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Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Preparation - Execution - Resolution

There's a pretty simple 3 step process to success in nearly every task, undertaking or physical process in life.

Accomplishing anything could probably be broken down into many steps but for the most part you can accomplish anything with the following 3 steps:
  1. Preparation - Sounds pretty simple but it goes beyond just the lining up of mind, body, spirit or in the case of a project - Manpower, Machinery and Materials.  In almost every case of preparation, there has to be some research and study on the How, What and Why of Preparation.  In the case of preparing for the next day, the next workout or for a long term healthy lifestyle, I am convinced that the best preparation starts the day before and the night before - with a great Paleo meal like this pan grilled Wild Sockeye Salmon fillet and Eggplant with a Super Salad of Basil, carrots, radishes, heirloom tomatoes, red bell and jalapeno peppers and blackberries.  Drizzled with EVOO and balsamic and dusted with Salt and Pepper and TJ's 21 Season Salute, this meal provides all the nutrition and building blocks to restore the mind, body and spirit from the rigorous day.  The 2nd part of preparation for the next day is a good solid 7 - 9 hours of sleep.  Put these 2 together and your next day will likely be a success.

2.  Execution - Once you've prepared for that next day of work or the next workout, it's time to focus and concentrate on the tasks at hand.  Break down each part of the day's challenge into bite size pieces / steps and work up a goal and strategy for each part.  For the strength section of this workout I knew I wanted to work up slowly to 135# for the 5 strict presses on my 5th set.  For the WOD itself, I knew I was strong in the shoulders, arms and chest and set a goal for myself of 8 rounds in the 12 min AMRAP.  I figured on 3 very deep controlled breaths and some stretches between each movement of each round to allow a short term relaxation and recovery.  This strategy worked perfectly as I met the 8 round goal.

3.  Resolution - This is the period for Rest, Recuperation, Reflection and Realization.  For Resolution following a strenuous workout, i.e. the post-workout period, that means getting at least 30 - 50g of lean protein with some good carbs and fat as soon as possible,  preferably within 30 minutes of the last exercise.  I accomplished this today with 6 oz of deboned roasted chicken thigh seasoned with salt, pepper, curry powder - garam masala - allspice and cumin and reheated in a hot cast iron skillet with 5 oz of wild Ahi tuna steak right next to it - 2 minutes on each side.

This will be sided with a plethora of fresh veggies.

Add some fresh mango on the top and look at this Paleo Plate of Pleasure from any angle....

And all you get is the assurance that you are doing everything you can to make your body better for the next challenge Life sends your way.

Better today than yesterday but not as good as tomorrow!

Monday, February 27, 2017

Outback Willie Afternoon Sushi!

High protein afternoon snack of a couple of ounces of raw Ahi Tuna drizzled with balsamic and soy sauce and dusted with fresh ground black pepper surrounded with chunks of heirloom tomato and hatch chili guacamole.

This kind of food does a body good.

Not bad for a dumb ole country boy from Southeast Texas!

Max out Monday and a Response to a Wannabe Shrink!

Step 1: Ride bike 5 miles in 33 degree weather to Praxis - - for CrossFit workout.

Step 2: Do Warm-up.

Step 3: 5 rounds of 3 Heavy Squats - 15 Pull-ups - 75 pull-ups total.

Step 4: Then 4 - 2 minute rounds of 200m run and max # 135# cleans with squat in the remainder of each 2 mins with a 2 min rest between rounds.

Note: I had the Highest # of men's Rx reps so far today.

Step 5: Then a ride down Cerillos to the Pantry for...

Max carne adovado!!!

Good start to the week!!!

P.S. Recently, I had a "friend" ask me why I do these kind of all out body blowing workouts.  She asked if I was planning on competing in some event and then theorized that I was substituting extreme workouts and an outward show of physical fitness for happiness and contentment.

I think this is a case of - if I have to explain it - you wouldn't get it anyway but I returned the poke in the personality with the observation that her supposition was backwards in cause and effect - that for me, making the body right makes the life right.

And I think that is a fact and lifestyle approach that so many are missing out on.

For those that can be happy and content with a mediocre body and fitness level or even being obese and in a life threatening physical state - more power to them.  Personally, I think they are competing in events I would term Mediocrity and Misery, respectively.

But I would be willing to bet good money that for every one of those, there are 10 that would benefit from an eating plan that is low in processed foods, complex carbs and sugar and high in intense exercise.

As I have often stated, the only event I am competing in is The Human Race -

And at this point, I think I'm winning!

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Swrve Pants - Polo sweater - Pancakes and Paleo

When I was on my 56 day 2350 mile Pacific Coast Bicycle Tour in Summer 2012, I laid over in San Francisco for 5 days.  During that 5 day stay, I rode all over San Francisco and across the Golden Gate Bridge 3 times, explored the Marin Headlands on my bicycle and also happened on a gem of a bicycle shop - Huckleberry Bicycles -

One purchase I made from this shop was my Swrve cycling pants - probably the most comfortable pair of active wear pants I have ever owned and certainly a pair of pants I have worn more than any other.  They have reflective belt loops, a diamond construction crotch for cycling comfort and movement and are incredibly comfortable and durable.

They are also incredibly expensive - at least in this poor boy's book - costing me $90 in 2012.  I keep an eye on the clearance sales on the swrve website to see if I can snag another pair in blue or black.

A gift from my son several years ago - this burnt orange Polo pullover sweater - is another staple of my everyday and cycling wear - plus it goes perfectly with the gray Swrves and the orange laced Pearl Izumi cycling shoes.

Just need a red one and a blue one and I'd be set!

Got up this morning with one thing on my mind - well actually 3 things - sausage, eggs and pancakes - so I headed for the closest place I knew that had these and that's The Pantry on Cerillos in Santa Fe!

Naturally, I rode my bicycle there and of course I'm listening to my Five Finger Death Punch iHeart station which just happened to be pumping out some Animal tunes at this particular moment in time.

I may not be able to escape Myself but I can damn sure be the Best Animal I can be cause nobody's gonna tame me!

Did somebody mention Sausage, Eggs and Pancakes!

The Caveman in me just exited the table!

So what did I do after this binge meal?

Well of course I jumped right back on the wagon - I mean bike - and rode to Sprouts!

Where they had a plethora of precious prices on Paleo Pleasures!!!

Oh Please!!#*@!

As I have said before - you win or lose the Battle at the Grocery Store!

Don't buy it and Don't Bring it Home unless you plant to eat it or drink it, cause once it's home, you're gonna eat it or drink it!!!

Here's a refresher on that whole concept written over 18 months ago.

Might as well work off some of those pancakes lugging this load back home.

Yep - 2 bags of groceries fit in one of my massive and expansive Ortlieb Bike Packer Plus panniers.

They call them Bike Packer Plus because there's a specially made flexible rack that converts these bike panniers into a backpack.

Here's a video I did way back in 2010 about this pannier system -

Hard to believe I used to look like that!

Back to the here and now and the groceries in the pannier....

Now you know why I call my trusty 2007 Trek 3700 the Red Mule!

And for those struggling with the sugar cravings, try keeping a bowl full of fresh fruit and nuts in plain sight.  Yes many of these are high in sugar and carbs but, for me anyway, the human body seems to process fructose different from sucrose and it will at least keep you off the Junk Food Train while you get in the habit of controlling carb intake.

And for the Paleo Protein Prep, 2 fillets of Wild Caught Ahi Tuna and 3 portions of Sockeye Salmon dusted with Salt and fresh ground mixed Peppercorns and a mix of Curry Powder, Garam Masala, Allspice and Cumin.

So there's a little Fashion, Food and Fun Facts for ya!

Have a Great Saturday and try to Have Fun at this Blessing we call Life!

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Self-Sabotage vs Self-Preservation

This is a post with a subject matter that I have been hesitant to write about because it is so deeply ingrained in my history and my psyche and has created so much psychological trauma and drama that it seems almost self-destructive to address it.

But like so many other things that I've come to grips with in my life and about myself, I guess it's time to talk about what I've learned about myself and maybe give some information about the whole act of self-sabotage that will help others.

When I look at all the major changes, crises or turning points in my life, they all came about by what may be best described as acts of self-sabotage.

I really couldn't find a good, concise definition of self-sabotage so I guess I'll just define it myself.

Self-sabotage is any act or behavior that initiates, creates or encourages negative or destructive consequences or outcomes to one's self.

Obviously, the acts or behavior can result in nearly any form of negative outcome whether it be physical, mental, emotional, vocational, relational, etc.

Self-sabotage is not a good thing - right?.... or is it?

Hang with me here a minute and let me give you a few examples that might support the hypothesis that Self-Sabotage may not be as bad as it first seems.

One of the things I am struggling with now is my consumption of alcohol.  My consumption is not excessive by any definition but I have found that any alcohol consumption above maybe a few glasses of wine a week are detrimental to my overall and long term health goals.

I have seen the cause and effect action caused by drinking too much - overall body inflammation which leads to immediate weight gain, negative effect on sleep patterns, lethargy, propensity to overeat.... all of these things are negative.

The problem statement in this particular example is that when I drink too much, I am committing an act of self-sabotage.

The revelation is that it has led me to recognize the really negative consequences of this self-destructive act.

I see, recognize and understand this act of self-sabotage and because of that can make adjustments.

Self-sabotage is a way of identifying weaknesses and defining limits.

Now let me give you several examples that lend even more and more meaningful credence to the benefits of self-sabotage.

I worked in a corporate type job as a chemical engineer in a major petrochemical complex for 18 years.  In a nutshell, I really didn't enjoy the work.  In fact, I hated it. It got to the point where I just really wanted out but I was bound financially to the job and frankly was scared about giving up the seeming security and lifestyle it afforded me.

However, in the last 2 - 3 years of that career, I began to do and say things in that job that made it clear that I did not want to work in that job or career anymore.  In looking back at that behavior, I would have to define it as self-sabotage.

But here's the kicker.  The self-sabotage was rooted in the realization that the career I was in was not good for me.  I did not want that job anymore. So in a way, the self-sabotage was a way of putting the control of getting me out of that job into the hands of the company I worked for.

I guess I didn't have the conscious realization or moral or intestinal fortitude to just make a graceful and fortuitous plan for exit and cut the ties myself so I forced somebody else to do it for me.

I could also look at the ends of both my marriages and realize there were real and evident acts of self-sabotage used to force a crisis resulting in divorce because I simply didn't want to be married to those people anymore.

More recently, I was in a relationship where at the conclusion the other party used self-sabotage as a description of my behavior that resulted in the demise of the relationship.  In reflection an examination of that relationship, I was ready to exit but just didn't know how to do it in a more mature and effective manner.

In a most recent encounter, I had a random meeting with a lady in Santa Fe that resulted in a follow-up discussion and dinner, during which the conversation covered a variety of topics and disclosures that made it clear to me real fast that this was not going to be someone I wanted to go any further with.  In the drive home, I said something that in retrospect was clearly a self-sabotaging statement. It was basically a way of saying "Nice to meet ya but you won't be hearing from me again."

Here's the takeaway from my learnings and experience with self-sabotage.

In every case I can think of, my acts of self-sabotage were a way of getting me out of a situation that had become stagnant or destructive to my health and well being.

Self-sabotage was a Subliminal Way of Saving Myself Now from Something More Destructive in the Future.

I guess for me Self-Sabotage is a form of Self-Preservation.

Bet the psychologists / counselors / self-help artists of the World would have a Field Day with that Concept.

The Art of Pain Tolerance

In follow-up and support of the previous post / video, I offer one other element of a CrossFit style workout that may be a deterrent to many but who the holders of the CrossFit torch know and understand and express through the looks on their faces and the stress on their bodies and the sweat they leave behind on the box floor and that is....

The Art of Pain Tolerance.

I find it mildly amusing and largely sad but revealing that we have become a society that tends to avoid Pain and Discomfort at all costs.

We pile on layers of clothes when we feel the twinge of cold.

We guzzle a quart of water at our first thirst.

We stop and talk or text at the first sign of exertion in any type of exercise.

If we feel pain or discomfort, we stop or better yet we medicate.

I say We, like We are the World, but for those Who separate themselves from this part of the World, the objective becomes conditioning to discomfort and embracing of the Pain of Exertion.

Any time you do 10 minutes of any sort of loaded physical exercise without stopping, you are going to tax your respiratory, skeletal and muscular system in such a way that one or all of them will be telling you to stop, especially if it's keeping 75 lbs suspended off the ground during that period of time while doing deadlifts, hang power cleans, front squats and push presses.

Your body says stop while your mind, spirit and perhaps ego is fed by the energy of the others around you who are participating in this private and public battle with you.

Some might call it communal masochism while others might call it the Sum of the Many being greater than the Sum of the Strengths of the Individuals.

Regardless, it comes down to each Person's ability to Manage and Tolerate Pain and Discomfort.

The Pain is Temporary but the Benefits are a Future of Fitness and Mental and Physical Strength that transcends a Daily WOD and transfers itself to the Challenges of Life.

And for those that focus on the aftermath of the Physical Challenge and the Recovery from it, there's no better way to address the Rebuild of the Body under Stress than to feed it a Paleo Plate like a salad of Basil, Tomato, Avocado, Strawberry, Kiwi and Mint and a nice cast iron skillet grilled fillet of Rockfish with a liquid chaser of Fruit Punch Creatine and Chocolate Protein.

The Pain and Discomfort of a CrossFit Workout are Temporary.

The Benefits of that Pain and Discomfort last a Lifetime.

Why I do CrossFit

Quite a few people have asked me and maybe even more wonder why I do CrossFit-style workouts.

For many, their exposure to CrossFit is limited to short TV documentaries that look at the extreme end of the particular curriculum - the CrossFit games - or people that are operating on the outer fringes of what CrossFit represents.

For them, it is a cult or a short-lived fad or a fanatical approach to fitness.

For them, I feel sorry.

For me, these workouts are less about working out and more about a lifestyle of balance.

For the workouts themselves are artful expressions of a balance of different movements, skills and techniques.

From Olympic lifting to Power lifting to gymnastics to calisthenics to agility to flexibility to dynamic explosive movements and controlled stress movements to running and jumping and pulling and pushing, going forward and backward and up and down.

Much of the stretching and warm-up movements are almost Pilates or yoga-like.

Then there is the Community.

As I have written about before, CrossFit people are a different slice of humanity.

Despite their backgrounds, race, political persuasion, vocations, gender or gender preference, they all have one thing in common.

They pursue physical fitness and excellence in an arena and curriculum that challenges their mind, body and spirit in a variety of ways and with an intensity that biases improvement.

In this short video, you see 8 individuals, of a wide spectrum of ages, body types and capabilities all giving it their all on a complex of 4 movements that challenges and stresses nearly every muscle in their body -

Hang Clean
Front Squat
Push Press

For 10 minutes, these 8 people join together in a Symphony of Physical, Mental and Spiritual Challenge, Pain and Discomfort that in a small way defines Who they Are and Who they Want to Be.

It is not all about a Workout, but it is much about the Expression of Self.

This is Why I do What I do.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

If it ain't Broke - Just Run it, Jump it, Lift it, Fix it and Eat it!

Warm up for the Workout!

Probably one of the more challenging CrossFit style workouts I have done -

3 - 8 min AMRAPS with 2 min rest between each.

Lots of variety - Upper and Lower body workout - some skill movements, some power movements, some bodyweight movements.....

All out All difficult - Not for the Faint of Heart or Body.

This is where you separate the Talkers from the Walkers and the Wannabe's from the Can-do-it's!

Me and the Rock Ruled this WOD!!!

Just did one of the hardest 30 min Praxis workouts I've ever done and was at the top of the list with 442 total reps.

No deuce chunking today! Just thumbs up!

Been working on paring the weight down from 184 to the now 177 while maintaining strength but gaining on cardio.

Today's workout says it's working.

How do I do that?

Lots of protein, raw and cooked veggies and not much carbs or sugar.

I think they call that Paleo!

Another Killer Praxis workout -

Another Pork Chop with grilled Baby Bella mushrooms, Super Salad with tons of mint and basil and strawberries and Fuji apple, mixed veggies and Creatine and Protein.

If it ain't broke - just keep on keepin' on!

Run it, Jump it, Lift it, Fix it and Eat it!!!

Rinse and Repeat!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

On top of Aspen Peak / Paleo / Praxis

I do 1 or 2 hikes a week with the Santa Fe Meetup Hiking Group.

Last Sunday was an off trail snowshoe hike up to Aspen Peak.

About 3-1/2 miles round trip but plenty of exercise with snowshoes on.

Decided the strength and weight gain had gone far enough so I went back to just the basics.

This was yesterday's Lunch and dinner.

Lunch protein was chicken thigh deboned and grilled in the cast iron skillet with super salad of cilantro and basil with lots of raw veggies and strawberries and grapes. Pan grilled onions, poblano and jalapeƱo peppers, yellow squash and peeled colored carrots with a bought shrimp - veggie wrap.

Dinner was a thin cut Pork chop with a rough repeat on the salad and veggies.
Really tasty and plenty of good eating and nutrition but not too many calories and very low carbs.

Eating like that cures the cravings because you get everything you need.

Another staple for my everyday diet is Basil!

I go through 2 - $2.99 boxes of this a week. I basically eat it like salad.
Drizzle with olive oil and dust with salt and pepper and TJs 21 Season Salute.

I also julienne it and use it as a garnish on meat, fresh veggies, grits, eggs - everything.

It is my new SUPER GREEN! 

I also use fresh mint on a lot of things especially fruit and nuts.

Mint and Basil. Good stuff.

Today's Praxis Workout -

An upper body blowout with 4 - 400m runs in there to keep the cardio going!

Did strict pull-ups with a 55# dumbbell for 3 reps and a 70# dumbbell for 1 rep and Rx'd the 4 rounds of 45# dumbbell renegade rows for 12 reps and 400 m run.

Same strength on the weighted pull-ups as I was 2 years ago so at least I haven't lost anything despite the challenges of a Left Knee Total Knee Replacement and being in the time of life when you should be losing Muscle Mass and Overall Strength.

This is obviously Bullshit - you can gain and maintain muscle mass, strength, agility and cardio capability at any age.

This is a great gym with really good instructors and the right mix of members for me.

It would be hard for me to find a better place than Praxis -

Followed up with a post workout Pork chop, Super Salad and Creatine / Protein mix.

So let's summarize:
  • Exercise as intensely as you can in a variety of outdoor and / or structured activities.
  • Eat as much protein, veggies, low sugar fruit and nuts and seeds as your body calls for.
  • Get proper rest and recuperation.
  • Lay off the alcohol and tobacco.
  • Control the Stress and Manage the Schedule.
There you go - there's your recipe for a Happy, Healthy Life.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Another Day Another Post TKR PR

295# for 2 reps on squats.

Not much for some but pretty good for a 1-legged old man from Texas!

Followed up by a post-workout feast of grits, eggs, pork chop and salad with fresh basil and avocado and a fruit punch Creatine - Chocolate Protein Isolate mix.

And the Beat goes on.