Tag Archive: Diet


Three years!! That’s right, three years ago I entered my first Crossfit Games Open and every year like most people I have great expectations that I will make it into the top 100 for my age group. Some have loftier expectations however most people after doing workout number one just want to survive and not be the last person on the leaderboard.
There is no shame in being last on the board, you at least entered and finished. If CF has over 1 million members worldwide and only 200K have entered then you have beat 800K other people who just need the confidence that it does not matter where you finish. My reason for entering is to measure myself against people my own age as at my box I am the second oldest person and between John and myself, we have no one to compare against except people who are at least 15 years younger than us. We get smoked when there are speed workouts and most time we use the same weights as them. Don’t get me wrong it makes us both feel good when we beat them.

This years open for me was a baseline for me to measure against as I wanted to improve my range of motion, get body parts healed that needed it and improve my nutrition. I have spent time getting certifications, getting books and journals to better understand how the body works. In the last 3 months I have spent many hours managing my mobility, fixing up muscles that have been injured, and working on different skills. In another few months I should be in good enough shape to start the next step, working on improving strength.

I will have to wait for Wednesday to see what my final placing will be and then I can sit back and watch the pro’s go at it in the coming months. Next month I will be attempting my level one certification to better understand what is required for crossfit movements and then the following month it is the Kettlebell Certification. Should be lots of fun.

BTW – how did any of you do?

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.

It’s always nice to revisit the past and while most people pull out old pictures and the like, most Crossfitters do workouts from the past.
Today was one of those days and as per the usual ritual at our box before the official Open workouts we have one day per week that we do last years workouts. This year it is every Friday for the next 5 weeks, last year it was on a Wednesday.
13.1 for those who don’t know, don’t remember or care to remember was a 17 minute couplet of burpees and snatches.
40 burpees to a 6″ target above your hands when your arms are over head, then 30 snatches(75/45/45), 30 burpees, 30 snatches(135/75/75), 20 burpees, 30 snatches(165/100/75), 10 burpees and finally as many reps as possible of snatches(210/120/120) – the numbers in brackets indicating the weights for men, women and masters men divisions(which is my division) and your score is the total number of reps you complete. Last year my score was 139.
I did not know how I would do this time around. I had slept in, 2 hours longer than usual, and almost was late for work, did not have my usual breakfast, thank goodness for the magic bullet I have in my desk at work and was able to whip up something healthy to scarf down before 10am. Thinking about the workout I thought of how I did last year and where I could have possibly made up some reps and had a plan.

The plan – “Don’t go out fast as I suck at burpees and that will kill me and don’t waste time on the light weight snatches.”

It worked! I may have been the last finishing the burpees but I finished the snatches second(another member beat me by a few reps). I did the first round of snatches in set of 15, 10, and 5, then back at the burpees. By the time it was over I had completed the 20 burpees and was changing the weights to 100lb when the 17 minute cap was reached. Total score was 150 beating my last one by 11 reps.

Maybe I am finally realizing what I have to do to improve, which is mobilize, and take “REAL” active rest days that focus on skills and technique. I have had a number of setbacks in 2013, have not worked on any real aerobic type stuff and I still beat my score from last year. I have changed only 2 things, diet and mobilization, nothing else and yet I beat my score from last year. Can you tell I am ecstatic with this improvement! This bodes well for me in the future and now I have to stick to the plan. Next week will be 13.2 and that one was a triplet of shoulder to overhead, deadlifts and box jumps.

Let see how that blast from the past works out.
Now I have to figure out this weight loss part maybe the diet part will start working in a few more weeks.

Remember to stick to the plan.

Starting with a plan

Last post I said I was starting over and I really meant it. To do that I had to come up with a plan, timeline, goal chart, whatever you want to call it but there had t be some sort of regimen that I needed to follow.
First part was to change the food intake. This is going to be the hardest part of the regimen as I love to cook and I love food, not that I am a glutton or anything like that but I enjoy various types of food; French, Thai, Vietnamese, Moroccan, Burmese, Latin American, and can cook them as well.
to change this I needed to incorporate more veggies into the diet and cut down the portions of meat and fish. my solution to this was a Vitamix Blender. This thing pulverizes anything that you place in it and makes getting the veggies easy as I just have a veggie smoothie. No peeling, no seeding, just cut into chunks and feed the thing add some flavourings such as honey, ginger lemon or herbs and presto it tastes pretty damn good. I do this now for 4 breakfasts and for all my lunches then have a regular dinner add two snacks during the day of some fruit and fiber and it has made me lose a couple of pounds a week. This is a much more controlled weight loss and fits right in with the timeline I set of 3 years.
The second part of the plan is to increase the mobility and ROM. I mentioned this last time and have stayed to it. Results are starting to show as my right shoulder is not hurting as much and when I raise my arm, it is actually getting almost equal to where my ear is pain free. Knees, hip flexors, hamstrings and ankles re going to take more time as I feel like a rust bucket when I do anything involving them.
The third part is going to be the challenge as I need to find a way to get in an increase in the volume of work needed to improve my work capacity. Right now it is not a big issue as working on the first two is the priority. Then with progress in those two areas I can really start looking at how to make changes in my work and personal schedule to make that happen.

What can I say, nothing has been going well this year. Injuries, therapy, job changes, etc., I am sure that most people who exercise and have a normal 9-5 job have times when they go through a period of crap. 2013 has not been very lucky for me, except that I am still moving and have a paycheck.
Something needs to change before it gets crazy and since I like what I do at work, maybe I need to refresh my goals at the gym.
I need to get back to what I did that got me to where I am today. Much healthier, better focus mentally, stronger and generally feeling much better even if I did say I had injuries and have to go to get massages and physio.
When I started Crossfitting I could not do a proper squat or most other movements for that matter. Over time I have gotten better and even if I can do something well I try to raise the bar, no pun intended. The way I did that was going through all the fundamentals slowly and properly while taking days off to improve my Range of Motion(ROM) or find a way to mobilize long unused muscles, tendons, and ligaments.
It seems that as I progressed I forgot (or really talked myself into thinking I did not need to anymore) to continue that and lo and behold injuries starting popping up more frequently setting me back or getting me down mentally.
A couple of weeks ago I started thinking about how I got to be where I am, it was due to me not losing sight of the goal I started with, to get in shape. Being the oldest at the gym and trying to keep up with the young guns and gals and sometime doing so made me think I was better than I really was. I pushed and was not as attentive to technique as I should have been and as they say went outside my pay grade. This lead to injuries and set backs.
I have now cut back on the trying to max out what I can do and start at the beginning, lift light and work on my technique until I get it correct then add to it. I also need to make sure I take days off and work on mobility and ROM, November 18th I started the change, it has seen results as I seem to have lessened the pain in the shoulder and I now move a bit quicker.
The plan originally when I started writing this blog was to get to Masters Division of the Crossfit Games. Now I have change to a more realistic and attainable goal of being in the top 100 by the time I am 60. If all goes well who knows as more and more people sign up each year being it the top 100 will be quite a feat.
What’s next? Who knows but the diet has to change. Being 222 pounds is not good for Crossfit as bulk means slow and too light means less strength. Next steps will be to check progress on January 1.

Another year has gone by and even though the end result was the same, not going to the Crossfit Games, I improved.

While the result was not what I wanted, I need to put this in perspective. I missed 3 months due to an injury and was told I would not be able to start lifting weight by my doctor for 6 to 12 months. After coming back to the gym and basically starting at square one, I set new PR’s before the games and improved on the workout that was done last you to sort of benchmark progress from one year to the next. Take that Doc Doom, my name for my family doctor, as he always tells me I should not be doing these extreme workouts at my age. I also dropped 12 pounds from diet improvement and working out more intelligently. That is, knowing when to scale back, when to add some weights, listen to my body, and listen to my coaches when they inform me what is best for me to get where I want to.

Here are some takeaways from this year:
1) Have a plan – you will not achieve anything if there is no plan. Hoping to be better is not a plan.
2) Follow the Crossfit methodology – work on your weaknesses wishing they never come up in the Open until you are looking forward to having them appear, then work on another weakness.
3) I need to improve my mobility – my range of motion is better than last year but not where it should be to achieve good results
4) Improve my endurance – I should not be gassed after 30 wallballs, 30 burpees, 20 box jumps or lifting a weight more than 20 times – that is just not acceptable if I want to improve
5) Be serious – unless I am serious about improving don’t bother. Crossfit Workouts are great by themselves if you are doing nothing but wanting to improve your fitness level and enjoy normal living.
6) Watch more videos. Of myself and others, you never know what you are doing wrong if you cannot see it. Coaches can always tell you what you are doing wrong but if you dont see what they are talking about you will fall back on the same problem. Looking at the best, Rich Froning, Samantha Briggs, Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, Annie Thorisdottir, and others do workouts help provide a visual to what pace, techniques, form and small triggers that help them be at that level.
7) Ignore comparing yourself to others at the gym. This does not mean I will be aloof, but I am 25 or more years older than 90% of the gym, comparing their performance to mine would be constantly demoralizing.
8) Keep detailed notes of your workouts – I slacked off with this and that is unacceptable. How do I know what I did and how I felt that day. Was I stressed? Did I get a good sleep? Did I miss a meal?
9) Rest days are important. Don’t do a workout, some stretching, mobility and watching those videos and spending some face time with your coaches going over the videos for pointers would be more effective than doing WOD’s poorly.
10) Technique and form are first and foremost what should be worked on. If you lift light weights, air squat or jump poorly you will fail miserably once you add weight any of these movements.
11) Be accountable – don’t cut short your workout. If you lose track of what rep you are at starting counting from the last rep you know you did. If you don’t like doing more reps improve your mind!

Some may have thought I was dead, comatose, seriously injured or abducted by aliens as I have not written anything for a while.

Really I had not much to say and until recently was focused on a lot of other personal things that took a lot of my time.

Now… I am back.

A quick recap. I have moved into town as the one hour drive was killing the pocketbook on fuel. I have been going to physiotherapy for a while to help keep shoulder tendonitis in check and will probably do the same for my elbows. Have changed eating habits as we have started to follow a stricter Paleo Diet regiment and have entered into the fray again for the Crossfit Games, which is why I started writing this blog in the first place.

Crossfit Games WOD 13.1 is in the books and I thought last year’s first workout was crappy. This year I looked forward to it as I figured I was in better shape even though I missed 3 months from the beginning of July to the end of September due to injury. I have slowly improved and watched mostly my form/technique during workouts to avoid what happened in the summer. I then worked on some conditioning when I came back, I did 2 or 3 workouts in a week instead of 4 or 5, days I did not do a workout I did lots of sprint rowing, sprint running, burpees, situps and squats to build some endurance. These small things helped, slow return, form conscious, endurance and stretching. I may not be a mobile as some younger people but I am better than yesterday and that is a Crossfit motto.

13.1 – if that did not make people gasp when it was announced it was because they were to stunned to even take a breath. AMRAP 17 mins – 40 burpees to a 6 inch target, 30 snatches, 30 burpees, 30 snatches, 20 burpees, 30 snatches, 10 burpees, AMRAP Snatches. The snatch weights for normal mortals mens/ladies in ascending order was 75/45, 135/75, 165/100, 210/120 the mature group of mortals (+55 years) followed the weights for mortal women.
I was prepared for something like this, I figured it would have been AMRAP 10 mins of squats or something similar. I was a bit happy as 13.1 included one of my favourite movements the snatch. For some reason I like this movement and can do it fairly well with my relatively novice weightlifting skills. I went in with a plan, keep moving, as my goals were different from most of our box as I am the only Master’s group competitor at our box. I knew I could snatch up to 100 lbs and my goal was to get to that weight and see where I placed as I figured it would at least be a better start than last year.

Looking back, I did what I wanted even though I was a bit short, 11 burpees, of what I set for myself. I managed to keep moving and did not waste as much time as I did last year. That was the good part. The bad part, I did not hit the 100 pound snatch level which is not much to get upset about.

So bring on 13.2 and all the surprises that comes with it, I may not like it but I’ll be ready.

I also want to take a moment to say what fantastic performance my wife did during this workout. She managed only 18 burpees however according to doctors she should not even be doing what she does as she has had two complete hip replacements, not resurfacing but replacements, and one revision due to an infection. Falling to the ground, getting back up and jumping six inches up off the ground are not recommended movements for people who have had this surgery, yet she was determined to do so without assistance. her goal was to complete one and be on the leaderboard for the Games and she did more than that. She was so pumped up you would have thought she won the event and now cannot wait til next week.

This goes to show that Crossfit is for everyone but not everyone is for Crossfit. If you don’t believe me find a location do one or two workouts and make a decision.

November reflection

December is upon us and the Crossfit Games are 3 months away. It is time to reflect on my November and evaluate what I have done during the month.

Lets start with the pull-up rig. I have been kept off/away/discouraged/overruled/told to not do anything with the pull-up rig for at least 3-4 months since my brachial nerve went AWOL in mid-June. I would have to work my way in little steps toward earning the confidence of the coaches/trainers/doctors/spouse to allow me to even attempt anything on the pull-up rig.

After earning that trust, I was permitted to start in November to use the rig for pullups as long as I was using a resistance band to assist me because of the length of time away. I am happy to state that the return was a success and now have set a different goal for December hoping to be ready for the Crossfit Games Open in March 2013. I would like to improve and get in to the top 250 as I was 302nd in 2012. With all the new people joining CF every year my division will also see an increase in the amount of competitors in 2013. That means that 250 will be a significant improvement.

November also saw improvement in some of the benchmark workouts plus other workouts that we have done previously. The workout “Grace” which consists of 30 Clean and Jerks at 135 lbs for men or 95 lbs for women/masters men(55+) which I did previously at 75 pounds in a time of 6:13 I managed to beat using 95 lbs (R’xd at my age) with a time of 5:19. Another one that was improved was “Randy” which is 75 Power Snatches at 75 lbs with a time of 10:19 which was 1 minute longer but this time it was done prescribed (Rx’d). Double unders improved to 4 consecutive ones and beat my 500M row by one second.

My weight during this time came down 3-4 pounds this mostly due the fact that I was eating much better (I made it a larger priority at home) and the BP went down to 115/75 without pills (yippee) I am hoping to get the doctor to not prescribe anything for a period of 3 months and we will review the BP again. My heartbeat has dropped to a consistent 45-50 beats per minute and I changed to a no wheat/gluten-free diet for the month. This has helped with reducing the cravings for junk food immensely.

The verdict for November is a thumbs up and Decembers goal is to work on the unassisted pull-up and the make sure I continue to improve my pullups and core. I have started a daily routine with a small wristband i.e., Livestrong, Breast Cancer or Mental Health to help improve my grip strength so that I can reduce the strain that lifting heavy can take out of you.

December has already tested my shoulder in new ways and I don’t expect it to get any easier.

While I have not posted since the beginning of the month there should be more than what I am going to write. November was the month that I started back using the pull up rig after a 5 month avoidance due to the brachial nerve issue I had in June. With all that has happened you would have thought I would have posted the progress or what has happened since then.

Many things have taken place; some good, some bad. I always like to get the bad out of the way first and focus on the good and end on a positive note.

The bad was that my wife ended up in the hospital for a lovely five-day stay due to the infection that has constantly plagued her since the first hip operation. This time there was a plan in place set forth by the team of docs, orthopedic surgeon, pathologist, and family doctor. The only problem was the ER doc basically made a poor decision and did not follow the set, enter the dermatologist and the Head of ER and bang!! she was admitted after a 12 hour delay and everything went back to normal after a few days, but those 8 hours missed has caused some lasting grief as we do not think the infection went away like last time. Only time will tell.

The good news is that after a couple of days to recover after leaving the hospital, she was back at the gym making herself all happy with some workouts and meeting up with the gang.

My good news is that during the month I have set new PR’s on the following; 500M row, Overhead Squats, plus benchmark workouts of “Cindy”, “Helen”, and “Randy” and have started to feel better hanging from the pull up rig as we do more and more work such as toes to bar, knees to elbows and of course pullups. I am being watched carefully by the coaches to make sure that I am not doing anything to strenuous on the shoulder but I have worked that part pretty good this month and all is well.

While I said I would end on a good note, I forgot to add that the wheat free/gluten-free diet has taken a rough ride the last week to ten days. there is a bit of good news and that is that I have not drastically increased the weight, a pound or two and once back in the gym I lose it so it is not staying on but I should be more vigilant with the food as it does seem to work.

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.