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.
Over the past few days I’ve let my eating slide a little bit. This has been largely due to my going through a few tough things that have left me feeling a little weak emotionally. Interestingly enough, it is only during these moments when I tend to allow myself to eat certain things. And these certain things include a large amount of sugar!
Now, it’s not uncommon in any way to be an emotional eater. In fact, it’s probably one of the most common issues with how people eat out there. You get very specific attachments to types of food throughout your life, and these become engrained in you forever. Unless you take the time (and incredibly difficult effort) to change them, they’ll only get stronger and stronger. So today, I want to share with you my weaknesses for food, why, and how I formed them, and my thoughts on how I can approach it all.
I have three very distinct memories from childhood in relation to food: first, it was when my grandmother would bring over sour cream latkes (if you don’t know what these are, just think white flour, egg and sour cream, pan fried, with sour cream on top… wowza!) and my brother and I would compete to see who could eat the most. They were about 3-4 inches by 3-4 inches, circular shaped, and I would consume 30+ in one sitting, no matter how much my stomach begged for forgiveness. Second, was when we were sick as very young children. My mother would allow us to have MacDonald’s breakfast after we visited the doctor. I remember loving it so much that I would longingly stare at those magical golden arches every time we drove by. That was the only time we were ever allowed to eat there. Third, was when I was in middle school and would go over to friends’ houses. They would have things like cookies, crackers, candy and other goodies stocked up, while we never had anything even resembling that at our house. I would just lose all control and go to town on their sugary and salty snacks. It was like I was storing it all in my belly for the few days I would have to eat fruit and veggies at home before I could get back to their house to eat more!
Looking back at these three memories, I can see something very interesting: desert food, and highly processed food, was so outlawed to me that it was like a super-gift each and every time I was allowed to have it. So what did this turn into as I grew older? Well, in high school, I found out that with more responsibility in when and what I ate, I seemed to gravitate towards finding these “outlawed” foods because now I had the ability to get them myself. And when I was able to drive, well, holy cow! MacDonald’s and me were inseparable. After baseball games I was known to get 3-4 burgers, super sized fries and soda, and then have an ice cream or apple pie thing. I would have that meal at least 4 times each and every week during the summer. Between games I would enjoy a large sandwich or burger, then wash it down with 8+ free-refilled soda, then pick up another soda, a couple gatorades and some snickers and chips to have during my next game. So yeah. I ate like crap. But I didn’t know any better. I knew my mom wouldn’t be the happiest camper about it all. But she wasn’t around to tell me NO, and I was a big boy who could make my own decisions!
Crap food was my reward for being free to make my own choices. When someone else made choices for me, I wasn’t allowed this stuff. So, of course the floodgates would open later in life. This reward soon expanded to become something that I psychologically needed to feel good. It’s a pretty cut and dry concept: if you reward yourself with something you enjoy, you’ll do more and more to receive said award. The only problem is, food is a necessity in life, and when you get hungry you are faced with a choice: either eat clean, healthy, good food; or, eat fake, unhealthy, crap food. And what happens when you don’t actually understand what the difference is? Well, you eat the food that you learned was the best tasting and gave you instant satisfaction. So, all of a sudden I’m a junior in college, stressed, confused, trying to have fun and allowing my emotions run how and what I ate. When I was happy, or doing good things, I would reward myself with “good” food. When I was sad or depressed, I would make myself feel better with the same “good” food. And that’s how it went until I was a whopping 245 pounds of not so solid, chubby wonderfulness!
Today my habits have changed drastically. The most important thing was learning first what food actually was (if it come directly from nature, it’s probably food). Next it was how to consume it intelligently enough to properly fuel my lifestyle. But the habits that I formed through 21 years of my life still haunt me, less and less each month, but still there nonetheless. Even tonight, as I returned home from training a client to finish up this post, I found myself overcome by my dark food habits. I was at Whole Foods picking up a few odds and ends for my cooking spree tomorrow. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been going through some emotionally difficult issues, and I could feel that overwhelming urge to calm my sadness and insecurities with what I grew up understanding would do so: sugar. And it didn’t help that one of my favorite bakeries; Sticky Fingers (just check out the site!) was selling cookies and brownies. So, I enjoyed a couple of each as I walked the 3 miles back to my house. Did I feel better? Hell yes I did! Did I help myself, and the growth I desire to be a better person? Not in any possible way. I gave in to something I know I honestly don’t want in my life. My stomach feels bloated and uncomfortable, my throat is clogged up, and my brain feels a little fuzzy. I don’t like that feeling. The few minutes of enjoyment was not worth the way I feel now, or the way I’ll feel in the morning.
I am still in the process of learning to overcome these emotional attachments that I’ve created in myself. I don’t have any definitive answers for you, and for that I am sorry. I am merely sharing this all with you to cause some form of thought within yourself. How do YOU see food? What are YOUR attachments and weaknesses? In my being able to be open and honest about my problems, I know I can pursue the things I want with a clearer mind. If I can share my struggles, and openly share the process I have for overcoming those struggles, I believe I can genuinely fix them from their absolute core. If you have a process, share it. If you don’t, be honest with yourself and learn to create and use one. If I didn’t have one I would still be an unhealthy fitness wannabe, right on the cusp on “getting it”.
True change can never happen if you don’t start from deep within.
I hope my ramblings inspire a little thought. And as always, I am here to bounce ideas off of, to discuss (even argue if need be), to answer questions, to help and to support.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
My life is a constant journey that tends to catch ME off guard on a pretty regular basis. And I wouldn't have it any other way! I have dedicated my life to accepting challenges whenever I can, why? Well, I've found out over the past couple years that I am capable of more than I can possibly fathom; and the excitement, energy and happiness I find when I'm in the midst of a challenge is what I live for! And to add to the greatness of testing limits, exploring, and trying new things, I meet so many awesome people and am introduced to so many awesome things along the way!
I have endless stories already, and I'm only 29 years old; when I think about this I get goose-bumps! I am so excited to see what my life will bring! I figure I'll share stories for as long as I possibly can, but today I am inspired to talk about one in particular. One of my regular journeys over the past 5 years or so has been searching for the perfect protein bar. No joke, I have gone into Whole Foods on more than one occasion and collected upwards to $100 worth of different bars to bring home and try out. I got hooked on Clif Bars for a while, eating 2+ a day for a few months (then I comprehended the amount of sugar and additives in each one, as well as the really awkward claim of 70% organic, what the heck is that? I was always so disappointed in the fact that the legitimate food-based bars (meaning, the ingredients where simply food, not a collection of foods, additives, chemicals, sugars and more) tasted like such crap. After a few years of trying practically every bar I could imagine, I ended up opting for a few regulars: Builders Bars (the higher protein version of Clif Bars), Boomi Bars (almonds, whey protein and honey. Bland but exciting to me!) and Lara Bars (basically dates and a few other simple food ingredients. Never really enjoyed the taste, but the idea of them I liked). I even opted for making a bar so that i wouldn't have so much sweetener in them. Didn't work out all that well...
Then one day my lovely girlfriend Lindsey came in with something she found at the Whole Foods near our house in San Mateo, CA. She said she found it hidden in the refrigerator section and the name caught her eye. It caught my eye too: Core Warrior Bars. Bad ass. I looked at the ingredients and saw this: 100% organic, whole oats, almonds, raisins, whey protein, ground spices. My brain went to "crap, this is surely going to disappoint" mode, but I needed to give it a try of course! And just like that I had found my new favorite meal replacement, post workout fuel, snack, dessert, stable addition to my diet for the rest of my life. They were so, damn, good!
After stocking the fridge with the couple flavors they had, and officially implementing them as a regular mainstay in what I ate, I figured I might as well check out the company in a little more detail. Never thought I'd get even more hooked on a company, but they quite literally stood for everything I believe in. A small, San Francisco area company that makes organic, raw, real-food-based protein bars, that also is a non-profit, carries a ZERO carbon footprint, and is dedicating to sticking to their insanely respectable values no matter what! I had to meet the owner!
The first time I met Corey was at The Courage Games in Burlingame, CA, It was 40 degrees, pouring rain, and 120 or so athletes and spectators were toughing it out all day with the crazy workouts I programmed for an awesome competition. Corey pulled up in his car and offered samples for most of the event and when I walked over to introduce myself and chat for a bit, he promptly hugged me and claimed how awesome this event was! New friend for life in my opinion! The guy is exactly what you would hope for in an owner of such a company. He has traveled all over the world researching and getting to understand food, and in the end, did to not only make these bars, but dedicated all his energy to supporting healthy and lasting growth in all people. Rock, freaking on!
This is what I strive for in my journey: meeting people who want to inspire health and happiness in the world and are actually DOING something about it. And the trifecta: the product produced is so good it blows my mind (the perfect trifecta simplified: desire to inspire, doing something to inspire, actually succeeding in inspiring!). Yesterday and today alone I sampled the bars to just about 20 different athletes who came through The Garage and got an overwhelming, 100% YES, give us more! I am excited, proud and so happy to now be a part of the Core Foods mission, as I feel it fits perfectly with the ongoing journey that is my life. If you want the perfect post-workout meal, I highly suggest you give these things a try. And you can guarantee to see these things on my person wherever I go from here on out.
To earn my Core Warrior re-fuel today, I hit my lock-out and supplemental-work strength session. Then Big Dan came over and we hit this little doosy from our friends at Outlaw CrossFit:
5 rounds for time of:
6 muscle ups
12 man on fire burpees (drop, roll, jump, repeat!)
18 wall balls
The weather was perfect, the park was empty and splashed with sunshine, the workout partners were pumped (George came too, and got a fun workout in the sand pit!) and the workout was perfect. I felt so strong after weighted pull ups and dips and was able to blast through the workout much faster than I imagined I would at 19:28. Dan struggled a little with the muscle ups (he is usually WAY better than me at them) and finished in the low 20's. We all walked home, covered in dirt and grass and feeling awesome! I love working out.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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