All you followers have probably put together that I kind of like to spend time in the kitchen. I don't really sit in front of the food network for hours a day, or read up on cooking books and magazines. What I generally do is come up with some idea, or take someone else's idea, and then just try to figure it out. For the longest time cooking was something I did for just myself, then for myself and my girl, and while I always wanted to eat good tasting food, I knew it wasn't the end of the world if the dish came out a little wonky. And I've had pretty good success! I am a keep-it-simple type of cook who looks to very slight touches and additions to a classic ingredient to make it new.
I know at some point in my life that I will "retire" to a small restaurant or something of the sort. I just love creating things way too much to have it not be a part of my life. With that in mind, I have actually written up about 4 different ways to involve cooking as part of my life in a greater way than just cooking for me and the ones closest to me. And this weekend was the first step in breaking into that world! A couple weeks back my housemate Cullen proposed we whip up a dish and enjoy dinner together. He suggested stuffed peppers and my mind went wild with all the options of how to do this. A seasoned up some grass-fed ground beef, mixed in chopped bacon, and then cracked an egg over it at the end. Placed it all on top of a bed of sautéed spinach and some avocado and came up with this:
When Cullen posted it to Facebook and someone commented that they wish we would cook for them, it hit me that we should begin a little project. Cullen and I could host a fine-dining experience in the comfort of your own home with a group of your closest friends. We would cook up a 3-course, Paleo-friendly meal, pair each course with hand-selected wine, and ther you have it; the perfect evening! We needed to test it out.
So we invited our closest friends for a trial run. Dress to impress, bring nothing else but your hungry stomachs and the excitement of feasting on incredibly healthy, wonderfully tasting food! Yep, we really talked it up. Now all we had to do was follow through and not suck. We actually thought it'd be funny just to heat up a crappy pizza or something and play it like we really took the time to figure out the perfect meal, but that joke ran its course and we really did prepare something interesting.
Bacon-wrapped scallops with a kick of cayenne and an avocado-lime-tequilla paste
Broiled sirloin over cinnamon and spice mashed sweet potatoes and Brussels sprouts with a jalepeno glaze
(for our non-red meat eater I offered: pan-cooked chicken breast in coconut oil w/ specially prepared Brussels sprouts)
Warm almond butter-stuffed dates with a chilled strawberry and coconut oil topping
I cannot express how well all this went. To be totally honest, I would have spiced the sweet potatoes a tad more, but besides that, everything turned out freaking perfect. The wines were paired wonderfully. The guests had a night filled with awesome conversation and story-telling at the table. Cullen and I worked seamlessly in the kitchen together and everyone ate their fill and enjoyed each bite. I went to bed afterwards feeling this immense sense of accomplishment that I found something that I am truly passionate about in life. As you all know, I love to do things and share them with people with the hopes that I can motivate and inspire. I love health and learning all about new, fun ways to be healthy while living an exciting life. I love food and the effects it has on your life, inside and out. And I was able to share a passion of mine with a group of people, show them that extremely healthy food can taste wonderful, and walk away feeling like made some form of positive impact.
Cullen and I will be officially starting our journey into at-home fine-dining very, very soon. So if you live in the greater San Francisco Bay Area, are interested in the best ingredients and having a formal night with friends and/or family in the comfort of your own home; there is a new option in town for you!
Here's to following your passions!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past week was a huge test of fitness for me and my crew following my program. The workload was intense each day and culminated in a mock-competition all day Saturday. I left the weekend beatdown, feeling extremely down on myself and my performances. But having some good food in my belly, and a bit of sleep, I am able to take a bit more objective a view of the week and break it down for all the good, and bad. Here's what I have found:
I have gotten MUCH better a lot of different areas of fitness over the past few months. My run coach, Marc expected a 45-47 second 300 m time trial and I ran a 41.92, apparently that's real damn good for a guy weighing in at 230 and puts me way above my goal pace of a 58-second 400. I pulled a pretty easy 40kg weighted pull up for 3 reps. I feel as though I could have gone another 5-10 pounds on that and I've always wanted to get a single rep at half body-weight (that would mean I'd have to do a single at 115, which I will test in the coming couple weeks). I PR'd my "Amanda" (9-7-5 of muscle ups and snatches at 135#) by about 40 seconds. Still not where I want to be but getting better, and I was able to grind through a BRUTAL chipper at a pace that I was happy with.
On the bad side of things, I failed a 215 snatch 4 times and that blows. I've been drilling at 200-215 and I should be able to hit a single rep at that weight with ease. I also missed a 285 jerk (my current front rack PR) twice, and really badly. I missed a 350# front squat twice. That really pissed me off as I have a 410 high bar with ease and I really, honestly should have a front squat in the 375+ range. I also feel like my cleans are regressing and it's getting frustrating.
Food-wise I am eating WAY cleaner and my energy levels during my workouts are feeling good. I have visually dropped a ton of weight but I still weigh in around 232-236 on a regular basis. I'm not all that worried about my actual weight in the end, but I know the movements I struggle with (muscle ups, handstand push ups) will be way, way easier if I'm 15 pounds lighter. But for me to drop weight is extremely tough if I want to keep my energy levels and strength. So it becomes some of the most intense discipline and focus you could imagine for me to balance out exactly what to eat, when to eat it, and how to train and sleep around it so that I can continue making gains and not fall apart.
My outside stress is the part that I know is most out of control. As in, stress of every day life and such. I generally feel good about where I am and how my life is going, but I do recognize that I am actually very stressed out at the time being. And because my body reacts so negatively to stress (in all forms), I am constantly battling this stress just to break even on my fitness goals. I am unfortunately not designed to have it easy when it comes to being in top shape. If I have one bad day of eating (a"cheat day" if you will) I set myself back like 1-2 days and need to recover. I am constantly fighting to keep my metabolism at a pace where I can constantly make gains, and that takes focus almost 100% of the time. For the most part, this is all an exciting process for me. While sometimes I wish that I was just born with an incredible metabolism (it doesn't help that I live with three guys who all have insane metabolisms), I know that having to learn about this stuff through experience is a priceless gift and will help me for the ret of my life.
As for adjustments. I will analyzing my program over my de-load week to really break things down as much as I can and make adjustments where I need them. I have so many pages of notes on how things have been going over the past year and I feel as though I am right on track with most things. I just need to keep tweaking and adjusting as I constantly change and adjust myself. As for my food, I know the best thing I can do is eat more consistently throughout the day. I got a blood-glucose measuring device so that I can really keep track of how that fluctuates throughout each day, and I think that's going to help me a ton on the path of keeping my metabolism up on a consistent basis. The main thing is to not miss meals for me. Again, that's what works for ME, Josh Courage, not necessarily everyone else in the world.
The CrossFit Games Open begins in about a month. I have my goals for this season. Now it's time to do everything in my power to meet and push beyond those goals.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I would love to simply write out one sentence and leave it at that, kind of like Michael Pollen and his book "In Defense Of Food". Train smart, every movement should have a purpose, eat, rest/sleep. Now I'm not about to write a book on this (although I kind of want to at some point), but I do want to touch on each point here a little. So I will.
This is the tough one as most people don't really know what's good or bad in the gym. Sometimes squats are good, other times bad. Sometimes it's not smart to go overhead with a weight load. Sometimes you shouldn't jump. It all depends on what you've done in the past days and weeks, what you plan on doing in the coming days and weeks, how you've fueled and so on. If you are training with a coach, or in a group with a coach, talk to your coach and see of he/she is factoring all this in for you. If they are not, uh, not sure what to tell you except your coach isn't that good, simple as that. If you train by yourself and are not taking the time to make sure you're progressing in a safe, efficient, and incredibly effective way, you need to reasses your program. This means perhaps think about if the 2 hour session is actually doing anything for you. What are you training for? If it's CrossFit, is your program designed to make you a better CrossFitter? Is it general health and prolonged life? Then is your program designed to protect you from injury no matter what, and get you healthier and add good, positive years to your life? You see where I'm going here? Ask questions about what you want out of your program and if your program is 100% set up for what you want. If it is 99.9% or less, you are not training very smart. Most programs, especially group classes, are probably about 50% or less in terms of complete effectiveness for you. That is still better than nothing. But if you really want the most out of training, you need to learn more about this stuff and either get someone to modify and program for you, or understand how to do it better yourself.
Every Movement Should Have a Purpose:
This is very closely related to the above point. I fell in love with this concept when training for baseball, and I would give this credit for getting me to the level I got to in the sport. I learned that the less time I wasted doing pointless reps, the more time I spent performing effective ones, the better I got. Makes sense doesn't it? But now sit back and think about your week of training. Was every single rep, and I mean EVERY single movement of your body that you performed with the purpose of getting in better shape, perfectly performed? How were your warm up squats? How was your warm up jog? Were they flawless? Were you thinking about the mechanics of the movement you learned each and every time, or are you just aimlessly moving and chatting, or thinking about something else? You will be amazed at how quickly you progress when every single movement you make in the gym has a specific purpose. Also, I must admit to something here: it's really freaking hard! Focusing that much is tough to do and takes a lot of work. So it's really up to you to make the choice to take your training seriously. Or you coiuld just be ok with showing up and going through the motions. Sure you'll have some gains just moving in general, and if that's all you want, fine. All I'm saying is that everyone has a TON more potential in them, and it's not that hard to get it out of yourself. If you're having a hard time focusing, just ask yourself before every rep "why am I doing this rep?". Notice I said rep, not exercise, or workout, or anything like that. Be specific, it will make a world of difference.
Food is fuel. Literally. Cars need gas to run, people and other animals need food. You can survive for a good long time with very little fuel, but it will come at a huge cost. And the negative effects will usually creep up on you without you realizing it. Higher stress levels, bad skin, weight gain, the inability to lose weight thanks to skewed hormone levels, crap metabolism, mood swings, getting sick, and on and on. You body reacts negatively when it's not taken care of. You need to put enough fuel, and high quality fuel in your body based on your energy output. This means if you burn this fuel quickly, you need more. If you are very inactive, you need very little. All these points I'm writing about are the most commonly abused things I see in athletes and clients all over, but the food point is one that gets the most confusing for people. I have found that the vast majority of people actually know what to do here, but it's their damn brains that get in the way. Emotional connections to food, psychological tricks the brain plays on you all the time about what is good and what is bad, access to crap food and crap information, there are just all sorts of distractions here. Again, as always with these points, just be honest with yourself and try to remember these:
- Less food does not mean weight loss. It usually means the opposite actually (can anyone who is not a health/fitness professional tell me why?).
- Balance in your meals is NUMBER ONE. Whether you are vegan, paleo, or anything else. Just focus on balancing your meals and better things will happen.
- Eat little to no processed food. Don't know what processed food is? Get your head out of your ass, it's the most obvious thing in the world. This is hands down the most important fact. If people just stopped eating processed food, this world would be so insanely better it would be scary. If you have even a quarter of a brain you should know what the difference between processed and natural is. Am I being harsh? Yep. But it bugs me to no end when people play stupid here and create excuses as to why they eat shit food.
"I'll sleep when I'm dead". You've all heard that before, and the funny thing is, being dead will come WAY sooner if you live by that mentality. Sleep is hands down the most important part of recovery from everything. Everything resets when you sleep. Every aspect of the inner workings of your body regenerates and balances out during sleep. It's kind a big deal! I personally have trouble here, and I know it's because my mind just runs wild at night and that keeps me awake. A while back I learned that the restlessness I experienced in bed was coming from a glycogen depletion (meaning I had so little glycogen in my system my muscles were freaking out because they had nothing to use as fuel as they began their recovery process. I upped my carbohydrate intake throughout the day and the restlessness has chilled out a LOT. My point of telling this little story is that so many people turn to sleeping pills and things like that to get to sleep. Then wake up and turn to caffein and things liken that to stay awake. People, stop relying on stimulants and downers to do the most basic things your body should be able to do! Train smart, move with a purpose, eat well, and everything will come together. There are so many things to do to help with sleep: yoga, meditation, reading, using better lighting throughout the day, spending less time in front of a TV and computer screen, working out properly, eating properly, etc. You get the point. Sleeping is NEEDED! Everyone knows what a solid 8 hours of deep sleep does, you've all woken up form a night like that and just felt great all day. So again, don't make excuses as to why you should be up so late, and that sleeping is stupid, be honest with yourself and how much your life would benefit from better sleep. Then make the healthy efforts to do so.
All these points I touch on could be discussed at length for hours on end. But what I've found is that if you just take a moment to think about what you truly want in life, then think about how to go about doing it; things get a good bit clearer. The second you start to come up with excuses, and tell yourself that things are too difficult and what's the point and all that, you become like most people in this world. You just end up functioning below your potential at all times, complaining to family and friends about how hard your life is, and spending most of your life unsatisfied with the way things are. It's actually not that hard to understand how to live an amazing life, the tough part is the execution. It takes actually work, focus, and dedication to see things through. But the best part is: once you've begun, it becomes habit. Then all those stupid excuses you keep making for yourself just don't exist anymore. Then all of a sudden you just, are healthier. And happier. And better.
This post turned into a little more than talking about training, but so goes life. I sort of think of training as a metaphor for life anyway. And I also really like the idea of having more and more people understanding training to be an inevitable part of their lives, rather than something they "need to get to". Every single person in the world makes a choice to be healthy or unhealthy each and every day. It's just a matter of setting your priorities straight.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I had a strange realization the other day. One of those things that you just sort of have known for most of your life, but either never paid attention to, or really, really wanted to convince yourself didn't actually occur. What I realized is that it's not that most people are stupid, it's that a good amount of them just don't care! Yep, I'm a really in-depth and kind realize-r.
I made this realization hanging out with a couple friends and watching them literally gorge themselves with incredibly crappy foods. We joked about it a little, and never really looked below the surface about what it meant. And when I playfully bantered with them about what it would be like if they actually ate perfectly, they made it pretty clear that they honestly just didn't care enough to do so. They were fine the way they were. They had found success enough to make them have no real desire to dramatically change the way they approached their lives. This made me think about interactions I've had with people in the past and how it's actually really easy to get people to realize what is good and bad. And it hit me: if most people actually know which are the right choices and which are the wrong ones, why would they choose the wrong ones?
Now this could go into a wonderful 500 page book on the philosophy of right and wrong, and while I kind of want to go there, I just don't have the attention span, or the skill to actually do that. So, I'll boil down to one particular thought I have about this. People just don't care about (most) right and wrong if it doesn't cause them immediate and horrible damage. I know people who feel like death after eating ice cream, yet they eat it two or more times a week. Huh? I know people who literally can't fall asleep after watching TV after a certain time, but they decide to watch TV right before they go to bed almost every night. I'll bet if you take just a couple moments, you'll be able to think of at least one thing that you do that you know is not good. Don't worry about the why just yet, just sit for a moment and think about how strange that actually is.
"It's in your nature to destroy yourselves"
Bet you can't guess who said that?! I'll come back to that. This quote made me think for days just how stupid we humans are. We are given the most intelligent brain of all living things, we create and invent at a frightening speed, all with the intention of making life better. Yet we can't even figure out how to eat healthy. We are too intelligent for our own good. By the way, that quote was from Terminator 2. Yep, deep and meaningful for sure. If I drink myself "until I don't feel feelings" as another less insightful quote says, then wake up in the morning feeling like crap, what happens? Eventually it goes away and I'm back to normal. So, it can't be all that bad if it just goes away, right? If I eat this white bread and a bag of skittles and don't end up in the hospital, who really cares in the end, right? Sure it might have killed someone else, but it didn't kill me, so whatever. Then what happens when it does effect you? "Oh no, doc, give me something for my horrible stomach pains!" "Why am I so sick all the time?" "Cancer sucks, why did I have to get this crap?". On and on, and yes, I could get even more dramatic. And the funny thing is, I have used this argument on some people and you know what a lot of them say? "Whatever man, we'll see". Idiots. Start caring for Gods sake!!
Everything is connected. What you eat, how you sleep, your activity level, how you retain information, how you interact, the way you think, your reactions to others and things, it is ALL connected. If you choose to just not care about one or many of those things, you are giving up on all the gifts you were given at birth and you end up taking your life for granted. People who take their lives for granted SUCK! And people who take their lives for granted without even knowing it, well, man that is just so sad. If you were given the gift of health, and can somehow keep on walking through all the abuse to keep putting yourself through on a daily basis, stop insulting the ones who have to work their asses off to feel even half as good as you every now and then and start caring about yourself. Just because YOU don't get cancer when you smoke does not make it fine to smoke, have some respect for yourself. Yes you can replace smoking in this example with practically anything, just use your head and attempt to put a little effort into living. And if you think your are fine, maybe take a moment to think about what it might be like if you were better. What if you spent your days constantly striving for better? Would that be good for you? good for your family, your friends, your work, EVERYTHING around you?
I don't think it's in our nature to destroy ourselves, we all have the ability to better ourselves in all ways, every single day. We are given the choice every second that we are alive to make right and wrong choices. All you have to do is care a little more about yourself and the ones around you and you will end up making WAY more right choices than wrong. And perhaps you won't destroy yourself.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I absolutely LOVE this picture of Arnold. The confidence, the achievement, the dedication to ridiculous dreams and the success that comes from hard work, that's what this represents. Whatever your thoughts about this man, he is GREAT. He came from nothing, out on the middle of nowhere, and he revolutionized a movement, became a celebrity and a political figure, wrote a book, and was pretty much an all around cool freaking dude. He embodies the journey, and the pride of making it, in this picture. It's inspiring.
So what does it mean to be great? Must you star in movies? Win awards year after year? Climb corporate or government ladders and achieve financial success? Heck no man, all you have to do is stay committed to your goals, whatever they might be, and get there! Arnold set some insanely lofty goals, and what made him great was that he achieved all of them; yep, ALL of them. You might not want to be a movie star, or a politician, but whatever it is you do want to do, commit to it. This obviously is the tough part. Most people out there have no clue how to stay committed, and because of this end up never reaching there potential. I would say most people have a damn hard time being great.
Now everyone has great qualities: you are a great parent, great at your job, great in conversation and on and on. If you really think about it, every single person in the world has something great about them. But the real question is: what does it take to be a great person, to have a complete and GREAT life. Side note: At this point I feel like if i say "great" one more time my brain is going to turn to jelly or something! OK, back to it. All I know is that I've been thinking so much about how to take all the things I am good at, completely confident about, and make them more and more a part of my life. If I am constantly striving to succeed at the things I most desire on life, it will be very difficult to live an UN-great life.
What I mean by this (and this is the "committed" part), is that taking time to pursue things that I really don't want to do, take away from true greatness. If I want to create a health and fitness movement based off the idea of understanding yourself mentally, physically, and spiritually, but spend most of my time working a 9-5 and playing on Facebook, I am destined for an average or below average life. If I really want to make a change in the world, have specific goals for myself in my life, and achieve as many of the crazy daydreams I have in my head, I need to take some time each and every day to take a step in those directions. If I am truly committed, I'll take more than just one step each day. You see, while some people might sit back on their couch and talk about how lucky those incredibly successful people are, they are just lying to themselves. Sure there is probably a ton of luck found by great people, but they found it because they were constantly searching for better. And when you put yourself out there, good things are bound to come your way.
This is kind of an interesting post for me. I literally was staring at this picture of Arnold and decided to put it up on my blog. I then just started writing whatever came to me thanks to the thoughts that image inspired. Now sitting back for a couple minutes I find myself coming back to something I have always used when trying to get and stay committed to something. Just ask. Go look in the mirror at yourself (most people can't actually do this, it's crazy) and ask yourself what you want. Then ask yourself how you can get it. Then tell yourself to go do it. If you can't do this with complete seriousness, you have some decent demons and emotional issues you might want to deal with. And you may have a tough time staying committed to all things GREAT! I'm not saying you won't be successful, I'm just saying you might not live the life that is perfect for you. Most people are pretty good at telling when someone close to them is lying. Go see if you can tell if YOU are lying to yourself. You'll know, deep down. Try it.
Then go be great.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Nope, this ain't a post about muscular growth, or psychological growth, it's about Courage performance! I am so excited to see how this little company I started out of a small gym in Washington, DC has now grown to two locations on either side of the country. While it's a tad bitter-sweet to see Courage performance East expand into a large location, something I tried to do but could never make happen for years. I am more than happy to be running headquarters out of wonderful Northern California. And with the winter passing by, all I can see is growth, and more growth out of both locations.
Back East we have found our home out of a brand new Baseball Facility run by DC Dynasty. We have secured ourselves the exclusive Strength and Conditioning program out of this facility and have been bringing on new athletes at an alarming speed ever since. The crazy thing is preparing for what the summer will bring. Our East coast program has always seen it's greatest success during the summer months when all the baseball players are so committed to stepping up their game. And with the new space, and all the new athletes right at our fingertips, it should be interesting to watch as DC becomes an area of damn strong, powerful, and quick baseball stars! Andrew Whitener is Director of Operations and Head Coach out of the East Coast branch, and he's been doing a great job keeping things under control as things change so drastically. We'll be keeping our eyes open for a one or two new coaches who can help us take on the influx of athletes in the summer time. Pretty sweet.
Out West at the Courage performance Home-base, things are looking up as well. We've made huge steps in redesigning what was once CrossFit San Mateo to look and feel like Courage Performance was always meant to. It's not completely finished, but the changes already made have made a world of difference. Clients are rolling in, and I am confident that the Spring and Summer months will see that naturally steady flow of new athletes looking to get better through the best coaching!
This past weekend saw a new step in our West Coast presence as well. My old cleint and now good friend Josh Wilkie paid a visit and we agreed on terms to bring him on as Director of Courage Performance Baseball. Yep, we will be starting up an detailed baseball instruction side to the business and I could not ask for a better dude to get the ball rolling. He played the last 4 years with the Washington Nationals triple A club (meaning he's really freaking good at baseball for those of you who don't know what that means) and he also has played multiple years in Venezuela (yep, fluent in Spanish and married to a wonderful Venezuelan woman named Exy). We'll be setting up a cage, some mounds, and a few other nets and creating a top of the line program for any baseball player who wants to make it to the next level. Sales pitch line: Courage Performance is your one stop shop for the best baseball instruction and strength and conditioning. Bam!
All good stuff. So, if you or anyone you know lives in either the DC area or the Bay area, contact us and we'll get you on the right track.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Over the weekend I've had the pleasure of playing host to one-time client, now good friend Josh Wilkie and his lovely wife Exy. They were in town to scout out the area and brainstorm with me about moving here, and, working with me at Courage performance! Good news everyone out West: Courage Performance is about to expand!
I'll get to that later this week, but for now I wanted to talk about an interesting way I've found to really get into cooking. You see, I've written about my manic-depressive cooking practice, as in, I sometimes cook all the time, experimenting with interesting new dishes and so on. And then, I'll go through a phase where boiling water seems like a more challenging task than climbing Everest with a 100# backpack and gas mask on. These days I've been a little of both. A couple weeks ago I really focused in on getting my nutrition dialed away so that I could drop a few pounds in prep for the CrossFit Games season. To do that, I really needed to focus on cooking most of my own food. I struggled through that all week, shuffling around the kitchen wishing I was doing something else but forcing myself to do what needed to be done. Then, when my friend came to town, one of my first promises was that I would cook him and his a wife a meal. Now I HAD to cook something, and it had to be somewhat respectable! And to make matters worse I had introduced them to my two favorite spots around here, Urban Bistro (a small cafe that has incredibly high quality foods and is flat out good), and Gorilla BBQ (hands down, without hesitation the BEST BBQ I've ever had).
So, after letting them in on the best food I know of, and then showing them around town to all the best spots I know of, I really had to do something to keep them excited.
So, I picked up some flank steak, some Brussels sprouts, some sweet potatoes, bacon and a few other odds and ends and prepared a simple meal that is very well-rounded and bursting with flavor. I'll share it with you all. I started off my poking some holes in the sweet potatoes and sticking them in the oven at 400. Then I cooked up 3 strips of bacon in a pan. Set the bacon aside to crisp and halved about 20 Brussels sprouts and put them on the bacon greased pan (very low heat) for about 15ish minutes). While they cooked, I threw some salt and cumin o the flank steak, and threw that in the oven for about 8-10 minutes per side (would have rather grilled it, but don;t have a grill). When the Brussels sprouts were getting a little soft, and the flat sides were nice and brown, I tossed the bacon back in (cut it all up first) along with some minced up garlic, cranked the heat for about 2-4 minutes and then threw it all in a serving bowl. The steak was done, so I took that out and cut it into slices. Then, I took the half-done sweet potatoes and chopped then up and tossed them into the pan (still had some bacon grease in it), added a little coconut oil and cooked those potato cubes on medium for about 8 minutes (or until soft). I sprinkled some cinnamon on them at the end and threw those in a bowl. Bam. Awesome. Yum. Try it out and let me know how it goes!
Oh, and the whole point to this post. I am clearly pretty energized after preparing a nice meal for others. I want to do it again! Plus, they were so grateful they cleaned up (that's the best part)! I came up with a couple ideas I want to try, learned a couple things about timing when to start things and such as I cooked. It just fueled that desire to be in the kitchen and create something that not only I can enjoy, but that I can share with others. Maybe I can start something where I cook for a small group at least once a week. And they can clean up. Who's in?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
My mother used to tell me all the time: "you are what you eat". I know pretty much everyone in the world has heard this phrase at some point. But there was one time in particular that this really sunk in. My mother was living in a tiny town in Belgium, working on being the healthiest person she could to fight her cancer naturally. I was able to visit her pretty easily because I was playing baseball in France. One day we took a walk around the ancient town and talked about what that phrase actually meant.
It does not mean you will be an animal if you eat animals, or turn all green and wilt-y if you eat spinach. It does not even only mean what you physically eat as well. We talked about how it meant that every single thing you allow your body to take in, you take on the energy of those things. If you eat processed foods and surround yourself with negativity, well, you'll probably end up a pretty unhealthy person. If you eat a lot of meat and exercise profusely, you'll probably end up a little more aggressive in personality than if you ate a vegan diet and only took walks through the woods. Makes sense. It's not all that extreme if you just think about it at a base level. But, when you really start to break things down: your general health, your heart health, your attention span, your sleep levels, your stress, your ability to communicate, and on and on. You realize that your personality and what you "take in" in your life are very closely related. Some people just react more quickly/strongly to the outside influences that others. I know plenty of people who led WAY unhealthier childhoods than my mother, but they are alive and "well", while my mom died of cancer in her 50's.
No I didn't want this post to turn into a discussion about what actually defines health and un health; I'll go that route another day. What I wanted to get to was how this walk around town helped me realize that I could literally change not only my physical appearance, but my physiological make up (to a point) and my psychology based on what I "ate". All I had to do was pay very close attention to how things affected me. Very quickly, over the next two years, I found that gluten messed me up, as did dairy, and shell fish were tougher on me than other seafoods. I realized I had an extreme reaction to any sugars (basically anything that would very quickly metabolize as glucose in my body: desserts, alcohols, processed carbs). I have yet to go tot eh doctor and test all this stuff, which I know would benefit me like crazy. But, I know my body incredibly well. I know exactly what I need to do to lose weight, sleep better, reduce stress, get bigger, get tons of energy and so on. I know what to eat and when to eat it, how to train and mostly how to recover. It's just a matter of discipline to make sure I'm on top of things at all times. Side-note" I will be writing about the frustrations of discipline in one of my next 3 posts.
One of the biggest things I've found is that I retain liquids at an abnormal level. I know I've written about this before, but I find this so interesting. For all human beings, eating processed food and quickly metabolized glucose retains liquids. Liquid retention slows the metabolism down, a lot. This causes the process of nutrient distribution to slow down and sometimes not even occur. When your nutrients are not being distributed, your systems (nervous, hormonal, muscular, etc) all function at a less than optimal level and commonly understood negative things are more likely to occur, like: increased blood pressure, weight gain stress, slow strength gains, lack of sleep, weak immune system, and so on. Keep this trend going for most of your life and you find yourself at a much higher risk of heart disease, heart attack, diabetes, obesity, and the wonderful experience of death! Yay!
Step one in not allowing all this to happen? Drink more water! The simple act of drinking water allows the process of flushing-out. This moves things through your body and jump-starts all those natural processes. If you have a slow metabolism (and if you don't know if you do or not, just keep following my blog) drinking water is a HUGE first step. If you're like me, drinking almost 2 gallons daily and only headed to "take a number 1" about 4 times a day, you may have a problem. The second I stop consuming liquid-retaining-foods, my bathroom breaks skyrocket to about 15-20 a day. seem like a lot? Yeah, probably. But when things are flowing through me well, I all of a sudden don't crave so much water, and drink less. Then my breaks sit around 10 a day and I'm happy with that. And when I'm drinking about a gallon a day, eating pretty much ZERO foods/drinks that metabolize quickly as glucose in my body, incredible things happen. I sleep more deeply, I have less stress, fat literally melts off my body (like losing 12-16 pounds in 1 week. Yep, that actually happened to me), I recover SO fast, I have quicker and gains, and I am generally happier. And then more happens: I communicate with people better, I am less irritated, I feel more at peace with people and myself, I am more eager to do the things I know make me a better person. Being "disciplined" is not hard, it just happens.
I still have ups and downs. I am only human. But my downs are getting shorter and shorter. And my ups are feeling so much more natural.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today marked a huge shift in training and focus for me as we approach the the start of the 2013 CrossFit Games season. Up until know I've been working hard, sure, but the focus hovered anywhere between 80-99%. Starting today, it moves to 95-100% at all times. If you'd like to see and/or follow along my program, check out THIS SITE. I'll be posting my results daily along with a few other guys following along my programming. Also, if anyone out there is interested in following along, please, please let me know.
Aside from that, I am dialing in the nutrition with the goal to drop back down to my "fightin' weight" of 215-220. My focus for the past 8 months or so was to get strong. So, while I didn't want to balloon up to 300, I was a little less worried about gaining a few pounds.
The main thing that I've taken some time to really focus on is my mentality towards this lifestyle. Every now and again I like to take a solid hour or so and really think in depth about everything I'm doing. I highly recommend everyone give this a try a few times a year as it's pretty crazy how much you are doing without even knowing it. I was "lucky" enough to be stuck in a car driving down the Jersey turnpike around 1am all alone. This (along with a few, um, doughnuts) led me to a pretty lengthy introspection. The time spent thinking led me to a wonderfully refreshed perspective on all I wanted in life; and, a rather bloated feeling stomach.
So, I am committed. I'm committed to doing everything that I know how to get as far as I can in CrossFit this season (goal is top 10 at Regionals). I am committed to taking batting practice and drill-work at least 3 times every week (yep, baseball!), I am committed to making a few major changes in how I conduct business so that I can better serve the people who trust in me and better grow my two gyms. I am committed to bettering myself in my relationships, opening up new and improved ways to communicate so that they can grow for the better. Obviously there are tons of little details in how I'll be going about doing all these things, all the ins and outs of my progress. And that my dear readers is what you will get to read about as I continue to post. Yes, most of the details are in my head. No, I will not write them all out today. I'm learning more and more how my brain works and how to gain more and more control over all the craziness that's up in there. All I know is that the better you understand yourself, the easier it is to do literally EVERYTHING you want. Each and every day I am moving in the direction I want and that aligns me with so much more good. And with that good comes success (however you wish to define that). I know in my heart that I am exactly where I need to be, and moving at a great speed in the direction I should be moving in. I can't wait for tomorrows yoga and workout. I can't wait to feel how sore Ill be from Mondays training. I can't wait to cook a ton of incredible food. I can't wait to train my clients. And I can't wait look at the mountains while riding my bike around the outskirts of San Mateo.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
It's been a long and crazy trip back to my old East Coast digs over the holidays, and I am pretty excited to head back home. I've been able to really get a feel for how Courage Performance East is and what the future holds for it, and not gonna lie people, I am extremely happy I decided to keep the brand alive in the DC area. I really can't see that location not growing crazy fast.
It was great to see what friends I was able to see between all my traveling and taking care of so many things that needed to be taken care of. To all those I was not able to see, let's be sure to connect next time. Or, get your butts out to CA!! But in the meantime, I've been so inspired to do and write so much. Now my big project is to get all that creative energy somewhat organized so I can actually DO everything I want!
I want to write so much more. I have an overwhelming amount of ideas that I know would be great reads every single day. I know how good it feels to get all this stuff down on paper (or computer screen, whatever). So I hope I can settle my brain down as the rest of my life seems to be heading in the direction of steady progress. The New Year has brought a bit of a fire towards some really good feeling about my own competitive level of CrossFit. Starting Monday I am hitting a pretty intense week after allowing myself some solid recovery. I am putting my head down, focusing on exactly what needs to be done to reach my goals. I love this part.
My home-base gym is coming along and I know that the spring and summer of 2013 are going to be huge. I get this feeling every now and then about something happening with my business and it has not failed me yet. And this time around I am feeling it strong! I have always believed that if you out yourself in the best position to succeed in your goals, you will most likely succeed (seems pretty obvious, but tough to do). And being in San Mateo is exactly where I want to be, and intend to stay for a very long time.
I miss the East Coast. I have good friends there, a crazy but pretty damn awesome family, and a couple other things I hold incredibly close to my heart. But I know that my pursuit of what makes me a better person is the best thing in the world I can do for myself, and all the people and things I love. It's time to head home!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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