Monthly Archives: January 2014

Thoughts on Thursday.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you’re a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.

-Henry Rollins –

The Other 23 Hours… Part 3

So I have talked about the Fitbit Flex and MyFitnessPal and how I use it to keep me on track for the hours I am not in the gym.  Today I want to go ahead and open myself up for ridicule and mockery, but today I will be talking about how I use Pinterest to help me do right during my day.

Pinterest, even though it is thought by many to be a girly website is a VITAL part of my daily/weekly/monthly routine.  There are days I can not get into the gym and I use a home workout that I can find on the site.  When the routine of Chicken and veggies, or fish and asparagus gets old, I can go to Pinterest and search for healthy options to keep us from burning out on the basics.  Some of the recipes that are labeled healthy on that site are FAR from healthy, so be aware of your ingredients and fats that are being used to cook with when you jump on a Pinterest recipe.

I also use Pinterest for basic motivation.  There are links to some impressive transformation stories, quotes with cool pictures, and just overall motivating links about fitness, food, and faith.

Pinterest

Pros: Tons of Recipes, Motivational Articles/Quotes, Workouts for when you can’t get to the gym

Cons: “Girly Website”, Some recipes aren’t what they say they are, and after awhile you see the same things over and over again.

Here is a link to a recipe I found on there last week that was a perfect example of a recipe we needed at the right time, we were getting burnt out on our routine lunch and we worked this into the weekly prep list and BOOM.  Loved it.

MEAT. BACON.

The Other 23 Hours… Part 2

Last week I talked about the Fitbit Force and how it has opened my eyes to the laziness of the 23 hours of my average. I spend an hour a day 4 or 5 days a week at my Crossfit box working my tail off, but the other hours I was pretty stationary.  The Fitbit has changed that.

One of the added benefits of the Fitbit is it’s ability to sync up with other apps and websites to help build some habits and change routines.  Today I am talking about MyFitnessPal.  I have never been one to count calories because it is a tedious, and frankly boring habit to get into.  Nobody wants to finish off their favorite meal at a local restaurant only to pull out their phone and realize they ate more calories in the last 15 minutes than they were supposed to the whole day (Thanks a lot Buffalo Wild Wings).  Anyways, I decided if I am going to chart my steps and be diligent about the work I am doing, I needed to investigate what was going in vs. what was coming out when it comes to calorie burn.  A month with my Fitbit and MyFitnessPal and there are some major positives and a few negatives of the calorie tracking app.

Pros:  Actively thinking “Should I eat this?  Do I have enough room in my “budget”, Easy barcode tracking, automatically syncs both ways with Fitbit App and website, Easy to use, tons of foods on the database. Set reminders to log your meals

Cons:  Still boring to track calories, water logging is weird, I log through FitBit, Creating new foods is annoying.

MyFitnessPal – I will continue to use it because it does force me to think about that late afternoon snack or whether or not the second beer is worth the count.  I have had a few moments where I think “Oh I have burned 700 calories walking today, I can eat a _______ which isn’t on plan but it won’t put me over”, luckily 95% of the time my will power will carry me.

The Other 23 Hours….Part 1

1 hour

courtesy of Pinterest

One hour a day.  Sometimes less than that depending on what is written on the whiteboard at our crossfit box.  Yesterday it said, 100 Double Unders, Deadlift 5-5-3-3-1-1-1 and 100 situps for time.  That was the workout for the day.  That was “it”, nothing that would take forever.  In all honesty, looking at it, it was a day that should be pretty easy.  It’s one of those days you don’t think you will feel the next day.  I am sitting here writing this knowing that I was wrong.  Insanely sore.

I know going into the daily WODs at our gym that I am getting a good workout whether it is the workout above or some crazy chipper or hero workout.  I know I am burning through calories and building a better me.  The other 23 hours of the day is where I was wondering what was going on.  For Christmas, my wife got me a fitbit force.  Truth be told, I wasn’t sure how much I would use it.  One month in it is very revealing to what is going on with my 23 hours outside of the gym.

Over the next few posts I will be detailing some of the different technology, apps and other things I am using to monitor my other 23 hours.

Fitbit Force:

When I started using my force I decided that I wouldn’t do anything different during the first week to see just how active or inactive I was.  It was pretty revealing that on days I wasn’t chasing the kid around I was only getting a couple thousand steps in.  My goal I set was 10k, I was getting close to 4 or 5k on average before I started “trying”.  The sleep tracking app was crazy accurate.  It was apparent when I would eat within two hours of going to bed, I would toss and turn all night.  I have noticed that I have made it a competition to get more steps, my sleep has improved because of being conscience of the time I eat/drink anything.

Downfall of the Fitbit, but wasn’t my original intended use, is the lack of an accurate monitor of certain (i.e. Crossfit) workouts.  You can add an activity to partnering apps to help calculate the calories if you want to but they aren’t exactly accurate to the intense level of some workouts.  I also got confused between the features of the Fitbit and the Up Band and was disappointed when I didn’t have the idle alert feature that lets you know when you haven’t been active for a certain amount of time.  I hear thats in the horizon in a firmware update.

Pros: Accurate Tracker, syncs with other apps, competition with “fitbit buddies”, Battery Life is 7 or 8 days of use.

Cons:  Does not track well during Crossfit workouts, Takes a week or so to get used to wearing it, Idle alert

Overall, I have seen a huge impact in my daily activity because of this device.  I find my self checking it often during the day, parking my car a little further away and taking an extra trip around the school during my break time in order to get my number.

Next Post: MyFitnessPal

Preaching to myself

We live in a world where everyone is worried about where the next dollar is going to come from, what other people are going to think about you and if this short makes me look fat/un-athletic/like a loser.  I spent the early part of my life trying to be the cool kid, when that failed I worked on being the funny fat kid who copied what everyone else was doing in order to try to be the cool kid.

As I gained weight, I thought if I made fun of myself more than anyone else I wouldn’t have to worry about getting made fun of because people wouldn’t do it because I took care of that myself.  That plan totally backfired.  Everyone dog piled on because they didn’t think it bothered me.  This had an effect on the things I said, wore and did throughout high school and college.  Now that I have started to lose weight and become more active, I have come down with something my wife calls “Fat Kid Syndrome”.

I don’t buy clothes that fit because I am still worried about looking big.  I don’t accept compliments very well from anyone. I let myself slip with the diet and instead of immediately righting the ship and making the next meal perfect, I decide to just derail myself for weeks and regret it later.

Why do we worry so much about this?  What can we do to fix it?  I am working through my “syndrome” every day when I pick clothes, force myself not to go to get wings and instead eat my salad I made, and telling my wife thank you when she says I look skinny.

My wife say a quote that made her think the other day, “worrying is like praying for something you don’t want”.  It has been on my mind for a few weeks, as I try to unplug that machine that makes me worry about my image, my attitude and other areas I am working on.  It makes sense, spending your time worrying on something that doesn’t deserve the time helps it manifest into something bigger.

Stop worrying so damn much.

Dear K,

Dear K,

So tomorrow morning is your first birthday party, and I know you’re real birthday was almost two weeks ago but we had to hold off the celebration so your mom didn’t infect the world with what some thought may have been the cause of the disease in “The Walking Dead”.  Now that everyone is back in good health, we are planning a throwdown stocked full of cupcakes and hot dogs for you tomorrow.

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Night 1 – No Sleep. So Cool

I know you can’t read obviously, but I wanted to write you a thank you letter.  This past year has been a life changer for me.  You have brought happiness into areas of your mom and my life that we didn’t know existed.  You have healed many a deep pain for many people in our family.  But most of all, you have made it pretty apparent that I need to step my game up as a dad and person to be able to hang with you.  I remember the first night you were born, we had the shot to let the nurse take you to the nursery so that we could sleep a little,  we told them “don’t touch my kid! We got this!” and your mom took a big long nap while you and I sat and listened to Zac Brown Band, Shane and Shane and anything else that was in my phone until 3 or 4 in the morning.  I stared at you and thought “this is both the coolest and scariest thing I have ever seen”.  Thanks for making me think that still to this day.

It seems like since Halloween, you have grown from our little baby to a crazy (not bad) little toddler-esque human.  You run, you talk, you fall, you scream, you eat real food, but most importantly you are such a sweet little girl.  Christmas Eve morning when you looked up and said “Hi dad” when I walked in to wake you up, I fell apart.

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Where’s the baby?

I am looking forward to hearing all the new things you will say this year.  As you grow I am looking forward to seeing you love sports (or whatever), even if it is soccer, which I will have trouble coaching because I know nothing.  I look forward to you getting more and more friends.

As you dive into that red velvet super sized cupcake tomorrow, I want you to know that I love you and thank God (and your mom, because she did some serious work) daily for letting me be your dad.  You are cool as can be.

Love you,

Dad.

Punching Bags

There is a group on Facebook that was an off-shoot of one of the Jon Acuff challenge groups that I participate in that has started up.  It’s a group for men, where we can be transparent about family stuff, man stuff and God stuff.  The topics range from good books to how to mask a fart at the gym… I was asking for a friend by the way…

Anyways a few weeks back one of the guys posted a question about punching bags.  More specifically, he asked if any of the other men feel like punching bags because we caught crap because of how the media portrays men, husbands and fathers.  Many of the guys agree that men are portrayed as drunk, lazy husbands that don’t care to much about their wives and kids, and genuinely seem to hate their life.

There were quite a few responses on if the way media portrays men is legit.  There were some guys that thought it was true because they know some guys that just don’t take part in anything.  They work, They eat, they sleep.  Others took it as complete disrespect.  These men are out fighting for their families on a daily basis.  They are working.  They come home and play with their kids.  They date their wives.  They go to bed exhausted every night because they know just because they clocked out at work, they are now clocking into the real job.

I don’t know why thinking about this the last week or so has me so fired up, but it does.  Men need to step up and show that they are not the beer drinking, remote controlling, “get off my lawn” morons that we are portrayed as on the TV.  Rick Grimes in the Walking Dead is LITERALLY fighting for his family… against crazy zombies.  Walter White cooked meth to sav… ok thats not a good example. There are some good ones out there.  Ignore the Homer Simpson’s and Dexter Morgan’s out there…

I hope my friends, coworkers but most importantly my wife and kid know that I am out there fighting for them everyday.  I am not the best at it and sure as heck get tired and need a break but it is for them.  I am not Homer Simpson.

What is one thing you can do to prove that you aren’t the man that the TV claims you are today?

Crossfit Apology

Before we even start, let me say that before I even went to a Crossfit workout, I had a serious dislike of everything CrossFit.  I saw the videos, I saw the “games”, I heard about serious injury and horrible form, and I just didn’t get it.  I was alright with staying in the gym or doing the boot camps I was doing, and I said I would NEVER do CrossFit.  I didn’t think you could do a “WOD” as fast as humanly possible with proper form, proper intensity, and still actually get a good workout in that could make a difference.

Now that you know where I was, let me do something else.

I am sorry, I was wrong.

Last year, while hanging with some of our friends, we started hearing rumblings of them joining a Crossfit Box in Waxahachie.  They were so pumped to be doing these workouts, sweating like crazy, and RX’in (no clue what that meant) daily workouts.  I listened and was genuinely excited for them, but it still wasn’t something I wanted to even check into.  Something changed, my wife got the itch.  She had been doing so well with her dieting and had just wrapped up another one of our 24 day challenges, she decided it was time to step it up in the workout department in order to really reach her goals.  I researched some CrossFit Gyms for her and even went to a free workout with her.

Crossfit in the Park.  Dead.

Crossfit in the Park. Dead.

The workout was ROUGH, and the box was nice, but we weren’t sure it was for us.  We stopped at another Box here in Mansfield that I had looked up and took a tour, set up a workout, and asked about pricing.  The “Box” was cool, loud music, bright colors, and a wall to sign when you puke… It reminded me of back in the day when I used to workout at Metroflex in North Arlington.  It was a room for working and lifting.  No machines, No mirrors.  Just weights, racks, and other things that would eventually be used as torture devices on me I was sure.  The selling point for my wife was the owners, they had a story.  They had been on a journey.  They were real people that seriously just love helping others get healthy.  So we did the free workout. The warmup was jumping rope, instant flashbacks to jumprope for heart at Charlotte Anderson in Mansfield (I suck at jumping rope).  The WOD (main workout of the day) was a combination of Burpees, Wall Balls, and Pushups for a certain number of reps and rounds.  I finished in 3:41 seconds.  I laid on the floor for longer than the workout when I finished.  Dead. Nauseous. Fat. Then we wrapped up the day with a foam rolling session.  I have had a foam roller in my house for a year and never touched it.  That thing has been worn out now that I know how to use it.

Eight months into my first year with Crossfit, and I can say that it is a life-changing decision for me.  I have made new friends that pick us up when we are down, who give us popsicles for my sick wife when I can’t get away from the house, and who support us when we are doing something we never thought we could do half a year ago.  I have seen my body and more importantly my mind change.  I see myself as an athlete now, I can do some cool stuff.  I competed in a competition this past weekend and while I may not have performed as well I thought I could, I “RX’d” ( I know what that means now) the whole competition.  I couldn’t do a pull up 9 months ago, and easily knocked out the prescribed number for the competition.

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My legs were too tired to jump on that box.

Don’t knock a fitness method until you try it.  I learned this first hand.

Fitness.

Over the last three years, I have realized that getting to the gym and eating right is about way more than losing weight, getting a six-pack and meeting hot chicks.  That was my mentality about fitness up until I met my wife.  I had a membership to one of the local franchise gyms, I wasn’t ever on a diet although I didn’t just let myself eat everything in site, and I only saw it as a social event with friends with the potential of lifting enough weight to impress someone.

This picture made me think WHOA.

This picture made me think WHOA.

I was active all through high school playing many sports, but never was the best at any of them.  I could easily rattle of a 5000 word blog post about my battle with weight and self confidence, but I want to focus on what fitness and eating right does for me now as an adult, as a husband, and as a father.  Just after marrying my wife, I had the opportunity of shooting pictures at my cousin Ashley’s wedding, of course since I am her favorite, she made me come from behind the camera and take a picture with her.  This picture, quite honestly, disgusted me.  Don’t get me wrong, she looked great but the lumpy dude next to her with the 5 chins needed some work.  The idea of being a healthy father started to really get me thinking, and when I turned 29, knowing that we were planning on starting a family eventually, I set a goal of being “Fit by 30”.  Little did I know that “eventually” would mean Caty was pregnant less than 6 months later, but still it was time.

K was born and both my wife and decided it was time to get serious.  I was already working out but the eating was on point at all.  We decided to try the Advocare challenge and had great success and still use their products to this day.  I was noticing immediately that a healthier me, was a happier me, and a happier me made the world a little more easy.  

Beast Mode.

You will hear me talk about Crossfit a lot on the blog.  I was introduced to ‘the cult’ 9 months ago and the way I viewed working out changed.  It doesn’t matter how bad the day is, if I can get in a workout at the end of the day I get to let go of frustration and anger of some of the things that get thrown at us.  My wife just asked me if I remember when I used to never work out… That’s how much things have changed.  I feel like today, while I am not at my goal, I am currently the best version of me.  My wife has gone from asking me if I am going to start working out, to noticing if I miss more than a day or two.

My goal in fitness for 2014 is to continue to chase my fitness goals whether it is a PR on a lift or a number on a scale (which oddly enough doesn’t mean as much to me as it used to).  My second fitness goal is to help others find their potential and start their journey.

What’s your 2014 Fitness Goal?

Family…

The second area that I feel is vital to my sanity and survival, is my family.  The girls, as I will most likely refer to them on this page, are draped all over this page.  They are the reason that getting up at 5:30 to get ready for work is ok.  They are the reason that I leave a few minutes earlier this semester than I did last semester in order to get in a quiet time before I walk into the school.  They are the reason I have started putting myself through some of the most ridiculous workouts I have seen.  I feel that everything I do to better myself has a direct effect on them.  The effects of skipping workouts, rushing through my morning routine and overly stressing about money take a direct toll on our house.

My wife is a part-time teacher and a full time photographer.  She is looking at returning to the classroom next year.  Oh and she is a dang good mother as well.  She is constantly present in our house with the little one.  I am a high school teacher, video freelancer and I try to do other crazy things as well.  I have ideas that luckily the wife will “stomp” on gracefully in order to help keep any type of sanity in our home.  Our family unit is strong, but our family unit is BUSY.  We get going and going and then one day look and realize we are in the middle of a “high-five” season.  You know the days when you come home from work and high five your significant other as they walk out to go to work/workout/soccer practice.  I am making a goal for 2014 in the area of family very simple.

Unplug, be present with the kid, and keep dating my wife. 

What are you planning on doing to build your family up this year?