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... 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.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Listen to Your Body. It'll Tell You.

So I had an interesting experience yesterday morning.  We decided to spend the weekend at my in-laws home.  Fortunately we get to do that every so often because they only live 1.5 hours away from us.  Typically when we go, my mother-in-law spoils me with great waffle breakfasts, we get to eat at my wife's cousin's awesome Mexican restaurant, and we spend a lot of time being lazy and lounging around the house.  It's awesome.  It is a great way to unwind and recalibrate my thoughts and gain my focus back.

Yesterday morning when I woke up, my body told me, "It's time to go to the gym."  I had been planning on going so that I could make up a workout that I missed on Friday due to a birthday lunch, however, I'd lie if I said that part of me wasn't trying to talk myself out of it.

I listened, went to the gym, had a great workout and had a wonderful day!  I still got to lounge around, play with my son and be lazy, but my body felt great the rest of the day.

I believe that our bodies want to be active.  They want to be used.  I made a decision yesterday morning to consciously listen to what my body is telling me.  I realize that it can work both ways however.  Sometimes it'll tell you to slow down (which is just as important at times as being active), however if you're healthy, treating your body right, and being active, I'm going to venture to guess that majority of the time your body will tell you to get out and get active.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

Week Wrap Up

Here's what my workouts looked like this week:

Monday: Chest
For some reason, I felt like I had gotten hit by a train over the weekend.  Therefore, I didn't feel like doing a MetCon.  We did a chest workout instead.  It included the following:
A short warm up
4 sets of Bench Press
3 sets of Decline Bench Press
3 sets of Incline Bench Press
3 sets of Overhead Shoulder Press

The funny thing about this workout, is that this is the type of workout I would have done a few years ago on a normal day.  We did this workout today because we wanted to do something "lite".

Tuesday: CrossFit
21-15-9 of
225 lb Deadlift
135 lb Overhead Squat

I ended up scaling the weight back on the overhead squats for the 2nd and 3rd round to 115 (I don't have the core quite yet) but was able to complete the workout in 10:30

Wednesday: CrossFit
Run 1 mile
155 lb clean/jerk - 21 reps
Run .5 mile
155 lb clean/jerk - 21 reps
Run 1 mile

I ended up doing the .5 mile in the middle on an elliptical machine.  As much as I wanted to, I didn't end up scaling the weight back on the jerks (looking back I'm really grateful that I didn't) and completed the workout in 41:30.  I know, not an impressive time, but I'm just glad that I finished in one piece.

5 rounds for time of:
15 squat jumps
20 push ups
20 crunches
8 lunges (each leg)
7 pull-ups

I completed it in 15:10.

Wanna know what my motivation is today?  Results.
I realize that I still have a long way to go, however I am grateful for the results that I've seen.  Pull-ups have always been something hard for me to do.  Even when I was in my "prime" I struggled doing pull-ups.  For many of the MetCons we've been doing over the past few months as well as our daily warm ups, I've needed to do a lot of jump pull ups.

I was warming up the other day, and noticed that I could pump out 5-10 pull-ups for each of my 3 warm up sets.  That was a small victory for me, but a victory none-the-less.  Sometimes it's the little things that keep you motivated and moving.

If not, hopefully this will help.  I love the types of exercises that this group does.  A lot of functional movements and core elements built into majority of the workouts.

When you consider what type of physical activity this group engages in and how dominant someone like Laird is in his sport, you've got to be motivated by, and admire the type and amount of training that goes into it.

Happy Weekend.

Friday, April 1, 2011

The Metro Dash | Some Day I'll Run It

Just the thought of doing this gets my blood flowing a little.  Some of my friends from work completed it last year and I really wanted to do it with them this year.  Just so happens that my wife is due with our 2nd the same day that it's being run in our state.  Maybe next year.

If you're not familiar with the race, it's basically a course that requires you to do an array of exercises that capture functional training.  From what I understand, it's pretty grueling, but an amazing rush.
Courtesy of
Check out the course on the MetroDash Official Site.  Pretty crazy stuff huh?  Here's a short interview with the guy who founded the MetroDash and what it's all about.

This event is definitely on that is on my list of events to do.