Tag Archive: Health


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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What’s next?

I often ask myself this question, usually when I make a stupid move. I recently did that when I signed up for a 5 Mile run and then decided to go all out and enter a Tough Mudder event. I got one answer just today when I completed the 5 Miler at the Marathon by the Sea, I will be doing it again and I will have a better time than today.

Yes, my time was not that great or anything but I did it and felt pretty good doing it. I also know that if I spent some time practicing before the event I would be much better. As it was, the only training I did were the usual workouts at our Box. The longest run was 800 Meters however we usually did 3 rounds of that mixed in with other movements, like olympics lifts or box jumps or burpees or something else that makes the running of that 800 Meters not very nice.

So what’s next I ask? The Tough Mudder will probably be the last event of the year and then what? I found that I like these weekend events of obstacle course racing and running and have decided to enter a few next year. I am looking at something once a month for next year from June to September, these could be expanded if the weather is not so bad.

Looks like I am getting the competition bug again and this time I am only competing against the clock and not eveyone else.

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.

Even though it has been around a week since the last post it certainly feels a lot longer. This week has brought a myriad of, for no other word, stuff. Saturday I made a new soup, a coconut based soup with shrimp and noodles, that my wife loved so much she told me to make this one all the time, plus a shrimp cooked in coconut milk dish that works very well with rice. After that was done it was time to get ready for the Halloween party at the gym. I decided to go as a person of darkness and looked closer to The Joker portrayed by the late Heath Ledger, even my cat backed away from me when I walked anywhere near her so it must have looked good. I did get some strange stares when I went in to a couple of stores before getting to the gym.

The beginning of the week was interesting as Hurricane Sandy started to get more attention as it’s direction had where we were in its crosshairs, luckily for us it changed direction just a bit and by Tuesday and Wednesday brought us gusty winds, warm air, and not as much rain as predicted. If you lived 8 hours or more south of me you got blasted pretty good and I hope that most people only had minor problems.

Tuesday brought my next challenge a couple of days earlier than planned but that’s okay. Doing pullups for the first time since the shoulder issue. It would be close to 5 months since the last time I was allowed to even touch the pull-up rig as the coaches and trainers made sure I stayed clear until they felt it would be good to “test” the shoulder. It felt damn good to actually do a pull-up even though I used a band for assistance and then managed to complete the workout with no pain or soreness. The slow measured steps leading up to this point had paid off and we will see how we progress. Next step will be when I have to hang from the pull-up bar to do knees to elbows or toes to bar.

The week also brought out some nasty little bodyweight workouts that, while they do not necessarily use weights, my body at 210 lbs, can do enough damage when I use it against myself. Squats, push ups, pullups, wall balls, running, situps all take their toll when you are a heavy as me, thus the need to lose 20 more pounds. My knees need to find some WD-40 soon, today they have a sound that should only be heard when your crush a paper bag. Yes, they are that bad! A bad transmission probably sounds better, which is why I need to have someone find a way to make WD-40 usable for humans in their joints, even duralube would be good. I had trouble going downstairs these last three days, luckily I was at home, and must find a way to alleviate that grinding as one day the knees will lock up and I will need assistance just to stand.

This week is not over and while I have some minor problems, it has been a great week. I almost forgot that Friday my wife and I will doing the usual volunteering for the Poppy Drive for the Legion at the Regional Hospital. This worth while cause is for remembering all the military people who have lost their lives and to raise money for the local chapter in each city culminating on November 11th, Armistice/Remembrance Day at 11am with ceremonies all over the country. While I may complain and wonder about my aches and pains, on this day in particular my pain is minor when compared to these fine people.

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.

 

Why so serious??

Last post I mentioned that it is getting closer to the serious season and I did not clarify what I meant. So here goes my take on what I mean by serious season.

The fall is when you should start taking a good look at your diet and nutrition. The seasons are changing and so will your diet if you are not careful. With the cold you may have more urges to eat more starchy carbohydrate loaded meals to keep warm. Avoiding the pitfalls of eating more will be difficult as end of year and religious celebrations have very tempting and delicious foods that can cause sluggishness. Packing on the 5-10 lbs in the winter just negated all the hard work you did in the summer to reduce it to a normal level.

Second, you will start to spend more time indoors as the weather, at least in the north, starts to drop as outdoor activity is limited. Workouts will not incorporate as much running or anything else that can be completed outside as temps drop below freezing in the coming months. Does that mean we don’t go outside? Hell no, I have done wall balls with ice on the ground and done WODS that had 5 rounds with 400M runs on a nice day(-5C/25F).

The third part of the serious season is that the training on your poor skills, mine are skipping and pullups, has to increase to improve. Along with that you have to pick up the speed on your workouts while working on your form. Just because you can lift 150 lbs does not mean you should be using the Rx’d weight of 135 lbs all the time, dropping the weight and improving your time while lifting the weight correctly will do more for you than completing the workout poorly. I found this out on our last workout that included thrusters. I dropped the weight to 60 lbs and almost did the entire 21 of a 21-15-9 workout in the first minute, could I have gone heavier, yes, but then I would have been slow and struggling with the weight at the end and having poor form. For the record it was the fastest I have ever done Thrusters and I completed the WOD in just over 18 minutes and usually that type of WOD would take me closer to 25-30 minutes. This could lead to an injury and where would that leave you if you have to stop training for while, that’s right further behind. So lose the ego and get it done correctly, you will be better off for it.

Fourth, is that strength training needs to increase so that workouts with big weights do not seem as bad (they are but sometimes you have to do a few that way). I have just started to get the weights back up almost to pre injury numbers and need to get them up at least 25% more what I have done in the past. I have started to get more comfortable with Overhead Squats plus I just got back on the pull-up bar after 4 months of not even touching it at the gym. The strength training will help with getting these to at least acceptable levels.

Fifth and last (at least for me), have a plan. You have to know what you need to work on and do your best to stick to it. Don’t get sucked in to doing a workout if you planned a skill workout day, you must have had a reason to plan it, so stick to it. The plan may include rest days, skills, strength, metcons, even research on training.

Good luck and have fun this season.