Category: Diet


The Crossfit Games Open workouts are not even completed and I am looking forward to next years events. The reason is I have goals, not wishes, for improvement at this sport. Goals are what is going to keep me on track with my progress not wishing I could do it.
My plan started late in 2013 was to get more mobility and range of motion. Other than the usual stuff we did at the box for mobility I had nothing else to go with and basically asked lots of questions on what I needed to do. The owners directed me to the Mobility WOD site and I took it from there.
I got the chiro to get the big things fixed and give me a check-up every now and then when all the bugs came back. This all brought positive change to my posture and even with my focus on ROM and mobility I did not lose that much strength, maintaining around 90%-95% without doing too much heavy weights so I could heal. This was when I made a connection that ROM, mobility and technique have a greater influence on my ability than just trying to lift heavy.

I have no real goals for this year’s open other than to have a score for all the workouts that are posted and have them as my benchmark for 2015. I have incorporated running and pool work to give a change of pace to constantly being at the box. Included in these are now scheduled rest/mobility days a much overlooked part of a workout. If you have to ask why, you have not got it yet.
The next part of this plan was the diet I have and how that needed to change to facilitate my goal. I need to lose 25-30 pounds for this plan to work. I am too heavy for the bodyweight workouts, I get a good sweat going but I move like a walrus on land. I have bought a freezer and have started prepping and measuring food quantities while reducing the amount of bad carbs I take in. Bread is my weakness and I must find a Paleo/Low carb version to have on hand for those weak moments and finally the last and key part of any loss of weight attempt is the drinking of water. I have failed miserably at this for the simple fact I do not like water in bottles. The water at my house is fantastically clear and clean as it is from a well and I could drink that all day unfortunately I have to work and city water sucks.
I will give the tale fo the tape as of March 24th – weight 219, BP 128/81, resting HR at 56 and sitting in 806th place out of 1016 competitors in the Mens Masters 55-59 dvision and while writing this I have managed to sip almost 500ml of water. It’s a start!
Have fun, enjoy life and good luck to all the competitors who are excellent, good and normal.

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The new lifestyle of going wheat and gluten-free has changed the way I think about my diet and preparation of food and it has almost made me forget why I decided to go this direction. Previously with the workouts and careful planning of our weekly menu I have not noticed a change in the last 6 months. Being aware of what I ate and the initial fat and water loss when I started working out I have not changed from 220 pounds.

Yes, I have put in the same effort and intensity. I have gained some muscle mass to offset the loss of fat. I have been able to lift more than when I started, have more mobility and have increased my range of motion since November 2010 but I still was sort of plateauing. This was more frustrating and puzzling to me, I don’t drink that often to say that alcohol may increase my sugar levels, if I managed to go through a couple of beer or drinks in 3-4 months that would be a lot. I do not eat that many sweets even though I make them to sell at the local store for a bit of extra cash. Both my wife and myself are do not have any allergies to gluten, wheat or any other food. My wife has some medicinal allergies but that is about it.

So why the change? I figured if nothing else, we could have some fun with seeing what we were left with by going wheat and gluten-free. However after 5 weeks I have felt good, lost some additional weight, dropped the blood pressure to normal(115/78), the belly size has reduced, I don’t have the need for eating (I eat when I am hungry) like I used to and feel like I have more energy. Now, is that this new diet, I don’t know and truthfully don’t care.

The last 2 weeks at the gym we have had some challenging WOD’s and other than 2-3 of them that almost made me puke, I have improved my time and strength. The same could be said for my wife as she has lost weight and does not have the constant feeling that she needs to eat. She may not be doing the exact same movements but she has improved her range of motion for squatting, excellent when you consider she has had both hips replaced and one had to have a revision, so squatting is a difficult movement for her because she would usually use some sort of support to help her, now she does not and has even started to use weight when doing squats. This allows her to front squat, back squat, and even do overhead squats with minimum weight, something she was not able to do before.

I am saying all this because I am overjoyed that I feel better, move better and after my injury have almost gained all the strength I had before. Doing WOD’s we have completed before and that I have an entry for to compare against, I have bettered the performance or come close to matching it and I was completely out of action for 2 months.

My original goal was to get down below 200 lbs and I would be happy with that (for now). The weight loss challenge at work asked what I think my ideal weight would be and I said 180 lbs. I am now at 212 lbs from starting at 220 lbs, I need only 12 pounds to hit goal one and 32 lbs to reach what I think is my ideal number.

Can I do it? Yes. I will look completely different when I get there. In fact 20 years ago I thought I was getting heavy when I weighed 167 lbs before I had a double hernia, so it is not out of the question. I have “bulked up” since then and that is why the number is 180.

Jet lag from grocery shopping

Yesterday could almost be listed as one of the best days I have had in the province of New Brunswick since I arrived here 10 years ago. All from a little store in Fredericton call Scoop and Save.

After years of searching and scouring this province for some of the food/grocery items that I sometimes need for making some of the so-called foreign dishes that I could normally make in any one of the big cities in Canada and coming up empty, I was told of this place because my wife was looking for a particular sugar for making authentic Liege Waffles.

When I moved here due to my boss coercing me (as a friend) I had no idea that trying to make simple Indian/Pakistani dishes would be so difficult. I literally had to go in the back of a store owned by an Indian and go through his closet to find some spices that I required. In Toronto I could just go next to my mothers’ house to the Indian Market to get them and no I am not Indian or any other ethnic national, it just so happens I like a variety of food and tastes.

This store had almost everything I could have thought of to make almost any dish. One aisle I was in South Africa with a lot of Dutch and Euro foods right beside them, next one over I was in the Kosher section, another aisle had gluten/wheat free products, while another had English and Mexican/South American foods. The variety of teas was surprising along with the staff who knew where everything was and did not miss a step when you asked if they had something. What a refreshing thing it was to ask a question and they either told you they did not carry it or took you to where it was in the store.

We spent almost 2.5 hours going through every inch of that store and by the time we left it felt as though I had jet lag from all the locations that I went to. Food does that, you can travel but you never see a country until you try a local dish made by a street vendor or someone who you have met invites you to a home cooked dinner at their house and that could be a one room location with a cooking element, a bed and depending what country a commode behind a curtain.

I have been lucky in that I have been able to sample some of this, but when you come back to your own country and want to make a dish from somewhere else it is like a scavenger hunt to get all the ingredients together. In New Brunswick it would be a miracle to get it locally and I had my brother and some friends send care packages to me so I get cook something with flavour.

After coming out of the store I was bushed and it felt like I went around the world from the time I walked in there to, the time I left. It was then I decided I needed another cookbook and Friday I was looking for a Vietnamese cookbook online as I wanted to make Pho. So off the bookstore to see what they had and I found an interesting book with recipes and stories from Vietnam as this person travelled from the North to the South of Vietnam and put together a wonderful book. His name is Luke Nguyen and he owns the Red Lantern restaurant in Sydney.

It will be an interesting next few weeks as I decide what will fit in to my new no wheat/gluten diet but so far not many recipes in the book have wheat or gluten in them, plus Scoop and Save has most of the ingredients I need for the recipes.

Ye s, it will be a good next few months.

This week at the gym has been a tough one. It was a short week with Thanksgiving and the gym being closed on Monday but that has not made it easier as the workouts have been just nasty. The worst part is that they never look that bad on paper or when you read them on the gyms’ website and we know from history that it is the easiest looking ones that sneak up on you and knock the crap out of you.

I mean what can be so hard 5 cycles of a 3 minute AMRAP of 3 power cleans, 6 push ups, 9 air squats; after this one my legs were burning along with my shoulders. The day before we did a workout with the clock continually running of 3 round for time(RFT) of 10 snatches, 10 push ups then at the 10 minute mark do another 3 RFT of 10 Thrusters, 10 chest to bar pullups, then at the 20 minute mark do another 3 RFT of 10 box jumps, 10 toes to bar. This one had me close to puking. Today’s WOD was just cruel after the two previous ones. It consisted of 2 minutes each movement of Double Unders, ABMat Sit ups, Row for calories, Burpees, and Box Jumps for 3 rounds. My legs/knees are still hurting from this one and it has been 4.5 hours since we finished and tomorrow brings running into the mix. All this “fun” has been caused by our owners getting new equipment for the gym (we can’t wait to use it) and due to construction of the new Infinity Rig from Rogue we have been doing these combo MetCons and power lifts until it is finished.

We all can’t wait until everything is in the correct place and bolted down as it will be a blast as we now have ropes to climb and proper bars to do pull-ups, plus the extra weights and abmats mean that more variations will be on the way. I am sure it will be ready for this coming Monday and we should see some WOD’s that incorporate the new stuff.

I cannot remember if I mentioned that I entered a weight loss challenge at work. Well I have and as usual the challenge started off with a weigh in, my weight was 219.6 (clothes on), waist measurement (41 inches) my goal is to get under 200 lbs or more specifically 190 lbs plus drop 3 inches around my waist in the 10 weeks that this challenge is going on. Based on todays weigh in the first week has been a success as I lost 3 lbs the first week (I blame the WOD’s this week for this good news) the waist measurement will happen at the end of the challenge.

The last few days have been a real roller coaster for me. Right now I feel like I got the crap knocked out of me with the workouts this week. That should not be a surprise as I did mention in an earlier posting that the serious season will be starting up. We got the first warning when the post on the gym site stated not to do the strength rotation before the WOD. That is usually a great harbinger of nasty things waiting for you when you arrive. So far the two WOD’s have been ones that on paper you say “that can’t be that hard” and then when you have completed the first round you feel like it will be a long workout if you kept that pace up.

On Tuesday I almost puked after the workout and that is the closest that I came to feeling like that. The WOD today was a simple 3 minute AMRAP of a 3-6-9 set and then we had to do 5 cycles of this fun bad boy. I can tell you I was not a pretty site when I finished today.

The good part of the roller coaster has been the loss of weight and the increase in speed on some of the events. I have seen in 30 days since starting my wheat/gluten-free lifestyle. I have lost 7.4 lbs during the 30 days and have not had the usual craving for something to stuff my face into after I finish eating for the night. The loss of approximately 2 lbs per week is very encouraging as I don’t want to drop pounds like I was bulimic or anorexic. Ideally if I can keep up the number up around 1 pound per week in one year I would have lost 52 lbs.

The speed at which I now move if measured against my pre-W/G free time period has improved so now I don’t look like the geriatric in the gym. Do I expect to be on the same level with some of the people at the gym? not really, but I am not going to give up because it is the younger people that makes me want to go harder when the workout starts.

My goal for the crossfit games this coming year is to get into the top 200. I know even that will be putting me through my paces as I have to get a few movements completed i.e., skipping, pullups, toes to bar or I will be dropping like a stone out of the standings when we start the games probably in February 2013.

With the weight loss I have found that moving during the WOD is getting easier and the AMRAP workouts are much less tiring since changing my diet. I have had people at work stop, and ask me questions about the diet I am on and what I do after work. When I mention I workout doing Crossfit they just give me the blank stare as they try to figure out how and why am I doing that crazy type of workout and then the diet that eliminates bread made from wheat, all I get is “ooh! I can’t do that, no bread and working out”. All I can say after that is “how bad do you want to lose weight?” if you are serious then you will find time to prepare the food and get to the gym and work the diet like most of the diets out there, which is try it and if it starts working then maybe you need to get more information and start considering it, if it doesn’t work then don’t do it.

 

The paleo challenge at the gym ended at Friday midnight and the post challenge party was set for Saturday at a local eatery that one of our members owns. Keeping in the true spirit of the challenge he had a buffet set with food that followed the paleo diet in case anyone decided to adopt that lifestyle plus some non paleo food for the guests and members who decided not to partake in it.

The food was great and company was even better. We had a large group show up, around 40-50, and the place only had enough room for 10-15 more people. There were a few walk-ins who seemed taken aback with the crowd and decided that we were a little to loud for their liking. Too bad, they would have found out we are not that bad, we just tend to have a strange way of having fun. I think the other part is that we are an intimidating looking bunch as no one is out of shape.

After the food and some drink it was decided to head over to the gym, which is a 3 minute walk from the restaurant, and continue the party and that is when the fun began as hand stands for time and various other endeavours started happening. Apparently our one and only box owner decided to do something that I missed and as we say “tried to fly” (usually means that someone slipped off the pull-up bar and end up on their back). No broken bones were involved and probably gave everyone a scare but I am sure he continued on, but I am sure he will be feeling it at some point.

As for me and my wife, we managed to keep ourselves away from the wheat and gluten for the night and still had a wonderful time with the group. Since we do not drink that much in the first place it is not that hard to say no to a drink, food on the other hand is much more difficult and it has been easier to say no or tell someone that you cannot eat wheat or have gluten.

With winter just around the corner, we are starting to enter the serious season. In the next few months people will have to start to step it up as the Crossfit Open will be coming up very fast if you are paying attention. Those 5-6 weeks of workouts will suck the life out of you if you are not prepared physically. Amy for the first time is seriously taking a run at the Games and would like to see where she stands in comparison to others in the region. Me, I want to improve on my placing of 302nd and move into the top 200 or better. It will take everything I have to make that improvement as I lack some skills and with my injury I had I am not sure how I will get those skills for this year.

This month also marks a weight loss challenge we have going on a work. I decided to enter as I need to focus on losing some 20 pounds to be able to improve those skills I previously mentioned. My starting weight is 214 with BP hovering around 130/80 not bad but both are a bit high and need to come down some.

With the end of the month being Halloween lets hope it is not scary.

The good, bad and ugly for the record

Ever thought about how you got to a place and wondered what took you so long to get there?

Since starting this Wheat/Gluten Free (w/g free) lifestyle I have noticed a difference in my overall well-being. I am not sure how to explain it, things are different, not the suddenly I can see through walls or I have developed a flat belly overnight different, but I have noticed a change in me. My walking pace seems to have picked up, I am not feeling a need to have a 3pm nap at my desk, my legs feel lighter and I seem to have more life/energy in what I do.

Lets start with the good. My weight has dropped steadily and not dramatically. I am at 214 lbs a drop of 5.5 lbs, blood pressure has come down a bit 126/73, Body Fat now at 31 a small drop, the main point of this change was to improve those numbers, to do it safely and reasonably. Second good thing, the craving for food has diminished. No longer am I wanting to have something fill my gut every few hours, just doing that alone has probably taken off 300 – 400 calories per day without any hard work, simply not eating to eat. Third good thing, it is easier to say no to food and samples if I do not know what is in it. I mentioned last post that I was at a farmers market that just opened and all the vendors had samples and were passing them out like they were at black tie event where all they serve is finger foods, if I did not know what was in it I would pass and tell them I cannot have wheat/gluten. They seemed to understand and moved on so I had no sample to tempt me. Just saying that made it so easy to pass on food. This is not as hard as it looks.

The bad part was the amending of certain recipes that I love and having to hold off on the preserves that my wife and I have made, i.e. jams, pie fillings, etc., until we figure out what we have to use them with. Lately we figured out a recipe for muffins that taste incredible and if we make a few adjustments we will have some nice bread. I think we both have an idea for making flat breads with chick pea flour and will give it try on the weekend. Stay tuned for that.

The ugly part of this is that it has not improved my running, I am a still a piss poor runner and this past week it has hurt my times in the WOD’s as we have had 2 separate run days, each having a total of 2K. Here is the kicker in this ugly part, I have bettered my previous scores in these events every time and I still think I sucked. Either I have improved beyond where I thought I would be or  my expectations have increased dramatically (I am going with that). I improved by one minute on one workout and dropped 95 seconds on another and I figured that the running had not been that great and could improve the time even more when I got better at running.

I would say that the first 18 days of being W/G free have been a success, now lets see what happens for a full month. What have I got to lose other than some more weight. The goal is still 180 lbs and by my math it will take approximately another 130 days to reach the goal of 180 and that will be sometime in February 2013. Winter in the next two months and seems like as good a time as any to start to shed the pounds.

Not much happening in the writing department the past week. This is the hardest part of deciding to write what is happening when you are trying to do anything. It is probably the same with someone who is writing about photography or poetry, you have only so much to say for a day and that’s it, then you need to regroup and hope that at some point you have a topic that someone wants to at least spend a few minutes with you.

I have had some minor successes with the diet so far and have lost weight for the two weeks that I have been on it. It is nice to have no real huge cravings for stuff and it has been easier to say no when people start dropping chips and other wheat items around your desk. Tomorrow’s weigh in should be interesting as after a weekend I never know what I will be on Monday as there is no set schedule for eating on a weekend.

A quick review of the week from a workout perspective and it is all good news. My shoulder seems to be holding up rather well as we start to increase the work load and when it does start to give that warning sign, I cut back until all is good again. The previous Friday and Saturday the City of Saint John held a “Lifestyles” exposition which revolved around health and wellness.

I was there to support our Crossfit Box and was recruited to do a fitness challenge against someone 20 years younger. The course was fairly simple as you don’t want people coming in to the expo and doing one challenge and not do any fitness ever again. The course was made up of an agility test (staggered tires, have not seen them since high school football), two 20″ high jumps, then under a 30″ high bar another jump, an agility ladder (too silly to explain), 10 burpees, 10 weighted ball squats, then back through the course and a tire flip (about a 1/4 or 1/3 the size we have at the gym). I did not win but the I was the only one person who did the challenge doing correct burpees and full squats (the guy only beat me by a couple tire flips) anyways it was fun and showed that if you stay in good shape you can surprise a lot of people.

The rest of the week was the usual stuff of crazy workouts and watching the food intake and on this weekend I went to the Farmers market in Fredericton to get some organic meat, ribs and veggies. What I found out was a former worker and friend of mine has a part-time BBQ smoker trailer business. I posted on Facebook where I was and he said to come over to a new Farmers Market as he is a vendor there. I must admit his ribs were pretty awesome and if you are in Fredericton New Brunswick on a weekend you should visit PorkysBBQ.

Well for someone who did not have much to say I sure used up enough space.

 

 

The first week of my W/G free world has passed. Has there been any change? The answer so far has been a resounding YES! I have dropped 4 pounds one week, blood pressure has dropped to closer to a “normal” level, I have not had a real hunger craving for food and I bet my blood sugar levels have dropped and the good HDL has improved. Another positive is the increase in endurance that has shown up, usually I am drained during a workout pretty quickly and I have been working to improve that part of my fitness regimen. Whether this is due to the endurance program I adapted or the W/G free diet or a combination of both, I am not sure. The key point is that I am getting further into the AMRAP’s before really sucking for air.

Yesterday and today were good examples of that change. Yesterday was an endurance day along with the usual strength component, simple push presses with 80 pounds 5 sets of 5, then on the rower for 10 rounds of 300M, I should have done some running but with hurricane strength winds plaguing the city all day it was safer to do the rowing. What I noticed was that the 300M did not feel like it going to kill me. I managed to do the first 5 rounds fairly effortlessly and even though I was going at a pace that would have beaten my previous best I did not feel like I was going to die. The next 5 were a bit different and by the time I finished the ten, I was breathing pretty heavily just not like I would have been 2 months ago when I would have died after one rep at 300M.

Then today’s workout was two 10 minute AMRAP’s set one was 50 double unders and 25 push presses at 75 pounds. I have not mastered double unders, my PR is 2 in a row, so I did the 3 to 1 ratio for singles. Today was just a bad day for skipping as I could not string together a good set, the longest was 69, and I have done 3 sets of 150 during a workout unbroken. I don’t know what happened as I had some poor co-ordination for these today. Then right after that WOD it was another 10 minute AMRAP of 10 overhead walking lunges I used a 25 lb plate for this and 30 Ab-Mat situps. These would have caused some serious issues 4 months ago especially the second WOD no matter what it would have been. Not this time, WOD one, I completed 2 rounds and 2 reps – WOD two I managed 4 rounds + 2 reps and I felt really good throughout the workout, yes I had a good sweat on but no serious issues if I had done this 4 months ago.  I will keep following this W/G free plan and see where it takes me.

It has been good so far…

Measurements for the record – Waist 40 inches (no change) – Weight 215.2 (a loss of 4.8lbs) – BP 129/81  – Heart rate resting 55 I did not have the BMI and Water percentages available and will have them next week.

 

Week one is down on the new food adventure and the world has not changed for the worse. Last week while working out I did not find that I had “lost strength” or “not enough energy” as the new food regimen was implemented. There were some minor changes to what was purchased this week and that was it. Out went most items that had a container, you would not believe the amount of wheat or wheat product is in the food we eat.

As one of my friends at work says, just for shits and giggles, check out the ingredient list on the items you buy at the store. You would be surprised to find what items have a form of wheat in them. I found sausages, yoghurt, bologna, most packaged deli meats, almost anything that was in the frozen food section except for veggies, chips, canned foods, the list goes on. Most of the wheat in those items is filler. Hard to believe that in the land of plenty we need filler in our staples to feed ourselves.

Over this last week the key metrics for my records have been surprising. I will relay that when I  do my weekly weigh in tomorrow morning. I did win last weeks weight loss challenge with a drop of 1.7%, as we measure percentage of weight loss from week to week. That was a nice $20 for only 4 complete days W/G free.

As for the workouts, I did feel a bit lighter and quick of step. The pace I can do now even after being off for 2 months is almost the same before, this is good sign as I expected to not be able to match the pre injury numbers until closer to th end of the year. I was prepared for the loss of strength, as that is normal for a person of my age to see large drops in strength that are quicker than that of a person who is 20 years younger. I’m just keeping things real as they say.

Todays workout was a fine example of the small differences I have noticed. As many rounds as possible (AMRAP) in 20 minutes of 5 Clean and Jerks, 10 Pushups, 5 Front Squats and 10 Pullups, I used 70 lbs for the C&J and Front Squats and ring rows for the pull-ups. I have scheduled my return to pull-up sometime around the end of October and will not risk losing another 2 months re-injuring the shoulder by jumping into a pull-up to quickly. I am not making a living out of this so there is no reason to push the limits unnecessarily. You know you are getting closer to full recovery when the trainer asks if you want to consider doing assisted pull-ups today. I did not take the bait and I know it was the right move even though I did consider it for a short moment.

It will be back to the endurance training this week as last week was one of those weeks in which I did not get in that much endurance training. Tomorrow will be 5 x 300M rows and 5 x 400M runs (ouch!!), it should be interesting to see how things go.