Friday, December 31, 2010

Resolution Schmesolution

It's that time of year.  Everyone is going to lose weight.  Weight Watchers, Sugarbusters, The Zone Diet, gym memberships, no sweets, no this, cut that......

 Resolutions schmezolutions!  They never last.  They often look like this.....

My solution to no resolution.....

Set a goal and go get it.  
Start slowly and plan.
Find a friend and partner up.

I'm going to start 2011 by continuing on my path.  I'm going to do the following:

1.  Go Paleo 100% for 30 days straight and integrate into my dietary habits full time afterwards:  No grains, no legumes, no sugar.  Eat all things in their natural state.  I'll email a friend doing the same thing after every meal to stay accountable, and he will do the same.  This worked great last time.  The goal here is to cleanse my system and hopefully find gains with my endurance and overall health.  Check out all the details of The Whole 30 plan I will follow.  It's part of The Whole 9 website, a great foundation for all things Paleo.  I'll be reporting regularly on what I eat, how I feel, and what I do working out, so be sure to follow and share your thoughts if you like.   
(I did this once before and you can read about it here as I was asked to share my thoughts with my Crossfit Carmel friends.) 

2.  Continue to use Crossfit as my main means of getting stronger, increasing my endurance, and losing weight until I reach my goal:  Be under 225 lbs.  (When I started Crossfit in June I was 260 lbs.  I've taken photos of my progress along the way.)  I have yet to find anything that works for me better than Crossfit.  It's pushes me to my limit and beyond each and every time.  While I realize it is not for everyone, I have seen huge gains in my strength, endurance, and confidence about myself fitness-wise.  It's the most humbling thing I've ever done athletically.  Again, it's not for everyone, but it is for me.

3.  Run another half marathon (I'm considering the Flying Pig Half Marathon in Cincinnati, Ohio.) and at least 1 sprint triathlon in 2011.  My PR for a half marathon is 2:07, however the Flying Pig is full of hills, so we'll see.  I have not run any long distances since starting Crossfit back in June.  I have all kinds of Crossfit goals.  Some of them I will share from time to time, however I've said all along that I want to use Crossfit as a means to do other stuff.  

So what will you do this year to stay healthy?  I'd love to hear from you.  Feel free to post a comment or email me at

You deserve it!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

My New Hero

So here I am....not really knowing the protocol or digital mores of blogging, but I'm pretty sure somewhere it says that if you post a preview of what your going to blog, you may want to stick to it.  However.....after reading Unbroken, by Laura Hildenbrand, I had to get this out.

Thanks to my friend Mary, a voracious reader, who believed that I just may like this given that is was non-fiction, a genre I'm not usually drawn to and often avoid.  I get enough if that every day.  I

t's the story of Louis Zamperini, World Wart II veteran.  I have never had much interest in war stories, however this one gripped me and had me finishing a 500 page book in less than two days ( I read in the movie theatre missing critical parts of Tangled, but I'm sure we'll rent it some day.)

Louie was a juvenile delinquent in the 1920's-30's.  He later found success and stayed out of trouble taking up running.  He qualified for the 1936 Olympics and was on target to break the 4 minute mile boundary.  (NOTE:  Leaving out incredible details you must read about him.)

Louie goes to war and finds himself as a trained bombadier aboard a B-24 bomber.  
Stranded at sea with three of his surviving crew for 47 days, he is later captured by the Japanese.  However, it would blow your mind what this guy goes through while at sea.  It makes Tom Hanks in "Castaway" look like he was at a resort.  He finds himself in a Japanese POW camp for almost two more years and endures mental and physical torment that would drive any of us to our death.  I'm pretty sure I'd be done after just getting to the camp seeing as though my idea of camping involves a Marriott.....however.....

I've read up on endurance.  I search the interent reading up on others' ideas, comments, and research on fitness, health, and stamina.  I was utterly captivated when I discovered Dean Karnazes and read his book Ultramarathon Man.  His words still stay with me and apply to other areas of my life outside fitness.  However, THIS guy, Louie......I'm still trying to synthesize it all.  What I know is that the next time I'm struggling with any part of my fitness, whether it be to grind through a workout or fight the demons of what to not eat, I'm glad I have Louie Zamperini to reference.  What I also know is this.....

If you need an extra push in the gym...
If you need some motivation to get your diet on track....
If you hate working out and need something to motivate you....
If you tell yourself and others that you just can't eat that way b/c (fill in the blank).....
If you read this blog and need ANY motivation inside our outside your fitness life.....


If you are not a reader, then here is part one of four on YouTube from 60 Minutes.  If you intend to read the book, DO NOT watch more than the first one, as it gives everything away.

Louie Zamperini:  My new Olympic hero and source of motivation

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I'm Not Perfect, BUT.......

I am a counselor for a living, and one great technique I tend to point out is when someone uses the word, "but" in the middle of a sentence.  Like this....

"I wanted to say I was sorry, but I thought if I did....blah blah blah." 

Everything after the "but" is white noise, pointless, and an excuse.  I try not to use but, BUT it's not easy.  

When it comes to my eating, I try to be pretty spot on.  I am not perfect.  I indulge.  I have to.  It keeps things real.  This blog keeps me motivated, on track.........focused most of the time.  MOST.  Since I work in a school, I have the past two weeks off.  I've had my favorite hoppy suds.  I've eaten more than I should have, yet it's not a habit.  I get right back on the train the next day and get it going in the right direction.  Not the case a year ago.  Not the case before I educated myself.  Before I found the resources and people with whom I surround myself with now.  

When I return to work on January 3rd, it's game on.  Another 30 day Paleo challenge (and I'll report on my journey regularly).  However, 95% of the week I don't diet.  I HAVE a diet.  And it consists of foods that are:



PALEO (most of the time)

That's easier than listing all the crap I don't eat.  i.e. high fructose corn syrup, sugar, pop/soda, etc.....

I don't eat perfectly all the time. the same time.......

My father lost his battle with cancer 8 years ago.  He had just retired, was a traveling the world, and adored his grandchildren, my sister's kids.  He never got to meet my kids.  My first child was born a year after his passing. Cancer struck.  I hate cancer.  However, I never met my paternal grandfather.  Cancer got him before my dad was in college.  You see where I'm going?  

I want to do all I can in my time on this planet to make sure that I see my grandchildren.  So that I can break the cycle.  While I will let myself indulge around the holidays, I no longer fall off all the way like I used to.  I think it's because I finally have that balance:  

The food knowledge + a consistent mode of exercise that I enjoy. 

There are a ton of resources out there about how certain foods can cause cancer and how others can help prevent them.  Here's a few I've found....

  I will say that I don't get consumed in reading all the research and proving what works and what doesn't.  This is a choice I make.  I feel better when I eat this way, and I don't want to feel the other way.  I'd rather give this a shot seeing as though we have to eat.  I'd rather eat my way to preventing THE BIG C rather than popping pills to do so some day.  

I want to see my grandchildren someday.  Plain and simple.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Get Out of Your Room!!!!

I come from a long line of eaters.  I grew up in a Midwestern home raised by a Jewish mother and father from Brooklyn, NY.  Holidays and visits to my relatives back east consisted of a lot of time debating whether the gefilte was a real fish or not.  These were serious conversations!  Nonetheless, in my adult life, I have come to appreciated my upbringing and carry on that same Spinner zest for food.  

There isn't much I do not like.  If I had to make a New Year's Resolution, and in a post to come this week I'll explain why I refuse to make any.....but IF I HAAAAD to......I'd propose to start liking beets!  Blech!  They are so hard for me to tolerate, but I know the nutritional value they pack.  ( I'm going to try to add them to the "good list" this year.)  

My List of Foods I Really.....Really Hate

 Beets.  BLECH!

Key Lime....I don't really mind never liking this.  I love too many other good sweets.

Lima Beans: I should really try to like these, but it's so hard!!!

Tomato Juice:  I really can not envision this fitting into my life.  Good thing I like tomatoes as a solid.

Sweet Potato Disclaimer:  Like the teams that drop out of the Top 25 Polls in college football/basketball, I'm proud to announce that sweet potatoes have officially dropped off my list.  Sorry Jim.  I will no longer commiserate with you about these.  I like them now.

You get the point.  I love food.  I love trying new foods.  I love the texture of foods.  I love to talk about food.  I wish I cooked more, but my wife is such a great cook, I don't do enough of it.  But when I started getting serious....I mean really serious about my health, fitness, and nutrition, I realized that I am no different than anyone else.  However I remember making a choice to branch outside of my comfort zone.  

I'm finishing up a novel on my new Kindle (love that thing by the way!) called Room, by Emma Donoghue.

The story is about a five year old by, Jack, who is trapped inside a "room" with his mother.  I will tell you that eventually they "get out" but you'll want to pick up this book if you want to find out how.  It's told from Jack's perspective and he makes incredible observations about the world and his relationship with his mother.  At one point in the story, Jack talks about how he misses being in "Room"  .  .  . he was much safer there and things were not so complicated.  While I spent a ton of time reflecting on my relationship with my kids when reading, I later thought about how Jack's observation ties in to my relationship with food.  (It's a long leap I realize, but I'm not sure why I later connected the two topics.)

I, like many, used to just like what I liked:  breakfast food, meat, pizza, hamburgers, fast food, and minimal veggies......oh.....and a bagel with lox, cream cheese, onion and capers!).  As I grew up, this changed......slightly (I can hear my mother laughing).  However, in order to really attain the level of health and fitness, I knew I had to branch out and accept other tastes, textures, and flavors which is why I have been so long winded in explaining where I come from and the few amounts of foods I do NOT like. I have become in touch with the fact that I like many different things.  I discovered that.  It's not who I have always been.  It's easier to stick to that "comfort zone" because things are easier in "that room".  However, beets are not in that "room".  Lima beans are most definitely not in that "room".  

My relationship with food is simple.  I'm in love with it.  I want to court food, buy it things, treat it well, and take care of it.  I want to give it a home to live in and I want it to take care of me.  Forever!  I.  LOVE.  FOOD.  But in order for ME to live MY fit life (I'm not trying to sound like Oprah here....sorry.) I know I have to be mindful of all the temptations and pitfalls that plague so many of us. 

Knowing where I come from in relationship to food;  knowing that I like mostly all food;  knowing that I am committed to a life-time of fitness; knowing that it's attainable if you make certain sacrifices; knowing that I want to always know more.........all of this is key in staying on track and never letting myself go physically again. I don't want to ever look like that first picture you see in the My Progress tab.

As much as I loved my room growing up....the safety, security, and peace it brought me.....and as much as I like that quiet room I have right now where I can escape the sibling rivalry of our kids, I know that in order to continue to live my life of fitness.....I must continue to live outside that room.  

I promise......I'm going to keep you posted on my beets.  (blech!)

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Coming Soon

It's the day after and the week before.  You may be returning to work after a few days off, or you may have some time to yourself.  Either way, if you are like any other human on earth, you have been bombarded with Ghosts and Vampires luring you to eat foods of comfort and joy.  No matter what your challenge may be the rest of this festive week, I want to preview some posts that will be coming up this week.  These are things that are on my mind that I hope help you too......

1.  My Relationship with Food:  I'm reading my second book on my new Kindle, the New York Times Best Seller, Room, by Emma Donoghue.  While the book makes me think about my own kids, there is a point in this story where I connected to my relationship with food.  Here's a New York Times Review of the novel.  I'll explain this week.....

2.  Why I Eat Clean:  Paleo may not be for everyone, but it has really made a difference for me.  However, there is one huge reason that makes me want to "eat clean" no matter what.  Stay tuned......

3.  Resolution Schmezolution:  Go ahead and make yours this week, but I challenge you NOT to make any New Year's Resolutions rather think about how you might make a plan and just start living differently, one step at a time.  It works for me, BUT IT'S NEVER EASY (all the time).

4.  The Whole 30 Success Story Contest:  I'm entering this contest and will share my essay that I submit.  I just need some silent time to myself to get it all together.....something that's hard to come by in our house these couple of weeks.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Power is Definitely On!

It's been a long time since I got a massage.  After seven months of Crossfit, a lower back strain that put me out for a week, a chronic knee problem, and now a wrist/hand issue that flares up at night (long story), I decided it was time.  Gotta love Groupon!  $40 dollar one hour massage at a wonderful spot in Noblesville, Indiana called Pathways to Wellness.  I've also added them to the Health Resources page.

I have never met nicer people.  I walked in and have rarely been greeted so genuinely.  The karma in that place is palpable.  While a yoga class was going on, I filled out the obligatory paperwork and was promptly on my way.

A counselor by trade, I'm somewhat sensitive to others' social graces.  Beth exceeded any expectations I may have had.  (I really had none).  She listen to me describe my aches and pains, and before I knew it, I was "in the zone" on the table, and she tended to them all.

I used to think of massages as that "treat yourself and feel good all over pampering" kind of thing.  I used to give anything for a deep tissue massage and gave not thought except to feeling relaxed.  Given my new "pathway" to fitness, I now see massage as beneficial to my fitness.  It helps flexibility, recovery, and performance.  While pricey in many places (sans Groupon of course), my knee, shoulders, and hands feel great.  I'm anxious to see how I feel come my next WOD.  My buddy and chiropractor Mike always says, "The power is on." after an adjustment.  While I tease him about that sometimes, he's right.  Man, do I feel like the power is on after that massage.  After Fight Gone Bad yesterday (posted a 292 for the first time), I'm amazed I had any power left.

Thanks Beth and Pathways to Wellness!  I will be back with a new outlook on massage and hope to take up a few yoga and flexibility classes as well.

The power is on!!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Tips for those Temptations

Click on the above link to perhaps my latest and greatest favorite site for resources about all things Paleo, nutrition in general, fitness, motivation, etc.  Diane Sanfilippo is a Certified Nutrition Educator, a Nutrition Coach, an author, and a fitness fan.  You will get so much from bookmarking her site.

I figured w/the holidays here, there is nothing I can say, share, or show that anyone else doesn't already know, but Diane does it with some more street cred than I can.  A few things resonate with me......

Paraphrasing here.....

1.  Talk to yourself before you enter a situation where there are choices you want to avoid.
2.  Those treats will still be there long after the holidays are over.
3.  If you fall off a bit, then snap back the next morning with a good, healthy breakfast.

There is much more than that, but those are the things that stick with me the most right now.  For me, we have had friends over or been out every night this week.  One beer here, a sweet and few glasses of wine there, and there you have it.  It's a tough time of year.  Today, I took grip of #3 above and started the day off with my usual three egg and veggie omelette with avocado.  We'll see what the rest of the day holds. I'm going to CFC for a dandy WOD:  Fight Gone Bad.  Looking forward to the challenge.  

Here's a look at Fight Gone Bad.  It's a bit scientific in spots, but it shows you exactly what's entailed:

P.S.  Don't forget to check out these newly added pages:

P.S.S. Coming January 3rd:  A month dedicated to my second 30 Day Paleo Challenge w/daily food reports, recipes, and other goodies.

Monday, December 20, 2010


Sodastream | turn water into fresh sparkling water and soda

Over the weekend, I was lucky enough to get a soda maker, something I spotted a few months ago in a magazine and come to find out my sister had one in her kitchen.  This one is simple and easy to use.  We really do not keep any pop/soda in the house, and even Diet Coke has lost its luster for me.  Too fizzy and just doesn't do it for me anymore.  However, over the summer, I found that naturally flavored soda/seltzer water was a good substitute and was a good break from water, water, water.  

With this gadget you are not only being environmentally friendly, but there is no high fructose corn syrup and no aspartame.   You can add flavors to it tastes like soda/pop.  There is sugar in the regular flavors and Splenda in the diet flavors.  However I prefer the My Water flavors (lemon-lime, orange, berry, and mint).  Or, I'll just add a lemon, a lime, an orange, etc. to just plain soda water.  (It's cheaper that way!)  Click on the banner above to check it out.  

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Half Full

Today was rough.  I wavered whether or not to go to the gym.  I had all kinds of excuses. 

"I'm sore."
"I've worked out 4 days in a row, and my body needs a rest."
"I'm tired."
"I should eat dinner with my family."
"My body needs the rest."
"I'm not going to be be able to work out Friday and maybe not until Monday (at least at Crossfit)."

But I went......................

21-15-9 of
Power Cleans (135/95)
Ring Dips

My attitude sucked from the time I walked in and saw that the power clean was indeed a full squat clean, and I knew I needed band assistance for ring dips. 

What happened to my momentum from A Very Brady Crossfit?! (my last post)

Well, perhaps this was  the world's way of putting me in check to realize there is always something to work towards; to realize not to get too content no matter what you are doing; to remember humility is always right around the corner.  Today I simply threw out the idea of that go-go-go Crossfit mentality of "get a good time".  Rather, I focused on a good, steady workout with good form.  A few months ago, I would have been disappointed in that, thinking I need to always post a solid time.  Today was a reminder that sometimes slowing it down is more important than that rush to the finish line.  I felt good finding purpose in something that initially got me down.  Here is a great blog that speaks to this point thanks to a Crossfit friend of mine.  (Thanks Jen!)

Today's simple realization.....

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

A Very Brady Crossfit

Remember the scene from The Brady Bunch when Peter discovers that his volcano "really works" and it gushes all over Marsha who is trying to impress some new girls in order to get into a club?  Well, for some reason, that silly but nostalgic sit com scene is what I thought about recently.  Warning:  Not bragging here.  Simply trying to demonstrate the power of Crossfit.

Disclaimer:  When I first started Crossfit, I was running, running, running.  I wondered how something that does not warrant a lot of time (i.e. the daily WOD's sometimes being 3-4 minutes and that's it) make such a significant impact on my fitness.  The Crossfit Coaches at CFC politely and patiently persisted that if you eat well and do Crossfit consistently, then your fitness will change.  The exact words were,

"Don't focus on weight loss.  Focus on eating a "clean diet" and coming to Crossfit consistently."  

Six months later I have the following WOD's to compare:

3 Rounds of  .  .  .

400 meter run
21 Kettlebell swings
12 pull ups

October time:  15:12
December time:  12:40
The Filthy Fifty
50 box jumps (24")
50 jumping pull ups
50 kettlebell swings
50 walking lunges
50 knees to elbows
50 push press (45 lbs.)
50 back extensions
50 wall balls (20 lbs.)
50 burpees
50 double unders

October time:  29:50
December time:  28:10

When Peter Brady discovers the power of his volcano, he is astonished.  He's astounded!

Cheesy but true.  I feel the same way.  It's easier said than done, but any sound exercise program combining strength and endurance coupled with a solid, clean diet WILL.  YIELD.  RESULTS.  It's harder than hell some days.  Anticipating the valleys after the high of the peaks is important.  So much goes into it.  But.........


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Good Meat

Yesterday I packed the kids in the car, made a coffee stop, and ventured 63 minutes to New Castle, Indiana to stock up on meat.  Why go to this extent to get meat when there are plenty of places within minutes of the house?

Because of the following:
            • It's all natural beef and poultry
            • There are no hormones or animal byproducts used in the feed.
            • I am supporting a local farmer trying to make a living.
            • It's the most affordable "good meat" we've found.

A friend of ours recently made a trip there and "Jack", the owner told her he just wants to offer good meat at prices that the folks in the area can afford.  

So I picked up meat for my family plus three others.  We take turns going out there.

If you figure grass-fed ground beef at Whole Foods runs $5.00 to $6.00 per pound, this is worth the time and effort.  Jack's price:  $2.99/lb. 

Look around your area....there's a lot of folks out there like Jack.

If you live in the Indy area, you can see where he is marked by the "A"

Friday, December 10, 2010

Friday Night Lights

Maybe you played football, or maybe your remember going to your Friday night football game in high school. One of my best friends swears by the show "Friday Night Lights".  It does look pretty cool, but I am resisting one more show to "catch up on via Hulu or by way of dvd. 

After all.....I was just the kicker in high school for one year.  (Oh....and in college....go Hanover Panthers!  So it was only division III but hey....I was on the team)  I've digressed.....

My current "Friday Night Lights" looks like this tonight.  

I'm looking forward to beating my previous time from two months ago.  

I've come to realize that a stumbling block to my fitness is the weekends.  While no real surprise to many, I've found a way to fight back:  Work out on Friday night!!!!  It makes me do the following:
  • Focus my eating for another day so that I am fueled appropriately for the endurance needed that night.
  • Focus my post workout eating efficiently, so I do not waste my workout on eating poorly post-WOD.
If the weekends are harder for you to keep your nutrition together, I highly recommend finding something like this to look forward to.  I look forward to the Friday night WOD at Crossfit Carmel often with the same enthusiasm as I did in the video above.  

I actually dreamed of Friday nights being THIS for me.....

Thursday, December 9, 2010

It's All Ball Bearings These Days!!!

It's the most wonderful time of the year.  And so in offices everywhere, junk food persists.  Today, I found myself wandering to our kitchen area, opened that "special" cabinet door, and here is what I found.  I told you about my love of Chex Mix the other day.  The problem I had today was to the need to get to the grocery store.  I resorted to packing the following:

1 sweet potato
1 apple
1 clementine
3 slices of turkey lunch meat
carrots and celery

Clearly a day of eating to sustain and not much for pleasure.

My breakfast consisted of the usual three eggs, and today I had two slices of turkey lunch meat with it.  I was pressed for time, so I did not make the time for getting in any veggies this a.m.  MISTAKE.  Because I was pretty hungry today and I did not have any good source of protein to fill me up.  

So there were those Ghosts and Vampires staring me in the face!!!!!

What did I do?  Well, I work in a school, so not two seconds later I hear, "Uh.....Mr. Spinner....can I talk to you?"  (A student needed to see to discuss an issue).  "Why are you taking a picture of food?"

I thought of that scene from Fletch when he tells the two airplane repair guys, "Don't tell me my business boys. I was just checkin' the luggage!!"  (That scene is most famous for, "Come on boys.  Maybe you need a refresher course.  It's all ball bearings these days!"  

My point here is that I planned poorly today, however I fought off those ghosts and vampires by being distracted by my work.  The reality is that I could have dug into the comfort food and told the student to hang on a second.  I think what kept me away was the fact that I weighed myself this a.m. and I'm down to a record low 237 lbs. since starting Crossfit six months ago.  That, coupled with I had a fairly successful WOD last night which you can check out here.  No way was I going to let myself go for a "quick fix".  Damn, it was hard.  I LOVE CHEX MIX!!!  It's a constant battle sometimes.

.......and I told the student I was "doing some detective work."  I wonder if she would have believed me if I told her I was "just checkin' the luggage!!!??!"  

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Jimmy V

It's Jimmy V Week dedicated to fighting cancer, a killer of many families including mine.  Take the time to watch this famous speech no matter if you've seen it before.  Such humility! It's a great time out to your day.  Jimmy V's words apply to health and life better than mine.  Some that stick out:

1.  Laugh, think, and cry every day.
2.  Think about 3 Things Every Day:  Where you are; Where you're going; Where do you want to be
3.  Have enthusiasm and goals.
4.  Don't give up.  Don't ever give up.

Monday, December 6, 2010


I work in a school office and "it's that time of year."  Here is all the food leftover of late.  See that bag with the yellow clip.  That's right.  Chex Mix!!!  My worst nightmare.  If you read my last post, I referred to a book I was reading (just finished it) aimed at teens improving their lives.  However, many of the things discussed can apply to all of us.  Those ghosts I discussed are everywhere, but on the counter in this pic I see a mess of vampires, or "negative influences that draw you in and steal your identity."  The solution to vampires, according to author and motivational speaker Josh Shipp, is self esteem.  Confidence.  For me, food is a constant battle.  But during "this time of year" I have to do the following to stay on track:

Talk to myself:  "I don't need that." or "One handful will lead to five."  
Walk the other way.
Turn my head and literally do not look at the food when I walk by.  

As far as I have come after six months of Crossfit and after my turn to the "Paleo Side", I still know that I could take that bag of Chex Mix and bury it in a matter of minutes.  I think people often think folks into their health or in touch with how to work out don't struggle with food.  Well, for me that is not true.  Food vampires are everywhere and I was not going to ruin my workout today with a bag of Chex Mix.  I knew that I couldn't make it to Crossfit today, so at home I modified the WOD:

100 pushup's in a row.  Each time stopping do 45 air squats.  Do not exceed 20 minutes.

Total for me was 100 push up's and 225 air squats.  Time:  12:07

I couldn't do that six months ago. 
 Not worth a vampire!  
Oh.....and just because.

Sunday, December 5, 2010


I work in a school for a living.  I spend a lot of my day helping adolescents navigate the awkward phases of their lives, and I talk to a lot of frustrated, busy, tired, and sometimes angry parents.  I love what I do (most day).  A mentor-friend of mine recommended I pick up the book The Teen's Guide to World Domination:  Advice on Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Awesomeness by Josh Shipp, a motivational speaker.

Shipp talks about the "villains" in our lives that get in our way.  You know, like Darth Vader, Voldemort, or even our parents when we were young.  Ship describes one of the villains as

GHOSTS:  "Ghosts are possibly the most dangerous villains you'll face, and they're often the hardest to identify, because they're in your head."

He goes on to state that ghosts can be painful memories, bad mistakes, lies, etc.  They cause fear and doubt, and they can hold you back and paralyze you.

This got me thinking about my fitness of late.  It's been awhile since I updated this blog regularly.  Writer's block?  Not sure, but what I do know is that I've realized I've allowed ghosts to "dominate" me.  Here's a couple of examples:

1.  Food:  I still eat Paleo most of the week, but I've let too many unproductive foods to creep into my diet.  Then, I wonder why I have performance issues when working out.  I have food ghosts, telling me it's o.k. to eat that donut, drink those hoppy beers, and have that pizza.  The food ghosts are distracting and trick me into the immediate satisfaction that got me so out of shape months ago.

2.  Pull up's, Box Jumps, Thrusters, and such:  I've been a Crossfitter since June and have made some large gains.  But I started of reeeeeeeaaaally out of shape.  Regardless, I've become frustrated of late as I want my WOD times to be nearer to the thoroughbreds working out with me.  I've left Crossfit Carmel several times stating, "I hate (fill in the exercise)."  These negative statements only make me feel worse about performing such movements the next time, thus sabotaging my next WOD.  This Crossfit ghost has caused me fear and a ton of doubt.

I've started trying to "dominate" (Shipp's words) these two ghosts with focus and positivity.  Here's a bit of what I've chosen to do.

1.  Only allow one cheat meal or evening per week at the most.  Then, back on track.
2.  When I see tempting food (especially this time of year), I must physically walk away.
3.  Establish Crossfit goals:  i.e. become more efficient at box jumps; practice my pull up's and work up
     to 10 of them in a row; do one muscle up.
4.  Tell myself, "I'm going to get better at that" rather than, "Dammit. I hated that.  That was hard!"

As I type this, none of what I've written seems difficult or like rocket science, but it feels like such when "in the moment" and when those ghosts appear.  What kind of ghosts do you see?

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

CSpin Thankful

It's been a bit since I have posted regularly.  Things have been going about the same for me.  Still Crossfitting.  Still eating well for the most part.  After my 30 day Paleo challenge, I find myself living 90 Paleo and 10 percent with things that I missed (beer, some grains, some bread, a bit of cheese here and there, and pizza once or twice).  However, I usually keep to one cheat meal or night per week and then it's back on the train.  Nonetheless, I've been thinking about what I am thankful for on this holiday week and after my family and friends, I've come up with the following:

1.  CrossfitCarmel:  Without a doubt in my mind, Crossfit has changed my life.  If you look at the My Progress tab, you can see what I mean.  Physically, I am a completely different person than I have ever been.  I am stronger than I've ever been, and I'm more confident about my endurance and abilities to work out than ever before.  The first day I went to Crossfit, as out of shape, soft, and lethargic as I was, I doubted if it was for me.  I had never been so sore in my life.  It was indeed, the hardest physical experience I had ever done.  Five months later, I say the same thing each time I come home.  Crossfit pushes my body and mind to the limit and beyond each night and instills a sense of accomplishment like none other.  What is equally as valuable is the network of friendships that have developed there.  The spirit of Crossfit is like none other.  Kudos to the coaches at CrossfitCarmel for have a great thing going.  I'm thankful for you bigtime!

2.  My Chiropractor:  I have been getting adjusted for several years now at Premier Sports Chiropractic. Dr. Mike is one of my best friends, but besides that chiropractic care has made a huge difference in my life.  I rarely get sick.  I have more energy, and I do the things necessary between adjustments.  Some folks only get adjusted when they are in pain, but where I get adjusted it's more of a lifestyle approach.  So when I told Mike that I was bored of running, personal training, globo-gyms, etc, he was the one that said, " need to try Crossfit."  My reply was, "What exactly is that?"  And the rest is history.  I'm thankful for our friendship Mike.

3.  My wife:  Ok....won't be sappy here, but I've made a huge discovery about getting healthy that has nothing to do with what you eat, how long your run or work out, or what supplement or vitamin you are taking.  It has to do with sacrifice and support and my dear wife Heather is the epitome of that.  She has never complained, commented, or vented about how much I attend Crossfit.  I drop my kids off to her at the end of her working evening every Monday night so I can attend the 7:30 p.m. WOD (Workout of the Day).  I sometimes stay on Saturday morning for two WOD (or two hours).  She never bats and eye and is a champ.  She's supportive, encouraging, and an amazing woman.  I could not be doing what I'm doing without her and I am more than thankful for her.  By the way, she has a cool blog called All Kinds of Goodies.  It's really good.

Being healthy is important to me and there is no one way that works for everyone.  However, I think I've found what works for me.  I hope you can find what works for you because I must say that after 38 years, it's finally fun.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Where are You Supposed to Be

Great short video advertising the Crossfit Journal online.  This is a great resource even if you are not in to Crossfit.  For any fitness enthusiast, there is tons of great "healthy" information.  Love the latest video posted about a Boston mom who took up Crossfit in order to make it in the military AT AGE 39!

Thursday, November 11, 2010


On this Veteran's Day, I went to the 5:30 Advanced Class at Crossfit Carmel.  Fittingly, the WOD was a hero workout.  

For Time
Run 800 meters
Run 400 meters backwards
Run 800 meters
Run 400 meters backwards

This Crossfit WOD is name in honor of USAF SSgt Travis L. Griffin, 28, who was killed April 3, 2008 in the Rasheed district of Baghdad by an IED strike to his vehicle. Travis is survived by his son Elijah.  

My time:  12:36 and I was not the last to finish despite my anxiety of running with elite guys....two who finished in the 9 minute range.  Crazy times!

This was my first real run in my Vibram shoes.  WOW!  What a difference!  No heel striking.  No supinating!  Post workout soreness set in to my calfs and man...they are still on fire.  However, I can see how the Vibrams can really help me run more efficiently.  I wonder if the Vibrams were the reason for my first 800 meters being 3:40 which is INCREDIBLY fast for me, or if it was the fact that I was chasing all the advanced guys, many of whom are triathletes, endurance runners, and much smaller guys than I am.  Either way, what a great way to honor Veteran's Day, and what a great Crossfit WOD!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

Vibram Five Fingers

In my quest to become a better runner, I decided to take the Crossfit plunge back in June.  If you've read my blog or just know me in general, you will know that I'm quite addicted, enthused, engrossed to/with Crossfit.  However, as I got deeper into Crossfit, I have run less and less.  But I want to apply my gains w/Crossfit to running and get after my goal of a sub 2 hour half marathon at some point.  I also just want to become a better runner and stop suffering from so much pain when I train for distance races.

A handful of Crossfitters with whom I work out wear the Vibram Five Fingers shoes in hopes of becoming a more efficient runner.  As silly as these shoes look, everyone I respect who wears them swears by them.

I've taken the plunge. 

I'm hoping for the following:
              • Stop heel striking.
              • Stop pronating.
              • Eliminate knee and lower back pain after training for long distance running.
              • Become a more efficient runner.
Monday night will be my first workout with them, so stay tuned for a report of how things go.  

Saturday, November 6, 2010


It's been about a week since I had the motivation to post something.  Not because I was bored.  Not due to lack of motivation.  After completing the Whole 30 Paleo Challenge I found myself feeling better than ever, but like most people (I think), I need something new to keep me motivated.  I'd like to lose more weight so that I can attack a half marathon under 2 hours.  That's been a goal of mine before meeting Crossfit.  Ok....get to the point, right?

I continue to eat very well.  I indulge no more than once per week whether it be a meal or beer, but the day after, it's back on track, trying to live as close to a Paleo lifestyle as I can w/out obsessing and being so rigid.  I want to enjoy my food...always have.

This morning was the weekly/weekend Hopper WOD's at Crossfit Carmel.  (Click on the link to read what a Hopper is for you non Crossfitters.  The first WOD was 4 rounds of:

400 meter run
50 air squats

My time:  17:30....fairly pleased

Usually, that is enough for me, but I decided to stay and see what the 10 a.m. WOD would be.......

A Hero WOD
20 minutes AMRAP (As Many Reps as Possible)
5 pull up's
10 push up's
15 air squats

My result:  13 plus 5 pull ups and 10 push ups (I felt like Cameron from Ferris Bueller's Day Off trying to decide if I was going to do this or not.)

Watching the first heat get rounds in the 20's, I knew I was spent, but I just wanted to finish and give it a try WITHOUT QUITTING.  My point today?

You can read about all the Hero work outs and more about Crossfit here.  

I always need something to chase and that ebb's and flows:  Eating Paleo for 30 days served that for me and finishing Cindy after already completing a WOD did that for me.  Learning how to do air squats (what seems like a simple thing) properly today did that for me.  Stretching (after throwing out my back did that for me)  Crossfit has taught me not only to push myself further than I thought I could, rather it's taught me how to be a complete fit person.  Stay tuned......Crossfit Carmel is going to start a new challenge:  100 days of burpees and I'm going to complete it!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Secrets from the Food Industry

Great information sent to me by our friend Lindsey. (Check out her blog Enjoying Healthy Foods!)
Very insightful information on the FDA stamp of approval and not taking sugar as criteria. Insane! One of things that has made a huge difference for my overall fitness has been the elimination of sugar. Enjoy the video.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Taste and Indigestion

Today I had little to pack for my lunch.  I found some canned tuna and mixed in a tablespoon of organic wasabi mayo (non Paleo).  I sliced up a green pepper and ate it raw.  I also work in a school, so I went back to my old friend:  the school salad bar.

I made my usual mound of vegetable artwork mixing up color and textures.  ( broccoli is nasty!  It looks like my 5 year old's plastic food pieces in her play kitchen!  I stay away from that.)  So I had to make a critical decision.  Salad dressing or not.  Back in the day, I ate honey mustard like it was water.  Previous to my Paleo experiment, I always added some salad dressing.  However, today I drizzled maybe a tablespoon and a half.  And today......I have INDIGESTION in my upper chest and near my throat.  You know, that hot stuff that neither comes up or goes down.  It just kind of hangs out there.  The only thing I changed about my diet today was the salad dressing.  I've had a bit of the mayo before, so I knew that could not be it.

Conclusion:  GOODBYE SCHOOL (and other heavy) SALAD DRESSINGS!!!

Oh......and goodbye nasty mayo filthy chicken salad.  It just looked awful.  (I used to eat a small plate of that and pile it on crackers.)  Just looking at it made me want to toss my cookies.

Conclusion: My tastes and food desires for some things have really changed.

Where I've usually finished things hardcore and fallen off the wagon, the Whole 9 30 Paleo Challenge continues to have a profound impact on my health, diet, and lifestyle!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Processed Foods in Schools

If this does not make you think twice about what our kids eat and processed foods then I'm not sure what will.  

Monday, October 25, 2010

Paleo Mayo Take 1

This may be the most boring video in the history of the world wide web, however I wanted to show the consistency of my first batch of paleo mayo.  I have to say, it was a bit of a pain to make as it required adding the oil drop by drop.  I think as much as I don't eat mayo, that I may stick to regular, organic mayo.  (again...everything in moderation, however I just don't eat mayo that often.)  I may give another go at it as there has to be a way to not have it so runny.  If you have any secrets, let me know.  Here's the recipe I used as I hunted around online at various recipes.  
1 egg
1 egg white
1 cup olive oil
1 tsp. vinegar
1/2 tsp dried mustard
1 tsp lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

Combine everything except the oil last.  Add drop by drop so it does not separate.  Put in fridge to chill.  

Sunday, October 24, 2010


I'm not a big multiple post per day kind of guy, but I wanted to share a little bit more of what happened today.

It's Sunday and usually a rest day, but given my back injury, yesterday was my first WOD in 7 days.  See previous post, Annie for details.  Today, my buddy Mike asks me to come over and make up a WOD together given that Crossfit Carmel is closed on Sundays.  We come up w/the following:

25 double unders
25 air squats
25 push ups
4x for time 

Mike was jealous I showcased my pooch this a.m., so he dubbed today's WOD, Aggie.  He does have a freakin' good pooch as you can see, however she has not taken a bullet, is not blind in her eye from being stabbed, and her tail is in superior shape.  But this post and WOD was bigger than Aggie (sorry Mike and Jayme) which I will explain......

...........Last night I veered of the Paleo path and found my family and me at a gem of a restaurant in Carmel, Indiana.  Pizzology!  While I had the best bowl of muscles in this history of my life, I added two very scrumptious hoppy ales from The Victory Brewing Co. later that night with my trusty neighbor, Don.

1 Hop Devil and 1 Hop Wallop
Some of the best food and pale ale I've had in awhile.  But..........remember Aggie.....this story was bigger than that pooch right???!?!??!

Here goes......I spent 30 days on a strict Paleo diet.  I felt great.  I saw gains at Crossfit, and I JUST.  FELT.  GREAT!  I woke up this a.m. and I'll spare you the details of how my stomach was acting.  After the newly dubbed Aggie WOD, I felt reflux in my chest and my stomach ached a bit.  A far cry from how I felt after WODS while on my 30 day challenge.  While I believe in having that cheat meal or even a cheat day (whichever you can handle w/out going overboard), I don't like how the food and beverage made me feel the day after.  Granted, I've been off Crossfit for a week, I still know my stomach, and I know how it felt when I was not eating those foods.  So I've made the following conclusions:

#1:  Pizza is a food I often can not control, so I can not have pizza and beer together as a cheat meal and expect to feel good and perform well during a WOD a day or two later.  I'm not 17 anymore.

#2:  Beer can only be a treat once per week at the most and not in huge excess.

#3:  I don't like how I feel after beer and pizza now that I know what it was like during my 30 day challenge.  

#4.  The contrast b/t how I felt today versus how I felt when eliminating such foods/drink is incredible.  

#5:  It's easy to slip on dietary habits when injured or coming back from an injury.  

Thanks Aggie!!!


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