Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Squats - Such Good Pain

I did a leg workout today that included the trifecta of squats: 3x10 of overhead squats, front squats and back squats. The weights were pretty decent rounding out my 9th set at 315 for back squats. It's funny, working out my legs wasn't a priority for me a few years ago. I always rationalized that my legs would get a workout running and playing sports. Leg workouts have become an integral part of my workouts recently. Here's three reasons why:

1. Many leg workouts require good core strength - and by lifting heavy legs, I am able to build my core as well. Movements like the squat trifecta require good balance to execute them right. Building that balance had been great for my core.

2. Legs are such a large muscle group - and the more muscle mass you have, the more calories you burn while at rest. Working out my legs has become an important part of my weight loss plan.

3. The burn feels so good - there's something satisfying about a good muscle burn. Call me crazy, but it's something I love.

I know that many shy away from consistent and tough leg workouts. In my experience, they're great for muscle building, weight loss and overall fitness.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Saturday Morning Runs

We recently picked up a Bob running stroller from my brother. We took it out this morning with our boys. It was so much fun and it felt great to be exercising together.

We decided that this is going to be a saturday morning tradition until the snow comes. Being active as a family is a great way for us to stay healthy and grow together.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Today's workout - 9.9.2011

Great workout today. I did a Crossfit WOD I've been meaning to so for about two weeks now. A buddy of mine, who's been sick for a few weeks, made it today and it was great to workout with him again.

Here's what we did:
5 rounds for time of -
15 deadlifts at 185
15 toes to bar
I completed the WOD in 17:30...the toes to bar killed me.

Great day, good to be working out with friends. Off to play some volleyball with the brothers tonight.

What are you weekend plans?

On the Move

This is my first official post via the iPhone blogger app. This should be fun.

If you aren't aware, I'm a bit of an Internet geek. This app will be fun to post workouts and quick thoughts.

Looking forward to a lot more fun on the blog.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

The Need to Eat Clean

Up front I'll state that this post isn't about the danger of processed foods, the injustice that fastfood companies have done to the health of our nation.  Although interesting topics, and probably ones that are worth consideration, I try to be a bit more simplistic in my eating values.

I've recently tried to be "cleaner" in my diet: more fruits and vegetables, less fried items, I'm trying to avoid candies and a lot of snacks (baked good is where I struggle the most), and smaller portions.  I know that there have been scientific and statistics that talk about this.  For me, however, it's simply about the way that my body feels.

I find that days that I'm not conscious about portions or about what I'm eating, I'm lethargic and don't feel optimal. 

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Two A Days

A few months ago posted about wanting to add morning cardio sessions.  Well this past week, I actually did it.  Added sessions, along with a rededicated diet has resulted in about six lbs down this week.  Hopefully I'll stay consistent.  Wish me luck.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Use Elite Whey Protein as Part of Your Nutrition and Workout Plan

I was an athlete in high school, and I wasn't a bad one either.  I played both team and individual sports, won most and lost few.  I loved being active and playing sports year round.  It kept me healthy, happy and in good shape.

Now into my late 20s, I find that my lifestyle is not nearly as active.  About nine months ago, I realized that I was a bit overweight, out of shape and in need of a big change.  Back to the gym I went.

I started off easy: 30 minutes on a cardio machine during lunch and push ups and sit ups at home.  Eventually, I started working out with some friends from work.  I remember that after my first workout with them, I was exhausted but exhilarated at the same time.  I got back to work, ate a small lunch and went on my day.  Two hours later however, my body about crashed.  I was shaky, dizzy and fatigued.

That's when a friend of mine introduced me to elite whey protein.  I started drinking a protein shake shortly after every workout to help prevent my body from the post-workout-crash.  It was a life saver.  It was a simple, yet effective addition to my nutrition plan that had big benefits.  It provided my muscles protein that I needed to recover, and instantly put vitamins and nutrients in my body to help keep my energy levels up the rest of the day.

Now about six months later, I'm 15 lbs lighter, I have greater stamina and in some respects, I'm stronger than I was in high school.  There was a lot that I needed to change about my lifestyle, and my diet was a key part. Elite whey protein plays a large role in my daily nutrition plan.  I use it as a post workout shake and as part of a small meal in the late afternoons.  My favorite way to take it is to use a scoop of the vanilla creme flavor and blend it with fresh bananas and strawberries.  I find that when I take it, my energy levels are high, my hunger levels are controlled, and my post-workout recovery is more efficient.

I've still got a long way to go and a strong workout and fitness plan, combined with a sound diet will get me there.

Disclaimer: I am participating in a blogger campaign by Bucks2Blog and was compensated.  However, the views and opinions are my own.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Catching Up

I've always had a problem keeping a consistent journal.  My mother always tried to get us to keep good journals growing up.  I would last a couple of weeks, or a couple of months and then I'd fizzle out.

It's been a couple weeks since I posted.  I've been working on a couple other projects: personal website, getting ready for baby #2, me, etc.  I've still been pretty active in they gym, and have been learning a lot about my personal fitness limits, needs, etc.  Here's a recap of what I've learned over the last couple of weeks.

Consistency is key:
I feel my body getting stronger and stronger.  I don't find that I've been focusing on strength, and or lifting more weights consciously, I credit it to being consistent.  I've been in the gym or doing workouts about 4-5 times a week for the last 6 months.  I credit the strength I'm feeling to consistency.

Change in diet comes in small steps:
At the beginning of the year, I told myself that I need to make a drastic change in how I ate.  I would do well for a few days, than crash completely.  I'd get back on, then get back off, then get back on, then get back off.  Recently, I've begun to learn that diet change comes in small steps.  I look at my diet now and I know where I'm strong and where I'm not.  If I try to tackle the entire thing in one swoop...I'll fall and fail.  I've come a long way: my breakfast and lunch meals are far more healthy and consistent than they used to be.  Now I've just got to work on dinner and snacking.  I'll get there eventually, but it won't come overnight for me.

Man it feels good to sweat:
I've done some great workouts with my buddies recently that have just left me dripping in sweat.  It's a wonderful feeling.

I've also done a few great workouts recently.  I'll post some of my favorite from this last month in another post.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Moving Day!

I feel like I've been out of touch since last week.  These last few weeks have been crazy for our family.  We recently purchased a new condo and have been busy with paperwork, buying things for the place and finally...MOVING!

Even though I haven't been posting, I've definitely been busy and active.  My diet has been victim to eating out during the move, but I've tried to overcompensate by keeping myself busy and active.  During the move, I still managed to make it to the gym four days during the week, but my big workout was this:

A lot of boxes, a few mattresses, a couch, washer and dryer + a third floor condo make for a great workout.  We love our new place.  In the community we've got a pool a gym, and we're surrounded by bike and running paths.  I think this move will definitely be good for my health.  Now, I'm off to play volleyball with my brother.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Ballsy Sports Performance | Daily Workout Motivation

There's probably a better terminology for me to use, but this one just works for me.  Growing up as a child who competed in soccer, swimming, tennis, basketball, volleyball and tennis, I was always moved and psyched when I saw a "ballsy" performance by an athlete.

The ones that I remember the most, are those in which athletes overcame seemingly insurmountable odds to perform.  To me, these odds come in many forms: sickness, injury, personal loss, disability, etc.  I realize that there are so many that can be told.  These are a few that come to mind:

Chris Paul's Grandfather's Death - after his 61-year-old grandfather was beaten and killed in a park, two nights later, Paul scores 61 points in honor of his grandfather.  He purposely missed a free-throw that would have been his 62nd point, walked off the court and embraced his father.  Now, more than 8 years later, Paul is actually an advocate to have those once young and wreck less teenagers released from their prison sentence so that they can live their lives.  What an amazing man.

Jordan Plays through the flu - any basketball fan who lived through the dual three-peat era will remember this Jordan's 38 point performance in the NBA Finals against the Utah Jazz.  The iconic picture of Scottie Pippen basically carrying him off the court will always be seared in my memory.

Kerri Strug nails her vault - I'm not a gymnastics fan (unless my nieces are performing), but man this is an iconic moment in US Sports history.

The Story of J Mac - I think this guy is a royal stud.

A Ballsy Performance at the Crossfit Games
I came across another ballsy performance from this past weekend.  Heather Scaglione, in the CrossFit Games regional competition dislocated her shoulder doing muscle-ups.  She popped her shoulder back in on her own, and through evident pain, continued the competition.  Her standings were such that even with a 1st place finish in coming events, she would not have advanced to the games.  I would have given up.

Not Heather.  She went through additional workouts which included burpees, ground-to-overheads, rowing and hanging toes-to-bars and fought through evident pain.  I wish I could have been at the event to witness this amazing display of heart and grit.  Check out her ballsy performance.

When I see or hear about a performance like this, I can't help but be motivated.  Those extra reps in a workout look a bit easier, the energy to get to the gym comes a little faster, and my motivation to kick my butt back into shape is invigorated.

To all athletes who've ever put out a ballsy performance.  I salute you.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Week Wrap Up | I turned 28

My B-Day Present From my Wife

Happy Father's Day to all the Dad's out there.  I'm especially grateful for my Dad and all he's done for me.  He's been a great example of many things and I hope to be able to be half the man he is.

This is always a fun time of the year for me.  My birthday and Father's day fall within the same week of each other each year.  It typically means a lot of fun and family time.  This week and especially this weekend did not disappoint.  Thank you to my wife for making this weekend so fun.  Thanks also to a few buddies at work for taking me out for sushi and surprising me with a "Hawaiian" pineapple upside-down cake.

Here's a look at what my workouts looked like this past week.

Monday: Legs
2x20 back squats - 185 lbs
3x8 clean and press - 155 lbs
3x6 front squats - 185 lbs
3x10 overhead squats - 135
3x10 box jumps - 24"

Tuesday: Jump Rope WOD - a spin off Workout 11.1 from the Crossfit Open
AMRAP in 15 minutes of:
30 double-unders
15 ground-to-overheads - 25 lbs dumbbells
I completed 6 total rounds + 30 double-unders

I also did:
3 supersets of 30 plate presses (45 lbs) and 10 double-unders
3 supersets of 15 ball crunches and 10 double-unders
I'm becoming more efficient at double-unders, but still have a long way to go.

Wednesday: "Fran" + Legs...again.  This was a pretty brutal day.
"Fran" - 21-15-9 of:
95 lb thrusters and pull-ups
I did a pretty legitimate "Fran" this time.  No jumping pull-ups until the last 3 reps.  I completed the WOD in 5:39

I also did:
2x10 back squats - 225 lbs
3x10 overhead squats - 135 lbs

Thursday: Normal/Traditional Day
3x10 flat bench press - 135, 185, 225 lbs
3x10 incline bench press - 135, 155, 185 lbs
3x10 Tri-shoulder complex at 25 lbs
3 sets of plate presses - 45 lbs
3 supersets of bungee lateral raises and plate presses (45 lbs)

Friday: Hiking
I did a short hike with our church's youth group.  We were in the mountains for about an hour and a half.

Saturday: 28th Birthday Workout
For time, 28 reps each of:
Regular Push-ups
Thrusters - 25 lbs dumbbells
Ground-to-overheads - 25 lbs dumbbells
Air Squats
Hanging cleans - 25 lbs dumbbells
Wide Push-ups
Squat Jumps
High Decline Push-ups (feet resting on a four foot window sill)
Jumping Jacks
Narrow Push-ups
Ground to Ceiling Jumps (9 ft ceiling)
I completed the workout in 21:10.  This was a fun homebound WOD.

What a fun week.  As you can tell, I worked my legs pretty hard this week.  I think that I'm going to take it easy on them this coming week (with the exception of one day probably).  Thanks to friends and family, especially my wife, for making this Birthday/Father's day week so much fun for me.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

The Outdoors of Utah

Despite the allergies, sometimes incessant heat and mosquitos, I absolutely love the summer time.

Growing up, it was the best time of the year.  Trips to the beach with the family and friends, waking up late because of no school, hanging out at hotel pools with friends, Jack-in-the-Box Ultimate Double Cheeseburgers as a post-beach meal...life was wonderful.

Now that I'm in Utah and have a job, the summers of beach trips, waking up late and trips to Jack-in-the-Box are gone.  I love Jack-in-the-Box, but for my health it's probably a good thing they don't have any in Utah, except for St. George. Over the last few years, one of my favorite summer time activities has been to escape to the mountains.

A few years ago, I bought a road bike and would go riding two or three days a week up the Provo Canyon River Trail.  After the birth of my son, the mountains became harder to access, so we resorted to walks along river trails and afternoons at the park. Last night I got to escort a youth group from our local church on a short hike up at Squaw Peak.  It wasn't anything strenuous, but man did it feel good to be outside and up on a mountain again.  What a great summer activity to keep you active and healthy.

Some of my other favorite activities in the outdoors of Utah are:

My Son and Wife Enjoying Moab
This is probably my favorite little town.  Moab hosts an array of events and activities.  My first experience with Moab was when I signed up to do the Moab Half Marathon with my wife and a few friends.  I ended up spraining my knee three months before the race which killed my training, but my wife ran anyways.  We instantly fell in love with the city and have actually participated in a few other running events in Moab since.  We love to visit Moab and just be outdoors.  The people are great and two of my favorite eating establishments are in Moab: Pasta Jays and Zax Pizza.

Slot Canyons near Escalante
Navigating the Slots
Okay, so I've only done this once, but by far, one of my favorite things that I've done in Utah. A few years back, I was a scout leader and we took a small group of our scouts to hike through a few slot canyons.  We ended up doing Peekaboo and Spooky.  This was something that I've never done before, and being in a slot canyon was absolutely amazing.  The boys and leaders had a blast.  The hike itself wasn't very long, but we got to hit two world class slot canyons.  While there we met some hikers from Europe who had planned their trip around opportunities to go through slot canyons like these two.

There are some great camping grounds not too far away from the slot canyons, and a fun little town with amazing people.  We actually had our trip back delayed a little due to a flat tire.  The local tire shop was closed, but the clerk at the convenience store next door knew the owner.  He called him, and he left what he was doing to come and help us out.  I wish I could remember the name of the shop and the owner so that I could give him a shout out!

Fun day at the Canyons.  Yes that's me.
My wife bought me snowboarding gear for Christmas one year.  We went a couple days later to Powder Mountain.  On my first run down (my second time snowboarding), I was carving face side down the run and ran my fingers in the snow (like you see surfers do in tubes).  I was hooked.

Although I haven't been much in the last two years (mostly due to a snowboarding injury and lack of funds), it remains one of my favorite outdoor activities in Utah.

It's definitely colder than surfing, but it's an awesome sport and activity.

I love the outdoors and I love being active.  I'm glad that I've made the decision to get back in shape and improve my health.  Doing so will allow me to continue to enjoy these activities for years to come!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Week Wrap Up | 6/12/2011

This has been a fun week.  Summer is finally here and I'm definitely excited for summer activities.  Yesterday was the Orem Summer Festival, so we decided that we'd take the little guy and head out for a day of fun.  There was great food, rides and local entertainment.  It was a blast.

I love summer activities with my son.  I realize however that in coming years, the activities will require more and more "activity" from me.  Especially because we're expecting our second.  Like I've said before, my children and family are the greatest motivations for me to get and stay healthy.  I'm sure that in the coming years, I'll be running around soccer fields, swimming in pools, surfing, playing football, wrestling and shooting hoops.  I tell you what...it would also be cool to be able to coach my kids as well  I definitely can't wait.  Time and effort today is an investment in the future.

Here's what my workouts looked like this past week:

Monday: Homebound WOD
With a running clock, each minute do the following:
5 ground to overhead dumbbell snatches - 25 lbs
10 push ups
15 squats
15 minutes of jump roping.
I did 14 rounds

Tuesday: Legs
This was a great workout that a friend of mine and I did of:
2x20 Back Squats
3x8 Clean and Press
3x6 Front Squats
Lunge Jumps

Wednesday: Upper Body
We broke our workout up into two different sections.
Section 1 - we tried to turn this into a little metcon and do it as fast as we could:
30 burpees
2x20 Incline bench press
50 push ups
3x12 Incline bench press
50 push ups

Section 2:
Supersets of 3x10 T-rows and 3x8 rear deltoid shrug
Supersets of 3x10 lateral bungee raises and 3x30 overhead plate presses

Thursday: Cardio
Elliptical Machine - 4.2 miles in 40 minutes

Friday: Rest Day

Saturday: 100s workout
For time:
100 burpees
100 squats
100 push-ups
100 double-unders
I completed the workout in 27:10 - burpees and consistent double-unders are still a challenge for me, but I'm definitely getting better.

I'm excited for another fun week of working out and staying healthy.  Enjoy yours.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

I Can't Wait for Summer BBQs

The weather has been great the last few days, with the exception of yesterday.  My wife, son and I went to my in-laws home for a BBQ for my father-in-law.  I got to cook out on their front porch, luckily covered and protected from the rain.

Despite the weather, it made me excited for summer BBQs.  The thought of grilled veggies, marinated meats and smoke make me excited for a fun and healthy summer.

Last night we did grilled chicken breasts, grilled veggies and potatoes, grilled pineapple, salmon and salads.  It was wonderful.  Here's to a fun filled summer!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sushi + A Workout = No Bueno

I had every intention to start the week off eating right.  I got to work and was told, "It's Geo's birthday.  We're going to sushi."  They had to twist my arm *sarcastic wink* and got me to go.  The worst part about this in terms of my diet...I went to sushi on Friday as well (it's also bad for my wallet).  I told myself I can't eat out at lunch for the next two weeks (for monetary and dietary reasons).

Since I didn't go to the gym during lunch, I did another homebound WOD.  Here's what I did:

One round each minute until I can't complete the next round of:
5 ground to overhead snatches (25 lb dumbbells) - I did 14 rounds.

About 15 minutes of jumping rope - I warmed up a little for a few minutes, then tried to do a double-under ladder.  5 unbroken then rest - 10 unbroken then rest - 15 unbroken then rest, etc.  I got to 25 and failed about 6 times to get to 30 (I failed at about 19 each time...odd).

I'm a bit gassed and now I'm sucking down a protein shake.

All you can eat sushi + a workout = I don't feel very good at the moment.

Lesson learned.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Week Wrap Up

This has been a pretty good week.  Last week I made a decision to be more conscious and aware about what I ate.  As a result, I loss two lbs and feel great.

Here's what my workouts looked like this week:

Monday - Homebound WOD
Variation on "Cindy":
As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 hanging dumbbell cleans (40lbs)
10 push-ups
15 squats
I was able to do 17 full rounds + 7 squats.  It was my first workout after being sick for 5 days, so I'm hoping I have a better result next time.

Tuesday - Self-Programmed WODs
Four rounds for time of:
400 Meter Run + A round of "Cindy"
I did it in 15:12

8 minutes of "Death by Pull-up"

Wednesday - Cardio Day
30 minutes on the elliptical for 3.15 miles

Thursday - Variation on Annie
50-40-30-20-10 of
I did it in about 15 minutes which is not nearly as good as the last time I did it.  My rope is at my brothers house, so a buddy of mine and I had to share ropes.

Friday - Rest Day

Saturday - Homebound 100s WOD
For time with 25lb dumbbells:
100 hanging cleans
100 thrusters
100 crunches
100 ground-to-overheads
I finished in 28:08 - this was a fun workout.  I need to work on increasing weight while still decreasing time.

Good week.  I'm still recovering a little from the sickness last week, but overall it feels great to be back in the gym and active again.

While browsing some videos this morning on the Crossfit Games website, I came across this bio.  I love this guy's workout philosophy.  This is good stuff to get you motivated.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Lesson Learned About Programming

One of the things that I'm trying to learn is how to better program my own workouts.  I learned a few lessons today about programming.  Here's my Cliff's notes:

1. Be sure to program ahead.  
This one sounds obvious, I know.  I generally have an idea each week of what I want to accomplish and how I want to work my body, but I don't do a good enough job of planning each workout far enough in advance.  I found myself finalizing my workout while in the middle of my warm-up at the gym today.  I feel like planning ahead for each workout would allow me to better prepare myself to perform them well.

2. Finding the balance between hard and easy is going to take some time.  
So one of my weaknesses that I'm trying to program around is first, that I'm not a good runner and my stamina is not the greatest.  When I do workouts, I don't have a problem lifting or pushing heavy weight, I have a problem sustaining strength throughout.  I've been trying to incorporate workouts that include push over a relatively extended period of time (as opposed to stuff like "Fran", which I love, but don't want to rely too much on WODs like that).  I like the CrossFit workouts that include running 400 meters and then doing other workouts in between, like "Nancy".  The second weakness that I'm working on is that I don't do well with movements that require simply moving body weight, like pull-ups.  The experience below will show that I have yet to find a balance between hard and easy while still focusing on my weaknesses.

Here's what happened at the gym today.
So today, as I'm debating what I'm going to do, my mind was jumping between two ideas.  The first was to do a "Four rounds for time of: Run 400 meters + something".  My initial thought was to run 400 meters, than do a round of "Cindy".  The other workout I was thinking about doing was "Death by Pull-Up", which is basically this: on a running clock, you do a set of pull-ups equal to the number of the minute that you're on.  First minute = 1 pull-up, second minute = 2 pull-ups...you get the idea.

I decided that I was going to do the "Four rounds of time of..." workout.  I decided on doing a round of Cindy in between each 400 meters.  I finished in about 15:21  (I needed to do a little bit of travel from where I was running to where I was performing "Cindy"), and I wasn't as gassed as I thought I'd be.  It was a good workout, and I broke a great sweat, but I didn't feel as gassed as I had hoped.  I realized that the workout didn't require quite as much push as I had hoped.  Because I felt a little underwhelmed by the workout, I decided that I'd do some sets of "Death by Pull-up".  I did eight minutes of it and then had to leave to get back to work.

Good lessons learned today and I'm appreciative of them as I work on personally programming my workouts.  The next time I decide to do a run + "Cindy" workout, I'm going to do a ladder of rounds of "Cindy" instead.  Run 400 + 1 round, then run 400 + 2 rounds, etc.  I'll let you know how that goes.

Anyone have tips for personal programming?

Homebound WODs

After a few days of being sick, not eating well, and feeling lazy, I thought it would be a good idea to go to the gym yesterday morning, go into work for a few hours and then spend the rest of the holiday with the ohana (family).  I went to bed and set my alarm for 5:00 AM.  The plan was to be at the gym by about 5:45 or 6:00.  Workout for close to an hour and then head over to work and be back home around noon.

At 7:30, I woke up, rushed into the shower, and made it to work by 8:00.  Fail.

I told myself that afternoon that I needed to at least get some sort of workout in.  I decided that I wanted to do a metcon, but didn't have much to work with.  I don't have a pull-up bar, and in terms of weight, all I have is a small set of dumbbells.  I decided that I'd do a variation on Cindy.  Here's what I did:

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 hanging dumbbell cleans
10 push-ups
15 air squats.

I ended up doing 17 rounds + 7 squats.  More importantly, the workout ended up doing what I wanted it to do.  It was short (including warm-up it only took me about 45 minutes), got my heart rate pumping and I broke a major sweat.

One of the things that I love that CrossFit has taught me, is that you don't need a large gym with a lot of weight or cardio machines to get a good workout.  If you put the right movements in the right combination and challenge yourself against time, you've got yourself a great workout.

I definitely love going to the gym and working out amidst the energy and with good workout partners, however it's also good at times to know that when I want to, I can kick my trash with a 20 minute workout at home.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

My Nike+ Review | A Great Tool

I'm motivated by numbers and statistics.  When I played volleyball in high school, I would spend hours evaluating my game tape.  I'd look at kill percentages, how sets were dispersed, digs, blocks and errors.  I'd count all the stats.  I'd keep track of myself, and my team.  I can tell you that in one of my last games, a critical loss in a state tournament myself and my friend both had 17 kills and that my hitting % was on the money until the last seven points of the game where the other team tripled up on me, made some killer digs and I made three pretty critical errors (I tried to do way too much...major fault of a young ambitious athlete).  With that, my buddy Kamana edged me out in hitting % and won king of the court (and we loss the game on my inability to close out).

I think that I'm motivated by numbers and statistics because they tell a story.  They are an objective evaluation of performance, not tainted by personal bias.  Now, I will tell you that I will always be one to argue for the intangible and non-measurable, however I still enjoy the view that statistics give you.

Stats is one of the big reasons why I love Nike+.
Nike+ gives me a little visibility into aspects of my fitness habits; running and cardio (I'm going to admit to using it on the elliptical machine).

Most are familiar with Nike+.  If you're not, check out the Nike+ website.  It will give you a much better idea than I will.  Nike+ is turning 5, and I think that it is an amazing case study in the effect that technology and the social aspect of media can have on fitness.

A quick rundown for those of you not familiar with Nike+.  Using sensors that you place in your shoe, and/or GPS capability of your phone, Nike+ keeps track of your runs.  You are able to upload them to your Nike+ profile, where you can see a snapshot of your activity, compete with friends, set goals and much more.

I used Nike+ for a while with the Nike+ wristband.  It unfortunately got crushed while moving some things one day (even as an adult, I still haven't learned to put away my toys), and I went without for a while.  A few months ago, my wife bought me the iPhone4, and I've been using Nike+ on it since.

I love the ability to keep track of my "running stats", even if they aren't very impressive.  I am able to see best times, keep track of total miles run, see trends in distance and time, etc.  It's not nearly as fun as watching my volleyball games over and over again (said with a tad bit of self-gloating-sarcasm), however, it gives me the same objective visibility into an aspect of my personal fitness.

Here are some of the things that I love about Nike+.

desktop interface for Nike+
Design and Desktop Interface:
Let's be honest, nearly everything that Nike+ designs looks awesome.  What I love about Nike+, is that it is also a fun interface to use.  You can see from the screenshot to the right as well as the one above, that it's pretty slick.  Everything from the color scheme, to the statistics, and the videos help you understand your progress.

On the interface you are able to connect with and challenge other runners, join challenges, get running tips, set goals and view progress.

Mobile Application:
I spoke in my review on loseit.com that mobile usability is important to me.  I think no matter what the device, my iPhone, the iPod Nano, or the wristband, the interface is simple and useful.  Depending on which device you're on, the usability changes, however for "mobile" purposes, here are some screenshots of the iPhone app.  It keeps track of the following (among other things):
1. Records - best time, best mile, best 10K, etc.
2. Past runs
3. Lifetime (lifetime of the device) totals
It also allows you to control your music, connect to various social networks to share results and...it looks pretty.

Toys and Gimmicks:
When Nike+ started, you could only use it on the Nano.  Now, there are multiple ways that you can use it.  I think that they are all pretty awesome.
1. The Nano.
2. The iPod Touch
3. The iPhone4
4. The Wristband
There may be a couple I'm not aware of.  If there are, please forgive my ignorance.  Point being however depending on your preference, what hardware you may already have and what you're willing to pay,  that there are multiple ways to use the tool.  See below for more information about pricing and additional information for some of what is available (for the record, most probably won't buy iPods from Amazon, but it's an easy link to get more information).

There are many other tools out there that help you track your running activity.  This is just one of them.  Whatever you decide to use, I think that it's a good idea to track results.  Similar to my statistics crazed senior year of volleyball, now I'm able to look back and identify progress, trends, strengths and even weaknesses.  I think that having the ability to evaluate how you're doing is important in reaching fitness and health goals.  Nike+ provides some visibility to do just that.  I personally love Nike+ and hope to be able to log many more miles on it in the future.

CrossFit Games Regional Highlights - Day Two

Day Two Highlights from the Regional Competitions for CrossFit are posted on the CrossFitHQ YouTube account.  If you haven't watched them you...you should, they're intense.  I am amazed at the sheer strength and competitiveness that exists.  I hope that one of these are close to me next year so I can be there in person to watch.

Again, there are a lot more videos posted of Regionals, however this is my favorite one from Day Two.  The end of this video is awesome!  Great competitive spirit.

North Central Regional CrossFit Games 2011 Highlights - Day Two

For a little more insight into what these athletes put themselves through on Day Two.  Here is the workout schedule.

Individual Workout 3
21-15-9 of:
Deadlift (315/205 lbs) (male/female)
Box jumps (30"/24")

Individual Workout 4
For Time:
100 Pull-ups
100 Kettlebell Swings (24/16 kg)
100 Double-unders
100 Overhead Squats (95/65 lbs)

The team workouts are similar, however more reps/rounds and split between team members.  To all the athletes competing in the games.  I salute you.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

CrossFit Games Regional Highlights Are Posted - Day One

The CrossFit Games 2011 Regional competitions are under way.  I'm excited to see how these next two months play out and who will be crowned at the end of July.

I've been loving the tweets and video updates about the progress of the CrossFit Games Regionals 2011.  There are a bunch of videos posted on the CrossFitHQ Youtube account and here's a list you can follow for tweets about regional results.

Check out some of the CrossFit Games 2011 Day One Highlights.  These are just a few of the regions and I'm sure CrossFitHQ will be posting more later.  This stuff is intense.

South East Regional CrossFit Games 2011 Highlights - Day One

North Central Regional CrossFit Games 2011Highlights - Day One

Canada West Regional Crossfit Games 2011 Highlights - Day One

Australia Regional CrossFit Games 2011 Highlights - Day One

I'm so excited to see the highlights from the other regions.  It is amazing to see the determination and dedication of these athletes.  I truly admire all who compete and am excited for what lies ahead these next few weeks.  I love CrossFit!

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lose it! | Weight Loss Tool

my loseit.com account
At the beginning of the year, I decided that I would try the Loseit.com weight loss app.  I downloaded it onto my phone and began using it.  You all get the gist, right?

1. You give basic information about you - weight, height, age, sex, etc.
2. You set a weight loss goal
3. The app sets a daily caloric allotment goal
4. You track what you eat daily

Simple concept, yet not so simple in implementation and practice.  I was pretty diligent for about a month and a half, and during that time I lost about 10 lbs.  It wasn't easy to remember, and sometimes not easy to figure out portions and such.  It got easier over time, and it was neat for me to see and understand what I was putting into my body, how my exercise had effect and related (loosely) to my diet.  It was cool to track and understand my progress.  I'm a fan of visibility.

I stopped being faithful with the app (for various reasons) and I haven't really lost much weight since.  There are a lot of factors that have played into that (one of which is that a change in workout routines has allowed me to put on muscle and cut some fat without changing weight).  However I realize that I am not as diligent and conscious about my diet as I was then.  To me, simply being conscious of your diet is what's key.  I think that consciousness yields personal accountability.  To me, that personal accountability helps you regulate yourself without needing to be fanatic or make drastic changes.

I decided yesterday that I'm going to start being diligent with the app again.  Hopefully it will help my begin trimming down more.  There are many tools like Loseit out there.  I've only used a couple, so I don't claim to be an expert on them.  However, here are some of the things that I like about this weight loss tool:

Mobile Interface - I'm on my phone A LOT.  That is where I do most of my Facebooking, Tweeting, personal email checking and game playing.  A useful and easy mobile interface is important to me.

My Meals and Foods - The app does a great job at tracking foods that I commonly eat.  It also allows me to quickly pull up previous meals and add them to my current day.  I didn't realize that I had that usability at first.  Finding that out was like finding the hidden stash of candy in the pantry (ironic comparison, no?)

Goal Tracking - Less is more for me in this one.  Instead of tracking BMI, body fat %, waist size, etc. the goal tracking is simple, "what weight by when."  I like that simplicity.  It's easy for me to chew on.

Desktop Usability - The desktop interface is extremely intuitive and makes for quick logging while I'm at work.

Social Aspect - I'm a friend fiend.  There is a social aspect to this where you can add friends and share progress.  I feel more accountable knowing that others can check up on my progress.

Quick and Useful Database - The app itself has a database of common foods, popular restaurants, and common exercises to choose from.  It's not flawless and perfect by any means, however it does make logging food and activity a bit easier.

Some screenshots:

I think that we're spoiled by technology, but am grateful for the usability and ease that it sometimes provides.  I'll update you in a few weeks on my progress.  Are there tools that you use?  I'm always up for a good recommendation.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Out of Commission

c/o http://junebugvshurricane.wordpress.com/2010/02/
This is how I feel today.  Old and beat down.  I haven't been to the gym since Monday and prior to that, Thursday.

Monday night I went to sleep early with a pretty bad migraine.  I hadn't gotten a migraine in a while, so I kind of suspected that something was awry.  I woke up the next morning with a pretty bad sore throat.  I went to work both Tuesday and Wednesday, but didn't go to the gym because it hurt to breath too hard.  I debated staying home, but had a few pretty important projects to work on Tuesday and Wednesday.

Late last night I decided that I'd take today off to recover.  Got up this morning and felt about as good as this car looks, and decided to go to the doctor's.

Diagnosis: Strep Throat.  Looks like I won't be very active over the next couple of days.  I really don't like being sick.  I think that it annoys me more than, "Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?  Are we there yet?" But if I must be home, at least my son is cute, my wife is great and my bed is comfortable.  Hopefully I'll recover soon so I can get back to the gym.  I hate this feeling of inactivity I've had for the last few days.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Too Many Rest Days

Last week was a brutal week for me.  After my workout on Thursday, my hands were shaking for about an hour.  I told myself I needed a few rest days.

I didn't work out, Friday or Saturday, and I never workout on Sunday.  Three days are too many days for me to rest.  At work this morning, the only thing that I could think about doing during lunch was SUSHI!  Luckily a buddy of mine and I had planned a workout, so we did not end up caving.  

Instead of sushi, we did the following.
Four rounds for time of:
400 meter run + 50 air squats
I completed the workout in 14:23

Not a good time, but also not a bad one.  Lesson for this week: try as hard as you can to not take three days off.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Sometimes it's the Little Things

I want to be the cool Dad.  The one who plays sports with his sons.  The one who can still take his sons in a game of one on one.  The Dad that despite the age difference can still whoop his sons' butts into shape.

My son is only two, so now is the time for me to prepare and get healthy and active.  The days of basketball games, running, and training and years from now.  I realized last night that I can still be the cool Dad, even now.

There's this thing that my son loves.  I lie on the ground and stretch my arms up over my head.  He then stands on my hands and I have to bring my legs up above my head so that he can grab them.  Then basically, he wants me to balance him a couple feet off the ground with his feet still on my hands and his arms wrapped around my legs.   It requires a little bit of flexibility and strength, but nothing strenuous.

We were doing that last night (and he always wants to do it over and over again), and my wife commented, "That requires a lot of flexibility.  I don't think that you could have done that before."

Being able to do that with my son, and my wife's comment last night made me feel like a champ.  It definitely is the little things that make a big difference.  Stuff like that is enough to keep me going back to the gym.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fran Taught Me a Few Lessons Today

I met Fran at the gym today.  If you haven't been introduced to Fran, let me do the pleasure of telling you who she is:

21-15-9 of
95 lb Thrusters

Fran is one of the CrossFit Benchmarks and is a brutal one.  I finished the workout in 4:30, however I needed to start doing jumping pull-ups during the round of 15.  Fran taught me a couple of lessons today.

1. I really need to work on my pull-ups.  I definitely need to improve my kipping pull-up, but I think more importantly, pull-ups at 260 lbs get hard and I don't have the stamina for it.  One more piece of motivation to shed some weight.

2. The positive lesson.  Lifting is my strength in the WODs and my stamina is getting much better.  In this and other WODs that I've done this week, I have been able to handle the lifting elements well.  My stamina from previous weeks is much improved.  My struggle are the bodyweight exercises like pull-ups, handstand push-ups, dips, etc.  The good thing is that all of those will improve with a combination of increased strength and weight loss.

For motivation here's a video of some CrossFitters taking on the WOD.  I apologize for the very mild language.  It's PG-13, don't worry.

I thought I was going to be funny and post a picture of Fran Drescher in this post, but found that LAX Crossfit had already done it...I guess I'm not original.

Two Great Days of CrossFit

I started off my week with two great CrossFit workouts.  Here's what my Monday and Tuesday looked like.

Monday - "Nancy" in 20 minutes (benchmark WOD)
5 rounds for time of:
400 meter run
95 lb overhead squats - 15 reps

Tuesday - 23:50
5 rounds for time of:
135 lb overhead squats, 5 reps
10 toes to bars
40 lb dumbbell hang squat clean, 15 reps
20 double unders

Both workouts were awesome and I've got a lot of work to do, but I felt great throughout both of them.  Can you believe that there are some people who do Tuesday's workout in sub 10 minutes?  That is absolutely nuts, and I'm jealous.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Dilemma

I'm Polynesian.  I'm big boned.  I have a slow metabolism.  I love to eat.

You know, I've always been a big guy.  In the words of my sister, "You know you were always the chubby and awkward one, right?"

See why I really have no reason to complain?
I have this dilemma.  I love to go to the gym and stay active, yet the Poly inside of me eats like a Poly.  I'm also part Japanese, so you combine Japanese food with a Polynesian appetite...you get the picture.

It's an awfully fun dilemma to be in.  I really shouldn't complain.

In all seriousness though, in my efforts to be healthy, finding a balance in this dilemma will be one of the most important things I do (and biggest battle I'll face).  The reason I'm thinking about it now is that my parents are in town.  When the family gets together, we have great food and I eat more than I normally do.  After this week, I'll probably have a pound or two to shed (but it will totally be worth it).

After a weekend like this, I definitely have to hit the gym hard this week!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Benchmarks From this Past Week or Two

In a recent post, I wrote about how progress motivates me and the importance of benchmarks.  I made a goal to do a "benchmark" Crossfit workout each week.  It's been good to do a couple of Crossfit workouts mixed with the other things that we've been doing in the gym.

It's been a lot of fun to do and track the benchmark workouts.  I've also done a few variations on the workouts as well and they've been great.  Here is a list of the workouts I've done and my results for each of them.

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 squats
I was able to complete 19 rounds and 6 squats.

Double-Unders and Sit-Ups
50-40-30-20-10 reps; for time
Neither are strengths of mine.  I completed the workout in 13:25

"Jeremy" - This isn't a benchmark workout, but definitely one that I'm going to come back to and compare times in the future.
21-15-9 reps of:
Overhead squats at 95lbs
I do not heart burpees.  I completed the workout in 6:51

Variation on "Annie"
Double-Unders, Squats and Push-Ups
50-40-30-20-10 reps; for time
I completed the workout in 12:57.  Much better time than my traditional "Annie".  It's probably due to a good rhythm with the rope, and that I'm much better at squats and push ups than sit ups.

Saturday's Metcon
There's no name for this one, but I did this metcon this morning.  It was brutal and I did not perform well.  Here's what the workout called for -
Four rounds for time of:
15 burpees
10 wide push-ups
10 narrow push-ups
14 lunge jumps (7 both leg)
15 V-ups
10 pull-ups
10 halos
I completed the workout in 28:07.  Not a very good time at all.  I don't heart burpees, v-ups or tackling this type of a metcon alone.

Exhausted after a Metcon
These benchmark workouts have been great.  They don't take long, but man do I get a burn and work up a sweat.  They are great workouts for my type of schedule.  I look forward to tackling a few more benchmark workouts over the next few weeks.  I especially look forward to coming back to these in a couple of months and seeing how I perform.  Ideally, I should do better, right? :-)

It must be the business person in me, but I anticipate an amazing feeling of accomplishment when/if I crush these times/performances.  Because these are all firsts for me, these times serve as baselines to crush in the future!  Wish me luck.

Check out more of my benchmarks.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

To the Mothers in My Life...

...Happy Mother's Day.

I'm extremely thankful to the mothers in my life, especially my mommy and my wife.  There are many other "mother" figures for me to honor on a day like this (my mother-in-law, my mission mom, my Aunty Maile, and the list could go on and on).  For the purpose of this post, we'll just focus on the first two.

To me, they are great motivators to stay healthy and active.  My mother always encouraged her children to eat healthy, to not eat too much, to stay active, to not watch too much TV, to go on walks, to play with friends...you know, all the things a mother does to ensure that her kid stays healthy.  Not only did she encourage, but she DID as well.  I remember my mother going to the gym, to step class, to water aerobics, playing tennis and much more.  When I was in high school, and I was told that I had to trim up for my senior season of volleyball it was my mother who drove my strict diet and ensured I was up early enough to run before school.

Now that all the kids are out of the house, she drags Dad out to do a bunch of fun activities.
Mom and Dad's new favorite summer activity

I've talked about my wife on this blog before.  She's absolutely amazing and is a great example for me.  We've got one little boy and one more on the way.  In between the two boys, my wife decided that she really wanted to get in good shape.  We engaged a personal trainer and my wife became extremely dedicated.  She lost about 20 lbs over the course of a few months and still remains active far into her second pregnancy.  She is such a great example to me.

Family pictures 2010

To all the mothers out there: thank you for being the drivers and motivators behind that which is good. To the mother's in my life, I love you and thank you for being my motivation.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

I'm Solar Powered

I think that we may finally be saying good bye to winter and hello to spring.  It was a beautiful day today.

Saturdays are a hard day for me to make it to the gym.  I get up in the morning and my son is normally awake and excited to spend time with me.  I've resorted to the fact that I'm going to have to do pretty quick workouts on Saturdays most of the time.  This morning I decided that I would just jump rope for about half an hour.

I went out on my driveway and in the 8:00 AM sun, and just got in a rhythm for about 30 minutes.  I did some sets of 30 double-unders, jumped to the rhythm on my iPod and just enjoyed my time in the sun.  It was invigorating to feel the sun on my face and back as sweat poured down my face toward the end of the 30 minutes.  

I needed to help our local church's youth group aerate a bunch of lawns today as a fundraiser, so I was in the sun for a total of about six hours.  I'm fried and red (thank goodness my Hawaiian blood turns that burn into a pretty nice brown), but it was totally worth it.

I'm so excited for warm weather.  In the words of a friend of mine, "We truly are solar powered."  Being in the sun just makes me want to stay active and healthy.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Set Some Benchmarks. That'll Keep You Going.

I made a return to CrossFit this week.  We've been doing some great workouts for the last few weeks, however I simply felt like I needed to do a couple of Crossfit workouts to get motivated again.  I made a decision that I'm going to try and do one of the "Benchmark Girl" Crossfit Workouts each week (mixed in with the other workouts we're doing).

If you're not familiar with the Benchmark Girls, let me introduce you to them.  They are a group of gals who will absolutely kick your butt, so don't mess with them.

In all seriousness though, they are a set of Crossfit workouts that are meant to be basic benchmarks for you to track progress with.  Take a look at some of them.  If I'm not mistaken, Angie was my first ever CrossFit workout, and boy did it gas me.  I wish I could remember my time...well not really :-)!

From the FAQ on CrossFit.com

Also from the FAQ on CrossFit.com

So on Thursday I did Cindy.  I did 19 rounds and got to 6 squats.  I'm going to admit that around rounds 13 or 14 I needed to start doing jumping pull-ups (that is a major improvement from 5 months ago).

There is something about benchmarks that motivate me.  When I realize what my baseline is, and I am able to come back and improve against that baseline, I feel a great sense of accomplishment.  I'm hoping that in a few months, my times and results for each of these workouts will improve.

Having something to work towards and against...now that's enough motivation for me to keep going.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Change Motivates Me to Workout

We started a new workout plan today.  It's actually the second part of the one we've been doing for the last few weeks.  For the past few weeks it was a lot of high reps.  This next section is lower reps and much heavier weight.  I feel like these past few weeks have been great for me.  I feel stronger, I have better endurance and am getting closer to where I feel that I need to be.

Despite that progress, today gassed me.  It was great!

I've often found that I lose motivation when I feel that I'm doing the same thing over and over again.  I actually found that with this last section of the workout.  By last week, I was ready to move on...despite really enjoying the workouts.

That's a good lesson for me to learn: when I feel like I'm not motivated, change things up a little bit.  I think that even small changes help.  Add an extra motion.  Ask someone who's working around you for tips.  Observe what others are doing and try to incorporate what they're doing into your workout.  Do something different and see how your body reacts (just don't overdo it).

CrossFit nails this principle and it's one of the reasons that I admire the lifestyle and program so much.  Much of what you do in CrossFit is based on the unknown.  You don't necessarily know what your workouts are going to look like until maybe the day of.  There are so many different motions, combinations and challenges.  It's exciting.

Man, when I have the money (and I'm in much better shape), I can't wait to join a box.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Inactivity. That's What Motivates Me Today.

So you'll notice that I haven't posted in a week or so.  I was on a business trip in Phoenix for a few days, and I spent the last few days of the week catching up on things that came up while I was gone.

I was only able to make it to the gym three days last week.  What's funny, is that 6 months ago that would have been an amazing accomplishment for me.  Now, I feel let down.  That's a good sign right?

Well that feeling of "inactivity" is what motivates me to hit the gym hard this week (and what motivates me to get back to blogging).  I learned a couple of things this week while on my business trip:

1. I love really good Mexican Food.  Man, Phoenix has great Mexican food.
2. Pro baseball games are a blast.  I got to go to my first MLB game while in Phoenix.  It was a blast, but the food selection isn't the healthiest.
3. It doesn't matter where you are, being active feels great.  The hotel we stayed at had a very small "exercise center".  30 minutes of cardio, 100 push ups, 100 squats and 100 crunches later, I felt ready for the day.  I've often found it easy to blame my surroundings for not working out.  I realize more and more how much that really isn't the case.  You can find something active to do nearly anywhere you are.

Well...thanks for listening to my jabbering.  Have a great week!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Early Morning Rush

I wanted to go to the gym yesterday morning.  I knew I had to be at work by 8:00, so I wanted to be at the gym before 6:30.

Being ambitious, I set my alarm for 5:00 and then again for 5:30 (don't ask me why, but I have to set two alarms like that in order to function throughout the day).  I rolled out of bed, regretting the fact that I had woken up so early.  I kept telling myself that I was a dummy and that I should have stayed in bed.

The funny thing is that I used to get up early like that to go running and/or go to the gym all the time.  Now, it's labor to me.

Once I got to the gym however, my mind quickly changed.  The gym was busy.  The people and the energy quickly took my mind of my seemingly regret.  50 minutes of cardio later, I felt great!

Early morning crazies, I salute you.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What is it about Running?

After completing the Moab Half
So I left my house this morning at 7:30 and it was damp and cold outside.  On my drive to work, I always see people running.  Often times, I see the same people on the same route.

As I drove past the morning runners, I thought to myself, "That's a little too cold and damp for my enjoyment."

I started thinking (usually not a good thing).  What is it about running that get's people out so often?  I confess that I'm not an avid runner.  I completed a half marathon (notice how I say that I completed it and not "ran" it), but don't profess to be a runner.  What amazes me about running however, is how dedicated some people are.

I live in Orem, UT and used to live in Provo.  One of the fascinating things about the area (especially Provo), is that no matter what time you go out, what the weather is like, and what time of the year, you will see people running.  Seriously...whenever you got out you'll see people running.

I admire that dedication.  To run in the pouring rain, blustering snow, scorching heat, and at any time of the day...that's dedication.

I had considered taking a break from the gym today.  The dedication of the individuals running this morning in the damp cold motivated me to not take that break.

Thank you crazy dedicated runners.

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Burn

Today was a hard day at the gym.  We did the same workout as last week, however I added a bit more weight to the squats.  I don't know if it was the additional weight, or if I'm still a bit tired from last week's workouts (especially doing the metcon Friday and Saturday), but I was completely exhausted at the end of the workout.

That feeling.  That burn.  It's exhilarating.

It's not too often that we put ourselves there.  I think sometimes it's because we don't want to and sometimes it's because we don't know how to.  I know that there weren't many workouts that I put together myself that put me there and exhaust me like that, but a workout that someone else thought up that is meant to stretch me...that'll put me there.  This new workout program and CrossFit definitely put me there.

As much as it hurt, I can't wait until tomorrow.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Progess, Planning and Pals

Those are the three things that motivate me today.  Here's the gist:

As most of you know, I workout with a group of friends from work.  We do an array of different things.  However for the last few weeks we've been doing a workout plan that was developed by another friend of ours.  It's a 5-day a week plan.  Each workout for the first four days includes lifts, super sets, workouts with high-reps, core exercises and full body exercises.  The 5th day of each week is as follows:

5 rounds as fast as you can of:
15 squat jumps
20 push-ups
20 crunches
8 lunges (each leg)
7 pull-ups

One of the purposes of this workout is to gauge progress.  Ideally, you should be improving your time and ability to complete the workout.  The individual pieces of it should become easier as you build strength and endurance.  Here is what my times looked like for the past few weeks:

Week 1:
We actually decided to do this workout once prior to starting the new plan so that we could have a baseline to compare against.  I did the workout in a little over 15 minutes.  I wasn't set up to well (I needed to run to and from a location to do the pull-ups), however, endurance was a large issue.

Week 2:
About 12:30, a pretty good improvement.  I was set up a bit better so that I didn't have to run back and forth to do pull-ups.  If you've read previous posts, you'll know that pull-ups are difficult for me, but they got a lot easier this time around.

Week 3:  This week.
I actually did it twice this week.  I ended up going at it alone Friday night and we all met up Saturday morning (today) to do it together.  I learned something interesting from these last two days.  Here are my times:
Friday: 11:34 - I chalk up the improvement from Week 2 to building up strength and endurance.  As I get more and more active, my stamina in this type of a workout has gotten much greater.  Interestingly enough, I've also learned that paying attention to your breathing patterns plays a large role as well.
Saturday: 10:27 - I chalk the overnight improvement to the fact that I was with three other guys who were going faster than me.  I was anticipating a slower time (because my body was tired from the previous night's workout).  My pride set in however, and despite being absolutely gassed at the end of the workout, simply having them around made me go faster.

I realize that eventually, my times will plateau and I'll get to a point where beating my PR won't happen weekly.  However, I am interested and fascinated by the different factors that have led to the improvement.

The Plan has helped with strength and endurance.
My Pals pushed me to do better than I thought I could do.
My Progress makes me pumped to get back in the gym on Monday for another great week of workouts.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

I Gotta Build Me One of These

This is motivation for me to workout and make money so I can fund this...

Here's Part Two:

I love the tongue-and-cheek conversation as well.  Pretty entertaining.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Goals Motivate Me Today

So my weight loss has been at a halt.  I've definitely been thinning up and my size is moving away from my midsection and towards my shoulders and legs, but I'm not losing a ton of poundage at the moment.  I think the guilty party is my diet.

To kick start, I'm setting a goal to get down to 250 by April 25.  That's about 8-10 lbs over the next two weeks.  The key is that I've got to do it in a healthy manner.  My wife is going to be gone for a good portion of the time period, so I've got someone at work keeping me in check.

Wish me luck.

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Week Wrap-Up | Starting a New Circuit

So I'm kind of torn this week.  We started a new workout routine at the gym this week.  It's been a great week, and the workouts are pretty awesome, but I miss doing the CrossFit WODs.  However I'm sure that we'll be working and mixing them in over the next couple of weeks.

The workouts started on Monday, but I wasn't able to make it to the gym to do them, so I started Wednesday with the guys from work.  Here's what my workouts looked like this week.

Monday: Home Workout
On my way to the gym, my son freaked out and didn't want me to leave.  I ended up doing the following workout in my drive way:

Four rounds for time:
15 double-unders
15 squats
10 burpees
10 squat jumps

I wasn't feeling too hot that day and it ended up taking me 18 minutes to complete.  I hate burpees.

Wednesday: New Circuit Day 3
It consisted of:
- Warm-up with high knees, push-ups and star-jumps
- One-legged straight dead lifts
- Straight-legged dead lifts
- Bent-over Rows super-setted with Good Mornings
- Pull-Ups
- A Core Workout

Thursday: New Circuit Day 4
It consisted off:
- Warming up by jump roping for 5 minutes
- Clean and Jerks
- Bench Press super-setted with Dips
- Skull-crushers
- Wide and narrow push-ups super-setted
- Kettle bells swings
- A Core Workout

Friday: New Circuit Day 5
It consisted of 5 rounds for time of the following:

15 squat jumps
20 push-ups
20 crunches
8 lunges (each leg)
7 pull-ups

I completed it in 12:27.  I did that workout last week in 15 minutes (I didn't fuel up before, and had to run between locations to do pull-ups).  I'm interested to see how my times progress over the coming weeks.

Saturday: Cardio
3.15 miles in 30:30 + 15 minutes of jump roping.  It was a great way to end the week.

It's been a great week.  One thing that I've loved about doing this blog is that it serves as a sort of fitness journal.  Seeing what workouts I've done and being able to think through some of the progress that I feel I've made is a good mental exercise for me.

My wife is headed out of town at the end of this week, so I think that I'm going to gear up for a pretty strict diet while she's gone (it's hard to ask your family to follow a strict diet just cause you want to).  We'll see how that goes!  Wish me luck.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Gymnastics to Rugby to Skiing to Soccer to... ...to CrossFit

So I gained a new respect for Gymnastics when I married my wife.  She was a gymnast growing up and has two nieces who were/are avid gymnasts.  We've got a niece who is 10 and is a freakishly strong little gymnast.  I've been to their gyms as an observer, photographer and was even challenged once to try a couple of the movements and workouts (rings, rope climbs, trying to take two steps on the balance beam, etc.).  Through that time, I've gained an appreciation for the strength that it required in gymnastic motion and moves.

In CrossFit, gymnastic type movements and workouts are an important part and test in fitness and strength.  Often times, the workouts call for things like handstand push-ups, walking handstands, ring dips, and rope climbs.  Now, I don't attend a CrossFit gym...yet... so, I don't have a lot of access to rings and ropes to climb, however I've grown a major appreciation for the strength that it requires to succeed and excel.

Check out this video about Camille Leblanc-Bazinet, a CrossFit competitor, and her journey from gymnastics, to all sorts of other sports and how she's landed at home in CrossFit.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Freakishly Strong and Fit

This guy is awesome.  I've posted videos about him before, but I keep getting introduced to other videos that amaze me.  The video below are some highlights of when he won the CrossFit games in 2008.  I watched another video about Khalipa today that I wanted to post, but there's a bit of cussing (gotta keep the blog family friendly you know).  If you're interested though, click here.

In the video (included in the link), one of the judges of the 2008 games mentions that when he was briefing the finalists, his first thought about Khalipa was, "I don't think he should be in this competition."  And he won.  I love when people defy odds and expectations.  I hope you enjoy this little video for motivation.  These guys are freakishly fit.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

200 unbroken double-unders in 2 minutes. Are you kidding me?

Don't feel like you have to watch all 2 minutes of this, however, the fact that there's video proof of it is pretty impressive.  200 unbroken double-unders in 2 minutes.  That's impressive.

A few weeks ago we did a CrossFit workout that involved double-unders.  It was an AMRAP (as many rounds as possible) and what limited my ability to do more rounds wasn't necessarily my stamina (however that did end up taking affect later int he workout), but more my inability to do double-unders efficiently.  I could fire of a couple in a row, but my technique was not such that would allow me to be efficient with my time (which in an AMRAP, efficiency is important).  So this past weekend, I bought a jump rope and I'm working on it.

I'm not necessarily wanting to get to a point where I can do 200 unbroken in 2 minutes, but I will get to a point where I'm efficient.  Pursuit of efficiency is what motivates me today.  

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Life Itself Motivates Me Today

Today, life itself motivates me to be active and healthy.

I went to a funeral yesterday.  The services were for the child of a very good family friend.  The child had tragically passed away at 2.5 months old.  As you can imagine, it has been devastating for the family.

While at the funeral yesterday I had a lot of time to reflect.  It made me grateful that my son was healthy, and that despite our scare and two-night stay at the hospital with RSV while he was less than a year old, he's okay.  It made me grateful that my nieces and nephews are healthy.  It made me grateful that despite health scares, my family is all still around.  It basically made me grateful for life.

That gratitude motivates me to treat and live life well.  That's what I'll be thinking about at the gym today.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Inspirational Stories of Others.

Early in my high school years I was able to attend a conference that featured a motivational speaker.  His story was about overcoming cancer and the pain and trials that he endured.  His challenge and message was about overcoming life's adversities with a smile.  He spoke about the impromptu concerts he and his friends put on while he was undergoing chemo therapy and the happiness that brought himself and other patients.  He talked about the importance of optimism and forward thinking in the midst of trial.  He shared his story so that other's could benefit.

This is a common occurrence isn't it?  The sharing of the extraordinary stories of others serve to buoy others around them.  Isn't this how Oprah made her money?

I think in health and fitness, the principle is no different.  The amazing weight loss of someone (The Biggest Loser), the amazing strength of another (The Strong Man Competition), the amazing physical skills of an individual or team (name any professional sport) motivates us to be our better physical self.  Here are a few things that inspire and motivate me.  If this blog pans out the way I hope, some day, I plan to share interviews with a few of these individuals that I so vaguely speak about.  They are common themes we've all heard before, however I am still inspired by the individual insights into an individual's story.

The weight loss of friends.  I have two friends in particular who have experienced a great amount of weight loss.  For both, the motivation wasn't vanity, but instead good health and positive feeling about life.  I am amazed by their dedication, discipline and journey.

Stories of individuals who overcome serious injury.  I just read an article about a budding professional snowboarder who fractured his back.  He was told that he'd never walk again (theme sound familiar?).  He's now a Crossfit stud (check out the article for the full story).  I can think of personal acquaintances who needed to go through grueling physical therapy to overcome an injury and/or major health concern who are now an inspiration to me.

There are numerous stories that can be shared, but the point is this: sometimes, the motivation we need comes in the form of others.  I'm going to venture to say that everyone around you has an interesting story to tell.  You've just got to get it out of them.  I believe that it was Dale Carnegie that taught that the key to being interesting, is to be interested in others.

Be interested in others and they'll tell you their story.  They may not be a motivational speaker, but I'll venture to say that you'll find great motivation and inspiration in their story.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Peak 360 Fitness

I was perusing through youtube videos the other night and came across this advert put together for Peak 360 Fitness.  I studied advertising in college and always love when you come across a commercial with good copy.  I like the copy in this one.  I can especially relate to wanting to hit the snooze button in the morning.

Good copy.  Good message.  Great motivation.