Sunday, March 28, 2010

Discipline

Well, as my thousands of readers know (ha!) the last week was a struggle. Didn't sleep well, was stressed, and it showed in my workouts. It also showed in my nutrition. I spent 8 weeks of the Crossfit Challenge focused on my workouts and nutrition and saw significant results. Over the last week as I got tired and stressed I let that discipline slip and stopped eating as well as I know I need to.

The problem with this is that poor nutrition completely exacerbates the stress, sleep issues, and poor workouts. Its totally a self reinforcing cycle of bad that I fell into. Stress led to poor sleep, led to lack of discipline, led to making excuses. Now, I didn't totally go off the reservation, but there was more non-Paleo meals and foods than there should be. I shouldn't wonder why I'm struggling when I don't do the things I know are good for me and make me feel better. As a high school PE teacher once said 'I may be stupid but I ain't dumb' which I take to mean you don't have to be smart to stop doing bad things.



So, how to get out of the bad spiral and back into the Circle of Awesomeness? Well, for starters, I'm going back to the yellow book that got me through the Challenge. I recorded every workout and every meal in that book for 8 weeks and now I'm going to continue that. No more slacking, knowing I have to write it down will help me make the right choices. Second, I'm going to take advantage of Coach Zach to keep me honest and look over my journal. Finally, proper preparation prevents piss poor performance. That means taking the time to get my food together the night before so I have good nutrition ready to go. No more excuses to eat crap because I didn't take the time to make food ahead of time. Its not hard to do the right thing and eat well, it just takes discipline. There's venison back strap cooked up, and a sweet potato is in the oven, tomorrow will be a great day of good food, a good workout, and a return to the Magic Focus Laser Intensity (thank you Jeremy Thiel, that will be in my brain forever!).

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Stress and Lack of Sleep Impacts Everything!

The last three nights have been sleepless, unpleasant affairs. I think its a combination of getting off my sleep schedule while I was off for Spring Break but mostly worrying about my living arrangements. I have to be out of my place by April 15th, and haven't confirmed a new place yet. This is causing some anxiety. I've always been very flexible and go with the flow, but as I get older I get less and less so. This is actually rather heartbreaking for me because I don't want to be that guy who's stuck in his ways and not able to deal with uncertainty. Definitely something I need to work on to regain that youthful openness. I'm in a wicked rut and I need to break out of it. Crossfit has definitely helped, I've met some great people and am learning to push myself harder than I ever thought I could.

So, yeah, I've been stressed and not sleeping and this came to a head in today's boot camp workout. I had a decent run on Monday, burpeepalooza run fest yesterday, so I was sore from those, but still. The last three nights of tossing and turning caught up to me and I struggled from the first exercise to the disappointing end without finishing all rounds of the wod.

Sleep deprivation is a problem affecting many in our go go society. We think sleep is wasting time rather than a key aspect of our health and yes, even our fitness. Adequate sleep has enormous benefits on all aspects of our lives, even helping with weight management. Lack of sleep increases stress and cortisol production, which directly impacts weight loss. Marks Daily Apple has a great post about the importance of sleep.

Here's the bottom line. You may have your diet totally dialed in, you may be totally hydrated, you may have your workouts locked in but if you're skimping on your sleep you're not going to reach your full potential. This can be tough with 5:30 am workouts, getting the kids to bed, chores, etc. but it is critically important to quality of life. Thinking you can make up for lost sleep on the weekend won't cut it, you've got to be consistent each and every night. So, DVR The Daily Show and Colbert Report and get yourself a full 8 hours.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Today was an accomplishment

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A strange thing happened today, my reality matched the vision I had. I've kind of poked fun at Zach Thiel who has embraced and is committed to visualizing every aspect of his life. Well, I got a lesson today in how that works. Last night when today's workout was posted I got pretty excited. It was a workout I knew I could take as prescribed. It was 800 meter run, 21 push jerks at 95 lbs, 1000 meter run, 21 push jerks. Not a super heavy weight, not too much cardio. I started thinking time and got 12:26 in my head and thought I can finish this well. As the picture shows, I had the 3rd fastest time in my class. (Like any good blogger I'm going to totally disregard any extenuating circumstances that may have led to this result and just go with I rocked it today) While this certainly isn't as big as placing 3rd at Sectionals, it is a huge accomplishment for me, and a definite sign of the great strides I've made in the last few months. My time 12:28, 2 seconds off the time in my head, I should have visualized sub 10 minutes!

I've never been particularly competitive (more honest would be totally non-competitive) but this morning when Barbara from my class passed my on the run, I got fired up. It got my blood pumping even more to pound out the lifts and get on the rower. This was a great workout, and it was freakin' awesome to be the 3rd person to call time. This is the first time I haven't finished close to last or worse, DFL (Dead #%"&*#@@#$ Last) doing a workout as prescribed.

This was a minor thing in the grand scheme of life, but it totally made my day. Its motivation to keep up the good work, eating right, and pushing myself as hard as I can every single time on every single workout. Its one small step on the journey of fitness, I have many more to take.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Challenge is Over, but the Work Continues

Well, I don't have pics of the EPOC Challenge finale, and honestly, the one I saw of me was pretty awful, so not real sure I'd share with the world anyway. What were the result of 8 weeks of Magic Laser Focus Intensity (thanks Jeremy Thiel)included a loss of body fat, loss of inches, loss of weight, gaining of strength and confidence. Totally rocked the assessment workout, 11' 04" 8 weeks ago, 9' 30" this time. Totally stoked about that. You can see the workout we did done at an elite level on Jeremy's blog at the link from his name.

The biggest change though was mental. I've totally changed how I think about workouts, food, everything. Changing my diet has been so incredibly beneficial. No more chronic heartburn, solid energy throughout the day, no more ups and downs, no more random hunger or cravings. And, I'm eating great food, no deprivation, its not hard to eat well, it just takes changing your attitude about food. Workouts are now just something I do, its not a chore, its not an 'ugh, I've gotta get this done' its just what I do now.

Thanks to Zach and my Crossfit Challenge teammates. Zach didn't let me slack, gave great advice, and really spent the time to make us successful. That's where Crossfit coaches excel, they are sincerely invested in our success, its not just one more person coming through the door. They want us to challenge ourselves and be great, not just show up for an hour and pay the bill. Everyone on the team was great, I've made some good friends from this and expect that friendship to continue.

I took this weekend to celebrate, enjoyed some decidedly non-Paleo foods (yay BEER!!) but will be back on it tomorrow. Workouts and eating right will continue, I've got a ways to go to meet my overall fitness goals, but the last 8 weeks have moved me a long way in the right direction and given me the tools to succeed!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

First Political Blog

Open up the paper and what is it? Politicians acting stupid. This time its Democrats instead of Republicans, but a few years ago the roles were reversed. Every time a party gets in power these things arise. What is it with the people we elect that they get to Congress and lose all sense of responsibility, propriety, and ethics?

I think part of the issue is the artificiality to which we've grown accustomed. We play Wii sports instead of real sports, we eat McNuggets instead of real chicken. We elect empty suits and skirts instead of real people. Yeah, there's an issue of the culture of Washington, the insulation, the lack of real connection with real people, but there is more than that. Politics has become so ugly, despised, and viewed as ineffective that the best and the brightest don't want to be a part of it.

Politics used to be viewed as a public service; smart, effective people saw it as their duty to serve the country in elected office for a while then return to their lives. This is no longer the case, we have people coming straight out of law school (or whatever) and getting elected to something. They never hold real jobs, they never produce anything, they're just politicians. We need to reverse this trend.

To do this though we have to make politics less of a blood sport. Why would someone want to run for office knowing every minute indiscretion they (or their entire family) have made will be brought before the world? Its no longer enough just to disagree, we have to personally destroy those who disagree with us. THIS HAS TO STOP!! People can have legitimate disagreements on big issues without being vilifying each other.

Being Americans we want an easy fix. Many think term limits is the answer. On the face of it, this makes sense. My biggest issue is that its fundamentally undemocratic. Arbitrarily saying someone can no longer be in office isn't right. The real solution would be for individuals to take personal responsibility to be engaged, educated, and informed voters rather than just picking candidates by the letter after their name. I don't have a lot of faith this will happen. I hope I'm wrong.

36 Hours left in Crossfit Challenge

We're down to the last day and a half before the assessment workout of Crossfit Challenge. Been pushing it this week, don't know if that's the best idea, but I think it'll be just fine. Mind over matter! Its going to be so much fun, I know everyone's going to be stoked and pushing each other. Who would have thought I'd be looking forward to a workout this much? Total change in attitude, habits, and lifestyle, which was the point of the Challenge.

In other notes, Zach recommended including pics in the blog, which is a good point. But, when you're the Dad, you're always the one taking the pictures, not in the pictures. Plus, despite my stunning good looks (ha!) I'm not very photogenic so its not like I'm all that keen on having my picture taken. I"m still not entirely sure about this blogging thing, I don't really have a lot happening to share with the world. Anyway, we'll see how things go!