Today is, apparently according to the Today Show, National Eat Whatever You Want Day. My first reaction was, well…
Because we eat so healthfully all the time in America that we need a whole day to celebrate eating whatever… https://t.co/n1cuN2idaW
— Alexandra Black (@AlexB_RD) May 11, 2015
But then I realized I basically eat what I want most days. Maybe not whatEVER I want, but for the most part I don’t dread lunch, I don’t hate breakfast, and my dinner isn’t boring. I like what I eat, and it’s not like I’d actually enjoy eating a cheeseburger everyday. There is a way to eat healthy AND like what you’re eating. I think that’s actually something the Paleo community has done better than any other diet – instead of trying to make some sort of frankenfood no carb no calorie bread or tortilla, they just said F the grains, let’s use delicious herbs and spices to make meat and vegetables taste amazing. Or, let’s repurpose vegetables into old favorite (e.g. Cauliflower rice or “mashed potatoes”). For many, that focus on good food is what makes Paleo sustainable – if your Paleo diet is grilled chicken and broccoli most of the time, you’re either one of those weird people who don’t much care what they eat, or you’re going to run into trouble.
There’s a quote I remember hearing (I don’t remember who said it) that went something like:
“Happiness isn’t having everything you want. It’s wanting everything you have.”
I think that’s a relevant message when it comes to diet. It’s not about being able to eat the things you love when your habits aren’t ideal and achieve your goals, it’s about wanting the foods that are healthy. About choosing baked sweet potato wedges over Ore Ida fries, or choosing cage free eggs and fruit over a waffle. About wanting a healthy, home cooked meal more than you want Shake Shack. And LIKING that choice.
08 May / 2015
FIRE IT UP!
Awesome training this week everyone. On Wednesday, the gym leaderboard was demolished for “Helen”. We had 3 new ladies claiming a Top 5 spot and 1 male. Great work by Lil’ O’Malley, Coach Alex, Ali and Matt. Avik just missed claiming the 5th best time by 2 seconds. Papa Grouse Yean-Rai dropped 3 minutes from his Helen time from just this past December!
Last Friday, Vijay rocked “Karen”‘s world with a time of 6:00. That placed him 3rd best time in the gym history. Great work!
Outside of the classes, participants of Coach G2’s Strength Challenge rocked their retest of the Our Crew Total. I don’t have all of the data yet but I know that Carlos increased his deadlift by 70 pounds in 12 weeks! Just yesterday Brian rocked a double PR in the Clean&Jerk and Snatch. More results will be posted soon.
This upcoming week will give us two opportunities for testing and benchmarking. Wednesday we have HeroWOD “Nate” and on Thursday we will be working up to a 2RM for the Power Snatch. Get those t-spines and shoulders mobilized!
a. Pull-ups – 5×5 AHAP
b. Push-ups – 5×10 with a 2121 tempo
Complete reps of 30-25-20 for time
25# Dumbbell Thrusters
Regionals Team Event
25 rope climbs
Work in teams of 3 and share the work however you like. All reps must be completed before moving on to the next movement.
M-75# snatches, 115# thruster
W-55# snatches, 75# thruster
3 x 5 reps @ 85% of 4/29
Complete for time
Run 1 mile
Muscle-up practice – with a false grip: hangs, flex arm hangs, pull-ups, ring rows
dips, dip supports, bottom of the dip
3 rounds for time
20 Unbroken Wallball shots, 20#/15#
20 Unbroken Double Unders
4 Handstand push-ups
8 Swings, 32kg/24kg
Strength/Skill: Power Snatch – 2RM
5 Rounds for time
15 Overhead Squats, 115/75
Strength: Front Squat – 5×5 (ascending up to heavy 5)
Complete reps of 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 for time
06 May / 2015
If you’ve read my blog long enough, you know my skepticism of the US food system is pretty healthy. Just this weekend I was shopping for chicken, and stumbled upon the lovely scene above. In just this frame alone the word “natural” is used over 5 times. And that’s only part of the chicken section! I’ve written before about how “natural” basically means nothing, but it is nonetheless confusing. I am always telling people to eat foods closest to their natural form, meaning cheese versus Cheez-Its (although eating them a few times a year at the beach isn’t going to kill you) or roasted potatoes versus potato chips. Generally the “closer to earth” (I will avoid using the word natural because like I said, it means squat) variations of a food are less calorically dense and contain more nutritional value (and nutritional bang for your calorie). So the question is: how do you choose the right meat when everything is labeled natural?
The best way to get humanely raised, non CAFO beef, chicken, eggs, and pork is to buy it from your local farmer. Visit the farm or farmer’s market and buy it on the spot, or join a meat CSA. Take a look at how the farmer does things – how much time to cows hang out outside. Do chickens get to eat bugs? Look at the egg yolk – it should be more orange than yellow. And make sure the cows have plenty of room to rut around and get muddy. That’s natural for them. Side note: there’s a lot of irony in the fact that this “all vegetarian fed chicken” is promoted as “natural”. In nature (or on the farm), chickens eat bugs. They’re not vegetarians, and it’s not good for them, and may explain higher rates of illness and tendency to turn on each other among industrially raised chickens. This Chicago Tribune article sheds more light and is highly recommended. Seriously, READ THIS. Mainly because I feel strongly and want you to, too.
Back to our topic. As is usual, the right way is also the most expensive option. Patrick and I are currently trying to buy better meats, and this summer our goal is to get all our meat from a local farmer. Hopefully we can also make rent
If the above option is too many dinero, then…
The Next Best Thing
After getting it right from Old McDonald, the next best option is buying organic. I’m not super familiar with all of the ins and outs of organic regulations, and I’ve heard buzz recently about organic foods still containing some chemicals and maybe not being as rigorous as we thought. I haven’t done enough digging to decide if this is a Food Babe rumor or a real concern, but it doesn’t change the fact that organically raised meat is still better than conventional farming right now when it comes to meat. So if you can’t get it form your local farmer, get it from a grocery store that buys from an organic farmer somewhere.
If all organic all the time doesn’t fit,
Buy Organic As Much As Possible
Figure out what works for your budget, and buy organic when you can, conventional the rest of the time. I would start with organic dairy and butter, as those won’t add too much to the grocery bill. Move onto eggs next. Then go to meats, as those are probably going to be the biggest increase.
Tonight’s 6:30 class is canceled. Mobility class is also cancelled tomorrow (Saturday) morning, May 2nd. Coach Mickey will open the gym at 7:45 for open gym and the Whole Life Challenge.
01 May / 2015
FIRE IT UP!
Fire It Up Friday returns after a week off. I know that you missed it while it was gone so…The ladies have stepped up big time this week so far in rocking the PR Bell. Lil’ O’Malley, Audrey, Alex, and Ellen all rang the bell this week. There has been some rumor that Carlos and Nigel “Pencil Neck” dominated Grace during this final week of the Strength Challenge. Speaking of the Strength Challenge, Tony has gained 17 pounds of muscle! 17! Sager Juice saw him yesterday for the first time in weeks and was astonished as to how SWOLE he was.
I would love to hear what others have crushed recently. Post your last two weeks of Awesomeness to comments!
Each Sunday at 3pm members can meet with Nigel at Houghton’s Pond of the Blue Hills in Milton, Ma for a run. The Blue Hills are beautiful for both running and hiking. Its family friendly and you can check out the museum just down the road afterwards. I definitely recommend trying to make it when you have the day free.
May will be a continuation of the gymnastic strength work for the pull-ups and dips. You will also see more work with the rope climbs and hand balancing/hand walking. These are skills that must be practiced with some regularity to gain any sort of proficiency. Attack it when they pop up in class. If you miss the days they do, give yourself 5-10 minutes either before or after to put some work in.
150 Wallball shots for time
M-20# to a 10′ target
W-15# to a 9′ target
Strength/Skill: Jerk 1RM
Conditioning: Complete 7 rounds for time
7 Push Jerk @ 50% of todays 1RM
21 Deadlift (same load)
WHOLE LIFE CHALLENGE WOD – ALL WELCOME
Every minute complete
7 Thruster, 75/55
Add 2 reps every other minute: Rd 1 – 7/7, Rd 2 – 9/9, Rd 3 – 9/9, Rd 4 – 11/11, Rd 5 – 11/11…keep going until you can no longer complete the required volume of the round. Score is total reps completed. Tie breaker is the time the last successful round was completed.
Test: Max Consecutive Pull-ups
Test: Max Push-ups
Conditioning: 5 Rounds for time
A. Shoulder Press – 4×6 (3 warm up sets then 4 straight sets)
B. Ring Rows – 4×8 (horizontal with a tempo of 2212)
Conditioning: AMRAP 12
15 Toe 2 Bar
15 Hang Squat Snatch, 95/65
3 rounds for time
21 Swings, 24kg/16kg
Gymnastic Strength: ABS
1. L-sits – 6 x 10 seconds
2. GHD Back Extensions – accumulate 75 reps
Strength/Skill: Dips – 5 x 5 AHAP
5 Box Jumps, 30/24
10 Push Press, 95/65
Strength/Skill: EMOM 20
Odd: 2 Clean + 1 Jerk (AHAP)
Even: 3 Bar Muscle Ups
Strength: Back Squat – 4×6 (straight sets)
3 warm up sets then 4×6 straight across
I’ve always loved sports, especially when it comes to learning and competing at new sports that I don’t get to play often. Whenever we learn something new it’s far to easy to try and learn a couple of basics and then go full speed. Whether it’s golf, tennis, running, olympic lifting, rowing, or any other sport. The thrill of competition and grace in motion that sports played at full speed creates is amazing. Full speed competition elicits that feeling of joy and excitement that we all live for. However, a couple of problems usually arise at one point or another in our performance at full speed, especially if we take it up to full speed to quickly.
1. We lose form and things get sloppy. Basically the wheels come off.
2. We need more speed to out perform our competition, but it’s just not there.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve experienced this situation with many of the athletes I coach, both on the water rowing and in the gym training. We’re always fighting for more intensity and boat speed, but too often something falls apart and our true potential is never reached.
Personally, I’ve experienced a similar situation while learning the piano. I currently take lessons once a week and have worked up to playing 4 songs and almost all of the scales, but my progress tends to stumble when I go to fast. It seems easy when I play a scale or a song slowly, so why not pick up the speed and just figure out how to not make mistakes playing faster? Well because it just gets sloppy and I never really learn what I’m doing wrong or better yet, what I can be doing better.
After being turned on to two great blog posts on slow motion practice, one from the music world and one from the golf world, I decided to share this idea with the rowing and strength training world that I hope you all partake in.
First, read through the above two blog posts and think about how slow is super slow. To often we think we’re going slow, but we could be going slower. Then, go out and practice super slow motion movements in your warmup. Be mindful, find the points where your focus lapses or you make a mistake, figure out how you can be more efficient, smoother, and more consistent. If you can take at least 20 minutes to practice this I guarantee you will find more boat speed, achieve more power, and perform at a higher level.
Above is Drew performing the Reverse Pic Drill in a single. Think about how many hours of slow motion practice, balance, and boat feel it has taken for him to get to this point. Look at where he slows things down to find better balance, feel, and connection to the boat and water. For him to make this better and go faster at full speed, he will probably need to practice this even slower. Now it’s your turn, get on an erg, setup a barbell, or get in a boat and master your movement skills with super slow motion. It’s harder than you think.
Share your thoughts and experience to comments.
29 Apr / 2015
We see vitamin C a lot these days, mostly in the context of cold prevention (or treatment). Vitamin C is a water soluble vitamin found in certain foods and added as fortification to others. Humans don’t synthesize vitamin C, so it’s essential that we include it in our diet.
Roles of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is essential for the synthesis of collagen, L-Carnitine, and some neurotransmitters, and is also involved in some protein metabolism. It is also an antioxidant thought to help regenerate other antioxidants like vitamin E, helps the body absorb non-heme iron (meaning iron from plant based foods), and plays an important role in immune function. Vitamin C deficiency results in scurvy (often linked to pirates and sailors, who went long periods without fresh produce), which causes fatigue and connective tissue weakness.
Collagen synthesis and immune function are the most notable and widely recognized roles for Vitamin C. Collagen is the most abundant protein in the body, found in muscle, bone, and tendons among other important tissues.
When Do You Need Vitamin C?
Vitamin C has been linked to a few conditions over the years.
Cancer Prevention – numerous studies show that a diet high in fruits and vegetables lowers the risk of many cancers, although similar to vitamin A, there is no research that demonstrates vitamin C alone is responsible for this reduced risk or that supplementation would offer any benefit. It seems the pattern of eating fruits and vegetables is more important than single nutrients.
Cardiovascular Disease – research suggests that higher consumption of fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of heart disease, potentially due in part to the antioxidant content of these foods. This makes sense because oxidative damage is one of the causes of heart disease. One British study found that those with the top 25% in blood vitamin C levels had a 42% risk of cardiovascular disease, but the Physicians Health Study found no significant decrease after 5 years of supplementation. Most clinical interventions and several larger prevention studies have showed no benefit from supplements. As with cancer, you are better off eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables than supplementing one single nutrient.
The Cold – evidence indicates that vitamin C intake greater than 200 mg a day does not prevent a cold. One study showed a small reduction in cold duration – 8% for adults and 14% for kids. Although if you think about the common cold lasting about 2 weeks, that adds up to about a day. Taking vitamin C after symptoms have already started provided no benefit. Research has shown vitamin C intake of 250 mg – 1 g/day to reduce the incidence of a cold by 50% among people exposed to large bouts of physical exercise and extreme cold – including marathoners, soldiers, and skiers. So, it would appear supplementation is mostly effective for people exposed to extreme environments.
How Much Do You Need?
According to recommended daily allowance (RDA) – a level that should be sufficient to meet the needs of 98% of the population – the average adult male needs 90 mg a day and the average female 75 mg a day. This is super easy to attain, and most people get way more than that. If you eat 1/2 cup of red bell pepper, a cup of broccoli, and a glass of OJ, you’re already well over 200% of your daily recommended intake.
Eat your fruits and veggies. If you ski a lot in the winter, consider taking a supplement if you get sick often. Once you are sick though, forget about the vitamin C. Consider taking a zinc lozenge instead. Or just sleep and drink a lot of fluids.
One caveat: I do often recommend – and take myself – EmergenC when sick. I know, I just said vitamin C does not good, why would I recommend a supplement with 1,000 milligrams of it right? Well, for one because it makes me feel better. It has other vitamins besides vitamin C (including B6 and B12), and because it makes me drink more water. I like it because it works for me, even if the Vitamin C isn’t the reason.
29 Apr / 2015
From Coach Kari:
I’m so excited you have all signed up for the next WLC. As you know it starts this Saturday May 2nd. If you know anyone else interested in joining our team have them sign up! Nicolette and Micky have agreed to help with the first WOD and measurements this weekend.
You have two choices:
-Saturday at 8:00 am
-Sunday at 9:30 class
If you can’t do either let me know and we can make other arrangements.
The team page is up for comments already and hopefully we can plan some potlucks without snow interference!
See you all soon!
27 Apr / 2015
What a weekend! This is the sign that greeted our intrepid athletes as they entered the gym on Saturday morning. Coach Pat doesn’t mess around! We had a slightly smaller throwdown crew, but it was a lot of fun!
Our first workout of the throwdown was “Kelly, Meet Eva,” a devilish combination of two deadly girl WODs. It was pretty awful, but tons of fun.
The second and third throwdown WODs were a 1/2-Bear Complex ladder (clean, front squat, shoulder-to-overhead), with barbells weighing 55, 75, 95, 115, 135, 155, 185, 205, 225, and 245 pounds. The maximum weight lifted for the day was Coach Mike with a day’s best 235 pounds. Next was an elimination round featuring two minutes of work followed by 30 seconds of rest/score reporting. Our burpee-filled first round had a tie, so we tacked on one extra round.
In the end, “I’m Dying 2″ won the throwdown with “Franks & Beans” coming in a close second. Rumor has it that if I had been faster by five seconds in the first workout, there would have been a tie. That tie would have been decided by either rope climbs, or, if Angry Beaver had his way, fireman’s carries. In any case, the throwdown was tons of fun and was expertly run by Coach Pat. Thanks, Sunshine!
After the throwdown, a bunch of us went over to S&S for some awesome company and brunch (eventually). Once the brunch crew dissipated, a smaller group decided to stuff ourselves just a little more with ice cream from Christina’s. It was magically delicious!
And because we are just so bad-ass, our day was not yet over, as we still had our spring celebration to go to. We decided to test our fitness with a little salsa dancing, though we realized that salsa dancing is much more funner the more drunker you are. Accordingly, we met up at the Tavern in the Square for some food and drink. Here is a lovely picture of some lovely human females:
Look how lovely they all look together! I like how Shannon’s pants match Halfpenny’s shirt and the fractals in Cori’s skirt match the flowers… Anyway…
After some awesome salsa-ing, during which our intrepid leader, Neal, hurt his hip, we decided to go check out one of my favorite DJs ever, DJ Kon, and Middlesex. Tolly, Courtney, Linh, Halfpenny, and I ended up dancing our tired legs off until about 1 AM, when we all collapsed outside on the sidewalk. We even ran into Melissa J. there. It was epic. In any case, it was a fun night, even though we were all exhausted.
And as if the weekend couldn’t get better, we had a surprise drop-in, Dennis, who flew in all the way from Louisiana. He joined us for a fun little WOD, which included weighted pull-ups. Compare and contrast Mark and Josh’s faces with everyone else’s. BLUE STEEL.
In any case, I’ve been exhausted since and it was worth every sore muscle and bruised toe. Our next throwdown will be at the end of July, so get yourself ready!
Peace and bacon grease,