Sunday, November 20, 2011

Tough Mudder Indiana: Proud and Stupid

Back in August it seemed like it was a good idea to put a challenge in front of me. Something to aim for.  Some carrot to dangle to keep me motivated to maintain a sound diet and consistent workout regiment. Being a part of Crossfit Carmel means being immersed in a community of like-minded folks. So when a few fellow workout buddies signed up for the 2011 Indiana Tough Mudder, the carrot dangled. Now that the experience is behind me, several thoughts continue to swim through my mind.

Training for the Tough Mudder was simple. Crossfit. It's the perfect combination of endurance, weight training, body weight, cardio, and mental training. While I've listened to my fellow gym buddies discuss how Crossfit Endurance is all that is needed to train for longer distances, and while two fellow workout pals solely used Crossfit as their means for their first Ironman, I continued to have my doubts pinning my thoughts to my 6'2", 240 lbs. frame. "What if....." consumed me. But I trusted what I was told and my gut.

Those who know me clearly know I'm a bit consumed with planning at times. While I want to know directions, departure time, what to wear, where to park, etc., this event was different. I did not take much time to think about the course length, the crazy amount of obstacles, or the weather conditions until the week of the event. For that, I'm glad, because I may have quit before I started.

Plan and simple: The Tough Mudder is NO JOKE. But in the back of my mind I must admit I thought, "They make those videos to intimidate you. There is no way it's all that." Ha! There is not enough room in cyberspace to adequately share what was all entailed. Here's the course map.  You decide. 

Thirty of us all set out on this 40 degree day with a windchill in the 30's and 20's at time. The plan was that we were all to stay together in packs. No one gets left behind. Everyone finishes.  When I said this was no joke, I was not kidding. This realization was never more evident than when the mood shift of all my teammates smacked me in the face harder than the wind that was whipping at my cheeks. Our group went from laughing and tossing a football while running, to a more solemn, introspective quietness. I could hear others thinking, "What have we really gotten ourselves into?" But no one dared say it. I kept thinking, "Now come on. We are not climbing Everest." I was thinking, "Maybe some of my friends were right. Maybe I am stupid. Why WOULD I want to do such a thing?" And as quickly as I asked myself, I answered. "Because it's there. Because I can learn from this. Because I want to see how far I can push myself. Because I can."

And so roughly 4 miles in and with only 25% of the course behind us, two of our most fit athletes at the gym could not warm their bodies and had to call it a day. As I became a bit scared knowing these folks are physcial specimans of fitness, I wondered, doubted, and went through some serious mental ping pong. I was scared I'd get stuck under muddy water. I was worried I might twist an ankle and not be able to make it to the end. I was fearful of hypothermia. I hate, hate, hate being cold and there was no alternative on this day.  Cold was normal. At one point I found myself alone for about 30 minutes wondering how I got separated from my team, but I had to keep my body moving through the course as I felt my quads, hip flexors, and calf muscles tightening up. It was at this point where I was trying to fight off fear. I struck up a conversation with a 48 year old, grey haired guy like me for a bit. He wished me good luck and we separated as I traversed down a steep hill with mud so caked on my shoes you could not really make out that I was even wearing shoes. At the bottom of the hill I saw a pack of red shirts just like mine and had caught up to a group of my teammates. I discovered I was with a middle pack. There were a handful ahead of them and a few behind, so our plan was still intact. No one finishes alone.

I stuck with this group for about two more hours. The mood of the group fluctuated between collegial encouragement, to silent fortitude. We all knew what we were thinking, but we made the most of it. And somehow with about 3 miles left, my teammate Derek and I found ourselves alone the rest of the way. Our commitment: Attempt every obstacle. Keep moving. Be positive. Derek was great. He did not mind that I could no longer run for long periods of time. My right hip flexor was shot and my right calf was cramping. We crawled face down in mud. We got through waste deep water, and we waited 20 minutes to get across a 3 inch wood plank over a pool of freezing waste deep water. (We both made it half way until we dove in.) And when we saw the finish line, we got a bit giddy. Derek, who got separated from his wife on the course three hours earlier kicked it into another gear. We finised together.

Here's what I took from this experience:
Part of this was indeed stupid.
Being pushed to my limits only makes me stronger.
Teamwork and togetherness can make anything happen.
I now know what being uncomfortable really feels like.
I'm in the best shape of my life:  I never questioned my physical condition.
Crossfit and proper eating prepared me for this.
I'm more mentally strong than I allowed myself to think. 
I'm just as happy for and proud of my teammates as I am of myself for doing this.
I now believe in the Tough Mudder Pledge 

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Bon Jovi's New Brilliant Food Gig

This is how I remember Bon Jovi

But THIS is what he is doing now.  BRILLIANT

Check out the website.

Definitely livin' on a prayer!

Monday, October 24, 2011

The Most Feared Villain of All: The Weekend

If you are just jumping in here you may want to go back and review the following:

Chapter 1: Once Upon a Health and Fitness Plan
Chapter 2:  Keeping Track of it All
Chapter 3:  Villains

And now.....

Chapter 4:  The Most Feared Villain of All!
And the last villain is the most feared of all.  It's consistent and eternal.  There is never an end in sight with this thing.  Imagine something constantly coming after you no matter where you turn.  No matter what you do.  No matter where you go.  And no matter how old you are, this body of evil is always......always there.  The hardest part perhaps is that this enemy comes in triplicate.  
Sure, the weekend looks easy going, relaxing, and care free.  It just lures you in and before you know it you don't know what you've done.  You don't know what you've eaten.  For our guy, he works at a school during the week.  There's structure, routine, and it's easy track food intake.  However, the weekends pose challenges.  

Here's some defense weapons:

--Work out on Friday nights.  When treating Friday like just another day, it becomes easier to not overdo food intake.  It's just like any other day.

--Have a routine to work out Saturday or Sunday (if you need a rest day on the weekend).  Make your workout hard enough to not want to waste it on eating poorly later.  

--Keep busy.  When occupying yourself with some extra structure for the weekend, it's easier to avoid finding your way to the fridge and snack cabinets.

--Plan your weekend meals just like your meals during the week. 

--Allow a cheat meal.  Look forward to it.  Enjoy it.  

--Chop up veggies for the week on the weekend.  This not only creates an easy go-to stash for easy cooking during the week, but it makes the same healthy food available on the weekend. 

--Journal your weekend food.  Remember that great resource I shared in Chapter 2?!

The weekend can be a carb loading, fat inducing, sugar busting killer if you are not careful.  Approach the weekends with some focus.  Establish a routine, and you are sure to kick some....

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Winter Weight Management Special

And now...a word from our sponsor.

If you have not been following lately, you must check out the first three chapters of a riveting piece of literature just released.  Start here.

In order to pay the bills, I've acquired the following ad.  Got a good deal on ad space!

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--a one-hour health history consultation
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For more info. about what I do as a Health and Nutrition Coach, head on over to my website.

For more details, questions contact Craig at 317.919.3848 or at

When is the last time you sat and talked to someone about  your health and wellness?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Chapter 3: Villains

Chapter 3:  Villains

You know what villians are.  They are everywhere.  

On the big screen......


And the scariest villain of all....

Back in Chapter 1, we met a guy trying to reach new food and fitness goals.  In Chapter 2, he shared his new resource for tracking food.  Now, we learn about a few villains trying to wreak havoc on our main character's fitness goals.  

The first is a shifty villain who is sneaky.  When coming home from work, The After Work Craving Villain looks a lot like this...
Those cravings are hiding in there and sometimes they change form and hide in here....
They look so happy, friendly, and satisfying.  Warding this villain off usually requires one specific defense:  staying busy.  When coming home from work and keeping a routine (i.e. get kids off bus, fix snack, unpack backpacks, talk about the day, supervise homework, unpack lunch boxes, prepare for dinner, do dishes, go to the gym, etc.) this villain is usually defeated.  Get lazy, let your guard down, and the rest is history.

Another enemy of our main character is worse than The After Work Cravings.  Most afternoons of the week our protagonist works out.  This villain is aggressive yet predictable. 

This villain is hard to defend, but with focus it can be done and done well.  The  Post Workout Villain is a demon as hunger strikes about twenty minutes after working out and our character wants to eat, eat, and eat.  However, without fail, 100% of the time victory ensues with some food planning.  This villain goes away in a quick hurry when some protein, few carbs and healthy fat are consumed within 20 minutes after a workout.  

Paleo Kits are a great defense.  They have the perfect ratio of carbs, protein, and fat.  

A sweet potato is another good weapon.  Some quality lunchmeat and a small piece of fruit provide similar results against this vicious, evil enemy.  If any one of these food choices are consumed post-workout, it becomes much easier to not eat everything in the house when returning from the gym.  It just takes some conscious planning before heading to work out.  

These are just two villains that keep life challenging for our main character.  While he does a sound job fending them off on a weekly basis, no hero-status is warranted.  Rather, there is one mambo jambo, incredible, and eternal enemy no one can avoid.  This is one you will not want to miss because the bad news just got worse.  EVERYONE I repeat....EVERYONE in the WORLD sees this next villain all the time.  It's beyond aggressive.  It's comes in threes, and it can not die.  

Stay tuned for Chapter Four to find out what it is and if our story can live on.....

Monday, October 17, 2011

Chapter 2: Keeping Track of it All

Chapter 2:  Keeping Track of it All:  A Great Tool For You 

And so it continues.....

Chapter 1 introduced us to our main, uh....only character, a 39-year old, husband, father of two, School Counselor, Health and Nutrition Coach who, like anyone, has had his ups and downs with food and fitness.  In the past year, he's found himself in a great place with his fitness and food and plans to never return to The Food Place That Shall Not Be Named.  We learned about goals, planning, and how to find new purpose when one has had a string of success.  

One of those goals involves tracking food.  Now, before you give me this......

......consider this:  We live in a society full instantaneous gratification i.e. cell phones, texting, laptops, iPads, fax machines, Twitter, Facebook, cloud services, and much more. 

It goes without saying that most people will find at least seventeen excuses why tracking food will not work for them.  Instead of wasting precious cyberspace listing a few, let's see what great tool our protagonist is using.

MyFitnessPal is more than a calorie counter.  But it is a smart tool that encompasses that very "give it to me now/instant gratification" mindset into something that takes time and patience:  eating well and weight loss.  This tool literally has over a million food entries in it's library making it easy to find what you are logging.  It provides graphical data on how much protein, how many carbs, and how many calories you have left to consume each day and allows you to set your own goals regarding what percentage of each need to consume.  Even more, it has a whole social networking component for support.  Remember that team our protagonist joined in Chapter One?  The one that is trying to achieve new fitness goals?  With this tracking tool, now he can see what and how his friends are eating.  The benefits to that?  You can get ideas of what to eat, when others eat certain foods, and you can offer support and encouragement by posting messages back and forth.  And one more piece of that "instand gratification-give-it-to-me-now" mindset.  You can enter your information from any computer and then continue from any phone with the free application.  It's available for any iPhone, Android, or Blackberry device.  

DISCLAIMER:  This literary piece of opinion does not receive any benefits from MyFitness Pal, rather we find it to just be a very simple, easy-to-use, intuitive, and motivating tool to aid in doing something that historically takes time, persistance, and patience.  

Speaking of Chapter 3 our main character will face a few evil villains.  Stay tuned to see if he can ward of these calorie sucking, carb loading enemies!  

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Once Upon a Health and Fitness Plan

Chapter 1

Once  upon a time, there was an overweight 30 year-old who lost 68 pounds using Weight Watchers.  This teacher and soon-to-be-father-of-two ran his first half marathon and over the next few years ran three of them.  Soon enough, the pounds found him again, all but 9 of them. 

Two years, four globo-gyms, another trip to Weight Watchers, and a personal trainer later, this thirty-something said to his good friend, "I wish there was a place with a boot camp atmosphere, that was as into working out and keeping me healthy in a sustainable way."  Enter:  Crossfit.  

Now, at age 39, this "young" man is in the physical shape of his life.  He's a school counselor by day, a father, husband, and Health and Nutrition Coach as well.  At the same time, this foodie/fitness junkie recently pontificated the following:  "Now that I've changed my body, my strength, endurance, and relationship with food, what do I want to do?  What is next?  And so he came to a crossroads.  Enter:  The Crossfit Carmel Training Challenge. 

He became part of an eight person team that trains and tracks food together with three goals in mind:

1.  Compete against 4 other teams in the gym.

So what does this entail for this almost 40-year-old father of two/husband to a wife who has gone back to work/School Counselor/Health and Nutrition Coach?  It means if he wants to lose the weight to be more competitive in the gym....if he wants to do more than five pull ups without having to drop off the bar, if he wants to run longer distances, if he wants to finally shed the last-to-go-belly fat, then he must, I repeat, he must without fail and with full focus do the following:

1.  Write out his goals on paper.
2.  Make those goals visible and read them every day.
3.  Plan his meals in advance in a reasonable time-efficient manner.
4.  Decrease weekend beer consumption.
5.  Work on shoulder and hamstring mobility every day.  EVERY.  DAY.
6.  Track food intake 
7.  Track workout information.
8.  Be mindful of food intake while still indulging from time to time.
9.  Work on things that are difficult.
10.  Be positive!

Stay tuned for
Keeping Track of it All:  A Great Tool For You

Thursday, October 6, 2011

My Kind of Town Chicago is.....

In a previous post I promised I'd share my experience at my first Crossfit competition, so here goes....

Last Saturday

4:30 a.m.: Alarm sounds
4:34 a.m:  Shower
5:00 a.m.: Depart for Chicago

8:30 a.m.:  Arrive at Crossfit Freedom 

9:35 a.m.:  I'm in heat 5 of the first workout which is......

-In 5 minutes do a 400 meter run carrying a 90 lb. sandbag, then row the remaining time.  Your total calories rowing is your score.
small talk w/my judge

trying to hang on

9:40 a.m.:  I wanted to pass out!

9:55 a.m.:  Recovered and excited about workout #2

10:55:  I'm in heat 7 of workout #2 which entails:  7 minutes of as many rounds as possible of....225 lb. deadlift w/a fat bar/20 sit up's on the GHD machine/30 double unders.


I'm actually asking God for help here!  This sucked!

10:42 a.m.:  I thought I may never get over the GHD sit ups!

11:00 a.m.:  Excited about the last workout and watching the rest of the field compete.

2:00: p.m.:  I am in heat 5 of the last workout which is:  5 minutes of as many rounds as possible of 14 box jumps (30 inch box) and 7 kettlebell snatches of 50 lbs.  

2:05 p.m.:  Proud of myself for choosing to compete with some seriously elite athletes in a great environment of competition.  

This was a day full of eye opening experiences.  Sure, there were crazy fit people there.  Sure, there were folks there with as much body fat as my pinky toe.  But there were also folks like me just trying to see where they stand.  Overall, I finished 53rd out of 71 male competitors that day.  However, that mattered little to me.  What was invigorating was to put myself in a situation that was unfamiliar and just have some fun working as hard as I could.  Here's a few of my other favorite other photos from the day.......

Shirt says, "It's o.k. to stare.  Just don't interrupt." 

Not the best quality shot, but I love the message.

Truly motivating!

Friday, September 30, 2011

Guest Blogger: A Festivus Miracle!

The following guest blogger has hit a home run in my humble opinion.  Katrina is a friend, mother, wife, writer.  You can find her latest book, Table for Six,  here if you wish and her website/blog here In the words of Simon Cowell...If I'm being honest....I originally thought, "Katrina is so well-written.  She will be a wonderful guest blogger because she has a great personal story to tell and DAMN!  That girl can write!"  

Well....Katrina, my friend...You have articulated what an aspiring health coach dreams his clients will come to realize.  I've highlighted those ah-ha's in your writing.  

When my youngest was eight and I was still 70 pounds overweight, I decided it was time to stop blaming my posterior on “The Baby.” And the “I had four kids in five years” excuse was getting a little old, too.

The truth? I liked Oreos. A lot.

Oh, and not just Oreos. I was an addict – a carb addict. Perhaps “Man doth not live on bread alone,” but I was fairly certain I could live exclusively on Noble Romans breadsticks, given that glorious opportunity.

As a former athlete, I was accustomed to eating anything I wanted… and never gaining an ounce. But age and Oreos caught up with me as they are wont to do. It was time to do something different, to see things through a new lens, to make a lifestyle change.

I’d dabbled in many diets over the years – from Weight Watchers to grapefruit to liquid only. I’d tried just about everything. And sure, I lost weight on all of them. But I always gained it back. And then I’d gain a few extra pounds just for good measure.

Why? Because they were temporary. Because I wasn’t learning anything about food, exercise, my body, and how those three entities work together.

My trusted doctor (and uncle) suggested I try the South Beach diet. When I realized I had to give up sugar for TWO WHOLE WEEKS, I was convinced I would probably die. Or kill someone. And I’ll admit, when those two weeks began, I was grumpy, irritable, and less than pleased. I didn’t kill anyone. I’m fairly certain, however, that I yelled a lot. I probably even cried. But when those two weeks were over, I’d lost twelve pounds and no longer craved sugar and carbs.

It was truly a Festivus miracle.

I am blessed with an incredibly supportive husband who also happens to be a great cook. He made this journey with me, and together we lost over 100 pounds within the course of a year. And here’s the thing… South Beach isn’t really about dieting. It’s about making better, more informed choices. It’s about choosing a sweet potato instead of a white potato. It’s about savoring a bite of good, rich, dark chocolate instead of a processed candy bar. It’s about enjoying a steaming cup of hot Zen tea instead of a McDonald’s Diet Coke. It’s about embracing the veggies. And we all need to give the veggies a little love, don’t we?

Once the pounds began to fall away, everything about my life changed. I know, I know – it sounds like a bad commercial, but it’s true. My energy returned, my motivation increased, my mood improved.

Mama got her groove back.

I’d always wanted to run a marathon by the time I turned 40, had always wanted to check that particular item off my bucket list. At age 40 (+ a few months), I completed the Indianapolis Monumental Marathon. My husband and kids supported me through alternately grueling and rewarding months of training, my friends met me on my long runs with water and Gu and cheerleading in the streets. Long-distance friends sent motivational tapes and letters of encouragement. Marathon-running veterans offered me valuable words of advice. Apparently, it takes a village to run a marathon.

And I have never been more grateful for my village.

Crossing that finish line with my friends and kids (who ran the last quarter mile with me) was one of the greatest accomplishments of my life. It taught me – and my children – what dedication is all about. It was a priceless lesson in setting a goal and seeing it through.

And I must admit that some of those early morning training runs were downright spiritual.

Health and fitness isn’t a cross-the-finish-line kind of event, though. It’s an ongoing process. There’s always more to learn, always something new to try. And are there times I give into the lure of the Oreo? You bet. Life is about living, after all. But a healthy body makes life a thousand times more enjoyable.

And strutting my skinnier, happier, healthier self in some “7 for all mankind” jeans? Not a bad bonus, either.





Thursday, September 29, 2011

Choosing My Attitude

This Jedi warrior's picture hangs in my office.  I work by day as a school counselor helping kids manage their stress/anxiety.  I assist with getting many of them organized, and I want them to realize that if they want to make change in their lives they must change themselves and the world around them will follow.  However, just the other day, I looked above my desk and I realized that the great wisdom of this creature often has gone forgotten and he has many lessons that can apply to any arena.  

Fast forward two days.  The phone rings.  There is one opening this weekend in Chicago for the LifeasRx Crossfit Competition.  

This is billed as a competition for all levels of Crossfit.  In other words, you dont' have to be like this...

So my answer was, "Let's do it."  

Am I nervous?  Sort of.  However, I'm looking at it like this:  A year ago I was 270 lbs.  I could not do a pull up, and I was far from fit and healthy.  Today, I'm as fit as I've ever been, but I am unsure about what I am working towards lately.  This is a great opportunity to go into something without knowing what lies ahead.    It's a great opportunity to learn from those around me, and see where I stack up and what I need to work on.  

If you've read The Fish Philosophy, you could say that I am "choosing my attitude".

If you are a real Star Wars geek like me, you would hear Yoda telling you to "unlearn what you have learned" and "Do!  Or do not!  There is not try."  

(watch this entire clip b/c the last two lines say it all!)

So what are you going to do in your life that is difficult, out of your comfort zone, and a challenge like none other?  
Stay tuned next week and I'll share my experience.  

Monday, September 26, 2011


In a previous post, I listed a few things that I could not do before I discovered Crossfit.  Recently, I thought of another. 


I've always been good at this type of squatting.
And for all practical reasons, squatting to do your business should be similar to the proper technique in any squat.  Here's what it should look like....

Before Crossfit, I was like anyone else who would say...

"Squatting hurts my back."
"Squatting hurts my knees."
"I hate squatting."

When first arriving CrossfitCarmel over a year ago, the above-mentioned statements were met with the following reply:

"Once you start squatting with correct form, you won't have that kind of pain."

Now, 14 months later, I understand that squatting is a glute, hamstring engagement.  Putting less weight on the bar and working on form over the past several months has been the best thing I've ever decided.  And as I look to work on my hamstring mobility, I can only hope that I am able to increase my squat numbers in the future.  

My knees don't hurt when I squat because I make sure my knees track over my toes.  

My back does not hurt when I squat because I make sure my chest is up.  If I can not keep my chest up, then I have too much weight on the bar.  

When I first started Crossfit, I could barely squat 135 lbs.

(let the sweaty jokes's the only pic I had!)

Monday, September 19, 2011

What You Have in Common With an Ironman (No Matter Who You Are)

I've always been in awe of people who can push themselves to extreme limits.  The climbers who tackle Everest, while completely out of their minds, fascinate me.  The first marathon I watched in person, left me in complete awe.  In high school, I remember needing at times to work my tail off to make up for my lack of athletic ability as I was not gifted with great speed or jumping ability, but I knew I could outwork people.  Perhaps that is why Crossfit is so appealing to me.  Each and every workout every time I go to the gym pushes me to my limits for the day.  

And so when I heard that a couple of they guys from Crossfit Carmel were running their first Ironman triathlon, I wanted to learn what I could from them.  I'm pretty sure I'll never tackle an Ironman, but I'm very certain I can learn from those who have.  For that reason, I asked Nick Smarrelli, now an official Ironman himself, to share his experiences here.  Specifically, I was interested in how he and Dave trained because it was fairly unorthodox to say the least.  I also asked him to touch upon his dietary and mental approach to this mind-bending and grueling experience.  It's my hope that no matter where you are with your fitness that you will be able to take lessons from Nick and Dave and apply to your fitness journey.  Enjoy!
Recently, after a grueling 12 hour day, I had the opportunity to complete my first Ironman distance triathlon race with my good friend Dave Juntgen.  The event has been deemed one of the most challenging endurance races in the world.  It certainly goes against the old mantra: everything in moderation – challenging the athlete to complete a 2.4 mile swim, a 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run in a single day.

I should also note that I keep the rest of my life in that state beyond “moderation”.   I am a part-owner of an IT firm based in St. Louis (which requires me to be commuting 50% of the time and work 7-days a week), I am a part-time trainer at CrossFit Carmel, I am married (and very much was still interested in being married after the Ironman) and am lucky to have a fairly active social life both here in Indy, but also across the country.   That said, with my life on permanent overdrive, adding the element of fitness and Ironman training meant compromise.  

Stubbornly, I refused and headed down a training path known as CrossFit Endurance.   As an active CrossFitter prior to this Ironman, I had only had limited interaction with CrossFit Endurance (hereafter known as “CFE”).  The basic premise said that an athlete can improve performance and endurance while eliminating the unnecessary volume of training generally associated with endurance training.  The focus shifts to intensity and recovery integrated seamlessly with the Olympic lifts, powerlifting, gymnastics movements, and mobility of CrossFit.  What does this mean in real terms?

An “Average” Triathlete’s Mileage for the Week:
Miles per week swimming: 7
Miles per week biking:  225
Miles per week running: 48

Dave and Nick’s Plan:
Miles per week swimming: 2                                  
Miles per week biking: 80
Miles per week running: 6

Keep in mind – I had days where I craved a casual long-distance jog instead of putting my recently eaten lunch at risk with grueling 400 meter repeats.  However, the ultimate output meant that I was training 15 hours/week versus 30+ hours a week as prescribed by the “norm”.  Dave and I spent the first few months diligently following the programming and found ourselves on Google nightly trying to find any anecdotes that helped validate this unique way of training.  The scientific data was easy to find, the anecdotes were not.  However, we persevered as a result of input from our two good friends who have been certified in this type of endurance training, but also because we had created a sustainable training schedule that also allowed us to live our lives outside of fitness.  We challenged ourselves to push ourselves hard in our workouts, but to always prioritize recovery as the key to our real improvement. 

In the course of the 8-9 months of training, we followed, about 90% of the time, the CFE and CrossFit lifestyle.  Dave and I both explored nutritional options – and naively demanded our bodies to give us immediate feedback on whether the changes in our diet were making us better athletes.  We attempted to eliminate gluten and 24 hours after isolating this element from our diet, started carefully at our watches wondering if we’d noticed an increase in performance.  The funny thing about nutrition, and training in and of itself, is that daily incremental gains aren’t easy to notice, it does take some time.  I did end up going gluten free for over 60 days and found marginal differences in performance.  As a result, I did go back to eating it, but always in moderate amounts. Dave and I challenged ourselves nutritionally to find what worked best for our bodies – and found that it was different for us both.   

As a tall skinny guy, I required more fat and protein than Dave – just to maintain my energy level and performance.   However, what was constant was the criticality for immediate nutrition post-training, and consistent nutrition during the day.  Fruits, vegetables, healthy fats, the right carbs, and a healthy dose of protein remained constant – we just tinkered with the doses (give or take a few glasses of wine and a beer too, of course).

Lastly – why? Because I can.  Idleness is unacceptable when I have been given so much.  A body that functions, a mind that is reasonably sharp, and the support of a great family and friend network.   But – whatever effort I’ve put into training, it’s given back exponentially - I was rewarded daily with overcoming the challenge of a tough workout – to watch my body improve over the course of time – to be able to get away from a day’s work stress and be focused on a goal just 200m ahead of you.  It allowed me to gain discipline, focus, and time-management mastery.   And now I have a fun story to tell. 

My experience with the Ironman and CrossFit have taught me efficiency. If you eat the right foods – packed with nutrients, you don’t have to eat as much to reap all the rewards.  If you exercise right (for me, that’s CrossFit), you can actually spend less time at the gym, and still be healthier.  Done correctly, being healthy doesn’t require a radical compromise of the days priorities – just a little change in the execution.


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