Sitting at the Big Kids Table

Last Friday marked my last day of CrossFit Bootcamp (Monday marked the start of the Regular CrossFit class) … which means 12 weeks of 5-day-a-week BootCamp workouts is done. For clarity, I repeated the BootCamp three times (each is 4 weeks long).  A lot of people do the 4-week BootCamp once then move to the Regular CrossFit class, a few people do the Bootcamp twice, fewer still do it three times. I went three times because I know I needed to form a habit. After 3 months of getting up early every weekday, I’ve managed to establish something of a routine… I think it’ll be a routine that’s hard to break. I also felt I needed some time to try and get in better shape and keep up with the CrossFit regulars. The added benefit is that over the last 3 months, I’ve gotten to know 3 classes worth of people and a handful of them now are regulars and show up at the same 6am class I go to. The CrossFit BootCamp introduces you to a lot of the CrossFit terminology and a lot of the main non-weightlifting-type of workouts. We do a ton of lunges, GHD work, Kettle-bells, box jumps, running, pull-ups, sit-ups… you get the picture…makes it easy to hit the ground running with doing the Regular class.

Last Friday also marked my last BootCamp Fit Test. So what were the results? My time was 11 minutes and 55 seconds… down 55 seconds from 4 weeks prior.  Oddly enough only two of us were there that day. Kind of odd since it was like only two people showing up to graduate.

Now that I’m doing the regular CrossFit workouts (sticking with 5 days a week), what’s the difference you ask?  The focus on As Many Reps/Rounds as Possible (AMRAP) during a fixed time or a fixed number of rounds/reps in as short amount of time as possible is common across both. The warm up (around 15 minutes) is different and incorporates burpees, ring dips, pull-ups along with stretching. After that there is always a weightlifting component where we do 2-3 focused lifting routines. Lastly we have the option of Strength and Conditioning Stream or a more focused Weightlifting Stream… I tend to always go for the Strength and Conditioning Stream because there is a good mix of stuff. I’m guessing people get to choose because they might want to focus on different aspects of their fitness or maybe they are prepping for a competition.

Today’s WOD (Workout of the Day) had us doing the following (can also see it here:

High hang clean 3×3 @ 50%-65% 1RM
Bench press 3×5 reps @ 73% 1RM

Rest 5 minutes

Complete the following for time:

  • Run 800m
  • 40 Push-ups
  • 20 Box jumps
  • Run 100m
  • Rest 1 minute
  • Run 100m
  • 20 Burpees
  • 40 Pull-ups
  • Run 800m

I tend to have the most problems with the weightlifting. Not due to the weight. Weight can always be scaled or adjusted… but more around the terminology and the coordination of the lift. Bench press is easy… pretty straight forward. The High Hang Clean is a different story and requires a little hop, deep squat, elbows out, loosen hand grip and then driving upwards to a standing position. It sounds easy but it’s not yet second nature… but it’ll come with time. Thinking of getting one of those narrow PVC pipes and practicing. It’s like trying to do Double-Unders… at some point it’s just gotta click (hope its soon!).

Glad it’s the weekend! Tomorrow I might be hitting the yoga session at CrossFit but not before I go to the market with one or both of my sons. One is an early bird and one isn’t. They both love the Peameal Bacon Sandwich they have there. See below… that’s the spot… Carousel Bakery. I also need to load up on some veggies and fruit and maybe something to grill!

$5.25 buys you a piece of deliciousness.


10lbs and 10 Things I Think I Know

So a week ago I had hit a milestone of 195 lbs. It’s great and I’ve been hanging around 194-195 for a solid week or so. I’ve managed to keep my calories and the type of calories in check. Even in the face of a few dinners out.

I managed to get out running twice last week. I needed new runners and picked up a pair of Nike Zoom Structure Triax+ Running Shoes. Since I’m a sucker for stats, I also picked up the Nike+ SportWatch GPS. A splurge but it does some pretty cool stuff. The band has a built-in USB connection that allows you to upload the run data into the Nike+ website, where you can track your runs, pace, goals, etc. I used to use the Nike+ attachment for the iPod but you need to calibrate the sensor with a set distance while walking and running, which is a pain. The watch has built-in GPS that does that for you and it also displays the route you took on a map along with pace at any point in the run and distance. Pretty slick!

So my wife went to a nutrition session this weekend that her Boot Camp puts on. And she (along with 14 others) have signed on for a 30-day challenge that revolves around eating the right stuff (as defined by one of the trainers). I’m going to do it with her. For a few reasons; one, I want to be supportive and it’s easier when someone else is doing it with you and; two, I want see what it can do in 30 days to help me lose those last 10 pounds. Will it reinforce what I’m currently doing? Will it focus more on fat percentage? We’ll see… I plan on charting it somehow. I think I need to lose 23 lbs of fat (and gain 11 lbs of muscle) to stay at 185 with an 18% fat percentage.

Now on to 10 Things I Think I Know… which pays homage to Peter King, renowned NFL writer who writes for Sports Illustrated.

  1. Bar Vespa is just an overall great place for Italian that the family can enjoy. We went there with the kids on Saturday and thoroughly enjoyed dinner. The waitress was great! Food was delicious. I’ll be back!
  2. SportChek needs to do a much better job at staffing their sneaker section, especially the kid’s sneakers. We went to 2 stores on Saturday and same story at both… lots of parents with kids, no sales folks anywhere to be seen (likely avoiding that part of the store) and lots of frustration. I won’t look for kid’s shoes there anymore. I won’t be back.
  3. Making the right choices seems easy… it isn’t. I cannot state how important it is to know your goal, see it written or pictured every day to reinforce what you want to get to. Motivation is EVERYTHING. The mind is a powerful thing. It can help you push through that last set, last mile or last meal… it can also be the thing that tells you to give up or sacrifice. Motivation seems to snap it back into shape.
  4. I like Yoga. More than I thought I would. I also found out that my location is closing in September. I bought 20 more classes to use up (can buy some more later). I am looking for a place to go beyond September and there are some options near home. My wife also planted the idea of trying/joining a Cross Fit class in September. By then I expect my back to be 100%, my cardio to be closer to 5K than Couch and I expect to be at 185lbs or so and maybe 20% body fat. There is a Boot Camp as prep for Cross Fit that starts in May… maybe that should be my goal.
  5. Rick Astley will never do any of the following:
    1. Give you up
    2. Let you down
    3. Run Around
    4. Desert you
    5. Make you cry
    6. Say Goodbye
    7. Tell a lie
    8. Hurt you
  6. The Cincinnati Bengals had a great draft this year. I watched the first 5 picks over 3 days. Glad things worked out with Sanu. Seems fated and I don’t doubt they’ll bring up his Draft Day ordeal in the regular season after his first pro catch. I’ve been a fan since 1984 and it’s been a very, very, very frustrating relationship. I’m psyched about this upcoming season. I think the issues of the past are fading away quickly, that they have a great core of talent. Team focus. Who Dey! I will see them in a Superbowl again (just hoping it’s never against the 49ers).
  7. Things that grow are probably good for you. Things that come in a box probably aren’t as good for you. I should really keep eating more of things that grow and less of things that come in a box. Even though things in a box are really tasty.
  8. I love my job. It’s hard. A lot is expected. I work with great people who work hard. I cannot imagine working at a place that only expects you to bring your “B” game and thinking that’s good enough. Zero chance to suffer mental atrophy. That said…
  9. I need to book more time off. The last 4 trips to somewhere outside North America have been through work, with work people. Need to get somewhere nice with my wife, unplug and enjoy not having a schedule and seeing things I’ve always admired in books or movies.
  10. You need goals. Work goals, life goals, fitness goals and they need to be audacious. At the end (whenever that is), I want to see accomplishments and not dwell on regrets.

Current Stats:

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 194lbs (distance to target is 9 lbs)

BMI: 27.1

Fat %: 24.2 (Target is 18%)

Mid Term Report Card

— Start Scene—

My Wife: Alex, I’ll take When Hell Freezes Over for $1000

Alex Trebek: What is “I’m going upstairs to do 45 minutes of Yoga”

My Wife: Alex I’ll go with “Things I never thought I’d hear my husband say”

Alex Trebek: Correct! Pick again!

— End Scene—

Went to the usual Sunday Yoga class… was a tough one. I’m sure people think its all easy poses and stretching… they tend to forget the repetitive plank position and stuff that makes your thighs feel like their engulfed by some invisible fire. Yet somehow, I enjoy it and it gets better each time I go. Maybe it’s like a challenge or the need to move from Prep to Level 1.

Yeah I did some at home yesterday… around 40 minutes or so. Helps with the flexibility and I feel like I’m making deposits into the bank of health… which is a good thing since I’m also charging a lot to the “poor –posture-and-I-sit-too-much” credit line.

My youngest is learning Yoga at Kindergarten… man that kid is flexible. I think he likes showing up daddy… but that’s fine… we’ll reverse that soon (and by soon I mean 36-48 months or so… it’s a marathon not a sprint).

The eating well thing is going fine. What sucked is that my wife and I went to a restaurant on Saturday (impromptu date night). Looked it up and it got great reviews from some well-known publications like Toronto Life. The actual location/room was stunning… but the food was ho-hum… and for the price I expected more. With this whole caloric deficit thing going on, I feel like someone with allowance at the end of the week I can spend and I hate using it up on something less than awesome. Should have gone somewhere for half the cost and twice the flavor… like a great Indian place (Indian Rice Factory) or BBQ (like Barque).

Smart food choices are making an impact.

Current Stats:

Height: 5’11” (yay! I’m not getting shorter)

Weight: 196lbs (broke through the 200lbs barrier a few weeks ago…195 is next major milestone)

BMI: 27.3 (target continues to be around 26)

Fat %: 25.4 (I have a scale that measures it… interesting stat… wish I took the stat when I started this)

Based on the charts I’ve seen, I’m just barely outside the Average Range… and need to get down to 14-17%… If adjusted for age (tsk tsk) then it’s should be around 16-21 for ideal. Lean would be between 7% and 14%. I’m shooting for 18%… seems like a reasonable compromise.

Back Issue Reboot

So on March 14 (like a jinx) I messed up my back again. My son (5 years old) had a nightmare and my wife brought him into our room so he’d get to sleep. My wife took up 50% of the bed, my  year old starfishes and took up 45% of the bed and I managed to hang on to the edge… I held some really bad posture for hours and wrecked my back… missed work the next day and symptoms showed like either sciatica or piriformis syndrome… not sure which it is but leaning towards piriformis. Been doing the stretches for it daily, walking a lot to loosen it up and trying not to sit much as that causes pain over time.Good news is that its taken about 2 weeks to get to normal, last time it took a month, covered here.

This also means I’ve been away from the treadmill and yoga studio since the last post. But I go back tomorrow for the usual Tuesday Night Prep Yoga session… small class and lots of focus… looking forward to it.

In the meantime, the weight has been coming off nicely. Been eating responsibly… not feeling hungry… snacking on the right stuff throughout the day.

So current stats:

Height: 5’11″

Weight: 200lbs (down 5 from 2 weeks ago, target is 185 for now)

BMI: 27.9 (target is 25.8)

Yoga again tonight… looking forward to it

Not sure if I mentioned where I go in my last post.The place is called Downward Dog Yoga and they have 2 locations in Toronto. Naturally, I go to the one in The Beaches since its a 5 minute drive home. The link to it can be found here.

Taking this stuff somewhat seriously as I purchased a new yoga mat. I’ve added one lunch time run into my week… Wednesday’s I hit the workplace gym and I just started a Couch to 5K program… needless to say I’m way more couch than 5K… but you gotta start somewhere.

Groceries have been pretty healthy lately. But cripes it takes a long time to make good stuff from scratch. Pasta or Kraft Dinner takes 11-15 minutes tops… once the water is boiling. I made a Greek Salad with chicken last night and after all the cutting, washing, dicing and mixing… it took way longer. Least I had left overs I could roll into lunch for today. Just finished it a short spell ago and I’m not feeling the least bit sleepy or sluggish. Big surprise! Duh!

So current stats:

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 206lbs (down 1 from last week, target is 185 for now)

BMI: 28.7 (target is 25.8)

My back is… well back!

So been away from the blog for a while. Not much to tell…work, life, rinse, repeat, until… we were driving into work (like we usually do) and Jo mentioned that the husband of one of her work friends took up yoga and it completely fixed his back issues… and he managed to get in shape at the same time… so figured what the heck.

Jan 7th, I took my first class as part of a 4 week Yoga Basics class… meant to introduce newbies to Yoga.

I really enjoyed it. It was surprisingly hard and some people likely felt the same as the class dwindled in numbers over the next 4 weeks. I liked it so much that I now go 2x per week (Tuesdays and Sundays). Trying to fit in another session between Tuesday and Sunday. Scheduling is a challenge but more advanced classes are available… not yet brave enough to take on anything higher than Prep (the noob level).

Oddly enough, no back issues since I took up yoga. Guessing the 75 minute focus on core and flexibility makes a difference and since its low/no impact, no real risk of re-injury.

Next session is tomorrow. Looking forward to it. It’ll be my 14th class and I think I got a long way to go to get close to the flexibility that the instructors are showing. They’ve mentioned that its something that takes a long time to develop. Stretching, nose-breathing, planks… also love the peacefulness… its one heck of a get-a-away twice a week and really helps lower the stress level… until I crack open the emails (gotta stop that).

So current stats:

Height: 5’11”

Weight: 207lbs

BMI: 28.9 (overweight)

Caloric requirement to sustain current weight: 2100… daily goal 1600

I’ll let you know how it goes.