Friday, January 22, 2016

Don't be "That Guy (or girl)" in the gym


So many things wrong with the above lift...from no collars to trying to pull this stunt off in a commercial gym, with TV's.
Recently I read the Thrillist article 21 Things No Self-Respecting Person Should Do at the Gym, don't click on the link because you will lose a solid 5 minutes of your life as you click ad after ad after ad.
Here are some highlights.
Grunting, howling, or roaring like an animal
There’s nothing wrong with emitting a few inadvertent grunts on the last couple reps of your bench press because, you know, you’re exerting yourself. But to the (mostly guys) who grunt, howl, and roar before, during, and after throwing around a few questionably heavy dumbbells: you’re making a spectacle of yourselves in all the wrong ways.
As in, “Hey girl, you really should be taking your ass to the grass on that squat. I went to CrossFit once.”
Obsessing over intra-workout protein consumption
... during a 30-minute circuit-training routine. Unless you’re engaging in extra-long, intense workouts, shaking up your protein powder after 15 minutes on the machines is completely unnecessary. When you do it loudly while looking around to see who’s paying attention to how much you know about performance nutrition, you just look ridiculous.
Being the "Ab Guy"
There was this guy back in college who always checked himself out in the gym mirrors by “wiping his sweat” with his shirt so he could lift up his tee and look at his own abs. If he thought he was being sneaky, he wasn’t.

I posted all of the above verbage so I could convey the message below..... 

Recently I've been working out at more commercial gyms, most of the time it's around 7:00 AM, but yesterday I found myself there at lunch time and that's when I met the "Gymocrat"

Full disclosure here, I'm not very political but I do have a few opinions, "Term limits" and "Reelect no one".

Now back to my "Gymocrat", we made eye contact while I was warming up on the dreadmill and he was on the leg extension machine. 5 minutes later I nodded my head as I made my way over to the free weights, he was still on the leg extension machine. After the free weights my next  stop was the purple machines and that's when the "Gymocrat" stopped me. 
"Gymocrat" - Never seen you here before
Me - ( In a prepubescent voice) I 'm usually here in the morning
"Gymocrat" - Me, I'm retired from up North, used to be fireman...blah, blah, blah.........couldn't afford insurance...blah, blah, blah.... I'm a Democrat.... blah, blah, blah
Me - 2 minutes into this and I'm zoned out.
"Gymocrat" - Hillary "She should be in jail" Clinton has no business....blah, blah, Bernie he's....
Me - Thinking to myself "I thought he said he was a Democrat. Time to do a set of shoulder presses" as I head to another purple machine.
"Gymocrat" (Between set 1 and 2 of my shoulder presses) He walks over and says, this whole Obamacare thing total BS...blah, blah, blah....
Me - Thinking to myself, again, "I thought he said he was a Democrat. I'm guessing he's not the poster child for the party, I'll do another set". 
"Gymocrat" (After set 2 now hovering) You know what else?
Me - (In my mind) No, please tell me.
"Gymocrat" - I'm ready to run the place at my part-time job. Been there a month and know the system better than my boss.
Me - (Cleaning off the equipment, fumbling for my keys) No doubt you do, as I head to the exit.
Normally at the gym, I'm "That Guy", wearing headphones with the disconnected look, apparently today, I possessed neither.

We all have opinions, but sharing them with strangers at the gym, is not cool. Be it politics, religion or social issues your thoughts are yours, please keep them that way, you're not going to change my mind. 

The one nice thing about Crossfit is that everyone is grasping to breath and can't speak.

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

What is fitness?

I have a lot of windshield time as well as airplane time, and my mind being what it is I start thinking. On last week's trip home I asked myself, what is fitness? And what defines it?
I live an interesting life, every week I meet a handful of different people in different geographical areas that work in very diverse industries. Every week I end up dining with these folks and more often than not the conversation turns to diet & fitness. After all these years I still follow the 2:1 rule, which translates to, 2 ears and 1 mouth, so I use them in that proportion. My 3rd grade teacher, Mrs. Cooley would be so proud.
Recent channel surf as I was on a hotel "Dreadmill"

It seems that between bites of their chicken fried steak and french fries that they want to talk about the latest fitness infomercial, eat this lose that, or lose that by eating this, and I listen. I listen as no one says "Hey, want to go with me to my gym this evening?" and I listen as they order desert.
Everyone has their own definition of fitness, is it how fast you can run a mile? Is it your cholesterol number? Is it maintaining your food macros? What defines fitness for you?


Not looking to insult the masses, but fitness isn't about infomercials, cd/dvd's, shakes or powders..... yes, those things might "help" but they're not the end all to be all. If those "Before & After" infomercials fuel your juices look then read this.

You have to decide that you've had enough, that you're tired of buying XXL, tired of using the extender belt when you fly or tired of the doctor entering your exam room with his head hung low.
Is it as simple as calories in vs. calories out? In a nutshell no, yes you will lose weight, but does that signify being physically fit?
I live in a house with someone who has single digit body-fat, (It's not me!) but since their diet consists of things that have never had a heartbeat does that means they're physically fit? Can they run a mile? Can they do 25 push-ups? However, if you ask them, they'd say they're healthy, and they probably are.

Check out James Carter in the video above. James is a blast to watch, he does things that makes my spine hurt, but if you saw a picture of James standing still you might not think he's the healthiest person around.
Next up, according to my wife is my Man-Crush, Rich Froning, 4 time winner of the Crossfit Games and a very fit dude. Rich nails the textbook definition fitness, seriously who wouldn't want that physique?
Finally we have Brian Shaw, 6'8" and weighing in at 415lbs, and by the way, 3 time winner of the World's Strongest Man competition. Chances are you won't see Brian on one of those early morning infomercials because "Beach Muscles" really aren't going to help you deadlift 880lbs.

 So, what exactly is fitness? I guess it's similar to beauty, it's in the eye of the beholder.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

5 Reasons You Should Be Using Fitness Apps

Face it we live in a "Connected World", gone are the days when you went home and for the most part left your job at the office, where it was there waiting to greet you the next morning. 
Between smartphones, tablets and laptops we're connected 24/7. The running joke for some is "My company lets me work half-days, I get to choose which 12 hours it is" you get the point.  

When traveling it's very easy to get off track with diet and exercise and loading a few apps just might be the ticket to keep your momentum going.

5 Reasons You Should Be Using Fitness Apps
  1. Since you're going to have your phone with you while you exercise, you know you will, you might as well use it to your advantage.
  2. It's a very easy way to track your fitness progress and many apps can send you an alert reminding you to exercise.
  3. Most apps will allow you to "feed" information into other apps. For instance the steps that your FitBit app tracks can push that information into MyFitnessPal without any intervention from you.
  4. You can have a different workout everyday.
  5. Many of the apps a free.
 Next time you have a free moment try downloading a few of these.

Lose weight with MyFitnessPal, the fastest and easiest-to-use calorie counter for iOS and Android. With the largest food database by far (over 5,000,000 foods) and amazingly fast and easy food and exercise entry, it'll help you take those extra pounds off! And it's FREE! There is no better diet app - period.

Looking for something to track running, walking or cycling? Then try Runkeeper, I've been using it for over 5 years and it gets better with each new release. (Free with an upgrade to a Premium version)

FitDeck Makes exercise simple, convenient, and fun. Choose a FitDeck that suits your specific needs, fitness level, sport and lifestyle—no equipment, with equipment or a combination. Shuffle cards to create thousands of routines with unexpected combinations, sequences, and intensity levels. ($9.99)

The Gymboss Interval Timer app is a programmable interval timer perfect for any workout where timing is needed to time work and/or rest periods. You can time a single time interval, or multiple time intervals, and repeat them as many times as you wish. Perfect for running, HIIT, tabata, crossfit, home workouts, mma, boxing, weight lifting, stretching, or any other workout that requires timing.

If you're into wearables I've used the Up Band as well as the FitBit and both do an excellent job of tracking your steps and sleep patterns. Plus it's fun to see how much you move, or don't move each day.

Sunday, January 10, 2016


Yesterday was the first day that I've trained squats in several months. Yes, we do a bunch of squatting in Crossfit but often it's body-weight or part of WOD where your quads just don't get that brutalized. Well, a very standard 5x5 squat progression yesterday left me wishing I had installed handrails in the bathroom this morning, even the dog felt my pain.

A few days into the 52 DC, and I'm already seeing some results. The scale has moved to the left a few markers. After all these years I know that my metabolism is very easy to figure out....... carbs.... if I want to lose or gain weight it's all based on carbs, and to make it even more crazy I lose/gain weight evenly across my pasty white body. I out weigh my father by a solid 50 lbs yet my pants waist size is 2' smaller than his.

Last night I finished reading Joel Osteen's book, You Can, You Will. In my humble opinion the book comes down to a couple of points; be nice and have a positive attitude. Joel digs in a bit deeper and breaks it down to these 8 qualities:

♦ Keep Your Vision in Front of You
♦ Run Your Race
♦ Expect Good Things
♦ Have a Positive Mind Set
♦ Commit to Excellence
♦ Keep Growing
♦ Serve Others
♦ Stay Passionate

I love reading non-fiction. ever since my parents gave me Norman Vincents Peale's, You Can If You Think You Can when I was a teen. I tend to gravitate towards biographies and the life improvement genre. Next up on the nightstand, Rich Froning, First: What It Takes To Win. The 4 time Crossfit Games champion will hopefully have an interesting tale to tell.

Thursday, January 7, 2016

TBT..... a fitting title for the 52DC

I'm two days in and it's like "Throw Back Thursday".

My goals for the next 52 days are below

CE - Clean eating, the 52 days are divided up into two blocks per day for a total of 104 chances to eat clean. The advantage  of two blocks per day is that if you decide on Friday night you want to eat a whole pizza and wash it down with a 12-pack you don't lose a whole day of clean eating only one block of the two for the day. "Clean eating" is defined by the participant, from Slo-Carb to Paleo you pick what works for you and then follow it. I'm looking to hit 89 CE's over the next 52 days, Funky Buddha Brewery I'll see you late February. You can't out train a bad diet!

RT - Resistance training involves working out with weights. The plan is to drop in at Crossfit Boxes or Planet Fitness locations as I travel. In the words of Henry Rollins "I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.". 15 sessions over the next 52 days.

CT - Cardio training, cardio sucks, if you see me running more than likely someone will be chasing me. Fortunately there are other ways to get your heart-rate up, jump rope, rowing and sled pulls or lift your weight faster. 15 sessions over the next 52 days.

PG1 & PG2 - Personal goals, pick a few things that you'd like to work on for yourself. Weigh less each week, no set number just less than the previous week. Then read an actual book 3 times per week, no RSS reader no toothpaste tubes but an actual book. The current selection, Joel Osteen You Can, You Will.

Goals and current progress are below.

CE: 4/2/89 (4.49%)
RT: 1/15 (6.67%)
CT: 2/15 (13.33%)
PG1 (Weigh less each week): 0/7 (0%)
PG2 (Read 3 times per week): 1/21 (4.76%)

The one thing about the 52 Challenge is that it requires you to focus, from the time you wake up till the time you go to sleep you really need to think about everything you put into your mouth and then you still need to budget your time for exercise as well as your personal goals.

One of my favorite tools for tracking goals is the "Way Of Life" app, easy to setup and even easier to track your progress.  

Saturday, January 2, 2016

Welcome 2016

It's funny how planning for the future can suddenly make you remember the past. Case and point, I recently signed up for for the "Men's Health 52 Day Challenge".
*** Sidebar*** the 52DC is a fun, hold yourself accountable health/fitness challenge that I did consistently up until 4 or 5 years ago.
 So now for the remembering the past part..... Since I sort of used this site for broadcasting my 52DC progress, I decided to log in, only to see no less than a 1/2 dozen draft posts over the last 3 years, so I'll save you some time and give you an update.
  • Survived a triathlon, barely.
  • Spent some time writing for the local paper LINK
  • I had 3 relatives/friends pass away inside of 6 months, this sucks.
  • Did CrossFit for the last 2.5 years "How do you know someone does CrossFit? They tell you.".
  • Still cancer free.
 That's it 5 bullet points, 1 bullet point per year.