First Thirty Days of Focused…ish…. Nutrition Plan

It is amazing how time flies. It is hard for me to believe we are already through the first week of August. Summer is just about over. Believe me, I am not wishing it away. Autumn is my favorite time of year. Fires, Cocktails, Football,  and hooded sweatshirts. Summer is my second favorite time. We have not gotten to the beach once and we do need to fix that, quickly. We have been on the water a few times in the kayaks and Berger took her maiden voyage. She did well. She was very focused on a paddle boarder behind her and Kylie…not sure why.

It has been seven months since I last posted. Way too long. Things have been going well this year, however I have not been focused on hitting my goals. Life gets in the way. Things happen. We all make choices and push what needs to be done at that time to the top. Sadly I think many of us put ourselves last. Then we find ourselves kind of pissed that we are not achieving the things that six months ago were important to us. And of course, there is also the reality of New Years’ resolutions…..that are the same year after year.

For those of you who know me, you know that I lost my Dad the end of April. Losing a parent seems to change the view of one’s own mortality. It is an assault on it actually. When I was little I thought he was the strongest guy in the world, able to do anything. I watched him age and his physical capabilities diminish. He was hard on his body and in the end his body just gave up. It was done.

So, in part because of that, and because it just beyond time, I spoke with a fellow CultFitter and he recommended a nutritionist he had worked with previously. So I contacted her and we were off. I had to get a Resting Metabolic Rate test and a VO2 max test. The first was not hard, just took twice as much time as it was supposed to. Based on those readings I burn about 2500 calories a day just living. The VO2 max test was a giant PITA. It was on a treadmill and everyone who reads this blog knows how much I looooooove running. So imagine me on a treadmill with basically a fighter pilot mask on, a heart rate monitor around my chest, and a clippy thing on my finger. Quite the sight. I hoped that i did not trip and take out the whole thing.

The numbers came back no differently than I expected. Average/Slightly above average for a person of my age and dimensions. I met with the nutritionist via phone and went over all pertinent information. She put together a meal plan and sent it to me. Using MyFitnessPal is a huge win. It was as one would expect. Reduced calorie, high protein, moderate fat, and low carb. I am at 130 grams per day, which is not bad. Just have to make each one count.

I have enjoyed it and as the title indicates, have been committed…mostly. There was one night that was just silly. I am down 21 pounds in a little over a month. It is a steady clip of 3-5 pounds per week. CrossFit five times per week, 2 runs a week, and yoga once. I do not always get both runs, in however I’ll make it longer if I only get one run in.  The big difference on this one is that I followed exactly what I told, and it is paying off much better. Funny how that works, huh? Kind of like that thing, when you finally do what your Coach told you to do, and shocker, it works.

The eating has been easy to follow. 5-6 meals per day. I like having a plan for the week as it makes it easier to prepare and not worry about it during the day. Sunday is meal prep day. I won’t bore you all with a picture of a counter covered with food and individual prepped meals. Do I miss eating pizza? Do I miss desert? Do I miss cocktailing? Absofreakinloutely! She suggested two drinks on Saturday night. I really don’t have that switch, so i cut it out for a few weeks. The stories aren’t quite as funny, however the mornings are much more fun.

It has been a very good experience thus far and am looking forward to it continuing. Drink a few for me folks. Have a great week. Lift something heavy even if it is not in the WOD.

It’s not About Throwing Darts and Hoping

“So Champ what was going through your mind when you were getting ready for tonight’s fight?”

“I just got in the ring and did’t have a plan. I winged it and it worked out. I also focused on every missed opportunity and failure and knew I would lose.”

Seem strange? It should. This interview would never happen. Ever! High level athletes, CEO’s, titans of the universe, successful soccer Moms all share the same mindset. Positive mental attitude. They talk about visualizing success and being in the zone. They see good things happen ahead of time and focus on the positives. There aren’t problems. There are only solvable challenges. We didn’t get all caffeinated and dressed up for a walk in the park.

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Tips to Maximize Your Performance:

Tracking:

I work for a financial services company and we track every possible metric known to man. Many times we experience paralysis through analysis. It’s easy to go overboard; however by minimally tracking your performance for repeated lifts and met-cons you will have a baseline for comparison. Take notes on each WOD, listing both your weakness and your strength. Also take notes on what you think you could have done differently what would have improved your performance. For example, $5.00 bottomless margaritas and hitting the nacho bar the night before may not have been a great idea. Another example might be skimping on the warm up. And no, I don’t know anywhere local who has $5.00 bottomless margaritas.

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Goal Setting:

Keep your goals realistic. A sub three minute Fran is not realistic for a beginner, or for someone who is weak on pull ups and thrusters. Educated goal setting is possible when you keep track of your WOD’s and weights. Pushing for a PR should be a goal for just about every class. Remember that it doesn’t have to be ten or twenty pounds either. Two pounds is still a PR. The little plates are there so use them. Most importantly, talk to the coach. Ask them what they think. They aren’t there because they were bored an needed something to do. Good coaches want to see you succeed.

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Planning your Performance in the WOD:

Don’t wait for class to figure out how you will attack the WOD. Most boxes post the WOD the night before. Read through it and compare it to other WOD’s you have done. Constant variation is the foundation of CrossFit, however a clean is a clean and pull ups are pull ups. Put together a plan. Say it’s Grace. Are you capable of cleaning and jerking 135lbs thirty times unbroken? Probably not. However, are you able to do three sets of ten unbroken, with ten to fifteen seconds of rest between sets? How about five sets of six? Break them up into smaller sets so you do not get burned out. Doing Olympic lifts when you are overly fatigued equals crappy form and injuries. Do it right or drop the weight. Do not sacrifice form for time. Your chiropractor enjoys the business but your Box still collects the dues and you won’t be there to enjoy the class.

Competition:

Find someone who is of equal or slightly higher caliber than yourself and has the same schedule. They are now your workout buddy. It is a good idea to make sure they are ok with it. Stalking is a chargeable crime in several states. It is friendly competition. Don’t spike their pre workout drink or hide their strength shoes. That ain’t right! You will push them and they will push you. In the end you both win. Partner up on strength WOD’s and expect big increases in weights.

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Mental Attitude:

You’ve got the gear and are all warmed up and ready to go. Don’t let the muscle between your ears be the weakest muscle. Too many times people can take a trip to negative town, focusing on how much something will suck or only focusing on the part of the WOD which will be very difficult for them to complete. Try not to talk yourself out of it before you even try. No negative Nancy’s. Visualize yourself being successful on every lift and getting through every met-con.

Post WOD Planning:

Cool down. Stretch. Hydrate. Eat. Try to plan your exit strategy to include these four items. You just beat the hell out of yourself and more than likely will be on your way to work, a meeting, running errands, kid’s games, etc. Ideally we would be able to do all of this stuff, then go home and take a nap. Probably not going to happen, so plan to do these before you leave the box. Come prepared with coconut water and a solid post WOD meal or a protein shake. Mix it up and determine what works the best for you: solid foods, protein shake, regular water, coconut water, etc.

Rest Days and Yoga:

One of the dumbest phrases every uttered by knuckleheads. “Yoga isn’t a workout.” Yes it most certainly is. Definitely do it once or twice a week if your box offers the class. If not, find a place that does and pay for the classes. We spend three to five days a week beating ourselves to a pulp. Yoga works out the kinks, releases tension in the muscles, and gets things back in line so you can beat it up again the following week. It is great to do on your rest days. Make sure you take one to two a week as needed. If you feel like crap you’ll perform poorly. Fact.

The dues are expensive. So is the gear. Embrace the suck by being prepared for the WOD and being ready to go. Post WOD is as important as pre WOD. How you feel has a direct influence on how you perform. Don’t short change yourself and lay off the margaritas.

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Email from a Friend After you Join CrossFit

Hey, it’s been a while. Seriously I don’t even know if you’ll have time to read this email since you practically live at the CrossFit gym now. Oh, sorry it’s a box. What gives? We haven’t seen you in forever. Every time we talk to you it’s CrossFit this and CrossFit that. Either it’s some workout at midnight, which is weird, or some weekend competition. Next thing it’s a cookout or a happy hour.

We don’t even understand half the stuff posted on your Facebook page. What the hell do you mean you PR’d and did something Rx? And now your up at five am posting stuff to boot! You used to be a night owl. Are you ok? Taking pictures of your food or posting pictures of empty plates with the caption “time”? Huh? Time for what? Chipotle three times a week. Thanks for checking in every time. Trust me, we know where to find you!

Please explain to me your new-found love for bacon? Six months ago you wouldn’t have touched the stuff, now you can’t wait to find something new to wrap in bacon. Dates, seriously? Bacon wrapped dates!?!? Have at it bro. All you.

People have been saying its a cult. Is it? Please don’t tell me there is a leader in a white robe talking about the end and only his or her disciples will make it! I checked it out online and it looks hard as hell and people have gotten hurt. This rhabdo stuff is no joke.

Ok, time to come clean. We want in. Your box looks ten times more fun than our globo gym and the members, well, God bless Facebook pictures. Damn! You are having way more fun than us and look a hell of a lot stronger than when we were doing preacher curls. Are you still doing those? You have to be. Or did you switch to cable curls? Anyway, how can we join? Is there a pizza night or something?

Look forward to hearing from you.

Thanks

Rest Days; Take Them

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Image courtesy of Jessica Sepel

Wednesday is one of my favorite days of the week. It is a rest day. I am still up early however I am not heading to CrossFit BWI for a WOD. Time to repair the damage I did on Monday and Tuesday, which was pretty serious. Those WOD’s were no joke.

I used to not take rest days and then wondered why I was tired and was always sore. It shouldn’t have taken me that long to figure it out. I am stubborn. So be it. “I paid the dues so I am going” six or seven days a week. Not very conducive to healing. We spend a lot of time tearing down our muscles so we have to give them time to heal.

The only time we grow is when we sleep. That explains why I am 5’8″ and my brother is 6’4″. When we were growing up he would sleep to noon, and I would be up early. He slept more so he grew more. That makes scientific sense, right? The same is true for muscles repairing themselves. All of those dead lifts from yesterday tore the muscle fibers in your legs, back, arms, and shoulders. That is why your muscles are sore. Now they need time to put themselves back together, and get bigger so they are harder to tear. They can’t heal if you are tearing them apart four days in a row.

So, what is active rest? Stretching, Yoga, light exercise like walking the dog, slow swim, etc. Fran doesn’t qualify as active rest, and neither do Turkish Get Ups. I hate those things. I take two rest days a week. Sunday is the active rest day with Yoga. Wednesday is an off day, with the exception of the next few weeks because of Whole Life Challenge. I’ll probably get in the pool for a while this afternoon and do so mobility work tonight.

Mobility. Very much needed and probably overlooked by those who need it the most, including myself. Click here. Kelly Starrett has been kind enough to post videos for just about every type of issue with a solution. Need to work on squat depth, should not working, ankles not loose enough, etc. Do a quick search on his site and you’ll find a half a dozen different suggestions to get rid of the sticky junk and become a supple leopard.

Today I’ll eat a little more, all Paleo of course. Need to load up the fuel tank for tomorrow morning’s fun and provide enough nutrients for the necessary repairs. I’ll spend some quality time with the grid roller and a lacrosse ball. Getting old sucks, however it does beat the alternative.

Take your rest days. Eat well. Kick ass tomorrow morning.

Seven Weeks After ACL Surgery

I’m done. I’ve had it. I am ready to get back to normal and get back to CrossFitting. Being a globo gym goer sucks. Alright, in all seriousness I am happy and fortunate that my knee is coming along really well and I am able to do quite a bit of stuff. Box jumps, running, snatches, etc. are still a ways away, however it could be a lot worse!

What was it like?

The first week consisted of:

  • sit in chair
  • elevate leg
  • ice knee
  • flex quad
  • lay on bed
  • eleveate leg
  • ice knee
  • flex quad

Luckily the pain wasn’t bad. The day after the surgery was the worst, as is expected because the anaesthesia wore off, as did the fun pain meds the nurse gave me afterwards. I don’t know what they were, but they were GOOD! I was off the percocet after three days and off the crutches after seven days.

Rehab:

I started rehab five days after the surgery, three days a week for six weeks. Then twice a week for four weeks, then once a week for four more weeks, and then as needed. My recommendation is to find a smaller place where you work with only one physical therapist. I think that would be a better experience. The rehab is challenging. Many of the exercises look easy. Only when you try one do you realize you have zippy for strength in your leg and it’s unstable as all hell. Good times. Do your exercises no matter what. The more often you do them, the sooner you regain strength and the sooner you are back to normal.

Gym Time:

After three weeks i was cleared to go back to the gym and do upper body stuff. Nothing that involved my knee. So I did some bench presses, shoulder work, curls, etc. but decided they really wouldn’t help me get back to CrossFit so I focused on bodyweight exercises like push ups, sit ups, dips, and pull ups. I was also cleared to swim which was a bonus. After the fourth week I was ok’d to do dead lifts and squats, but nothing over 150 lbs. I was also cleared to do leg presses and calve raises.

What’s Left?

My next appointment is the first week in March and at that point I should be allowed to start jogging which I am looking forward too, surprisingly. I know it sounds weird considering how often I vocalize my previous opposition to running. I am really looking forward to running again. Weird.

I also have to continue to work on strengthening the muscles around the knee to increase stability. Lots of band work, muscle flexing, standing on one leg….fun, fun, fun.

I plan on going back to CrossFit the middle of February which will be three months post op. I will not be able to do box jumps or high impact lifts like snatches but I will be able to do the majority of the movements, just not heavy. I am really ready to be back at it. I miss the people and the competition. It will also coincide withy he start of Whole Life Challenge, round two.

My advice is to get it done as soon as it happens. I waited twelve years and that was probably a bad idea. I caused damage to other parts of my knee because of it.