June 30, 2010

Mmmm Carbs

No workout today sadly, school project demanded my time.

Sometimes a day of higher carbs can be a good thing. Today was one of those days for me - not that I didn't get my share of fat and protein, just that I also ate a much larger proportion of carbs than usual. Felt needed, so I went with it.

Cafe at the college has decent breakfast omelets. Eggs, bacon, tomatoes, onions, green peppers, mushrooms. And they use butter! I'm sure it isn't awesome butter like I use at home, but at least it's butter.
  • Omelet!

Hungry when I got home, so between then and dinner I ate..
  • Apple + lots of almond butter
  • an apricot
  • couple small bunches of blueberries
  • couple small bunches of cashews

  • Chicken! Olive oil + special chicken spices = yummy.
  • Sweet potato + lots of butter + cinnamon. I'm not sure if I could get tired of this combo.
  • Kale Chips! We made some, wifey tried one. I don't think I let them cook quite long enough, since they weren't entirely crispy yet, but they were still delicious! ...I ate them all...
Kale Chips before:

Kale Chips after:


June 29, 2010

Got My Crack...I mean almond butter...

Seriously, it is like crack. Delicious, nutty, fatty, oh-so-tasty crack. Bought some more today and of course broke it out for the next meal! Did cooked spinach at dinner for the first time in a while. It's interesting that raw spinach, while good for you, can (more quickly) be a bad thing in quantity; while on the other hand, cooked spinach is actually better for you than raw and less of a worry about the negatives.

  • 5 eggs scrambled in butter with half of an onion chopped up and mixed in
  • a full head of broccoli cooked in butter. Remember this stuff is like a sponge! Soaked up at least 2 tablespoons if not more
  • an apple

Munched on fresh dark cherries (about 2 dozen) followed by some (unsalted & raw) cashews following my WOD while getting dinner going.

Browned up a lb of grass-fed ground beef, gave just a little to the wifey and kept the other 13-14oz for myself! Spiced up the meat initially with minced garlic and black pepper. Added the chopped onion (other half left over from breakfast) and repeated the above spices. Then added paprika, oregano, basil, parsley, and marjoram in no particular proportions - I cook using the "that looks about right" method - and continued stirring. Added a whole bunch of frozen chopped spinach, waited for it to warm up a bit and then repeated the round of 5 spices again. Topped with fresh ground black pepper at the table.
  • Beef-onion-spinach concoction
  • Apple + almond butter crack

WOD: Dizzy Wall-Balls

Details on the CF Rockwall Blog. A rather entertaining workout in the sense that it's been forever since I've done anything along the lines of forward rolls (or any rolls for that matter). My workout was:
Warm-up + 15 push-ups + 2 mins double-unders
7 Rounds For Time:
  • 15 Wall-Ball Shots (16lb ball)
  • 10 Kettlebell swings (1 pood)
  • 5 Forward rolls
Time was a good 13:16. Downside: Doing rolls and trying to go immediately to wall balls while the room is still slightly spinning is a challenge! Upside: Today I actually felt "in shape" in the sense that I wasn't about to pass out from lack of oxygen and was able to keep moving with only short breaks throughout. I suppose that either means I'm actually getting back into decent condition, or that I just need to up the weights. Oy. 1.5 pood on KB swings is heavy!

June 28, 2010

Last of the YAR!s

Note to self: quit eating dinner so late at night. I was up past 2:30am this morning and paid for it today in several ways. Not fun, but neither is going to bed right after eating. So - up late this morning and skipped breakfast, no problems there.

Went to Market Street (favorite grocer) and took advantage of their salad bar to build a nice big pile of stuff. Thumbs down on the blurry picture!
  • base of mixed spring greens
  • sliced mushrooms
  • red onion
  • mixed bell peppers
  • cucumber slices
  • grape tomatoes
  • 3 hard-boiled eggs
  • a nice pile of grilled chicken
  • topped off with EVOO and liberal use of a pepper shaker

Last of the YAR! Finally ate through the pack of 'em, and certainly don't regret that purchase at all. Notable lack of non-starchy veggies but not all that concerned about it due to lunch.
  • Ribeye, pan fried in a veritable lake of butter with a bit of seasoning
  • sweet potato with butter and cinnamon
  • fruit smoothie made from coconut milk, strawberries, a banana, and frozen blueberries (and ice). Made about double what's in the glass in the picture.

WOD: "Man-makers" and more

Details on the CF Rockwall Blog. The "Dumbbell Burpee to Squat-Clean Thruster" is also known as a "Man-maker". Toss in some strict pull-ups and this was a tough workout! My workout was:

Warm-up + extra 15 push-ups.

12-9-6-3 reps for time:
  • Man-makers (30lb dumbbells)
  • Strict Pull-ups (no scaling)
Time was 14:10. A bit slow comparing to others' times. Thrusters and strict pull-ups made it rough!

Slacker Sunday and ADA Nonsense

No food pictures again today, this time because there's nothing worthy of them! Stir-fry leftovers for lunch, snacked on fruit randomly throughout the day, and then had breakfast for dinner in the form of scrambled eggs. Tasty food all around but nothing new.

Link on Fat Head about a very to-the-point (in my opinion) poster done by the Nutrition and Metabolism Society. Check it out.

June 26, 2010

No worries, mate! Or, Why I Love Outback Steakhouse

Have you ever lost track of time (and hunger) while on the computer? I think most people probably have at some point, it certainly isn't a new experience for me. That's what happened this morning with my breakfast, or rather, the lack of one. Oops.

Normally this wouldn't be anything to worry about, but we had to be out the door sooner than I realized for a wedding today! So, no breakfast and no lunch, and certainly doubted there would be any paleo-friendly choices at the wedding itself. I managed to chow an apple and a nectarine (yay for the convenience of fruit!) in the car as we were driving. Wedding was at 2pm, and as predicted the snack-fare didn't leave me any real options for snacking. Candy, crackers, cheese, cashews (salted, doh), and a mix of raisins, almonds, and peanuts (doh). At least they had some grapes. But still, more fruit. Not my best food day ever. I did at least manage to avoid the wedding cake AND the buckeyes (formerly one of my favorite treats).

The wife wanted to go out for dinner, so we ended up at the Outback Steakhouse. Now, this place was already my favorite chain-style restaurant and has been for years. It was further cemented in that place earlier this year when I made my initial diet changes as being a place to get decent meat (beef, chicken, fish) with good choices available for the sides. Today, though, I was prepared to make our waiter really earn his tip, as it were, due to having to adjust to my Eat Real challenge paleo needs. It went something like this:

Me: "So, I'll just warn you up front I'm going to make this a bit difficult"

Waiter: (jokingly) "Oh man don't do that!  What do you need?"

Me: (thinking about bread, breading, etc) "Well, the big one is no gluten"

Waiter: "Do you want a gluten-free menu?"

Me: (bwuh?!) "You have one? Yes definitely!"

he brings back their gluten free menu and I check it out, then we get to the ordering

Me: "Do you know what they use to cook the steaks? What kind of oil, or...?"

Waiter: "They use butter"

Me: (woohoo!) "Ok then, the Outback Special, 8oz, cooked medium, with the seasonal veggies - no seasonings - and the sweet potato just with butter and cinnamon."
(the veggie seasonings apparently contain gluten, as the gluten-free menu said to request them without. Also the sweet potato normally has brown sugar on it, which is why I specified)

That was ridiculously easy, and the meal was completely in line with CF Rockwall's challenge and general primal/paleo diet items. I ended up eating an extra 4-5oz of steak because Jamie's stomach was not cooperating with her intent to eat it. Two thumbs up to Outback, which is not going to be ousted from its position in my list of restaurant choices any time soon.

I chomped a few strawberries at home for dessert and feel rather good about how the food ended up today. No workout today, although I did practice a few handstands...

Shoulder flexibility (lack of it) is affecting my form on these, according to my wife - dancer and used to do gymnastics so I'm going to believe her *wink*. Overall though, I'm getting better at holding them so progress is being made!

June 25, 2010

I Feel Like Chicken Tonight

I know, I know, I told the 5:30 crossfit folks I was going to eat my last YAR (yet another ribeye!). Well, it didn't happen because the other day I bought some chicken 'wingettes' (think the type of wings you'd get if you ordered buffalo wings at a restaurant) and I wanted them!

One of the awesome things about Eating Real Food and making sure you're taking in a good balance of stuff (very technical term, I know) is that it allows your body to naturally recover from stress. It doesn't matter what the source of stress is, it all takes a toll and Real Food helps pay the fee. I didn't mention it in my WOD post today, but as I was raving about after the workout, I thought last night that today would be a rest day for me to recover. But, as soon as I was really awake (breakfast was kind of made in a haze as you'll see) I felt awesome! No way I was going to sit on my butt all day when my body is telling me "let's go kick some ass!" I credit the stretching, self-massage work with a foam roller and ball, and icing stuff last night ... but mainly I credit my diet.

Enough rambling, let's move on to the good stuff!


  • 5 slices of bacon cooked in almond oil
  • 1 head of broccoli chopped really small and cooked most of the way in the bacon grease (for those who don't know, broccoli is like a freakin' sponge when it comes to oil or grease in a pan - the one head of broccoli soaked up all the oil and grease)
  • 6 eggs scrambled up with spicy spices and dumped on the broccoli
  • apple + the last of this container of almond butter


  • mixing-bowl sized salad of spinach, green-leaf lettuce, green bell pepper, tomato, and cucumber. This time with EVOO and assorted spices
  • the whole pack of chicken wingettes (10 pieces). Spice mix of thyme, sage, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper, and nutmeg plus a bit of valencia orange peel that I threw in too. Coated the chicken with the spices and then baked it, turning once.
  • BEAT salad (see my first Eat Real post for a link on this one)

WOD: Back to Basics

Details as usual on the CF Rockwall blog. Today's workout was just the 'basics' - running, sit-ups, push-ups. Easy stuff right?

My workout was:
3 Rounds for Time:
  • 400m run
  • 35 sit-ups
  • 30 push-ups
Done as intermediate, just with more running. Time was a very satisfactory 16:40. Could it have been better? Maybe yes, if I didn't get to exhaustion on push-ups so quickly.

Another new goal (adding to my 2x bodyweight deadlift one): I want to suck less at push-ups. Wimpy arms and chest (particularly chest) just won't cut it!

The goal
Do a minimum of 16 rounds in "Cindy" by the end of the Eat Real challenge.

My most recent workout to compare this goal against was on 6/18:
12 Rounds for Time: (intermediate)
  • 5 pull-ups
  • 10 push-ups
  • 15 squats
Time was 17:29 for 12 rounds, mostly held up by the push-ups. Cutting down round times and counting the extra 2.5 minutes in Cindy's 20 minutes makes 16 rounds sound like an achievable goal.

How to get there? Keep doing the WODs, obviously, but I'm going to throw an extra 10 or 15 push-ups into the warm-up every day I work out. Oooh, or maybe burpees.

June 24, 2010

Green Stuff is Good Stuff

Day 4 of the Eat Real challenge.

Apparently Balsamic Vinegar is on the list of things-to-not-eat, due to what I'd call a technicality (mostly to rib Mary about it). Something about the manufacturing process and how what's used in it can sometimes evoke a gluten-like response (particularly in those with Celiac's disease). Or that red wine vinegar + grape must isn't paleo enough for the challenge. SO, out with the OO/BV dressing and in with the plain EVOO and spices. Or Almond, Walnut, or some other appropriate oil - although I will likely stick to Olive for the most part since it has a better fat profile (more mono, less poly). See here and here on MDA for info on oils.


Today I did not have breakfast, taking full advantage of the lack of classes other than a short seminar at 1pm to enjoy the morning at a very, very relaxed pace. Hunger wasn't really an issue, and I ended up with an IF lasting around 16 hours. Ate lunch at 2:30, dinner fairly late also at 9. Staying up a bit to let things settle before heading to bed, which can sometimes make the stomach unhappy if you go to sleep right after eating a big meal...and all of my meals would count as big ones.

Also of note, I had heaping quantities of green stuff in my meals today. It's a pretty simple and true rule of thumb on how to pick good produce to eat with a nice variety: bright colors are good, lots of different bright colors is better! Today's color just happened to mostly be green.

  • YAR! (yet another ribeye)
  • a head of broccoli cooked in a little oil and coconut butter (which is the brown-looking stuff on it). This was an experiment that turned out just fine! Little bit of crunch from the broccoli and delicious creamy goodness from the coconut butter. Awesome combo.
  • 2 eggs fried in almond oil
  • an orange (not pictured)


I'm going to call this one a Sweet and Spicy Stir-fry! How's that for alliteration?
  • lean, grass-fed hamburger liberally seasoned with an awesome spice mix (black pepper, sweet chili pepper, cayenne pepper, celery seed, oregano, cumin, basil, bay, marjoram, savory, thyme, coriander, mustard, rosemary, onion, garlic, tomato, orange peel). To make it simpler: it's the Spicy.
  • onions, zucchini, green bell-pepper, and sugar-snap peas. This would be the Sweet, no additions needed.
  • ...oh and there was dessert too, in the form of strawberries and blueberries.

Had more of the stir-fry left (only ate a bit over half) so I have more goodness for tomorrow!

WOD: Test Shoulder Press 1RM and more shoulder stuff

Details as usual on CF Rockwall blog. My workout was:

  • Warm-up + some practice handstand push-ups
  • Test for Shoulder Press 1RM
For time:

  • 10 handstand push-ups (scaled using blue/blue exercise bands)
  • 25 box jumps @ 24"
  • 35 pull ups
  • 50 wall ball shots @ 16lbs
  • 100 double unders
  • 200m run w/ 20kg weight

New Shoulder Press max is 50kg
, up from 45kg back on 3/25/2010. I had two failed attempts at 55kg. Also, had Jamie (wifey) video the shoulder press attempts for reviewing my form. Will have to see if I can get those up here somehow.

I did the workout as Rx'd, minus scaling for the HSPUs and weight on the wall balls. Time was 17:12.

Despite my earlier complaints about the shoulders, taking it easy on Weds seems to have been worth it as I actually felt pretty good during the workout. Extra time spent stretching prior likely helps. I was burned at the end of this, though, and took a quick shower before jumping (ok more like slowly lowering myself) in the tub filled with water as cold as it comes out without adding ice to soak for a bit; and then I iced several different areas of my shoulders, elbow, and wrist. Felt good for a while and now it's down to the kind of burn that just says I worked really hard and am probably going to be VERY sore tomorrow.

A Day of Carrots

Slightly late post for 6/23/2010.

I was up too late last night, and so of course slept in longer than usual in the morning, which resulted in less time available to prepare food for breakfast. Not planning ahead and sleeping in makes adhering to the Eat Real challenge a lot harder!! Usually on mornings like this I would just whip up a shake with protein powder, coconut milk, some fruit, and a few other random ingredients depending on my mood.

Instead, I scavenged in the fridge for what would be quick-and-easy. Ended up with...

  • Leftover fajita beef (grass-fed skirt steak)
  • a hard-boiled egg
  • two halves of bell peppers from a previous meal
  • 8oz of baby carrots, cooked up quickly
  • a whole grapefruit
  • an apple, plus almond butter


  • another ribeye...I love beef!
  • more carrots, from frozen this time since the wife made more than she needed
  • a peach and some blueberries
  • BIG salad (I just left it in the mixing bowl) from spinach, green leaf lettuce, 2 tomatoes, 1 large green bell pepper, half a cucumber; topped with an olive oil and balsamic vinegar dressing

While I like carrots, I don't really want to turn orange so I doubt the amount consumed today will be repeated very often if ever!

WOD: Test Deadlift 1RM and Isabel

Late posting (doh!) for Weds 6/23/2010's WOD. Details can be found on the CFR blog. My workout was:

  • Warm-up + 400m run
  • Test for Deadlift 1RM
Isabel: 30 reps for time of:
  • Snatch

New Deadlift max is 130kg, a jump of 15kg from my previous 1RM as tested on 3/28/2010. I've decided that my new goal is to continue working this and get to 2x body weight (~145kg).

I did Isabel at a super-light weight (20kg) since the previous two days were pretty rough and my shoulders are not happy with me at present. I spent 20 minutes before this workout doing some stretching and self-massage to try to work some stuff out, but definitely need to get some ice on the shoulders and possibly take a rest day.

Isabel took 3:00. I spent some extra time to make sure I was doing proper (or what felt like proper) form on the snatch, since this is only my second time doing this lift.

June 23, 2010

WOD: Three rounds of what?

This is a late posting for Tuesday 6/22/2010's WOD. Details on the CFR blog.

I completed the workout as Rx'd, using the lower weights listed because 60kg thrusters just weren't going to happen, and the Intermediate workout didn't include the rope climbs, which I LOVE.

  • 30, 35, 40kg on thrusters
  • Did the running on all rounds, no rowing
  • 1 pood on all KB swings
Completed in 23:38. Exhausted, tired, and sore today from doing this. Probably need to ice my shoulders since they are seriously complaining to me.

WOD: Test Clean 1RM and Elizabeth

This is a late posting for Monday 6/21/2010's WOD. Details can be found on the CFR (CrossFit Rockwall) blog. My workout was:

  • CF Warm-up + 400m run
  • Test for Clean (full squat clean) 1-Rep Max
Elizabeth: 21-15-9 reps for time of:
  • Cleans @ 50% 1RM
  • Ring Dips

New Clean max is 76kg, approx. 3kg over my body weight at present. Pretty happy with it!

Elizabeth took 19:21. Doing the cleans following the 1RM test was rough for the first round, and ring dips are a challenge. However, I made it through all of the ring dips without scaling!

CrossFit Rockwall's "Eat Real" 40-day Challenge

Another nutrition challenge from my awesome affiliate gym, and this will be the first in which I've had a chance to participate. It's called Eat Real, and the point is to eat good, whole, paleo/primal-friendly foods for 40 days and measure the results! Real Food is the name of the game, folks.

That said, I'll be taking the opportunity to blog along with a daily food entry plus whatever other topics come to mind over the course of things. Unfortunately I didn't capture Monday's food in pictures, so you'll just have to take it on faith that I really ate what I'm saying!

Monday 6/21:
An odd day, I ended up IFing (that's Intermittent Fasting) from dinner the previous night until dinner this night. For dinner, I had:

  • a large sweet potato, baked, with butter from pastured (grass-fed) cows and cinnamon
  • a ribeye steak, brushed with olive oil and grilled (spices too, of course)
  • a BEAT salad - 4 pieces of bacon (cooked in coconut butter), 1 large avocado, 2 eggs (cage-free DHA), 1 tomato
  • a handful of organic blueberries for dessert (probably 1/3 cup)

Tuesday 6/22:

  • an apple, used to scoop almond butter
  • 1/2 of a green bell pepper, a nice chunk of onion, and 5 eggs scrambled in the leftover bacon grease and coconut butter from the previous night


  • one zucchini-squash, sliced thin and cooked in some awesome (and silly-expensive) cookware that uses low heat and keeps veggies from going mush while still cooking relatively quickly, plus spices
  • a whole bunch of grilled asparagus (double what's in the picture)
  • two ribeyes (they had a sale!) off the grill. I only meant to eat one, but hey...
  • 1/4 cup organic blueberries
  • 7 smallish-medium organic strawberries

More to come as the challenge continues!

First Post - Then and Now

I'll start things off here with a few useful comparison images.

Me and the wife, July 4th weekend of 2009:

Us again, Jan 2010:
Dec 09 and Jan 10 marked the high point on the scale (and low end of things fitness-wise) for me. Topped around 190lbs, which may not sound like a lot compared to some, but I'd ended high school in 2003 around 140-145lbs in great shape. Feb of this year saw me make up my mind to get off my rear end and actually DO something - I started out in the fitness center in our community clubhouse and in March I joined CrossFit Rockwall. Awesome start to the change over the next few months, but exercise alone doesn't cut it. I also made a series of changes to my diet, starting with drastically cutting sugar intake (no more soda!) and aiming for 'healthier' food options, ie: sandwiches and baked chips instead of a cheeseburger and fries. After starting CrossFit I looked into their advice on nutrition - a combination of the Zone and Paleo diets, but what really clicked for me was the principles and plan espoused by the Primal Blueprint. I jumped into a Paleo/Primal style diet (that's diet-as-way-of-eating, not your standard just-do-it-for-a-while-Diet) and haven't looked back.

Well, that's a lie, I have looked back to measure progress! Here's the now:
~162lbs (down 25lbs from high point, 20 of which dropped in the first two months of diet change)
Body Fat % somewhere around 10% now, aiming for 8%!