Category Archives: exercise

Practice

This video is one of the most amazing, creative exposes I have seen in a while. 

I like it because of the physics involved.

I like it because this dude is bold.

I like it because my brother used to put newspaper in his spokes, light it on fire, and race around the neighborhood yelling “FIRE WHEELS”.

Here’s to some serious skill!

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Lights Out

The book Lights Out – Sleep, Sugar, and Survival was recommended to everyone in the Huntsville Crossfit tribe by our trainer.  He has given us a few lectures on proper diet before, and I always just half listened.  You see, I’m one of those guys that exercise so that I can eat whatever I want, whenever I want.  It has worked out for me so far, but this book has me rethinking everything I thought I knew about eating.  It exposed my fundamental misunderstanding of how the body ingest food and converts it to energy and stored energy. 

The book, published in 2000, is co-authored by two researchers, T.S. Wiley and Bent Formby, from the Medical Research Institute in Santa Barbara, CA.  T.S. Wiley is an anthropologist and medical theorist with a background in investigative journalism, and Bent Formby holds a doctorate in biochemistry, biophysics, and molecular biology.  The background of the two authors combines for an easy to read book presenting an interesting hypothesis of how Americans are adversely affected by one of the most important technological advances in the last century and widely held pseudo-scientific claims about our diet and health.

According to the book, the electrification of the United States with the widespread use of the light bulb is having a tremendous effect on our bodies.  The extended daylight afforded by the light bulb allowed Americans to become the brightest and best as well as the sickest people in the world.  For being one of the most medically advanced countries in the world, we are by far some of the most obese people dying from diseases related to obesity such as heart disease, diabetes, and cancer.  The effect of the light bulb coupled with the ingrained belief that a healthy diet is a fat-free diet is literally destroying our bodies.

How do these two play together (in layman’s terms from my single read of the book)?  We have photo-receptors in our body that trigger certain bodily functions based on the amount of lights we receive each day.  Long before urban living, humans ate what was in season.  During the late summer months, when most of the plants were bearing fruit, we ate carb heavy diets.  Due to the length of sunlight during the day, our bodies knew that winter was coming, so we crave carbs like mad.  Carbs convert into blood sugar to provide energy to the all the cells in our bodies.  Once the cell get enough energy, their insulin receptors shut down and the liver sends the message out to store all the remaining energy in your body as fat (since winter is coming).  Now think about the light bulb.  We now have control over our night and day.  We don’t go to sleep with the setting sun, we go to sleep 5 hours later and only let our bodies get 7 hours of sleep.  Due to our light exposure, our bodies think we are living in a perpetual August! Therefore, we crave carbs like an addict craves a hit.  And this is where the fat-free lie kicks in.  Since we have been lead to believe that fat in our diets is unhealthy, we buy fat-free foods.  Fat-free foods are extremely carb heavy, and most of them are processed carbs that absorb into the blood stream fast (insulin spikes, cell are full of energy, energy dumped to fat).  Have you ever wondered why everything in your kitchen is fat-free except you?

The obesity rates in this country are rising fast.  Checkout the U.S. Obesity Trend Maps on the CDC website from 1985-2007.  This is scary.  There is something fundamentally wrong with the way we are living.  The book suggests it’s the exposure to light during the night that makes us think we are living a few months away from hibernation – craving cabs.  The majority of the stuff in the grocery store is carbs (sugar is one of the main preservatives in foods giving them a long shelf life).  Carbs are killing us!

The ideas in the books are so simple that it is almost unbelievable that the medical community as a whole hasn’t supported it.  The book starts to go a little X-files-conspiracy-theory on us suggesting that the CDC is too coupled with the government that is heavily influenced by PACS supported by the grain industry.  It also says that Doctors in this country are trained to fight illness and are not trained at all at homoestasis, health, or prevention.  I don’t know if I agree with all of that, but I do know that the health of this country is deteriorating quickly.  Eating what we were programmed to eat for millions of years makes a lot of sense to me. 

You will find me shopping on the outer perimeter of the grocery store from now on.  It’s been nice knowing you, Oreo.  I’m going to miss you (A LOT!)

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Rhabdomyolysis

What is that?  Well, I can tell you.  It is the intense muscle pain you feel in your abs two days after your workout that makes you walk around like Quasimodo all day.  Here is the workout I did on Saturday (Crossfit WOD for 1/16/2009)

For time:
10 GHD Sit-ups
10 Hip & Back Extensions
95 pound Thrusters, 30 reps
50 Pull-ups

30 GHD Sit-ups
30 Hip & Back Extensions
95 pound Thrusters, 20 reps
35 Pull-ups

50 GHD Sit-ups
50 Hip & Back Extensions
95 pound Thrusters, 10 reps
20 Pull-ups

On the surface it looked bad, but not too bad.  105 pull-ups in a workout is not too bad for me.  60 thrusters with 95# is pretty challenging but doable, and I will admit that I have not consistently done enough GHD sit ups to know that 90 is A LOT.  Add to it 90 hip and back extensions, and I had the recipe to Rhabdo (read the comments section).  

What was interesting about this circuit is that the GHDs and H&B extensions fatigue your core.  When you core is fatigued, it is difficult to kip in the pullup and the thrusters just hurt.  It took me 39:57 to finish the workout.  In the middle section I had to take a 3 minute rest before beginning the thrusters.  I just couldn’t make my body start.  I ended and lay on the floor for about 10 minutes before I was able to peel myself off and get some water. 

I should have been a little less ambitious with Saturday’s workout.  I have been traveling for the past two weeks and didn’t get as many workouts in as normal.  Also, soon after I started the workout I had really bad cotton-mouth – dehydration.  (Nota Bene: I recommend all other Huntsville Crossfitters read up on Rhadbo – just Google it to get a lot of additional info).  Now, I don’t have a severe case.  I didn’t pass out and I’m not peeing iced tea colored (sorry for the graphic detail), but my core is very sore.  It’s like the first dumbbell curl workout I did in middle school when I did way too many with way too heavy a weight and ended up with my arms locked in a 90 degree angle for the next two days (you know, when you have to squirt shampoo in your hands with your teeth and then move your head back and forth in your hands because you can’t move your arms). 

Time to put the ego in check and listen to my body.  Needless to say, I won’t be doing “Black Lung” tomorrow with the rest of the class.

Workout: “The black lung”

500m Row
25x FSPP @ 75 lbs
25x Pull-ups
25x Push-ups
25x Box Jumps
25x KTE
25x KB swing @ 53 lbs
25x Deadlift @ bodyweight
500m Row
Scoring: Subtract 30 seconds from final time for ever second under 1:40 the first 500m row is completed in. The Row must be under 1:50 or add an immediate penalty row. If the last row is faster or equal to the first, it is subtracted completely from the total time. The only substitution allowed is jumping pull-ups, each of wich is a 12 second addition to total time (if you do all 25 pull-ups as jumping, you have added 5 minutes to your time). Women’s weights are a 45 lb FSPP and a 36 lb KB swing, and penalty/rewarded row times are greater than 2:00 and faster than 1:50.

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7:15 – 1/12/2009

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I’m in Atlanta testing the GATR antenna at X-band and C-band at GTRI.  What am I doing at 7:15?  I’m exercising in the hotel stairwell.  Nothing else to do other than eat dinner and reduce data.

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7:15 – 1/8/2009

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That’s right.  I’m the guy eating dinner at the Italian restaurant by himself – reading a book.  (Some of you will get the irony of the book I am reading.)  Travel back home tomorrow morning – I’m looking forward to a weekend with the family.

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My name is Larry, and I am a Crossfit-aholic

I have been traveling a lot over the past four weeks (1 week in Galveston, 3 days in DC, 2 in ATL, 3 more in DC).  I haven’t been able to get too many Crossfit workouts at the gym.  I have been supplementing with different body weight workouts while I have been on travel (timed:  100 pushups, 100 situps, 100 air squats or timed: 100 burpess and 100 24” jumps).  Before my current trip to DC, I searched for Crossfit gyms in the DC area.  I decided to give Crossfit DC a try.  I emailed the instructor, and he seemed pumped that a guest was interested in their Crossfit program.  The instructor is an amateur rower.  This is cool because I need help with my rowing technique.  He led me through a warm-up routine on the rowing machine telling where my stroke is breaking down (I’m not driving the first part of the stroke with my legs).  The WOD was “Fight Gone Bad”.  Here is a description of the exercise:

 

3 rounds of the following:

·         1 minute of Wall ball with 20 lb medicine ball

·         1 minute of Summo deadlift high pull with 75lb barbell

·         1 minute of 24” Box Jump

·         1 minute Push press with 75lb barbell

·         1 minute Row on level 5

·         1 minute rest

 

The idea is to count all of the reps you get during all three rounds (for the row you count calories burned and just add them to the score).  I scored a 247 which is 9 better than the last time I did Fight Gone Bad.

 

We cooled down with an ab complex.  Very row-centric.

 

It was very interesting to compare this Crossfit gym with the Huntsville Crossfit gym, and even better to compare the instructors. 

 

Crossfit Huntsville has the “Little Ball of Hate” vs. “Big Ball of Encouragement” in DC

Russell doesn’t give you a Crossfit HSV shirt until you earn it (usually your second attempt at Black Lung after 6 months) vs. the three shirts that I receive for just visiting this gym.

CrossFit HSV incorporates a good bit of strength training vs. more body weight exercises and heavy use of rowers and Pilates Boards at the DC gym.

 

Overall, I enjoyed the Crossfit workout at this affiliate gym.  I didn’t feel like an outsider because I knew the lingo and had suffered through the same workouts these guys have (Fran, Fight Gone Bad, Grace, …). I guess we are a “tribe” as Seth Godin describes us in his new book “Tribes” (He actually described the Crossfit tribe at the Catalyst conference with solid pictures of people lifting heavy things and hands with ripped calluses).

 

But wait, the fun at the new gym doesn’t stop there.  After the class, the instructor and the two girls asked if I was staying around for Yoga.  I told them no.  They then proceeded to challenge my “Fabulousness” (i.e. opposite of manhood) by saying things like “what, is it not manly enough for you”, and “what else are you going to do? Go back to your hotel and sit” and “Yoga can hurt just as bad as Crossfit”.  Well, I can be as Fabulous as the next guy, so I decided to stay.  I have no idea what really went on during the next hour.  It was a bunch of funny named stretches.  Here is a sample of the thoughts going through my mind during my first Yoga class:

 

·         This guy’s voice is really strange – relaxing, monotone – like  a male version of HAL in 2001 Space Odyssey (“Good morning, Dave”).

·         I am having a difficult time breathing through my nose with this head cold.  I guess hawking a luggy wouldn’t be the right thing to do right now.

·         Man, my feet really stink. 

·         I just stuck them way out in front of me, right next to that poor lady’s head. 

·         She just moved her mat over five feet, I should really start wearing socks with my running shoes.

·         This “dog” position looks nothing like the way I have seen dogs move.  (Funny mental picture popped in my head)

·         Rabbit, Dog, Child, Mountain, Noose – which one doesn’t fit?  Who is the guy that slipped that name in there.

·         I really need to pass gas right now, don’t make me do another partial squat thingy with my hands in the prayer position.

·         My torso does not bend like th…. OH My goodness, it really won’t bend like that.

·         I feel uncomfortable resting on my shoulders with my knees beside my head.  This just isn’t right.

·         Why does the instructor keep asking me to relax my face?

·         Is this move really called a Chimichanga?  I am STARVING!

·         Where did this music come from?  Craig’s ipod?

·         I think Russell should light a candle and put it in the middle of the mat for Crossfit.

·         And now we meditate for 10 minutes to close.  The only thought going through my mind was “Deep Thoughts, by Jack Handy – If it’s true that God lives inside of everyone of us, I hope he likes burritos, because that’s what he got for dinner tonight”

·         The lady that moved her mat is now staring at me.  What, I can’t laugh at a funny joke in my head?  What are you meditating on?  (Probably my feet).

 

I will admit, I was sweating pretty hard after yoga.  I also realize that I am not as flexible as I think I am (or ever should be).  I was worn out, but had a great (Fabulous) time tonight.  I can now check Yoga off the list of things to do once before I die.

 

 

 

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Journaling

A recent Time Magazine article describes the power of journaling with weight loss.  A study in the August 2008 issue of American Journal of Preventive Medicine describes a study where participants were encouraged to use weight-loss maintenance strategies including calorie restriction, weekly group sessions, and moderately intensive exercise.  About half of the group was encouraged to keep a food diary.  The lead researcher describes the results by saying, “hands down, the most successful weight-loss method was keeping a record of what you eat.”  In a six-month study, participants who kept a food journal six or seven  days a week lost an average of 18 lb (8 kg), compared with an average of 9 lb (4 kg) lost by non-diary keepers.  The article goes on and describes the author’s personal experience with food journaling. 

 

Here is what I find interesting about the article:

1.       Writing down everything you eat will increase the results of your weight loss goals by a factor of 2 (3dB).  WOW!  I guess just writing it down makes you aware of how much junk is included in your diet.  Once you become aware of it, you will at least have to rationalize to yourself (and your diary) why you need another Coke in the afternoon or why you put chips on your kid’s dinner plates instead of fresh vegetables.

2.       Accountability will make this even more effective.  The author shared his food journal with his wife.  When another person is involved you now are not only justifying junk to yourself and your diary, you have to justify it to someone else.  This someone else can look for trends that you want to ignore.  “Wow, you are an entire carton of Oreos last week and another one this week.  Are you stressed?”

 

What’s great is the practice of journaling extends to other areas of our lives-

 

Finance: My parents both encouraged me to journal.  It all began with a Money Book.  In order to get my allowance when I was young (age 8 and up) I had to present a money book that showed all of my income and expenses for the month.  The money in my cigar box (my piggy bank) had to equal the balance of my money book for the month before I got my allowance.  This was a very good practice for college.  My parents made me, my brother and my sister sign contracts before attending college.  The terms of the contract stated:

·         Mom and dad would pay for 16 quarters of college (4 years).

·         All of the money for each quarter was paid at the beginning of each quarter.  We had to pay tuition, books, rent, food, entertainment, …  If we ran out of money for the quarter, we could not ask mom and dad for any more money – we had to get a job.

·         The amount they paid was fair.  It was enough to have some fun, but not enough to really get into too much trouble.

·         If we got a scholarship, the amount left over was ours to keep.

I still continue my financial journaling today.  It took a while for my wife to see the value in it, but we both see the monthly budget as a tool to help us reach our financial goals in life.  It also ties into food journaling in that I guarantee you will be amazed at how much you spend on fast-food when you integrate the cost over an entire month, quarter, year.  Just like your diet, your spending can get out of whack, and it takes an objective look at it in entirety to put you in a position to start prioritizing again.  This is a very healthy practice – highly recommended to start keeping a financial journal (budget).

 

Work: I keep a journal at work as well.  I jot down daily activities.  Sometimes they are detailed technical notes and sometimes they are a few words on what I accomplished for the day.  It’s also a great place to store records and notes of phone calls with customers and other contacts.  This really comes in handy when it’s time for an annual review.  Flipping through the pages written over the past year helps pull out specific actions that are worth noting on the review.

 

Personal (public): For some reason I feel the need to publish my personal thoughts in a blog.  Is it narcissistic?  Maybe, but I like to dialog with others (my sister would say argue instead of dialog, but I think I have matured a little).  Blogging is an outlet for me.  I read a lot of different things, and if I don’t try to formulate my thoughts on a particular subject, it will be lost.

 

Personal (private): I also keep a personal private journal.  I do not write in this journal too often.  I usually carry it with me when I go on a big trip or if I am working through some important private issues.  I find that it is comforting to work through the subject to the point where I can rationally put it on paper.  Once it is on paper, I can work through different scenarios that ultimately help me make a decision.

 

Prayer: I need to work on this.  Tony, the Youth Pastor, showed the youth group his prayer notebooks from college.  I thought this was really cool.  Tony said that ACTS prayers are a good way to start.  ACTS is a template to help guide you through your prayer standing for adoration, confession, thanksgiving, and supplication (or intercession).  I currently don’t keep a prayer journal, but would like to start.

 

Do you journal? 

Do you find it a nuisance or a comfort?

 

Share you journaling habits to help inspire us all to start/continue.

 

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