the new Whole Food in Friendship Heights and it's a perfect potential storm of quick visits for "just a taste". I'll have to get all that under control. Who wants to go on an all-out fitness/nutrition challenge with me?! Accountability is our friend...!
As for training, I am feeling AWESOME! Rudy's programming is fun, well-planned, and very, very challenging. My body feels abused, but not over trained and I am liking it a lot. I need to figure out the nutritional timing a bit though as I know if I keep up the pattern I am following I will begin to feel over-trained. This will be the perfect setting for Catalyst Athletics owner Greg Everett's wonderful quote: "there's no such thing as over training, only under fueling". I know that as a competitive CrossFitter, I need to be pushing my limits intelligently in the gym (and in the woods as it would be for me!). But, if I don't fuel perfectly for the insane amounts of demand I am putting on my physical and mental body, I am destined to crash! So, gotta get those things working in sync, stat!
That aside, I thought I'd share with you a few of the fun things I've done over the past week, as well as a little insight into what my week actually looks like. First off, I weight train on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I go to Ashtanga Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday, I hit the pool for 30-45 minutes of what I call "pool play" every Thursday (I get about 500 meters in over that time, but spend most of it just goofing off in the water, doing flips, messing around with different strokes and just using it as active recovery, fun, and recognition of how to function under water). I do a 3-4 mile run generally twice a week, on no particular day, I just throw it in when I'm feeling ready to run. And becuase of how my body reacts to running, I view it as an active recovery method as well. Then, I off-and-on head to 1.5-2 hours of jiu-jitsu practice on Monday and Wednesday nights. It's a pretty good workload all around, but I feel really strong with it all so far!
As for the actual weight training I am doing, well, this is where it's been getting really fun! You can check out exactly what I'm doing if you head to The Workout page on this website, I write out the workout under my gyms workout, then I also fill in my results. I've been doing a ton of Olympic work, with some rally intense strength work mixed in as well. One of the biggest jumps i saw was doing max effort back squats with 325#. Two weeks ago I got 8 reps, last week I banged out 12 with energy to spare! The MetCons have been pretty crazy for sure. Very well-planned for the work that is prescribed each day, and it has never failed, i have been crushed cardiovascularly each and every time So far I think doing 3 rounds of 20 pull ups, 20 30" box jumps and 20 burpees all with a 20# weight vest was the most exhausting. And this past Saturday I had one that crushed my central nervous system like nothing I have ever experienced. I literally blacked out 3 times while trying to do 25 snatches at 155#. And this was the last portion of an already insane MetCon that included 25 thursters at 155#, 50 chest to bar pull ups, 75 KB swings at 53#, 100 feet of handstand walking, 75 jumping lunges and 50 pull ups! Goodness! I would never ask that of my athletes as i am sure it would kill most people. But, as a competitor, I understand the need to be over-challenged every now and again. Sometimes it's all about testing your mental fortitude!.
Needless to say, training has been going pretty well all around, and this week looks to be just as fun! Now if only this gym space I've been trying to get can get rolling, things will become a whole lot better! I hope everyone else is having success with training!
Never Stop, GET FIT.