“Alex”

About 6 hours sleep. 1 block breakfast. 6:00 am CFA workout.

Warm Up

Agility drills; shoulder dislocates; Sampsons; hip-mobility; calf and hamstring stretching; push-ups (15); squats (15); knees-to-elbows (15); pull-ups (medium band assisted, 15).

WOD: Alex

The CFA WOD is “Alex”, in honor of one of our members who is leaving, after today, for the Marines.

3 rounds of:
400m run for time
Max ring dips in 400m run time
Power Cleans using ring dip reps for time (M-115lbs/W-75lbs)
3 minutes rest b/w rounds
Post slowest run time, total ring dips, slowest power clean time.

I used two small rubber bands to assist on the ring dips and a 40 kg set-up on the cleans.

Results:
Round One: 1:17, 21, 4:41 finish (i.e. cleans in 2:07)
Round Two: 1:25, 16, 4:45 finish (i.e. cleans in 1:55)
Round Three: 1:28, 10, 3:30 finish (clean time unknown; the dips interval was cut short by accident)

A fun, kinda sweaty workout. My power cleans felt good. Naturally, I could have gone heavier, but I want to keep babying my back. Which is actually feeling fine today, a week later. Whew!

Two more workouts with CrossFit Asheville before we depart for the summer. I’m going to miss everybody.

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“The Flash”

Slept in a bit, cause I could… Lena didn’t wake until after 7:00. Even with her two wakings between 12 and 1 I managed to get at least 6 hours of sleep. Cleaning around the house, breakfast was lots of coffee and “1.5” block of food (but actually 1.5p/5f/1.5c). Note to self: that much extra fat wasn’t a great idea even a full hour before the am workout. Made it to the 9:00 am CFA workout.

Agility Warm Up

Then the standards (ADs, SD, SS, HM, stretching). Push-Up (15), Squats (10), Knees to Elbows (K2Es) (12), Pull-Ups, medium band (10).

Strength

Worked on 5 rep max for Shoulder Press.

Results: 10×45#, 5×75#, 5×95#, 5×105# (PR), 5×95#, 5×95#, 5×95#

WOD: The Flash

The CrossFit Asheville WOD was:
Complete max rounds in 15 minutes of the following:
100 single jump ropes or 25 double unders
100 feet suicide drill with turn points every 20 feet
5 handstand push-ups
10 heavy kettlebell swings
12 front squats holding medicine ball

Used 44 lb Kettlebell; did band-assisted HSPUs; 12 lb medicine ball.

Results: 3 rounds & 1 suicide set.

In the heat and humidity, I got a good sweat going.

Strength Gains

I have three data points on this blog for shoulder work.

  1. Today
  2. June 6th
  3. April 30th

On April 30th and June 6th I established a 1 rep max SP of 120#. I don’t have any data on a 3 rep or 5 rep max for shoulder press. So I am glad I decided to do the 5 rep max today. By the end, doing three work sets at 95 lbs, I felt strong. In fact, when these work sets of 5 reps of shoulder press are compared with the work I did on the Push Press and the Push Jerk on 6/6, I am a little embarrassed! Obviously I am even stronger than I thought. I think that these work sets and my 105# five rep PR points the way to increasing the 120# PR in the 1 rep.

Injury Check in; Yoga/Stretching

Back is feeling on the mend. I could feel the twinges during the WOD but no big deal. I noticed that on June 6th I was complaining of left shoulder pain. Nothing remains of that, which, in retrospect, seems not to have even been an injury.

I did a fair amount of Yoga stretching last night. In fact I even got my internal heat going a little bit. It felt good and I plan to do some more tonight. I am going to focus on combining about 5 cycles of a warrior and standing pose sequence with some seated and twisting poses.

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“Mini Fran.” PUC Postponed.

Lousy sleep, only from 1:00 am to 6:30 am. I went to bed before 11:00 pm, but couldn’t fall asleep. Thinking about so many things. But I felt ok in the morning and I jetted off to the 7:00 am workout at CFA. No coffee. No breakfast. Only about 8 oz. of water. So I knew I was asking for trouble. But it was alright.

When I got there I saw that the workout was “Fran.” Ouch. And bad timing for me. My first experience with “Fran” was when I was a CrossFit Newbie (see Feb. 16, 2009), and today, as luck would have it, I encountered her again when I was recovering from an acute back injury.

Never mind, I decided to do a mini-Fran, and let’s just say this: “it is what it is.”

Warm Up

Agility drills (footwork, arms, crawling, etc.), Shoulder Dislocates, Sampson, Hip Mobility, Hamstrings and Calf stretches, Squats (10), Push-Ups (15), Knees to Elbows (12), Pull-Ups (medium band assist, 10).

I was happy and surprised at how easily I knocked out the K2Es. I did 12 in a row with just a tiny little kip to get me up. Knees touched the elbows every time.

Strength and Skill

Rx’d was work on Kipping Pull-Ups or Muscle Ups. I worked a bit on the Kipping Pull Up. Nothing major. I just took it easy.

WOD: “Mini-Fran”

For me, Mini-Fran today was:
15, 12, 9 of Thrusters (65 lbs), and Pull-Ups (medium band assist)
for time.

Results: 6:54.

This felt ok. I felt a little wimpy for not going all-out, especially knowing that both Tom and Rustan had pushed themselves as hard as they could go during the 6:00 am workout, using no resistance bands, and prescribed weights.

My back is recovering and I did not aggravate it further with the thrusters or the pull-ups. That was the goal. I also got the metabolic rush which told me at least that I was not sandbagging it through my Mini-Fran, even if she was light on the weight, easy on the pull-ups, and smaller on the reps.

It’s hard to compare this case of “Fran” with the previous one in February. I did 9 fewer reps, and I did 10 fewer pounds, but I used less resistance on the pull-ups. And I personally weigh a lot less; I weighed in at 179.5 yesterday, and I weighed in at 211 on Feb 15th. But the fact is that I did this one almost 9 minutes faster than the last one. I am clearly stronger, faster, and more capable of putting out the power now. But the results are not comparable, strictly speaking.

Pull-Up Challenge Postponed

It’s my challenge, so I make the rules. I know I have been poking through the end of this first third of the challenge, having stretched one week’s worth out into about 3 weeks worth of time so far. But until I am sure that my back is going to recover without getting further tweaked, I am going to hold off on the extra pull-up training.

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Day of Fathers

Today Yael let me sleep in (I slept until almost 8:00 am!). Then she brought me coffee and the Sunday NYT in bed. According to me, this is the holy trinity.

Later, brunch at Jesse and V’s with their baby Annalise. Beautiful. We all went on a walk, and I had a good time walking around with Lena.

Then: Lena took a good nap. I talked with my dad, then managed finally to rebuild and restore my old blog, which I had crashed pretty badly two days ago. Then I took the dogs out for a good long 2 mile walk in the neighborhood. I wore my Vibram Five Fingers. It was a light rest day walkabout, really fun. I met some guy named James riding his longboard. The whole walk got me thinking about skateboarding. I haven’t gone in months.

In a few minutes: a 3 year old’s birthday party and father’s day gathering at Mike’s. Later: relaxation and some yoga stretching, getting ready for the return of the WOD tomorrow.

Happy Father’s Day everyone!

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Yoga to the Rescue. Swimming at the YMCA.

Crossfit is great. I love it, and, barring actual physical disability, at this point in my life I plan always to do it, or apply its principles to what I do.

Did you sense the “however” approaching? Yes, it’s here. “However,” I see this morning that there are times when CrossFit will not be enough. In particular, CrossFit seems ill equipped for relief and recuperation from pain associated with acute injury. For that you need something else.

Two days ago, I sprained the muscles of my lower ribs (both sides) on my back during the CrossFit Asheville WOD “In the Fight.” I regard this as my own fault. Four problems contributed to the injury. (1) rushing the movement; (2) Straining with my face and body beyond the force required to complete the motion; (3) a lapse in form caused by fatigue; (4) itself exacerbated by training on what should have been a rest day. More simply put, on Thursday am I was already stiff and sore in my lower back from the previous day’s workout, and I should have stayed home; instead I worked out and pushed myself too hard and hurt myself.

You can’t deadlift yourself out of back pain… I think. (Actually, I’ll ask Corey, Shanna, and Randy what they think about that.) But in any case, I knew yesterday morning immediately, as I cringed just getting out of bed, that a CrossFit WOD was probably not the correct prescription for my aching back. After all, the WOD was a “back squat” and then a grueling partner WOD involving two men lifting 7000 pounds from ground to overhead (in somewhere between 52-156 reps). Even if the reps are shared, I needed rest, first and foremost.

I also needed some kind of movement to get blood flowing in my back, to keep range of motion going, and to relieve acute pain. YOGA to the rescue. It’s days like yesterday, and today, where I am grateful that I have several years of Yoga practice under my belt.

Saturday AM Yoga Practice

Today, I began the day with posterior-chain focused Yoga stretching. Cat Cow, Child’s Pose, Warrior 1, forward bend, pigeon, cobbler, hurdler’s stretch, etc. Basically, trying to get full range of motion into a mid-back that feels fused and frozen.

Swimming at the Y

Yesterday, I spent some time in the pool with my family. That was fun, and in the pool all my back pains went straight away. It’s amazing what some zero-gravity play can do.

So today, I went to the YMCA during Lena’s nap. I swam maybe 10 to 12 laps, with various strokes, in the lap pool, and then did some stretching and pool calisthenics in the warmer family swim pool, using some pool noodles as flotation aids.

Then some time in the steam room.

Yoga Stretching in the Evening

I did some rolling and stretching and sitting again in the evening. It was good for me. By the end of the day it began to be clear that the pain I have been suffering is muscular rather than skeletal (thank god) and will inevitably subside if I care for it properly.

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Laying Low

Oh my back hurts. I think I will survive and recover fully. I’ve dealt with this combination of stiffness and immobility with aching pain before. It’s muscular and connective tissue related, as far as I know. It’s like I sprained the lower ribs of my back. It WILL get better.

So today I rest. Update tomorrow.

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“In the Fight.” aka Vicious. Laid low.

Substantial sleep, woke up sore and stiff in the lower obliques of my back. Got a good breakfast and coffee in, took Lena and Orion for a stroller walk round the ‘hood and to GreenLife, and had a small second breakfast. Then off to Open Gym time at CrossFit Asheville.

Warm Up

Running, martial arts punches and footwork, shoulder dislocates, sampson and hip mobility, walking lunges (10 per side), ring dips (12, small band assist), windshield wipers (12), wide grip pull ups (10, all dead hang). The windshield wipers got me thinking that maybe my back soreness was due to them. Then, to get ready for the workout, I did the Burgener warm-up, a few 35 lb dumbbell hang power cleans, a few push-presses at 75 lbs, and a few swings of the 52.9 lb kettlebell.

WOD: “In the Fight”

“In the Fight” is the CrossFit Asheville WOD This nasty and vicious workout left me a broken man.

In this workout you move from each of five stations after a minute. This is a five-minute round from which a one-minute break is allowed before repeating. Complete 3 total rounds.
1. Tire flip
2. Dumbbell Power Clean (M-35lbs, W-25lbs)
3. Burpee Box Hurdle (M-20″, W-18″)
4. Push Press (M-75lbs, W-55lbs)
5. Kettlebell swing (M-1.5 pood, W-1 pood)
The clock does not reset or stop between exercises. On call of “rotate” move to next station immediately for good score. One point is given for each rep. Post total score and loads to comments.

Results: AS Rx’d, except I rested 2 minutes between rounds 2 and three. Total reps: 129.

It was hot out and I got a sweat working. During the second round on the Dumbbell Power Cleans, on about the 5th rep, I felt a crazy popping up and down the ribs on both sides of my back. This was painful and the ache from it has persisted for several hours. Will monitor.

Stretching

As you might expect from my report of an acute “injury,” I stretched out a lot after the WOD.

Pull Up Challenge Rest Day

Normally, when I work out, I also do my Pull-Ups. And I’ve already done 10 today! But I will give my body and my back a bit of extra rest and put off day 33 until tomorrow.

Pain is weakness leaving the body.

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Nutritional Information

The fourth in a series of posts on my Weight Loss Arsenal, the tips and tricks I have used to shed fat and keep it at bay.

Before you can fine tune your eating habits, you have to know what you’re eating and how it is affecting your weight loss goals.

That’s why I have, in the previous posts in this series, recommended that you (1) use a good scale to weigh yourself regularly, (2) keep a food journal in which you record everything that you eat, and (3) practice weighing and measuring your food until (and well after) you can accurately estimate quantities.

If you do those three things, you are almost certain to increase your awareness of your eating behaviors, and their effects on your body. Hopefully, that awareness will lead to better dietary choices, and hopefully, those better dietary choices will lead to weight loss.

But really, if you want to take full advantage of this new-found dietary awareness, you’ll have to do more. What good is it if you know exactly what food you’re eating, but don’t really know much about what is in your food?

Nutritional information is important. Yes, we’re talking calories. We’re talking grams of protein, grams of fat, and grams of carbohydrate. This kind of information can help you assess whether your diet is balanced. It can help you meet specific goals related to whatever diet system you are following. It can help you figure out the real reasons that what you eat and how much you eat has the particular effects on your body that it has.

There are a million ways to get good nutritional information. There are books and encyclopedias and websites galore. I could just recommend that you get yourself a favorite one of these and stick with it. But I have something else in mind. There is one particular source of nutritional information that I think EVERYONE should know about and use. After all, if you’re a U.S. taxpayer, you’ve already paid for the creation and upkeep of this source. And, the bottom line is, it’s actually the best and most authoritative source for information, the one that is actually used by most other available sources. It not only provides information about calories and macronutrients (fat, protein, carbohydrates), but also about amino acids, vitamins and minerals, sugars and carbohydrate compositions, and many other potentially useful (or, I guess, potentially obfuscating) pieces of data.

The source in question is the:
USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, an on-line database containing information on the nutrient content of commonly eaten foods (both natural and processed, both generic and branded). It doesn’t have everything, but it comes darn close. If Americans eat it regularly, it’s in there.

Using the database is pretty simple, but, in case you’re feeling intimidated, I am going to provide this handy guide to its features.

Using the USDA Nutrient Database

First, you pull up the main screen.

USDA Nutrient Database Front Page

USDA Nutrient Database Front Page (click to enlarge)

There’s a search field on the main page that lets you enter any number of words that might be associated with the food you’re interested in. For instance, if you wanted to know about Corn Chips, you would type, “Corn Chips.” It’s that simple.

When you hit return, or the search button, the next screen gives you the search results.

USDA Nutrient Database Search Results

USDA Nutrient Database Search Results (click to enlarge)

Some things in the are more difficult to find, but once you learn about how things tend to be listed in the database, you figure out how to use it well. So, you might come to expect that most veggies are given listings in either raw or cooked form, so you could type “Broccoli, raw” or “Broccoli, cooked” and find what you’re looking for more quickly. In this example, there are seven results. I want the simple, yellow corn chips we eat at a restaurant, so I select that feature, and then hit the “submit” button.

The next screen lets you specify what quantity of the food you are dealing with. After all, the specific nutrient content of what you eat is dependent upon the total amount of food! Usually, the database provides nutrient data in a variety of formats: by weight in grams or ounces, by volume, or by units of various sizes. In this example, I am interested in the nutritional information associated with 28.35 grams, or 1 ounce, of Corn Chips.

USDA Nutrient Database Amounts Screen

USDA Nutrient Database Amounts Screen (click to enlarge)

(The example assumes that I weighed or will weigh the Corn Chips, or am estimating their quantity, perhaps based on the number of chips I ate; as it happens, most Corn Chips have about 10-12 chips per ounce). Note that you can change the values however you want. You can put in any multiple (including fractions) of the specified units, and the database will return data for that multiple of units. If I knew I ate 5 oz. of chips, I could get the data for 5 oz. of chips instead of one.

Finally, after hitting that submit button again, I get my results.

USDA Nutrient Database Results Screen

USDA Nutrient Database Results Screen (click to enlarge)

The top of the results page contains the most basic information. The information gets more complicated as you scroll down the screen.

If you’re just counting calories, the most useful information will be right near the top. Calories are known in the nutritional sciences by the term “Energy.” The standard “calorie” unit that we are all familiar with is the “kcal” or kilo-calories of energy, the second item in the table (after water… did you know that all food contains some water?). The next few lines cover the basics including: Protein, Lipid (fat), Ash (which has no nutritional value, but is present in food), and Carbohydrates (starches and sugars). (This information would be useful mainly if you’re following a diet like “the Zone,” or if you are trying, as an athlete might, to meet certain targets for different macronutrient amounts in your daily food intake). In this example, we find the shocking information that one ounce of corn chips contains a whopping 139 calories, with 2g of PRO, 6g of FAT, and 19g of CHO, give or take. The lesson here is: lay off those Corn Chips! Or only allow yourself one ounce.

If you keep scrolling down the screen, you can find out MORE really detailed, often fascinating, occasionally useful information; for instance, the database contains information about the types of amino-acids in the proteins found in meats and other protein sources, or about the types of fats found in oils, or about the types of carbohydrates found in fruits, vegetables, and grains.

The point of using this (and other sources of) information is to help you with your weight loss. It’s intended to help you get realistic about the contents of the foods you eat, so that you neither over-estimate nor under-estimate what’s actually in things.

One last thing: if you’re a bit of a compulsive food diarist, as I am, you’ll probably want to keep a list of the foods you commonly eat and would often look up in this database in your food journal. That’s just a little tip to make it a bit easier to gain a master’s level understanding of the nutrient content of your favorite food items.

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“The Good Snatch.” PUC Day 32.

I’ve been a little distracted today because I’m trying to help Randy, Shanna and Corey set up a new WordPress blog at CrossFit Asheville. It’s off to a start, so now I’ve got to refocus on my own stuff.

In other news, I’m planning to move this “Training Board” blog over to a self-hosted WordPress installation on my domain at my web hosting service. So I’m tinkering with that too.

Up early after a decent but short (5 hour?) sleep. Feeling pretty good. And off to a 6:00 am workout at CrossFit Asheville.

Warm Up

Running. Martial Arts Punching and Footwork exercises. Shoulder dislocates. Hip mobility and Sampson stretches. Pull-Ups (10 wide grip, unassisted). Windshield wipers (lying prone, 10). Walking lunges (10 each side). Ring dips (assisted w/ medium band).

Strength / Skill

Hang Power Snatches: find your 1 rep max.

Results:
10 x 45 / 7 x 65 / 5 x 65 / 3 x 75 / 3 x 85 / 2 x 95 (PR)

This was easier than I thought, and yet, the higher weights are very tough. As you can see I didn’t really look for a “1 rep”… I feel good about what I did.

WOD: Lunges, Pull-Ups, Wall-Ball Sit-Ups

For time:

100 feet walking lunge
15 pull-ups
15 wall ball sit-ups

100 feet walking lunge
12 pull-ups
12 wall ball sit-ups

100 feet walking lunge
9 pull-ups
9 wall ball sit-ups

100 feet walking lunge

Not a difficult workout, but a sweaty one. It was easier for me since I was using a resistance band (medium size) for the pull-ups. So, yeah, I am not completely done with resistance bands yet. When I can do 21, 15, 9 unassisted pull-ups, I will have arrived.

Result:
8:24

Pull-Up Challenge Day 32

As has been my custom on the past few days, I did my first 10 during the warm-up. That leaves 22 pull-ups. I intend to do sets of 3 to 6 on 4 minute intervals, for a total time of about 24 minutes.

Results:

Reps #1-10: During CFAVL Warm-Up (see above).
Reps #11-14: 2:18 pm. Front grip.
Reps #15-20: SET OF 6. 2:22 pm. Front grip.
Reps #21-23: 2:26 pm. Front grip.
Reps #24-29: 2:30 pm. Reverse grip.
Reps #30-33: 2:38 pm. Reverse grip.

Life is good.

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Rebuilding Sites (Rest Day)

I’ve been trying to listen to my body lately. And this morning, when I got out of bed, it was telling me it needed 24 more hours to recover and rebuild from yesterday’s WOD (and last week’s fullness).

I am so sore today: especially my traps and lats and other upper back muscles. I guess it was the hang power cleans (30 reps total is a lot of work) combined with the pull-ups and squats. A tiredness and soreness aggravated by the 600 pounds of concrete I emptied out of my truck on a run to the dump.

I ate a lot of food yesterday and plan to eat more today. “Not too much,” to paraphrase Michael Pollan. But enough to help rebuild all the broken down sites on my body.

I’ll be going down to CrossFit Asheville to help them with the re-installation of the blog later today. I hope that goes OK!

I guess that means my WOD is: team install a custom WP site, for time.

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“Nasty Gals.” PUC Day 31. Unassisted Pull Ups in WOD!

I tried and I tried to sleep last night, but sleep took hours coming. I went to the 6:00 am workout with only 4 hours of sleep under my belt. Inexplicably, today Lena woke up at 5:00 am, BEFORE I got out of bed. Sleep problems at home. 2 block breakfast (salmon and banana and coffee) and off to CrossFit Asheville.

Warm Up

Martial Arts Warm-Up routines (running, shadow boxing, footwork). Shoulder dislocates, sampsons, hip mobility, calf and hamstring stretching, etc. Then Windshield Wipers (8), Chest to Bar Pull Ups (10, dead hang), Walking Lunges (20, 10 for each leg), and Ring Dips (medium band assisted, 15).

Skill/Strength Work

Max Height Box Jump

Results:
39.25″ — a new PR!

WOD: “Nasty Gals”

Compare the CrossFit named workout “Nasty Girls”, which was yesterday’s Main Site WOD.

3 rounds for time of:
50 squats
7 chest-to-bar pullups
10 hang power cleans (M-115lbs, W-75lbs)

For me, a difficult workout. But it still marked some milestones. A heavy weight, and … drumroll please, unassisted pull-ups.

Total Time: 11:54.
100 lbs. on the Hang Power Cleans (first 2 reps at 110 lbs.)

MY FIRST EVER WOD WITH UNASSISTED (KIPPING) PULL-UPS!

Stretching/Skill

After the workout, I was feeling the stress in my forearms and joints. I did some mild stretching. I also worked on kicking up into a freestanding handstand. I am almost there!

Pull-Up Challenge Day 31

It’s a bit cheeky, but today I am going to call it good. I’ve done all my 31 pull ups. I did happen to do 10 dead hang pull ups during the warm-up. And then I did 21 unassisted pull-ups during the workout. Even though these weren’t all DEAD HANG pull-ups, they were full-range kipping pull ups performed at high intensity. They deserve to count and my body needs them to.

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The Reset Button

I think it’s interesting that people still use the phrase “hit the reset button” (I find around a hundred thousand hits for this phrase on google) when it has been decades since electronic devices actually included an official “reset button.”

The “reset button” is a powerful concept. One switch allows the whole program or system to reboot from scratch. Thus it removes the influence of any malicious codes or unfortunate circumstances arise in the course of use, causing the machine to falter and malfunction.

Yesterday morning, while groping through the mental and physical fog that Friday night’s indulgences had earned me, I knew I would need to “hit the reset button” on my diet and health program. In other words, I needed to take a decisive and effective action that could give me a fresh start.

On Friday I had managed to binge on more than 3400 calories, and drank too much alcohol. Even though the alcohol was all consumed in the name of having a fun and social time with friends — and it didn’t ever seem excessive at the time — the hangover it gave me was a sure sign that I was off track with my dietary program. I hadn’t felt anything like that in many months. Binge drinking and excessive eating easily go together. Alcohol contains a lot of empty calories (there are about 14 grams of alcohol per conventional “drink,” and each gram contains 7 calories), and it also blunts your judgment. So if you are a person who has ever shown tendencies towards over-eating, they are likely to emerge and take control during an alcohol binge.

For me, if I “reset” my program, the “default mode” is alcohol free. Not only does that save you calories, it safeguards your conscious control of decision making around food. So, in the end, I did decide to ‘hit the reset button.’ The result was that I forswore the juice for about ten days. I will make an exception for 2 drinks, a week from today, at a friend’s birthday party, but other than that will not drink again until Thursday the 25th of June. Naturally, I also intend to keep my calories in check during the same period.

It’s a good decision. At least, in the clear and pleasant light of this Sunday morning, my body tells me so.

Running the Numbers: The Past Week in Review

It’s been a big week in numerous ways.

Diet: According to the (estimated) totals found in my food journal, I averaged 2767 calories per day, which is about 40 calories more per day than last week.

Weight and Body-Fat: During the course of the week the lowest weight I observed was 181.6 (Tuesday morning after workout), the highest weight I observed was 186.0 (last Sunday night after dinner). The highest body fat percentage I observed was 16 (first thing Sunday and Tuesday mornings) and the lowest was 13 (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday afternoon). Today I expect to weigh in at 183 and 13% body fat, which will be my first ever weigh-in at 13%!

Workouts: During this week I did five workouts at CrossFit Asheville, jogged a leisurely 5k with Alex, and completed days 28 (Wed), 29 (Fri), and 30 (Sat) of my Pull-Up Challenge. I created a baseline time for myself on Grace (Tuesday) and a new 1 rep max PR on the Front Squat (Friday). My workouts were focused and intense and fun.

All in all a good week.

Realistically, then, why this talk, above, about “the reset button.” I am looking beyond “good” to “outstanding.” And yes, I am looking even beyond outstanding towards the unattainable ideal.

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“Partners in Crime.” PUC Day 30.

Woke up rough, after only 5 1/2 hours of sleep. No more. Goal for this upcoming week: eat right, sleep right. Still made it to the 9:00 am CrossFit Asheville class for the great skill work and Saturday partner WOD.

Warm Up

Agility Runs. Shoulder dislocates. Sampson stretches, hip openers. Push ups (15). Overhead Squats (15). Pull-Ups (10, dead hang). Side Plank Rolls (10).

Skill work:

Rope Climb intermixed with cartwheel/round-off practice for 10 minutes.

I almost got my cartwheel today! By the end of practice I was doing them in series.

I also discovered that I can kick up into a freestanding handstand, but I have trouble finding balance, and will almost every time fall all the way over onto my back. Thank goodness for the springy gymnastics floor!

I did three rope ascents, foot assisted of course. Others were practicing using only their arms, but I’m not there yet. Nevertheless, I feel like a million bucks, because only a few months ago, when confronted by the rope, I was very intimidated, and couldn’t even ascend past about 1/3 of the distance. The pull-ups must be helping. The weight loss has certainly helped. I am 40 years old and have finally conquered an exercise that was always beyond reach for me, when growing up.

WOD: “Partners in Crime”

Work as a team to complete as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
One person runs 400m while the other partner completes as many rounds as possible of the following:
7 dumbbell thrusters (M-30lbs, W-20lbs)
8 sand/heavy bag cleans
10 ball slams
Example: If partner A starts on the run partner B performs as many rounds of the 3 exercises as possible until partner A returns from the run. Immediately note rounds andtotal reps of uncompleted round of partner B before B heads out on the run and A begins the exercises. Repeat for 20 minutes. Total combined completion of rounds at the end of 20 minutes.

My partner was one of the newer members, Seth. He’s a mechanic, so I suggested we call our team “Team Machine.” I used 25 lb dumbbells (for a 50 lb total on the Thrusters) and we used the 50 lb sandbag and a 12 lb medicine ball.

Results:
Matt: 5 runs, and 5 full rounds plus extra reps equivalent to a total of 6 rounds + 11 reps.
Seth: 5 runs, and 5 full rounds plus 5 extra reps.
Giving us a total of 11 rounds and 16 reps.

A fun workout. Seth and I worked hard. The runs were outside in the sun. I was drenched in sweat at the end.

Stretching

We did the “full Randy” today. Someday I will describe this stretching routine. It’s pretty good, and I feel better for doing it.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 30

I did my first reps during the warm-up, but I forgot how many. Then I did three more reps after the workout. I know I did at least 12 reps total at the workout, so I’m going to reckon it as 12.

The rest of the reps will be much later today.

Results:
Reps #1-12: At CrossFit Asheville during the warm up and after the WOD.
Reps #13-17: Set of 5, failed on 6th rep. Front grip. 7:15 pm.
Reps #18-22: Set of 5. Wide reverse grip. 7:30 pm.
Reps #23-26: Set of 4. Wide front grip. 7:45 pm.
Reps #27-30: Set of 4. Wide reverse grip. 8:00 pm.

That’s it! Day 31 of the PUC comes on Monday.

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“The Swinger.” PUC Day 29.

My wake-up was a little hard. I went to bed at 10:30 but some itinerant folks were making loud party sounds in the creek behind my house the first part of the night, keeping Yael and I up. Not sure when I fell asleep, but not until after 11:00 pm. Also, I woke up spontaneously at 3:30 am, and didn’t fall asleep again until 4:15. Then up at 5:15 am. Which means less than 6 hours of sleep, and not continuous.

Nevertheless, yesterday’s eating was good, mostly healthy, entirely moderate, and today I felt good after a little bit of food, water, and coffee. Then off to the 6:00 am CrossFit Asheville class.

Warm Up

Agility running, shoulder dislocates, Sampson and Hip openers, other stretching, push-ups (15 strict), sit ups (10 strict), overhead squats (15), pull ups (8 dead hang, 8 band assisted).

Strength/Skill

The assignment was to find a 3 rep Front Squat Max. The last record I could find in my notebook regarding a 3 rep max attempt on the Front Squat was March 24th, 2009, were my 3 rep max was 160#. It’s hard to evaluate that number. I’ve lost about 18 pounds since then, since I weighed in at 201 lbs on 3/22/09. Anyway, I had a 5 rep max attempt on April 8th, I think, and there the five rep max was a lot less, about 130#. And at that time I weighed 10 pounds more than I do today. Hmmm.

Results:
10 x 45 #
5 x 95 #
3 x 115 #
3 x 125 #
3 x 135 #
2 x 155 #
1 x 165#;
1 x 165#, fail on 2; finished.

Technically, this was not a 3 rep PR, since the highest 3 rep set was 135#. But it was an overall PR on the Front Squat, since I am certain I have never done 165# before. So call it a 1-rep max PR of 165, and a day of stressing muscles, learning movement, and building strength.

WOD: “The Swinger”

3 rounds of:
25 consecutive Kettlebell swings immediately followed by…
Max Rep Ring Dips.
Rest as needed between rounds. Increase Kettlebell weight as capable b/w rounds. Complete 5 burpees for every KB swing short of 25 per round and be sure to get DEEP in those dips!

Results:
Round 1: 44 lb. KB, 13 dips w/ band
Round 2: 45 lb KB, 12 dips w/ band
Round 3: 52.9 lb (24 kg) KB, 13 dips w/ band

I felt good about this.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 29

Results:
Reps 1 / 2-3 / 4-6 / 7-8: during warm-up at CFA (see above).
Reps #9-14: Yes, my first set of 6! Reverse grip. At 2:47 pm.
Reps #15-19: Set of 5! Front grip. At 3:06 pm.
Reps #20-24: Set of 5. Reverse grip. At 3:27 pm.
Reps #25-29: (in three sets: 25 / 26-28 / 29). Front grip. At 3:48 pm.

I failed after the first rep on the last set only because I tried to “cinch up” (shift and correct) my grip, and this aggravated my calluses. Done for now. Day 30 tomorrow!

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Rest Active: Walk, Run and Eat

Stayed up too late and was driven to bed too early. My legs are sore today from yesterday’s sprinting and box-jumps. I would gladly have laid around all day with no activity at all. But it was not to be. My old running partner from Chicago grad school days, Alexander Mawyer, is visiting us with his family in tow, and when you have visitors, it’s always an active time.

Short Walking Tour of Asheville Downtown

And so we spent the morning, after a leisurely breakfast, doing a walking tour of downtown Asheville, about 1.6 miles up and down the hill.

Jogging the Dog Slide 5k

Then, when we got back, Alex insisted on taking me out for a “run,” so I insisted on the Dog Slide 5k Route. I felt incredibly able and light on my feet during this very slow run. To keep things interesting, I worked on my pose running techniques, and also threw in some carioca steps, some wall jumps, and some backwards jogging. Really the “run” was a “jog” because our time was about 34 minutes.

… and Eat

This was a day of moving from meal to meal. A day of treats and feasts. Between the focus on eating, and the rainy weather, it was Sunday on a Thursday. The only letdown was that Friday then becomes… a Mental Monday.

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Filed under Outdoor Recreation, Rest Day