Setting yourself up for success

Over the course of the last year I have had many opportunities to learn lessons both the easy and hard way about planning out my meals. To not prepare is to set yourself up for failure and I have seen this happen all too easily many times. With that in mind this blog is about passing along a few lessons that I have learned in order to hopefully help you avoid some of these mistakes. First is to find a few recipes you love and put them into a rotation. Following that is to try new things, and lastly to enjoy yourself in the kitchen, and play a bit.

Find recipes you love, this is a simple yet very effective way to stay on track. I have a few go to recipes and I usually eat them at least once a week. When I was starting to change the way I ate the first meal that I found that I really enjoyed was a steak with peppers and onions. I found that a simple helping of Montreal Steak seasoning, a pan were all I needed for a great meal. Keeping some meat defrosted along with the veggies that I needed it made for a quick meal that I could put on the stove and eat in just a few minutes. Today this meal comes up about once every two weeks, but I have found a mix of seasonings for a Paleo friendly taco meat and I will make that most weeks to take to work for a couple days. Another great meal that I love is to make fish and Broccoli, so simple yet so delicious. Take some wild caught fish, add some broccoli a few seasonings, and put in the toaster oven on broil. A great post WOD meal because you can put it in, hop in the shower, and when you get out dinner is ready to be served. By using a little planning and some meals that you don’t get tired of you can always have something around to eat.

Secondly try new things. Starting Paleo there are countless foods that I would have never imagined that I would eat, much less enjoy and love a year later. Challenging myself kept things fresh and while there are still foods that I just can’t get behind I do try to experiment. Foods that I eat constantly like Broccoli when I started I absolutely could not stand. In the months since beginning to eat Broccoli I first learned to tolerate it, then I began to like it and now I eat at least a pound of it a week. New things are exciting, and mixing it up makes for some great meals.

Lastly enjoy yourself, play around, find recipes and make them your own. One of these is a shredded coconut griddle cake that I have been playing around with for months. I have changed it up many times, and seeing how it tastes different with different ingredients and preparations have been a great way for me to make breakfast a little different. Playing around and seeing what works for you will help you to stay on track easily. If it’s not fun, why would you do it right?

These ideas I hope are helpful for your, they have been helpful for me as I have tried to keep it interesting, and easy to stay on track. When you forget about some of these tools it’s easy to find yourself looking around and finding ways to stray from your plan. Keeping myself on track is always a concern but with just a few meals to look forward to it’s not difficult to pick a meal you love that’s paleo, over a meal that is just there.

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New Clothes – Image vs Reality as your shrink

As you could imagine in the last year I’ve spent a good amount of time in clothing stores for one reason or another.  There is not a single item of clothing that I wore last year that I can still wear normally with the exception of socks.  So as I have gotten smaller I have had to make various trips to the store for items, some needed some desired to make sure that I don’t look weird when I’m out in public.  This has been a challenge and a point of pride at various moments, it has also like many things come with a few lessons.

            The first couple months were easy, clothes that had been tight began to loosen, and then were actually lose.   Belts got brought in a couple notches, and then when there were no more holes new ones were put into the belts.   I just wore my favorite shirts even though it was beginning to show that they really were too big for me.  As the second month was ending it was very apparent, I needed to buy a few things that would fit me better.  The first clothing items that I would buy to replace my now way too big items was some blue jeans, and cargo pants.  Heading into the store I had no idea where I was size wise so I walked around a big and noticed an odd thing as I went over to the dressing rooms.  All the clothes that I had picked up were in my old sizes.  Over the years I had gotten so used to finding clothes in the larger size that even though I knew that I was no longer that big I had picked up my old sizes.  A trip back out to the rack and I had picked up a few sizes that I thought might fit me.  Back in I went and everything was still way too big.  Back out and repeat process.  It took me three more attempts to find jeans that fit.  When I did I had purchased two pair that were eight inches smaller than the pair I walked in wearing. 

            The process described above is one that would repeat itself over the coming months again and again, although generally with less of a difference between sizes.  I purchased a new set of clothes in early September which I just described the beginnings of above.  I would be able to wear those clothes for two months before they began to show that they were really way too big, by that time I needed to go down to an XL shirt, and another size down in the waist to a 36.  Taking advantage of the Black Friday Sales with mom I was able to get a lot of good stuff on the cheap and had a solid wardrobe to finish up Student Teaching in.  By the time that I was getting ready to have another birthday I was down another shirt size and about another size in pants.   From February on I purchased what I currently do, Larges for shirts because my shoulders are so broad, and 34s in pants. 

            It took me until round 3 of replacing my wardrobe to actually go to a rack and pick up the right size.  Even in November I was picking up shirts that were 2 and 3 XL because that’s what I had done for so long, and I had to remind myself that I’m not that big anymore.   It is one thing to change your life to lose the weight it is another to make sure you know that you aren’t that size anymore and begin to act like it.  Over the last few months I have found myself acting like the person that my body type shoes, I no longer think of myself as the “fat kid” of the group as I once did.  Finding clothes in new sizes has also allowed me to reinvent myself in ways that I was unable to when I was larger.  Simply put there are now far more options available to me now.   I now comfortably fit into clothes that can be found at any store, I can find clothes at thrift stores even.  For years I could never find things that fit when clothing wise when I went into a thrift store of any kind.  I took to finding kitchen things and other fun stuff but never cool clothing.  Now that has changed, at my current size there are many options to choose from and I’ve been able to play around with my style in ways that I didn’t think possible before.

            Overall the new experience of being what I would call “normal size” has given me a lot more confidence in the clothing that I wear and let me be playful in choices I make.  This year I bought my first tank top since I was a kid, first pair of white shorts, and I spend lots of time outside and even look forward to going to the pool.  Understanding that I am not the same size that I was has been a bit of a long road but a good one.  Now I can accept myself for the way I look and while I’m still working on some things, generally I’m pretty happy with where I’m at.

Front Squats – Movements I learned to love

This is actually a bit of a cheating post because I love all squats except for Overhead Squats, those guys can suck it. This post isn’t about that though, it’s actually another story that will involve Zack and it is about my work on the Front Squat and how I came to actually like doing them.

It wasn’t long into my getting out of the On-ramp class that I hit my first major block, my rack sucked. I still had a good amount of strength from all the years lifting, but I couldn’t do front squats with more than about 95 pounds because every time I went down I was up on toes and falling out of the lift forward. With a personality like mine this frustration just built up until one week we had a WOD with high rep Front Squats in it. The weight was light but I couldn’t string reps together to save my life. Over in the corner I pushed through the WOD but it was obvious that I was angry and that instead of feeling better I was only getting worse. It was at this point that Zack came over and started to help me with cues to make sure that I was getting the reps. I don’t think that up to this point Zack and I had really had much interaction but he stayed there, while other people finished and started to tell me that I could do it. I eventually finished and at the end Zack said that he was going to be there the next morning and that I should come by, there was going to be an open gym for Sunday and that I should swing by and work on my squats.

Coming in the next day Zack and I spent at least two hours talking about various sticking points I was having, he had me work on foot position, and stand facing the wall to make sure my butt was going out instead of me going forward. It didn’t happen overnight, but practicing my squat and with the things that Zack told my my front squat improved. Because I was able to improve my rack position and my front squat other movements started to get better too. It’s from this practice that I started to realize that I really liked to squat and that it was something that I could get better at. From that beginning where I couldn’t do more than 95 pounds or so before I left Capital City for the summer I put up a 275 Front Squat max, and I’m sure that today I could do even more.

Today I do some form of squats 2-3 times a week, and if you include all the full squat olympic lifts I do I’m squatting five days a week. You could say that it is one of the movements I do most, and while I’m not perfect at them yet I’m getting there. One day I’ll even get the Overhead Squat down, but that’s a whole different story.

The Scale

I think that I should take on this one early in the life of this blog. Seeing as how I have and will talk a lot about weight loss in my writing. This topic is one that can easily turn into a rant, or just run wildly off topic so I’ll try to keep it on point and hopefully making at least some sense to you are you’re reading it.

 

So is your weight just a number, or is it something more?

 

As you look around the internet you will find tons of posts on fitness blogs about the scale being just a number. When I ask myself if I really believe that I have to say that there is a part of me that doesn’t believe that it is. Everything we do is measured in some way shape or form, and while it is true that the scale only gives you a small picture of what is going on with your body it is still a valid measurement. Now before anyone get’s the wrong idea about what I think about using your weight as a measure of success let me say that I think it is way down the scale on what you should be looking at. But from time to time it is good to know what you weigh. I have not weighed myself in months I’ll be honest about that, the gym I go to has a scale in the locker room but I refuse to use it. Why, because I feel that I have moved passed using my weight as a measurement. Until I hit my goal I did weigh in once a week. For that part of this journey I was concerned with where I was, and how I was tracking. And I think that when you are trying to find out how your body is progressing stepping on a scale every once in a while can give you valid data.

 

Here is how I did it for the last year, first I only weighed in once a week. This was a solid rule for me, as a former wrestler and someone that can be very Type A about things I had to limit myself. It was simple I weighed in Sunday mornings, I woke up, went to the bathroom and the weighed in before I brushed my teeth. That gave me a baseline weight, let me know how my diet had been for the last week and if I was going in the direction that I should be. Most weeks I had lost something, a couple weeks I had gained, and they were weeks that I had changed something in my diet and I knew then that I had to go back to what I was doing. That allowed me a chance to take a snapshot of where my body was at. The rest of the week I didn’t worry about it, why because if you weigh in too often you’re just chasing the needle and trying to make yourself hit a certain weight. My weekly weigh ins were a small part of an entire picture and within that context it was a number but it was a part of something larger.

 

Second, I didn’t freak out when the number that I hoped for didn’t show up. There were lots of weeks that I had hoped to see a certain number, usually when I was close to another milestone and I didn’t get it. I just had to remind myself that this wasn’t the only way I was measuring success and usually those were the times that I only had to look as far as a workout that I had PR’d or looked in the mirror to see my body composition changes to understand that my body was changing in more ways that just dropping pounds. I wasn’t always successful in this however and there were a few Sundays that I would walk into the box for the strongman work and complain that I hadn’t gotten to where I wanted to, but once I got into the work for the day those concerns tended to go away.

 

Lastly, don’t take it too seriously. I know this seems dumb, but really sometimes you just need to make a game out of it, understand that every week won’t be perfect, that sometimes you’ll mess up and that it won’t be a smooth road. When you step on the scale maybe take a guess while it’s calculating, see if you can guess where you’re at for the week. It might even help you be more in tune with what your body is telling you throughout the week. When you have a big loss celebrate, when you don’t lose anything remind yourself that you’re in for the long haul. You don’t get to where you want to be overnight, and sometimes there are things going on with your body that you don’t know about. There were times that I wouldn’t lose more than a few ounces a week for a few weeks and then bam, I’d drop 10 pounds because my body had been working on some body comp issues. So take the number with a grain of salt and put on your big boy/girl pants.

 

Overall just remember that it is a number but it’s more than a number too. Use the scale for what it should be, one part of your measurement of progress. There will be times that you’ll lean out, and times that you build, sometimes the number will go up, sometimes down, and sometimes it won’t go anywhere. Just don’t get on that thing everyday, don’t obsess, and sometimes when it doesn’t show the number you want it to. Tell the scale off, cause you know what, it deserves it.

Preaching Paleo

As I write this post I’m explaining Paleo to a friend. We are currently running through the normal list of objections that people tend to have when I talk about it to them. But generally they initiate the conversation. Almost always they look at me and assume there’s something that I have figured out that they haven’t. All they have to do is get me to share the magic that made me lose the weight and then they can copy it and it will work for them. I am happy to share but at the same time the entire process is overly frustrating on my part because they asked for this information and then proceed to complain to me that it is either A) too expensive B) too hard C) they can’t live without X or D) I’m not being honest with them and if I wasn’t going to tell them how to lose weight I shouldn’t have wasted their time. In the end I send them some links, give them advice, and try to offer them some of my thoughts from the last year. I have yet to actually have one person actually go Paleo, some people have done what I call “paleo in name only” where they say that they eat Paleo but when I look at their plate I spot at least 3 cheats.

Let me be clear, I love Paleo, and I will spend all the time it takes for me to try to help you understand why I think it is so awesome. For the first time in my life I really feel like I have a handle on what I put into my body and how it impacts me. I think that as a whole I am very in tune with my body and listen to what it is telling me throughout the day. I addressed the reasons why I love the diet previously but let me just give a few words on each of the reasons that these friends have given me for why I’m crazy for doing what I’m doing or just delusional for thinking that I should eat this way.

First, Paleo is not too expensive, I actually spend less on food now than I did before I went Paleo. I know you’re thinking but organic food is so expensive how can that be. Simple I almost never eat out anymore. I’m pretty strict about the food I eat, and I’m usually not going to pay restaurant prices for food that I feel is of a lower quality. So Since I used to eat out at least 70% of my meals and I don’t go out to eat hardly ever now it’s cheaper for me to be Paleo. So yes organic foods are more expensive than non-organic, but you save in the long run. Also since going Paleo I have not been sick one day. Not at all, taking care of my body and my body takes care of me, so think of including health care costs in there too.

Second it’s not too hard, stop being a baby. You cook now anyway, why can’t you make foods that are better for you? Oh, well if the only cooking you do now is taking something out of a box and putting it in the oven/microwave then you’re going to need to work on that but otherwise it isn’t that hard to be Paleo. It takes a little willpower and you have to put together a plan but still I don’t think that living Paleo is hard. It seems like I’m being a bit of a jerk here, and to be honest I kind of am, but this is by far the lamest excuse that I get when I talk about Paleo. This usually comes from someone that falls into the married and/or with kids category. Now for your spouse I will say that they are an adult and they can take or leave your new food choices but your kids are your kids. They don’t get to decide what food you buy or cook. If you decide to eat Paleo, your kids can eat it too, it won’t hurt them, in fact it will help them, and you know what chances are you were going to make your kids eat some things they didn’t want to anyway. How is this any different. So hopefully ends the part of the blog where I’m a jerk.

The third excuses I get when I preach Paleo is that I can’t live without X. I understand where my friends are coming from here, there are days that I miss some of the former foods that used to make up a big part of my food intake. Since we have passed a year it has been more than 12 months since I had any real Chicago pizza, also over a year since I’ve had actual ice cream, or a doughnut from Dunkin. So yes I feel your pain, you’re going to have to give some stuff up, but when I think about it you would be hard pressed to convince me that going back to the way I used to be was worth it for certain foods, even if that food was Lou Malnati’s Pizza.

Photo credit deepdishdough.com

So in the end I’ve had great results from changing the kind of foods that I eat in the last year. If you ask me if it works I’ll tell you yes, and I’ll take the time to explain it to you, but please understand that you’ll likely use excuses that I’ve heard before and I even thought them for myself at some point. But I wouldn’t keep doing this if I didn’t think it was worth it, so if you really want to know more lets talk. Now if you’re one of my friends that thinks I’m crazy for eating this way and the real way to be healthy is to eat whatever your current favorite way to eat is, let’s just agree to disagree cause you can’t get me to change.

Strongman Sundays

Along the course of the year my friend Zack asked if I’d like to come in on some Sundays and do some Strongman stuff. Before this there really hadn’t been any programming on Sundays, sometimes there would be someone there for an open gym, sometimes not. I decided why not it would be a good time to mess around and do something different. These Sundays came to be one of my favorite parts of the week, as often as not I it was the most difficult one because you almost always had to learn what you were doing that day. Strongman Sundays as they came to be known included a mix of people from the box that were not usually at the same class during the week and the dynamic of the various people made for some hilarious interactions. Getting out of bed to go spend two hours at the box on a Sunday morning is not everyone’s cup of tea but I will tell you that when there were weeks that I was struggling I always looked forward to Sunday because I knew that it would cheer me up.

Sometimes people will ask me about why I think that showing up on Sundays and moving weird stuff around was such a help to me. When I answer that I try to avoid all the generic Crossfit answers about practicing functional fitness and doing varied workouts and it really comes down to one specific reason. It was fun, and it’s that one of the most important things when you think about why you want to do something. Showing up Sunday mornings I had no idea what we were going to do but I did know two things. Usually I was going learn something new, and there was going to be something hilarious happen. Things that I wouldn’t have learned if not for Zack and Strongman Sundays include, flipping tires, yolk carries, sledgehammer strikes, Turkish Get Ups, Sandbag runs, Keg lifts, Axle lifts. All of these things and many more were things that I was introduced to doing the strongman work, and each time I came away feeling better about myself because I had taken something new on. Even on weeks where things didn’t seem to be going right I could still look to those days when and I say that when I got to the gym I had no idea how to do such and such, but when I left I was able to do it and did it with whatever weight, or however many times. I went from never flipping tires to flipping a tire that weighed over 700 pounds. The confidence that the strongman work inspired in me was only one part of why I loved that time so much.

The Last Castle WOD

The second half of my love for getting up early on Sunday was the amazing people that never failed to inspire a moment of ridiculousness. I will point to what has to be my favorite Sunday morning story involving two of my favorite people at Capital City, Zack and Kelly. This particular Sunday we had were doing races that included a yolk carry at 1.5 body weight, burpees, an agility run, and a sprint. Now to do this we were taking the Yolk out of the box and into the parking lot, after putting the weight back on the rack you had to do 5 burpees on the concrete. As this was being explained to us Kelly decided to ask a question. She asks if it wouldn’t be better for us to do our burpees inside where there’s rubber mats on the floor to protect our hands and feet from the rough concrete. Some people might find this to be a valid question. There may even be people in the Crossfit community that would say sure let’s do them inside. Not Zack, without missing a beat he says “Harden the F*** up Kelly” and continues to explain how the races would work. I immediately lost it and had to walk away, previous to this that phrase was often said by Zack to me whenever he felt like I was being a girl in the box. Kelly is one of the nicest people you will ever meet, and she really didn’t know how to take this affront to her sensibilities. Give it to her though, she rocked those burpees outside on the concrete.

Sunday became my favorite day of the week. I was always happy to get up, run around and do something crazy like say swing a sledgehammer and flip tires then jump on top of said tire. Thanks to everyone that came on Sundays for making it so fun, you know who you are. Many of you will be getting your own blog post about how awesome you are.

You’re not my pal: Or how I learned to stop worrying and listen to my body again.

This post is actually a repost of a note I wrote when I stopped using the website My Fitness Pal.  While the timing is off I still believe everything I said here.  In the time since I stopped using the service I have managed to hit my goal weight, drop another pants size, and continue to lose around the waist.  I firmly believe in the idea that one calorie is not the same as another and that the breakdown of what you eat matters far more than just limiting your overall intake.  With that said I’ll let my words speak for themselves and I welcome all comments about the following post.

This week I stopped using the website and mobile app MyFitnessPal, there are a variety of reasons for this which I’ll outline here. But first let me say that for many people I am sure that this is a great tool, and for some the principles behind the calculations have led them to lose weight and be more fit. I however am not one of those people. In using the software I have lost weight, about 10 pounds in five or six weeks actually, but on the whole my experience of tracking was miserable. Some say if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, well I had already lost over 100 pounds in six months before signing up for the website. And my thought was that if I had gotten this far on my own imagine how much more I would lose if I just tracked my calories and my burn and it would help me know how I’m doing in all areas of my eating. Well I was wrong for a few reasons.

It turned me into a freak about every little thing that went into my body:

Those fish oil pills you take in the morning, yup they have calories, and yup the count, every other thing that you take in has calories. And you better find a way to burn all that off, cause it will add up quick. I began to worry about everything, weighing food, not eating even though my body was saying I was hungry, and looking at that magic figure that the program had given me after only a couple questions and taking that as gospel for what I could have. Didn’t matter what my day was like, do two crossfit workouts, and work an 8 hour shift, do some housework. Doesn’t matter you still only get the same amount of calories. Eating calories burned in exercise is cheating don’t you know. I also started to change my diet from that I had been eating quite regularly and just replacing it with drinking more water to feel full. That number became my end all be all, no matter what my body was saying and it was often crying out for more protein and fats, I didn’t listen to it.

I became obsessed with the scale:

As you could imagine tracking intake and burn also means weighing yourself in from time to time. And while I have generally allowed myself to weigh in once on Sunday mornings just to see where I am tracking everything through the software meant that I was finding an excuse just to “check my weight” and it got to the point where I’d weigh in multiple times a day. I’m not wrestling anymore, so I don’t have to worry about not being able to compete because of my weight. Getting upset that I had only lost one pound that week, or wondering why I was carrying an extra 0.1 pounds one day over the last began to take over my thoughts about how I was doing on my diet.

I was ignoring my body

This is the big one, I no longer listened to what my body was trying to tell me. And this is a huge part of being Paleo is listening to your body and giving it what it needs. For the first 100 pounds that I had lost I generally didn’t use a scale with foods. Sure I’d measure some things, and even sometimes weigh out portions when packaging things as leftovers for the week. But it was more about making sure that each day was about even more than it was about making sure that I didn’t get too big of a meal. At the beginning of the week I had been pretty hungry all the time for about a week straight but I only ate the number of calories that I was allowed and so I just kept going. My workouts suffered, my life suffered, and in general my health was not as good because I was living to a number not what my body was saying. It was telling me that I was working out six days a week sometimes twice a week and working 40+ hours at a job that I spent the entire time on my feet. I needed more calories and so I came to the conclusion that me and the program had to go.

What comes next:

Pure and simply I go back to life before I started all this craziness. I have been doing this since Tuesday and it’s been great. I eat meals that fill me up, and I no longer worry that Green Peppers have more sugar in them than the red variety or that I shouldn’t have a little orange juice from time to time. I mix up my meals, eat lots of veggies, and make sure to include plenty of protein. But I don’t weigh anything out, I eat when my body tells me to, and I don’t eat when it doesn’t. I make sure to avoid processed foods, sugars, and of course those grains and legumes. I’ve even let myself have a little cheese this week. In all I feel much better than I did before and my workouts seem better because my body is well fed and can call upon that nutrition to rebuild and get ready for the next day. It’s a good thing to because I’m competing in the CrossFit Open and will need all the help that I can get. All in all I’ve returned to the Paleo model of intake control, and I feel great because of it.

Wonder if it worked?

Well I weighed in today and lost 3 pounds since I stopped tracking, biggest loss since suing the program.

A look through the year

    Inspired by a good online friend over on Tumblr CrossfitKarla and her update pictures I thought that I might go ahead and do the whole basic info update here.

July 2011 – 340lbs

Shirt 3-4xl Pants 46/32

July 2011

With the family, shirt is a 3XL

September 2011 – 280lbs

Shirt 2xl Pants 38-40/32

Shirt I bought in the UK I hadn’t been able to wear in over a year.

November 2011 – 260lbs

Shirt XL Pants 36/32

Thanksgiving with Grandma

December  2011 – 240lbs

Shirt L/XL Pants 36/32

Me rocking a pair of Baldwin Denim, one day I’ll drop the coin on a pair for myself.

January/February 2012 – 230lbs

Shirt L Pants 36/32-34

New year, new look

Birthday WOD, I turn the Dirty Thirty

March 2012 – 215lbs

Shirt L Pants 34/34

405lb carry

July 2012 – no weight – Since hitting 215 I no longer look at the scale.

Shirt L Pants 34/34

Working, no visitors in the park

Why Paleo

Following up on the last post Why Crossfit, this post will talk about why I settled on Paleo as my eating plan for the last year.  Since there are so many resources on Paleo I will try to stay away from the science and just talk about my reasons for deciding to give it a try.  Not to sound too cliché but the first reason comes down to one word and one word only.  

BACON

                I know, everyone talks about bacon on Paleo, personally I believe that it is God’s second greatest gift to mankind.  I even had a discussion with a friend about how much more awesome it would be at church if instead of wafers there were little pieces of bacon at communion time.  She disagreed but she’s vegan and that means she doesn’t count anyway, right?  Seriously though I do enjoy the stuff, and a big absence in any diet that I had done before was that the consumption of bacon was an early casualty in any “low fat” diet.  So when I heard that I could still have a couple strips of bacon at breakfast Paleo had my ear.

                Bacon couldn’t be the only reason to start a new diet so here are some others.  First, the science was convincing.  Without getting into the technical side of things too much the arguments that I saw being made against grains and refined sugars made sense.  I knew from the way that I felt that something was wrong with the way I was eating, and even when I was very strict on my diet and didn’t eat large amounts of fast food I still would weigh in at 300 pounds or more.  How can a person that eats rice, wheat bread, and chicken breasts still be that big? I had no idea what was wrong at the time, but as I read more about it the more I became convinced that it was the grains and sugar that was in my diet that was holding me back.  I decided that it made sense to give this a try, the other ways had not worked up to this point and I guess I could try to find a way to live without my beloved pizza.  Second, the portion sizes of the meals that I was seeing were not the ones that I was used to seeing when I had been on other diets.  I’m a guy that loves to eat, even now at my smaller size I’ve still got a raging fat kid inside that I sometimes have to keep in check.  In fact going back to reason 1 if it was up to my inner fat kid I’d eat nothing but dry roasted almonds, bacon, and dark chocolate all day.  The fact that I could cover my plate in food and eat it and still lose weight made me interested in trying this thing out. 

                So Paleo it was, I really didn’t put a lot of thought into it at first.  I had read the Paleo Solution by Robb Wolf, took a look at some websites like Marksdailyapple.com and was really only going to give it a try.  In the book Robb says to try it for a month, and just see what it does for you.  My decision to try Paleo was really only a commitment for that first 30 days, I just realized in that first month that it worked well for me.  At first my diet was really basic and boring, I ate a lot of piece of meat with onions and peppers on the side.  I had never been a big eater of things other than meat, bread, potatoes and since I had eliminated two of the three from my diet I had some adjusting to do but I was moving forward with it.  I tried to find things to make myself eat.  I settled on broccoli and asparagus at first, and from there started eating other things.  Even today there are things that I’m not a big fan of, and I still don’t think I eat enough of the leafy greens but I’m working on it.  I guess you could say that I’m still a pretty picky caveman, but it works for me, and everyday I’m getting a little better about increasing the variety in my intake. 

                I’ve stayed on Paleo because it’s worked so well, and while I would say I dance the Paleo/Primal line a bit it still works out alright.  I’ve found that dairy doesn’t bother me so I get to have cheese sometimes.  The meals that I have I enjoy and there’s a great variety to it, and I must say that eating organic, and grass fed really makes a difference in the taste of the food that I eat daily.  Besides that there’s always the cheat day from time to time to get those things that you just can’t get eating Paleo.

Why Crossfit

This post and the next one will be a little different, instead of telling a single story I thought that as readers you might like to know the reasons why I chose the programs that I did.  So here goes my reasoning behind why I chose Crossfit and why I think that it worked so well for me.

 Asking myself why I chose Crossfit at first I shrugged my shoulders and went I don’t know even to myself.  Looking back on it a year later it kind of seems like it was just the way it was meant to be.  I’m sure that it was not the case and to be honest last year there were many times that I had major doubts as to my abilities when I looked at some of the other people doing the WODs around me. 

I guess the first reason why I chose to do Crossfit is because it’s not boring.  This is key, who really wants to do a boring workout routine all the time.   I had been there and done that.  Going into the Rec at school and sitting down on the bike to ride 20 miles, and then pushing some weights around wasn’t what I wanted to do anymore.  I had gone through various programs over the years, so more motivating than others but without a major competitive sport to train for it was hard to dedicate myself to two hours plus a day in the gym.  The hunt had begun for something that was going to be a change of pace from the programs I had been doing in the past. 

After a rugby match spring 2011

 

I was also looking to do new things; years of training based around competitive sports meant that I was very comfortable doing a few different movements with free weights and using a few machines.  I was used to going in and following a routine, ride the bike, do arms or legs, move to the machines for a bit, maybe do some dumbbell work and then do situps and go home.  I was interested in getting to try some of the things that I saw in Crossfit videos.  I had never done a pull-up in my life, and I also had never used a Kettle bell, some of the movements that were being done with barbells were completely foreign to me also.  So I wanted to learn how to do this stuff, it only made me more interested when I saw some of the strongman things that were being done in some of the workouts I saw online.  I knew I wanted to do this, but I couldn’t do it on my own.

Lastly, what I was looking for was someone else to do my programming as well.  It’s too easy to take it easy on yourself or only program things you’re good at if you get to choose what you want to do on any particular day.  Crossfit offered solutions to that problem as well, by having a WOD for the day I didn’t get to choose what I did or did not want to do.  Also knowing that I was going to be doing things that I wasn’t good at meant that I would have to get better at those things.  So as I was hunting around online I had begun to think that Crossfit might be the program for me, and I began to hunt for a place to try it out at.  Although I was skeptical at first at the length of many of the workouts I was seeing.   Having come from years of measuring my workout duration in hours I wasn’t sure that I could get the same benefits from such a short amount of time in the gym.  What I had been doing up to that point had not been working and at that point I figured what did I have to lose, I might learn some new things, and maybe even find that I enjoyed it. 

So I emailed Brian at Capital City Crossfit, he answered a few of my dumb questions, and encouraged me to come check it out.  He offered the first week free of charge if I didn’t like it then I had nothing to lose, except maybe a ton of sweat since there was no AC and it was July.  I figured why not and made my appointment, the rest of the story is what we are talking about here.  I could do many more posts about why I love Crossfit the way that I do, and why I think that it has been so beneficial to me, but I hope that the stories I tell over the course of this blog make that very clear.  Crossfit has helped me to transform myself in ways I never thought possible, and exceeded all my expectations for how it has impacted me physically, mentally, and emotionally.  There are not enough good things I can say about my experiences over the last year with Crossfit.