WINNING! One man's venture at improving himself


Hello? … hello … ello… ello

I'm going to try and start using this again, really.  Lets get the ball rolling again.  About four weeks ago I dislocated my right ankle while WALKING home, completely sober at that.  Stepped off a high curb onto uneven pavement and hello world of pain.  Had an ultrasound done on my ankle and came away with the joy of knowing I didn't need surgery.  I managed to escape with only two sprained ligaments.  Another good thing about this?  Ligaments heal.  Tendons don't.  Very very lucky.

In any case, that ruined my ability to do anything remotely active for about two weeks, and then I traveled for work so that kept me out of CrossFit for another week.  I got back today and am hoping to get back into a normal schedule at CFCC.  We'll see how it goes.  Right now I can't do anything that requires my ankle to be active; burpees, double-unders, box jumps, lunges, etc.  That makes it tough to do any of the WODs, but my coaches are being very helpful and substituting in other things in their place.  For example, in today's WOD, we had to do lunges while holding a kettle bell overhead, then push-ups   We subbed in kettle bell snatches for the lunges and I was good to go.  I forgot to get my time for today's WOD, but I'm not sure I care to record my numbers and times until I'm back to normal.  Figure it'll be about 3-4 more weeks of this before I can start thinking about getting back my regular workouts and running again.

Now, to make things a bit more difficult for me, I have things planned almost every weekend this month, and they all bleed into weekdays at that, so I'm going to have to squeeze in CrossFit Monday through Wednesday/Thursday since I won't be doing anything active at all the things I've got planned (unless you count having fun with friends).  In March I've got two hash weekends (WIE down in Ocean City, MD and then Philly Green Dress).  Later in March I have PAX East up in Boston, and then the last weekend is my good friend's Bachelor Party.  Needless to say, its going to be a very busy month and I can't wait for all the fun.  I also can't wait for April because I know I'm going to need a weekend of sleep to recover.

Okay now, lets see how long I can keep this site active this go around.


Time to dust this thing off I guess

So after the last nutrition challenge, I fell off the bandwagon in terms of keeping this site updated with my progress.  I have received word from on high that another challenge is in the near future though!  The first seminar is this Wednesday evening.  I haven't quite decided if I'll compete this time or not as I'm feeling a little burnt out with all the things I'm doing in my life, but we will see how I feel after the seminar.  There is a good chance that I'll compete, but just on the side, on my own.  I really just want to buckle down and get back into the habit of shopping and cooking every weekend so I have meals ready for the upcoming week.  As long as I can do that and I can continue making gains at CrossFit, then I will be fine with that.

On a side note, I'm in for one crazy snow storm and one good ski trip, then I'm ready for it to get warm again.  I say this because I notice my motivation levels seem to be tied to the temperature.  The colder it is, the less motivated I feel.

Filed under: General No Comments

Physical health progression update


Forward or onward movement toward a destination.
Move forward or onward in space or time: "as the century progressed, the quality of telescopes improved".

So, for those of you that have been following along at home, you are aware that for the last two years I have been working on improving my physical and mental health.  This all started after my divorce when I realized I had to fix a number of things in my personal life before I could make any forward movement in my life.  I picked up hashing with the Ben Franklin Mob, I participated in the Broad Street Run, I joined an adult kickball team, and more recently I picked up CrossFit.

With each of these activities, I've managed to build some great friendships and meet a ton of interesting people.  I have also made significant strides in improving my physical and mental health and can honestly say I am in a much better place now compared to two years ago.  I feel great these days and it would take me a long time to talk about all the great things I've done and seen along the way.  Hashing, kickball, and CrossFit have all been great.  I've loved them all, even on the days that I hated it.

Recently at CrossFit, I participated in a Body Change and Composition Challenge (or is it Body Composition and Change Challenge???).  This was a month long experiment where we cut things like dairy, gluten, grains, alcohol (ehhhhhhh, maybe not), and a number of other things in order to achieve any number of goals.  For some people it was normalizing their body and finding out what things in their diet don't agree with them.  For others it was making the change in their diet to get the most out of their workouts so they could either bulk up and slim down more.  For me?  I had a number of goals in the beginning, but I don't really feel like I went all out to achieve some of them.  I wanted to slim down, I wanted to look more fit.  I wanted to improve my diet.  I wanted to get stronger.  Mainly though, I wanted to get back into the habit of grocery shopping and cooking for myself again.  For two years I ate out or ordered in three meals a day, seven days a week.  I made relatively good choices when doing so, but it still wasn't that great for my body, or my wallet.

I've definitely gotten into a rhythm of grocery shopping again and cooking for myself on Sunday afternoons.  Reading Terminal Market and I are BFFs now, and I'm becoming quite a fan of the Italian Market as well.  A bunch of my friends have seen what I've been doing and now join me when I go grocery shopping.  We also coordinate meals so now there's more variety in what we eat during the week, with no extra effort being put into cooking that new meal. It is looking like Sunday afternoons are going to turn into cooking parties at my house where I go grocery shopping with friends, then we spend the afternoon cooking and talking and having some drinks.  I have to say, I'm real excited for this and for my friends who are starting to come on board with improving their diets as well.

That all being said, I started writing this post with the intentions of sharing some progression photos for you all.  So, without further adieu, lets get that done with.

Before I started CrossFit, this was from May 4 of 2011.  I weighed 190lbs and was only doing some casual running and kickball on the weekends.  I should note that a week or two after this picture is when I busted my ankle (post 1, post 2).

This next photo is from February 12 2011, I am down to about 180lbs I think at this point.  I've been going to CrossFit about 1-2 times a week, but hadn't really started taking it very seriously yet.  There were several times where I'd miss a full week or two due to whatever.

This third photo is the day before I started the BCCC nutrition photo at CFCC.  At this point I was down to 175lbs, I'd been going to CrossFit 3-5 times a week for a few months now.  I should note, I was still eating out for every meal of every day, and I was drinking a lot this summer during all the hashing camping trips I attended.

This final image is from this morning's weigh-in at the end of the BCCC nutrition challenge.  I'm down to 170lbs and was attending CrossFit 4-6 times a week, and cooking for myself for almost every meal.  Its weird, but my body measurements didn't really change much, or at least I didn't think they did.  I don't know what's considered good or bad really to be honest.  My waist got bigger and my chest got smaller.  My biceps and calves both got bigger though, so I guess that's good.

So, all in all, I've slimmed down a lot.  I've lost about 20lbs (more like 22-24 to be honest though), and I've also gained a lot of strength and endurance.

I don't have all the numbers, but here are some of the main ones from when I started CF to now.

Front Squat: 135lbs to 235lbs

Back Squat: 175lbs to 295lbs
Dead Lift: 235lbs to 315lbs
Broad Jump: 108" to 112"
1000m row: 3:51.4 to 3:43.1

Now if you'll excuse me, I have my day of gluttony to get back to.  I'll go back to my normal diet tomorrow.


Oct 2 Log

Woke up this morning feeling incredibly energetic and in a very very good mood. This surprises me completely because I woke up 3 times last night, incredibly uncomfortable and annoyed. I think this was because of the dinner I ate. The ground bison stuffed bell pepper recipe I have is fantastic, but last night I decided to add half a jalapeno and some crushed red pepper to the mix. I think that was enough to keep me up last night and screw with my sleep. That said, Sleep Cycle still says my sleep quality was 83% last night for the 8 hours I was actually in bed.

Today's workout...

Thoughts on today's workout:

I enjoyed today's workout overall.  The sandbag turkish get ups are fun and make use of your whole body.  It might be why I enjoy doing TGU so much?  The bench press continues to be one of my weakest points.  I was able to max out at 155lb for 3 reps (PR), but could only manage 160lb x 2, unable to get the third rep.

Food Log:

Breakfast: Two eggs, three slices bacon, mixed vegetables.
Lunch: Turkey burger with guacamole and bacon (no bun), side salad.
Dinner: Zahav for Restaurant Week.... I ate a LOT of different things, but they all kept to the BCCC guidelines thanks to the friendly and helpful waitress we had.  We went through the menu and she pointed out all the items that had wheat/grains/cheese, so we made selections around that.  Some items they put the grains/cheese on the side so my friends could still enjoy it.  Lets see if I can recap what all I ate (it was all delicious)...

First course: Daily selection of salads (substituted sliced cucumber for the laffa they provided)
Second course: Crispy Haloumi, Fried Cauliflower, Cured Salmon, Grilled Duck Hearts
Third course: Kofte, Hangar Steak
Dessert: A few sliced pieces of fruit instead of all the other things they offered


Oct 1 Log

Slept for about 7.5 hours Sunday night, woke up feeling fine, but not energetic.  Sleep Cycle rated it at 84% sleep quality.  I don't recall much else at the time of this writing, so this portion of the log is going to be short.

Today's workout... 

Thoughts on the workout:

If I had one word to describe the strength and metcon today, it would be brutal.  Somehow I was the only person in the class who had done a 20 rep set of back squats before.  I guess it'd been a while and we had a lot of folks who were relatively new compared to me.  My previous best was 160lbs for 20 reps.  Today I partnered up with my friend Josh and we both slammed out 165lbs for 20 reps (PR).  It was way too low of a weight.  If we didn't have to do the metcon right after that, I think we both would have liked to give it another shot at a higher weight.  Will have to remember next time this comes up and aim for a higher weight.  So... the metcon.... 10 minutes to try and get 100 backsquats at 75% of our 20 rep weight.  Josh and I both went RX and went with 120lbs for the metcon.  Oh, did I mention that every minute on the minute you had to do 5 burpees?  Lets just say this got REAL TIRING, REAL QUICK.  I was aiming to do 10 reps per minute.  This glorious idea of mine lasted a whopping two rounds.  My sets then quickly dropped off to ~4 reps per round.  I ended up only getting 48 reps in total in the 10 rounds.  If I had aimed to do 6 reps a round, I might have done better.  Going for 10 a round was too much for me and my lack of endurance.  Noted for next time.

Food Log:

Breakfast: Three eggs, three slices bacon, half of a grapefruit.
Lunch: Lettuce wrap turkey/tomato/cucumber/bean sprouts, Lettuce wrap tuna/tomato/cucumber, pickle.
Dinner: Ground Bison stuffed bell peppers.


Sept 28 Log

Stayed out way too late Thursday night and only managed to get six hours of sleep that night.  Sleep Cycle gave it a 63% sleep quality, soooooo yeah, not that good at all.  Fortunately I was working from home on Friday, so at least I didn't have to share this experience with my coworkers.  I decided to go to the noon class on Friday which for better or worse, helped make my afternoon a bit better.

Friday's workout...

Thoughts on the workout:

This was rough today, real rough.  I totally blame myself and staying out real late the night before and not getting enough sleep.  I only managed to complete a set of three reps at 235lbs (PR).  On 255lbs, I only got one rep before being unable to push up through the bottom on my second rep.  Energy levels just weren't there and I couldn't give it my all.  Lesson learned, albeit  it was a lesson I already knew.

Food Log:

Breakfast: Two eggs, four slices of bacon.
Lunch: Carnitas bowl from Chipotle.
Dinner: Ground bison stuffed bell pepper.


Sept 27 Log

Stayed up a bit later than I wanted to last night, only managed 7hour10min of sleep according to Sleep Cycle. Also only 79% sleep quality. Took me a little bit to get going this morning.

Food Log:

Breakfast: Two eggs, five slices of bacon, sautéed spinach and diced tomato.
Lunch: From 1518 - Braised short ribs with a salad, one order Cajun wings.
Dinner: Skipped.

Hash related drinking: 2 ciders, 3 beers, 2 gin on the rocks.


Sept 26 Log

Woke up feeling pretty good this morning.  According to Sleep Cycle, I had an 86% sleep quality and slept for 7hour58min.  Had good energy levels throughout the day.  Towards the second half though I could feel my back starting to get a little sore from yesterday's WOD.  Very happy I own a foam roller!  Didn't go to CF today as I had some other things to take care of right after work.

Food Log:

Breakfast: Two eggs, four slices bacon.
Lunch: Five buffalo wings, Grilled chicken w/ lettuce and tomato, spring salad.
Dinner: Italian style stuffed bell peppers (bison meat, onion, tomato, garlic)

Tagged as: No Comments

Sept 25 Log

Woke up feel well rested today. According to Sleep Cycle, my quality of sleep last night was 85% and I slept for 7h51min. My right shoulder is sore today after the bear complex yesterday, this doesn't surprise me at all though. I knew my shoulders needed work, so hopefully by the end of this cycle I'll see a marked improvement in their strength and endurance.

Today's workout...

Thoughts on today's workout:

The bench press is another thing I am horrible at, as I've yet again proved to myself today.  I was able to get 135lbx5 (PR), and 145lbx3 (PR).  Pretty sad really.  This is definitely a session I can't miss during the cycle.  I really need to get better at it.  For the metcon, I was only able to complete 5 full rounds, the bear crawl, and then 7 double unders.  I couldn't find a jump rope that was the correct length for me today, so I kept screwing up my double unders.  I think I'm going to have to invest in my own jump rope and bring it with me or something.  On a side note, I asked for more shoulder related workouts this cycle, and I think the powers that be at CFCC answered me.  I'm excited, but I know I'm going to hate every week of this cycle because of how much work I need to put into my shoulders and upper body, whereas my lower body excelled at all the squats we did last cycle.

Food Log:

Breakfast: Three eggs, three slices of bacon, mixed vegetables.
Lunch: Turkey burger (lettuce/tomato/onions/peppers), pulled pork, braised escarole, handful of steak fries.
Snack: Apple
Dinner: Bison burger, an orange.


Sept 24 Log

Woke up feeling pretty well rested and without any real stiffness except in the top of my right foot. This was most likely due to kickball on Sunday. Other than that, felt great and was ready to take on the world. Fast forward a few hours to work and I was ready to go home and call it a day. My motivation dropped off pretty quickly, probably cause of my 4.5 hour long meeting I had to sit through. Good times were had, promise.

Today's workout...

Thoughts on today's workout:

I know I've done this workout before, I just have no idea when it was so I have no past weight to work from. In any case, my shoulders have been in dire need of attention lately, so I took it slow today to get them warmed up. I only managed to go up to 115lbs as my peak, and I'm okay with that for the first week of the cycle. Yeah, I could have gone heavier, but I didn't need to push myself and accidentally hurt my shoulders, or clock myself in the skull while doing this (did it anyways, and it didn't feel that great). Next week will let me see where I can actually get to.

Food Log:

Breakfast: three eggs, three slices bacon, orange juice.
Lunch: roasted pork, broccoli, zucchini.
Dinner: lamb shank, salad with prosciutto wrapped dates.