What’s in YOUR Pantry?

•May 20, 2009 • Leave a Comment

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So, I mentioned in an earlier post that I had finally bit the bullet and went Paleo.  However, I still kept stuff in my pantry for last minute pot-lucks such as Trader Joe’s Tortellini, Duncan Hines Yellow Cake, Jell-O, and the ingredients for White Chocolate Cranberry Oatmeal Cookies (to die for).  

A month later, I thought to myself that I was pretty selfish for valuing myself enough to eat right, but I was willing to poison my friends and  co-workers with gluten and sugar because I was too lazy to make a proper palpable paleo dish.

Once I threw all the dirty grains and all forms of sugar out, I realized I had nothing in my pantry but tea, cocoa powder, olive oil, spices, and vegemite (don’t ask…it’s a souvenir).  I realized that all of the foods on the “outer perimeter” of the supermarket that the Zone diet prescribes (i.e. produce, eggs, meats, etc) all have relatively no shelf life and must be consumed fresh.  

Any of you paleo eaters out there look in your pantry lately?  What do you see, besides the cobwebs and dust bunnies?  It seems that the proportion of food missing in the pantry is equal to the amount that grew in the fridge!  Greens, apples, asparagus, half eaten avocados, berries, almond butter, Lindner’s bison, and stacks and stacks of freakin tuperware.  

Post pantry contents to comments.

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2009 So Cal Regionals

•May 10, 2009 • 1 Comment

3465889759_f2495c8c55_oSo I get this ingenious idea in January of this year to sign up for the So Cal Regionals, thinking that it would be a great motivator to get myself re-conditioned after recovering from a snowboarding mishap.  Hubris or not, I wanted face my fears.   That’s what CrossFit’s all about, right?  

One week out, the nerves kicked in.  The anticipation for Wednesday, the day they posted the WODs, was unbearable.  You remember the feeling of walking into the box and immediately searching the whiteboard for the daily WOD?  This was MUCH worse.  I think I sent Chip a text  at 6am to let him know it was posted.   The WODs looked tough, but at least the movements were familiar enough.  

On the day of the regionals, I woke up in a surprisingly zen mood.  I figured, I could only do my best, which was hopefully good enough.  Made some coffee, a ridiculously meticulously weighed breakfast, and made sure I had both pairs of shoes packed.  

The first WOD snuck up on me.  I checked in, got assigned a judge, and before I knew it, I heard 3,2,1, Go!  I had thought the pullups would’ve been the worst of it and that the squats would be the break.  It was the complete opposite.  My legs were well fatigued going from cleans to squats and the pullups were bad, but aside from the tears, not so bad.  

For WOD 2, someone told me to make sure I “pace the run.”  I was actually laughing in my head during the laps that followed the OHS.  Pace?  I was lucky to get my right foot in front of my left.  It was really uplifting during my last set of OHS–I heard a lot of screams of encouragement from the sidelines.  I cast a quick glance and realized (with dismay) that many of the voices were from the girls in my heat…who were not only finished, but RECOVERED enough to be jumping up and down screaming for me.  It was quite inspiring…and humbling!

By the following day, the jitters were more or less gone.  The girls in my heat bonded while we waited in the cool hallway for our turn.   The row was intimidating, but Steve Serrano reminded me of Angie Hart’s FGB rowing technique, which was what got me through the 2k row.  Did step ups on the boxes to recover.  Then I picked up my nemesis wallball and that’s when it went downhill.  For every 10 WBs, I did at least 15.  The ball would either not make contact above the line, drop to the ground, or just not make contact at all.  It was the ultimate mindfuck for me.  I was barely halfway through when Kristen (1st place) finished.  In the end, I was one full round and one WB behind when the time ran out.  I stumbled over to the score card where I saw someone write DNF.  I signed my name numbly and walked away.  

I found a cool spot to sit and wallow in my disappointment.  It was pretty awful.  My friend Dani (CF Invictus) found me and gently told me to buck up and make WB my bitch.  It took a few minutes to sink in, but I realized it then:

CrossFit is not about self-pity.  It is not about beating yourself up (mentally at least).  It’s about finding your weaknesses and crushing them so they don’t crush you.  It’s about setting goals and aggressively achieving them.   It’s about determination and commitment.  Most importantly, it’s about getting in the ring every day and proving to yourself that you can push harder, past the point where your mind and body want to give up.  I have 330-ish days to train for next year.  You better believe WB will be my bitch by then.

Jump Around

•April 9, 2009 • 1 Comment

With half the gym doing crazy circus box jumps lately, I figured I’d look through the blogs and forums to see what the CrossFit community had to say about them. I found an interesting post by David Meverden laying out a standard for box jumps relative to hip height.

He starts by measuring the bony protrusion of the hip (part of the femur called the Greater Trochanter). He then divides his max box jump by his hip height, which is most fair since basing it off of total height does not account for leg length. Example: if my hip height was 36″ (in my dreams) and my max box jump was 51″, then my ratio would be 142%. By his standards, a phenomenal ratio would be 150% or so.

Check out CF Delaware Valley’s Box Battle Video. Looks like an average night at our box… minus the post WOD beers…

So, what’s your ratio? Post to comments.

Oly Session with Greg Everett (Part I)

•April 2, 2009 • 2 Comments

A few Sundays ago, I was fortunate enough to spend two hours getting coached by Catalyst Athletics‘ Greg Everett. Greg’s an amazing coach and I left with awesome cues and a crapload of stuff to work on. Enlightening…and humbling…and frustrating.

So, this month, I’ll be posting some cues and pointers that he gave me to fix my wonky shoulder (hence my nickname Igor when I do OHS’s), my squat, my push jerk, and a host of things for snatches and C&J’s.

First off, my OHS shoulder positioning was lacking a key element: squeezing my shoulder blades together BEFORE elevating my shoulders. It’s what we mean when we say “like you’re tearing the bar apart” but we haven’t harped on the importance of squeezing the shoulder blades together too much. The difference in stability with load overhead was incredible.

Secondly, my squat position for the Oly Lifts was all wrong. While the CrossFit depth for a front squat/clean/snatch is fine for lighter weights, when you go heavy, the weight will drive you to the bottom of the squat, like it or not, so I have to work on getting comfortable and strong in the bottom of a Oly squat. Ass to heels basically, while maintaining my lumbar curve, upright body position, and knees out. In order to maintain that upright body, though, I had to allow those knees to come forward of the toes. Thank god I at least had the flexibility to get to that position.

Another great pointer was for the Push Jerk. Besides dipping with control in order to maintain contact with the bar AND maximizing the drive, Greg mentioned a trick with the quads. Try tightening up the quads before the dip, so you maintain tension throughout the dip/drive. This way, you don’t have to go from loose dip to tense drive.

Hope this stuff helps you guys as much as it’s helped me! More later!

It’s OK to be a POSE-R

•March 31, 2009 • Leave a Comment

3298883306_074ff00e2bHelen, Nancy, Michael, and Murph are just a few of the CrossFit WODs that involve running. For some of us, it’s an Achilles’ Heel (both mentally and physically). Then I saw the POSE method of running on the CrossFit main site.

Intro to Pose Video
More Videos

I’ll let the links speak for themselves, but I’ll just mention that the POSE method consists of three parts: Pose, Fall, and Pull. The results are: shorter strides, less exertion of energy, and less impact on your knees. In CrossFit lingo: it’ll lead to a PR on Helen!

Mind Over Max (Oly Session, Part II )

•March 29, 2009 • 1 Comment

So much of max lifts is MENTAL. Let’s say you approach your max back squat and attempt a PR. You walk up to the rack, unrack the bar, and think, “Mother of all that’s holy, that’s HEAVY!” You take a few breaths and try to psyche yourself up, but the damage is done. Your mind has already told your body that the bar is heavy, that you can’t possibly stand with this weight much longer much less squat it…

Greg suggested an exercise you can do after you’ve completed your max lift WOD. Try putting more weight on the bar, unracking it, and just standing with it to feel the weight, re-racking, and repeat 3x.

Mentally, you’re telling your body to recognize this weight next time you attempt it for a max so that it’s not so surprising when you unrack it. Try it next time you BS, FS, SP, etc.

Halle-freakin-lujah, it’s a Miracle!

•March 23, 2009 • 2 Comments

blackshirataki281Finally, a paleo-zone friendly, gluten and soy free pasta!

Some good friends (and new CrossFitter Jayne) just introduced me to Miracle Noodle. A calorie free, carb free pasta? Is it possible? Is it edible?? I took it home immediately and stir fried it with chicken, asparagus, and avocado. Not only was it palatable, it soaked up the flavors of the other ingredients and tasted as close to al dente as fake pasta can!

So, what is it exactly? It’s made from the root of the konjac plant, is primarily a soluble fiber, and well known in Japanese cuisine. Yes, it’s bland, somewhat soggy, and not “real” pasta, but it sure does the trick. You can find Shirataki Noodles on the Miracle Noodle site, your local Japanese market, or even some Trader Joe’s carry them.

Don’t take my word for it, though. Do your own research, try it out, and post your thoughts to comments!