Archive for the ‘Crossfit’ Category


Crossfit workout today. In my Vibrams.

I completed an 800 meter run.
5 medicine ball throws.
55 squats
17 pull ups
15 burpees
800 meter run

about 27 minutes.

The gym’s been going to more of a calisthenics / high repetition phase in teams. I prefer heavy weights, myself.

Yesterday I ate a meat sauce over spaghetti squash; for dinner chicken marinated in a onion, garlic, salt and pepper, cinnamon, garam masala, and cumin blend with sauteed vegetables (squash, spinach and onions). Oh yes – and a bottle of wine. There were three of us, and we did in four bottles, actually. And I feel fine. Must be the Cuban cigar.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food, History Tags:


Over the last month I’ve kept my weight at about 171. That’s good, because I’ve not exercised much due to a sprained wrist. And my doctoral thesis. The sprained wrist might keep me out of crossfit for a while.

Aside from a few planned exceptions, including a flourless chocolate cake a couple weeks ago, I’ve been sticking to the diet. I did have a beer to celebrate sending in the thesis. Usually, I’d have 4-5. Now, its no more than two. I think I’ve made some solid changes – I rarely have chips, rice, pasta, or bread. And the few times I have, it’s been modest. I’ll have chips and salsa, but I’ll have a salad and chicken as an entree rather than rice and beans.

Not having my wrist at 100% has really made it hard for me to do some of the workouts I enjoy. And it’s not healing fast. The doctor said it seemed like a sprain – and I agree- but I’m not taking great care of it. I sprained it by trying to lift something heavy without leverage. I tried to lift about 20 lbs without using any leverage from my arms. Then I tried to do some pull-ups.

But I’ll be back to the discipline, pushing myself a bit more this month, even though I’ll have lots of socializing. Socializing usually means booze.

But I think I can lose another 15 lbs. Especially if I stop before I’m full, and not when I’m stuffed. Thats my current strategy. Strict paleo, while being mindful about how much I eat. I don’t want to have to count every calorie.


March 21, 2010 4 comments

I’ve been working hard on my doctoral thesis. I only went to crossfit once this week, but have procrastinated by reading all sorts of information on lifting and the evils of sugar.

Moving from sugar has been alright. My father wasn’t a sugar addict. My mother used sugar in traditional desserts and high quality chocolate. I didn’t consume much sugar, as High Fructose Corn Syrup became as ubiquitous as it is now. So making these changes hasn’t been psychologically challenging.

I do think we are all potentially addicts. Today I had sodabread and coffeecake offered to me for breakfast. I chose the fruit salad. And later, a neighbor said, “You’ve lost a lot of weight.”

Matt Baldwin and Mark Smith pointed me to the video by Robert Lustig:

It pointed out how fructose was responsible for numerous health problems.

I thought Maple Syrup and Honey are, actually, glucose (but apparently they also have fructose as well). Lustig points out that fruits are our way of getting fiber. Sugar kills the liver, without the buzz of alcohol.

Still, I’ve been good about staying away from most sugars, unless its giving me a lot of fiber.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet Tags: , ,

Crossfit Total

March 11, 2010 3 comments

I did my first crossfit total.

A crossfit total is a backsquat, shoulder press and a deadlift.

I broke 700.
Back squat 265
Press 130
Deadlift 315

My goal = 850.

Categories: Crossfit, History, Log Tags: , , ,

Going forward

February 26, 2010 2 comments

I completed 30 days.

I’ve discovered lots of great things:  I can replace foods that make me hungry with lots of alternatives.  I have been cooking at home.   I’m in the habit of saying “no.”

I’m sure, of course, some butter has slipped into the food that I’ve had in restaurants. Refined sugar has also probably crossed my lips as an additive and preservative. And once, I accidentally ate a mint. I did not seek to make the lives of my food handler’s crazy, but consistently made good eating decisions. I needed to practice that, and I believe I now have a discipline.

It wasn’t easy, but I had prepared with small steps over time.  Over the last 5 years I’ve given up processed sugars such as High Fructose Corn Syrup, all fast foods (with the occasional exceptions).  The bread I bought was fibrous. However, I did have some bad habits: booze, rice, waffle fries, and the occasional pizza.  And chocolate chip cookies.

What will I do now?

My diet will remain predominantly unprocessed.  It will be generally sugar free, with occasional tastes of honey, cane sugar, and maple syrup in a way I currently use salt. I intend for this to be permanent.

Now is the testing time. 

I’m giving up sugar, although I’m sure there will be exceptions.  A close friend’s birthday party may require a bite of a piece of cake.    When I go to the Fat Duck or Alinea, I will most likely try one of their desserts. But it will always be a cheat.

I think I’ll continue the way I did my first evening without the rules: I had some bread which was instead made with almond flour, rice flour, and molasses. It was still flavorful. It was fluffy and dark, between a cake and bread. And especially made for me. How could I resist?

Instead of potato chips, I’ll buy sweet potato chips and Terrachips. I’ll snack on Larabars (which I now consider delicious). Sweet Potato fries instead of fries. If I do order a dish with fries, I’ll insist that other people eat them.

After cutting out bacon in the first week of Paleo, I’ll now add it. In two weeks I’ll be getting whole raw cream and pasture butter, using it infrequently, now that Coconut oil is my mainstay. And I’m going to continue having my coffee black.

I did do one 24 hour fast, which wasn’t as hard as I thought. This will be my primary way of doing calorie restriction. Over the next month I’m going to focus a bit more on overall calorie intake.  I didn’t care about how much I ate over the last 30 days.  Sometimes I just felt like I kept eating.  But I was satiated more quickly.

I’m going to consume less salt this month and drink less coffee.

And finally, I’m going to focus on getting more sleep, which will allow me to continue my rigorous exercise regimen.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food, Uncategorized Tags:

Almost Finished

February 22, 2010 2 comments

I’m almost finished.

Last night, after salsa dancing I picked up my brother at Sala. Of course I resisted having my normal glass of Rioja. I was both glad I resisted, but looking forward to a glass this week.

Over at Mark’s Daily Apple, Mark highlights the importance of sleep. For that reason this night owl is going to be in bed before midnight during Lent. Ideally I’ll be in bed before 11.

The second goal is to celebrate my 50th Crossfit WOD by April 5th. I’m halfway there.

And last, I’m continuing the low sugar, low carb lifestyle.

A quick review over the last month:

I’ve consumed no refined sugar intentionally. No chocolate chip cookies. No juices. No ice cream. However, I do suspect it was in a couple dishes and sauces I ate.

No bread, potatoes, oats, or any other grain, although one time I had to pick several crumbs off the meat of a sub sandwich from which I removed the roll. Indian food was with cauliflower, not naan or rice.

No beans.

No milk, cream, butter, yogurt or cheese. No half and half in my coffee. However, I suspect I ate food that was cooked butter.

And no alcohol.

I discovered coconut oil, spaghetti squash, mashed cauliflower, Trader Joe herring, almond flour, applesauce and coconut cream.

I feel like I was once an addict. And now I know what it’s like to taste freedom.

It ends tomorrow at 1:00pm. I’ll write what my final observations are, and how I will add what I’ve learned from Paleo into my lifestyle.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food

The Bar

February 4, 2010 1 comment

I had promised myself I wouldn’t go back until April 8th.

But I usually have a discussion group, once a month, and the Lazy Boy.  I’d forgotten to change the venue.  The minute I walked in a few acquaintances cheered.  “Father, what’s up?”  Stanley, a chef, said, “they’ve got some amazing brews, a few wonderfully heavenly hoppy concoctions.”  He smiled and stretched back, eager to share this discovery.

“Sounds amazing.  Unfortunately, it’s seltzer and a lime for me tonight.  I won’t be tasting for a while.”  And for a long while.  Beer is off limits until the 8th of April.  “Got a meeting and I’m off the hooch for another 20 days.”

“Really?”  He was intrigued and amused.  Clearly I’ve spent way too much time here.

“Yes.  I’m undergoing a cleanse.”  That’s the only way I’ve discovered I can describe the diet without horrifying people.  “No alcohol.  No sugar.  No dairy.  No grains.  No legumes.”

“Well, that’s cool.”  This is code for, you’re crazy and I’m not sure if I want to talk to you any more.

My co-leader arrived, and I said goodbye to the barflies as we made our trip to a table.

I had expected to find it difficult.   I’m in a familiar environment, one that gives me warm feelings, one where there is society and friendliness, one that has plenty of visible pleasures (I’m thinking of the beer, not the bartenders).

I’ve got a long relationship with beer.  When I’d come back from college, my dad would fill the refrigerator with a six pack of Sam Adams as a sign of affection.  My cousins were both beer distributors for microbreweries in the late eighties, so when I was in my twenties I went to a fair number of beer festivals, and poured at a couple.   I’m an accidental connoisseur.  Paleo asks me, “is it worth it?”

There is a greater issue at stake.  I’m an admirer of civilization.  If our culture is derived from agricultural society, then there are some practices worth keeping.  For some, beer is why there is a civilization.  Someone accidentally discovered the enjoyable properties of mead and decided to cultivate the ingredients for a more consistent state of mental bliss.  After all, that is how early bureaucrats got paid.  In beer.  (I’ll let someone else to the fact checking on this).

Actually,  being there wasn’t bad – I’m habituated by this point, to say no to everything.    I’m also seeing results.  The other evening, a friend said, “your face looks thinner.”  She was the type who is fairly … obsessed with bodies and body images, so I took it seriously.    I admit, there was some mental preparation I was doing instinctively.  There was no question about what I would do.

I ordered an Angus, grass fed burger with sweet potato fries.  It was the first time I’d ever willingly substituted sweet potato fries for regular fries.  But like the other replacements I’ve been using, it has been easy to make that switch.  Sweet potato fries will never be like Belgian frites, but it will do, and it will do permanently.

I’d asked them to keep the bun, but they still served it to me, not because they wanted to sabotage my diligence, which could be the desire of some, such as grain worshiping vegans or shills for ConAgra, but because they were not in the habit.  I pushed the bun to the side.  I used to take the bun off but still eat it just because it was there.  I’m training myself otherwise.

I did write the owner the other day, “consider paleo!”  He wrote back saying he’d look into it.

I shared my experience with Crossfit with my colleague’s husband.  “Stamford?”

“Yes, it’s not easy, but it’s worth it.”  I gave the outline:  high intensity; bodyweights; pure exercises.  It’s not a gym, but more like a dojo.  It’s like a philosophy.  “It’s a cult,” I joked.

Let me be careful here.  I’m using this word in a very technical sense.  For most people “cults” are where there is a charismatic leader that leads people to kill themselves.  It’s pejorative.  But the more precise definition is, a cult is a religion that requires initiation and commitment.    Granted, there’s no worshiping, except for the ideal of a strong healthy body.  Still, in order to join, you need to be dedicated, and those who are more committed will be invited into learning more of the faith’s secrets.

It’s nothing like being an Episcopalian.  We’re like, “hey, come whenever.”  We don’t care.

Crossfit is “Look, if you really want to be strong, you have to go through the ritual.”  The ritual, in this case, is the WOD.    Crossfit asks, do you want to be like the all the lazy, unhealthy schlubs in the rest of the world who can’t save some one from a fire, pull themselves up from the edge of a cliff, or who can’t run from bears? Do you really want to be like that?  Really?    Well, that’s OK.  We’re for motivated people.

And I, padre old stone, want to be part of that.  I’m realizing it’s clearly not for everybody.

“You should join,” I said.  “It’s been great.”  He’s strong and a good athlete.

“I’ll go!  Take me.  It sounds like my kind of workout.”

“I  think you’ll need to get in touch with them yourself.”  It’s his journey.


January 25, 2010 Leave a comment

For those new to Crossfit, “W.O.D.” stands for “Workout of the Day.”

Today’s brutality was As Many Rounds as Possible (AMRAP) in 12 minutes:

5 Thrusters

10 Burpees

Thrusters are taking a bar from the squat position and pressing it up above your head.  The arms are taut, the face forward.  The butt has to hit the ball as squat.  It’s best to use the squat to propel the weight upwards.  The bar is initially held on the chest, and the elbows are forward.  With good technique, a slender person can push a fair amount of weight.

Burpees are a combination of pushups, squats and jumping jacks.  You do the following.

1) Throw yourself to the ground;

2) Push yourself back up;

3) Jump and throw your hands over your head;

4) Repeat.

By the end of a set, “throwing” is more like “falling.”  It becomes almost impossible to get back up.

I did 5.5 rounds:  six sets of thrusters at 75 lbs and 5.7 sets of burpees (a total of 57).  It was brutal, but worthwhile.

I suspect I could have done 5 sets of 95 lbs and had better form.  The weight helps push the squat down, making one more flexible.  I played it safe this time.

Categories: Crossfit Tags: , , ,

The Class

January 23, 2010 3 comments

After a night enjoying a few glasses of a California Pinot Noir and a Bordeaux, I was able to get myself to class.

On time.

It’s the first day of the challenge.

It was led by two nutritionist and fitness mavens, Melissa Urban and Dallas Hartwig.  In the seminar they apply the work of people like Gary Taubes, Robb Wolf and Loren Cordain, bringing their wisdom for those of us frustrated with our current consumption.   It’s a company that takes a wholistic view of health.

It was a seminar format.  It began with introductions:  a broad group, with a diverse age range, parents, and body types, although I suspect I have been the largest consumer of beer among the group given my generous belly.

They went through the basics:  No grains; no sugar (“we don’t need to discuss this, right?”); no dairy; no legumes.  They cheerfully swatted away claims that Chocolate or Red Wine were essential to healthy living.   They critiqued claims about yogurt and beans.   They were warm and encouraging; but also direct and clear.  The room grew quiet when Dallas affirmed “alcohol is always bad.”  He chuckled. “It’s a Neurotoxin, after all.”

Yes. It. Is. A highly enjoyable one.

One woman asked about steering kids away from sugars. “My daughter loves Fruit Loops.”  I understand her issue:  nobody wants their kids going through years of therapy for having  being driven in their twenties to consume all the white food denied them growing up in a counter-cultural, good eating family.

The core argument goes something like this:  avoid foods that spike insulin; damage the walls of the digestive tract; and cause inflammation.  Eliminating these foods helps the body heal itself.

Melissa reaffirmed what’s good:


Instead of orienting my meals around a grain, I’ll choose a vegetable.  I’ll sautee it in coconut milk; or a l’anglaise (yet, without butter).   I might just bake it in the oven with a few garlic cloves and extra virgin olive oil.   She encouraged vegetables as snacks.

Meat, including fish.

Especially lean meat treated kindly, fed what it’s supposed to eat: grass, not grains.  It’s a bit more expensive, but I’m saving a lot of money by not buying wine.   Best to stay away from industrial stuff.   I often use high quality meat broth to cook vegetables, to make a sauce, or a soup.


In moderation.  I might make some applesauce.  Dried fruit occasionally.

A few interesting selections from the workshop.

First, they convinced me that cream and butter from healthy milk is better than whole milk, because carbs are worse than fats.  Still, I’m off dairy.

Goat cheese, being cheese, is still off limits.

So is Honey and Agave nectar.

Yams and Sweet Potatoes are good, especially after a workout.  I’ll probably cook them in coconut milk.

But most importantly, “this will change your life.  If you want to know what you can handle, start this, with no slipping, no cheating.  It’s only thirty days.  And then you will have the rest of your life.”   Melissa remarked, “it’s not meant to be a white-knuckle time, where you’re waiting until you can have a pizza on the 31st day.”  It’s about feeling better, healthier.

I left the seminar with less dread, armed with a more information, with the confidence that it was possible.  And that’s all I need for now.

I went straight to Whole Foods to stock up.

I left the shopping list at the gym.

And that’s tomorrow’s episode.

Categories: Crossfit, Diet, Food, Uncategorized