Monday, January 31, 2011

Proposed Modification to the Definition of a Week

If I was thirty again, this wouldn't be an issue. But, I'm not. I'm old. I'm working 5 days per week at my real job. Working out after work as often as possible.

Then, I teach skiing to some energetic "tween" girls all weekend. When Monday rolls around and it's time to go back to my real job and the gym, it's just not working. I think I've come up with a solution, but I don't know how to get it implemented.

I can work Monday through Friday. I can handle that. I've been doing it for years. I can teach skiing on Saturday and Sunday. I've been doing that for years. But suddenly, I seem to need an eighth day, just like a Hobbit needs a second breakfast. So, I'm proposing an additional day between Sunday and Monday. I don't care what we call it. I could suggest "Damon's Rest Day", but naming it after myself is a bit pompous. Perhaps just "Restday" or something basic.

I could sleep in, do nothing, and be much more ready for the other seven days if I had that rest day. Or maybe not. I'd probably find something to do that day as well.

But for now, I feel old and tired. We skied hard this weekend, skiing in trees most of the time. It was fun, but I could still feel the after-effects of the Cindy workout all weekend. There has to be a way to get Restday into the calendar.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Cindy is not my friend

Yesterday was another classic CrossFit workout: Cindy.

But, before we even got to Cindy, we did some other good work. I got to the gym early and worked on stretching for a while. Then, we did some group stretching as well. My favorite was squat walking; we looked like a bunch of ducks waddling around the gym, but I could feel how it worked on hip mobility.

Then, we moved to deadlifts - one of my favorite lifts. The plan was three heavy sets with a rep pattern of 5-5-3. I warmed up at 135 and 225 and then did my first set at 255. That felt easier than I expected, so I went to 275 for my second set. That also went well, so I moved to 295 for my 3-rep set. I still felt good, so I decided to do a few single reps to see how it went. I did one rep at 315 and then another at 325. A few weeks ago, I had failed at 335 and 325 (despite a PR of 355 a year ago), so hitting 325 felt pretty good. With Cindy looming, I called it quits there.

Cindy: 20 minutes, as many reps as possible:
5 pull-ups
10 push-ups
15 air squats (bodyweight squats)

Twenty minutes is longer than most of the metabolic conditioning workouts we do. In some ways, it seemed easier than some because it wasn't a sprint. On the other hand, it seemed like it would never end and I am tired today.

I did a modified version of the workout. I can't do 5 legit pull-ups in a row right now. There was no way I could do many sets of them. I can do regular push-ups pretty easily, but I knew I'd be well over 100 reps there in 20 minutes. So, I did knee push-ups instead. The goal of these workouts is to keep moving, not hit complete muscle failure. If I'd done regular push-ups, I would have hit muscle failure.

The coach estimated that we should do 15 or so rounds in 20 minutes. I must have selected the correct band for pull-ups and the right approach to push-ups because I got 14 rounds plus 5 pull-ups.

That's a total of 75 assisted pull-ups, 140 knee push-ups and 210 air squats. I hurt all over today, but it was a good workout.

After the workout, I stopped at a nearby restaurant and had a salad, asparagus and a steak for dinner.

I was originally planning to do CrossFit again today, but I know I need a rest day if I'm going to ski well this weekend. Getting older kind of sucks sometimes, but at least I've learned to recognize when I need a rest day.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Good timing

After skiing relatively hard for three of the four previous days, I was a bit nervous as I got to the CrossFit gym last night. I was hoping we wouldn't have a really intensive leg day in the gym, and I got what I wanted.

We started with mobility work for about 15 minutes. The toughest part was 3 minutes in the "poop" position. I was afraid I'd end up stuck there, but I survived. Next was sets of box jumps - 10, 10, 8, 6, 4, 4, 2, 2. The goal was to do each set without a break and incrementally increase the height as the sets got shorter. I usually do box jumps with an 18" box, but they have been getting a bit easier at that height. But, 10 straight at that height, with no rest, is challenging, so I started at 12". Pretty weak, I know.

I then moved up to my standard 18" and eventually got to 22" for the last set. I hope to soon be doing the more standard 24" jumps for some of the Workouts of the Day.

Then, it was all arms: 8 minutes, as many reps as possible:

3 assisted ring dips
6 strict DB press (2x25# for me)
9 knee push-ups

This was the level 2 workout. The Rx'd workout included handstand push-ups and unassisted ring dips. I'm just not there yet.

I'm sure tonight will be a killer leg workout after arms yesterday.

I ate according to the paleo challenge rules yesterday, after a few days of less than stellar compliance while skiing. I'm hoping to make it to CrossFit after work today and then again tomorrow morning before work. Working out tomorrow morning will give me 24 hours of recovery before skiing on Saturday.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Skiing Epiphany

I had a great weekend teaching skiing. Despite cold temperatures, I had a good turnout of students, and we skied a lot. I also taught quite a bit despite the cold. Over the course of two days, we skied over 40,000 vertical feet, which is somewhat remarkable considering the conditions. A year ago, I was lucky to get my group to ski 16,000 vertical feet in nice weather. This year, the group has really stepped it up and they are skiing more than ever. I felt like the girls learned a lot and improved their skiing and I was also happy with how I was skiing.

On Monday, I took a rest day, knowing that I would be skiing (in a group) with a world-class instructor all day on Tuesday. The Professional Ski Instructors of America organization has its own "team" - people who are the best of the best of instructors. There are currently 14 members on that team, all selected through a very rigorous and competitive process.

On Tuesday, I was in a clinic with other instructors and a member of the national team. I told Matt that my primary goal for the day was to get feedback on how my skiing is progressing towards the PSIA level 3 standard. There are three levels of PSIA certification and I am currently at level 2. I attained level 1 about 8 years ago and level 2 about 4 years ago. Since then, I've been wondering if I will ever ski well enough to achieve the third level.

So, I wanted input yesterday to see if our clinic leader thought I was close.

And then, all morning, I skied like crap. We had a task from our clinic leader, and while the task made sense in all of its variations, I seemed to regress in every other aspect of my skiing. By lunchtime, I was really frustrated.

On our last chair ride before lunch, I talked to a co-worker who is a level 3 instructor. I told her that I find it frustrating to care so much about something and then do it so poorly at times. No matter how well I teach or ski, I never seem to do it as well as I wish I did. I truly love teaching and skiing, and I want to be the best I can at this part-time job. And when I struggle, I get frustrated. My co-worked admitted that she feels exactly the same way. And this is years after she achieved her level 3 certification. So, maybe I'm not the only crazy one.

At lunchtime, I told our clinic leader that I was frustrated. I told him that I thought I'd been skiing reasonably well just two days ago, and now I'd lost it all. He told me to stop thinking about the morning's tasks, and go out after lunch and just relax and ski. So, I did. And after a couple runs, I felt better. Our coach acknowledged that I was doing better.

Then, we went to some steep bump runs. I felt OK, but struggled with my form on the bumps. I was able to ski aggressive lines, but I knew that my form wasn't pretty. But, everything was better than the morning, so I wasn't feeling too bad.

Partway through a really tough bump line, the coach skied up beside me. He asked me an interesting question about how my feet were positioned in my boot. Where was my weight? Where was my heel? Where was my foot when I started to dorsiflex my ankle? He suggested a small change to my stance. I made a few turns. I felt an immediate difference. The coach skied back up to me and said "Follow me." And I did. Right down an intense bump line, at a high speed, in control, and feeling great. I got some great compliments regarding my skiing from others in the group.

We took a short break and headed for a different part of the mountain. Our coach wanted to watch my adjusted stance on groomed terrain. He liked what he saw there. I sought out some bumps. And skied them as well as I've ever skied a bump line. I had to ski it again. It felt great. I got more great feedback from everyone in the group.

And then, the clinic was over. We skied over 25,000 vertical feet of challenging terrain and everyone was tired. After changing out of our ski clothes, most of us headed to the pub for an adult beverage, including our coach. I asked him about taking my level 3 skiing exam. I told him that I was thinking of taking a prep clinic targeted at that exam and then taking the exam next winter. He said that seemed very reasonable.

So, after years of wondering if I would ever even try the exam, I'm now really excited about the challenge. I'll spend the rest of this season doing as much skiing and training as possible. During the off-season, I need to improve my conditioning and drop some weight. That will make the skiing easier.

Next December, I'm going to take a week-long early-season clinic with a complete focus on the exam. And then, somewhere around my 50th birthday next year, I'm going to take my level 3 ski exam, confident that I belong there and that I will pass.

As we were leaving the resort last night, my buddy Jay asked me if I knew where the biggest change in my skiing had come from. I thought about it for a second. I assumed it was something technical that had changed. Instead, Jay pointed to my head. He thinks that a lot of my skiing is simply a matter of being relaxed and confident, rather than dwelling on the things I don't do perfectly. He's probably right. But, for right now, I feel like a decent skier again.

It's all relative. I know I'm a solid skier and I think I'm a good instructor. But, I want to be better. All the time, I want to be better.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Another good day

For the first time since I started CrossFit, I've gone to the gym four days in a row. I expected to feel exhausted today, and I am tired, but also somewhat exhilarated.

Yesterday's workout was a CrossFit classic: Fran.

I didn't do it exactly as prescribed, but did 45 pounds for the thrusters rather than 95, and I used bands for assisted pull-ups. It was 6:21 of hell. We'd already done a good mobility warm-up, some form-work on overhead squats, and some core/strength work. I pushed hard and my stomach rebelled at the end of the workout. While I was outside trying to get my stomach to calm down, people were putting away the gear. I came inside just in time to hear someone say that someone had left a "residue"on some pull-up bands. It was me, regretfully. My stomach had rebelled on the very last rep and I'd lost it a bit.

The coach was talking to me later about why I end up getting sick in some of the workouts. I explained to him that I've always been a competitive person and I don't do workouts half-assed. So, right now, when I'm in over my head, fitness-wise, on some of these workouts, I don't do the prudent thing and back down. The coach then started talking about running and mentioned that the competitiveness is probably leftover from my running/racing days. He mentioned ultras, and all of a sudden, all the people in the gym wanted to know about my racing past. They were amazed at some of the stuff I've done running (I'm amazed by what they do in the gym, so we're even, I think). Maybe they won't just see me as the fat old guy in the gym anymore. I'm catching up to some of them.

Today is a rest day, although I'll do some stretching at home tonight before skiing three of the next four days. It's going to be bitterly cold for the next few days, so the skiing, at least the teaching part of it, will be a challenge.

Eating was good yesterday - chicken and a salad for lunch, and grass-fed burgers for dinner, served on lettuce rather than bread, with veggies and some avocado.

For tonight, I'm making a Mexican style beef soup that is cooking in the oven while I work today.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Paleo Challenge - Day Three

Not again. He's not going to write about this stupid challenge again, is he?

Well, it's pretty much the focus of my fitness regime and my diet right now, so it's what I have to write about. I could write about politics, but that would cause my limited readership to go somewhere else, I imagine.

Yesterday, I ate a salad with some tuna for lunch, after having only coffee for breakfast.

After work, I went to CrossFit and had a great workout. After some stretching and foam rolling, we started with work on Snatch Balances. Because I'm still dealing with some mobility issues that affect my overhead squat, and the bottom position of overhead squats the same as the finishing position for the snatch balance, I focused more on overhead squats. I did 7 sets of 5 OH squats, at 45 and 55 pounds. That's pretty lame, but a few months ago, I couldn't do this lift at all due to mobility problems.

It's easy to look around the room and see that my older body is nowhere near as mobile as many other bodies there. I also know that my lack of mobility (42K+ running miles in 25 years probably had something to do with this) affects my skiing adversely. So, I'm taking the mobility part of CrossFit very seriously and I'm making progress.

The MetCon (Metabolic Conditioning) portion of the workout was a spin on the Tabata protocol. Instead of doing just 4 minutes though, we used two lifts and did 8 minutes. We started with deadlifts and then moved to medicine ball slams. Basically, it was deadlifts for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, med ball slams for 20 seconds, rest 10 seconds, with a total of 8 rounds.

The prescribed weights were 225# for deads and 20# for the med ball. I knew I could do the workout at that level, but the goal was to do lots of reps. So, I opted for level 1 and dropped my deadlifts to 135#.

I did a total of 150 reps, with over 80 of them being deadlifts. I remember the first time I did a 135 pound deadlift. I looked up the date and it was June 19, 2007. That day, I was very happy that I'd made enough lifting progress to play with the "big wheels", the 45# plates in the weight room. (I've since gone on to do a 355# deadlift, but that's another story.)

Last night, I did over 80 reps at 135#. I don't feel sore today.

For dinner, I ate roasted chicken thighs and a salad with a homemade vinaigrette.

I got a good night's sleep and had some eggs for breakfast this morning. This afternoon, for the first time since I started CrossFit, I'll do a CF workout four days in a row.

Tomorrow will be a rest day with a weekend of teaching skiing approaching.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Good Day But I'm Exhausted

Due to a snowstorm, I left home yesterday morning planning to stay in Burlington, near my office. I could have worked at home yesterday and today to avoid driving in bad weather, but that would have meant missing two CrossFit workouts. Plus, I had some work to do that really needed to be done in my office.

After work, I headed to CrossFit. The workout was as follows:

30-20-10 AQAP:
Box Jumps 24/18
Kettlebell Swings 70/53
Games Push-ups
Thrusters 95/65
Sumo Deadlift High-pulls 95/65

This was the "prescribed" workout, but I went for Level 2 instead:
25-15-5 AQAP:
Box Jumps 18
Kettlebell Swings 35
Knee Push-ups
Thrusters 45
Sumo Deadlift High-pulls 45

When there are two numbers shown, the first is the weight to be used by men and the second by women. I don't remember the women's weights for level 2, to be honest. The number for the box jumps is the height in inches of the box you use for the jumps.

Basically, I went through each movement doing 25 reps, another round at 15 and then a round at 5. This was one of the longer workouts and it took me 16:32. Some of the people who did the prescribed workout took longer than 20 minutes. There were a lot of tired people in the gym after this one.

After the workout, I went to a nearby restaurant and had a salad, some asparagus and a steak for dinner - full paleo compliance for the meal and the day. Then, I went to a nearby hotel and fell asleep almost instantly while the storm continued outside.

I got to work early today and I'll leave early to do the 4:30 CrossFit workout before I head home. We are supposed to get some more snow today, but hopefully the drive home will be reasonable. The roads across the state were pretty nasty yesterday.

Our next snowstorm is scheduled for Friday and then we will see our first truly bitterly cold days of the winter this coming weekend. My ski instruction will be more about frostbite prevention than anything else this weekend, I'm afraid.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Paleo Challenge - Day One

I ate the way the challenge specified yesterday.

My dinner was very simple - grilled beef sirloin tips, asparagus roasted with olive oil, and a salad with an olive oil based dressing. It was simple to cook, tasty, and filling.

Our CrossFit workout last night was our baseline fitness measurements.

On the front squat, I hit a new PR of 215 pounds. I had never tried to max out on this lift before and I was surprised when I got over 200 pounds. The best person in thy gym got 315 pounds and no one else got over 250 or so.

Secondly, we did pull-ups. The rule was that you needed to do six pull-ups or more, and you could use assistance bands to do that. I picked a stronger band than I probably needed and did 12 reps. The best performance was 39 of CrossFit's kipping pull-ups.

Our last segment was timed:
20 burpees
30 power cleans (I used 95#)
40 wall balls (medicine ball, squats, and a sort of push press to toss the ball as you leave the squat)
500 meter row.

My total time was 11:03, and I think it was the slowest of anyone doing the challenge.

I don't even want to discuss my weight, for now at least. And, I don't want to see the shirtless pics taken by our coach. Hopefully, in 44 days, I'll be able to look at the scale and the photos and laugh a bit.

One-fourth of the challenge is based on points for compliance. I was 14/15 yesterday. I lost one point for failing to do 30 minutes of stretching, foam rolling and mobility work. There just wasn't time for everything.

I was going to work at home today, due to a winter storm warning, but instead, I decided to come to my office and stay nearby tonight. This means that I'll make it to CrossFit today and tomorrow, two days I'd likely miss if I worked from home today. The only way to improve is to be there.

Monday, January 17, 2011


After a dismal start to our ski season (the mountain was mostly brown on 1/2), it seems that Sugarbush has been in the zone for most every recent storm system. In the past ten days, depending on elevation, the mountain has received 2'-4' of snow. And, we have two storms due in by the end of the week, so totals could get better.

Saturday morning started fairly cold, but the snow was nice and I skied a few runs with friends before we headed to work. My group of students seemed very motivated on Saturday and we skied a lot of vertical feet - the most this year. Despite large numbers of skiers at the mountain, with every trail open, the crowds spread out very well and lift lines weren't an issue for most of the lifts.

The day ended too quickly on Saturday and I headed home to go to a party my wife had promised I'd attend. Luckily, the party ended early and I was able to get some sleep. However, I still felt exhausted on Sunday morning. We had about 6" of new snow, and I would have preferred to just ski, but I was scheduled to lead a clinic for other instructors, and I was wishing that I wasn't. But, I got myself going and thought I gave a pretty solid clinic.

After the clinic, I started skiing with my students. I felt exhausted. We skied one steep bump run under a chair and I felt like I had no life in my legs. Being under the chair in an instructor's uniform, you want to show the public that you know how to ski. I felt like hiding, to tell the truth. But, I made it through that run and a few other challenging runs later in the day. Around 1:30, my group decided they wanted to go into a little "playground" of sorts that we have in the forest off of an easy trail. I let them play there for an hour or so and then we went for hot chocolate to end the day. After the parents picked up their children, I headed to our locker room to change. It turned out that just about everyone was exhausted also. Maybe it was the intensity of the holiday weekends and the crowds. It might have been the new snow - the conditions were different than any other weekend this year. But, there were a lot of tired people.

Today, my legs still feel a bit tired. And, I have a CrossFit fitness evaluation in about 3 hours.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Workouts, skiing and a challenge

After a not-so-happy workout on Tuesday, I took a rest day on Wednesday. Even if we hadn't had a big snowstorm, I probably would have taken the day off. I was tired and sore. To be honest, I was still sore last night, but I was determined to work out again. Because I'd worked from home, I went to the local college gym. I had forgotten it was January - the month of the Resolutionaries. These are the people that show up right after the first of the year every year. Some last only one workout, some make it a week, some make it a month, and perhaps a couple will stick it out longer.

But yesterday, at 4:15, every cardio machine was in use. Even the weightlifting area was crowded. I was planning to start with squats, and immediately noticed someone doing barbell biceps curls in the only squat rack. I politely asked him if I could use the rack for squats, and I was pleasantly surprised when he quickly agreed. My plan was 5x5's last night, but with a conservative weight.

Recently, I've been doing 5x5 squats at 225-255, but I stayed at 185 last night. I then did trap bar deadlifts at 225 rather than 275 or so that I've been using recently. I finished with bench presses at 125 rather than 135. In less than 40 minutes, I was done and out of the crowded gym.

After the workout, I headed for the supermarket, needing to stock the house for a Paleo challenge (more below) that I'll be starting on Monday.

Tonight, I'll do CrossFit (I'll take it easy) and then teach skiing all weekend. With our recent snow, we are expecting huge, potentially record, crowds at the mountain this weekend, so teaching will be a challenge, mostly due to safety considerations. There are just too many people who ski and ride out of control at times. Holidays and periods just after big snowstorms are the most dangerous times, when people who don't ski or ride very often come to the mountain. Regulars on the mountain understand the skier and rider code of responsibility and tend to act responsibly. People who visit rarely seem to be much more likely to be reckless on the mountain, so with recent snow and a holiday weekend, it could be dangerous.

And then, on Monday, we start a Paleo challenge at the CrossFit gym. This will be a very challenging 45 days. Giving up dairy is going to be the toughest thing for me. Rather than explaining it, I'm just going to copy the rules of the challenge from our gym's site:

45 Day Paleo Health and Wellness Challenge


Monday, January 17th to Wednesday, March 2nd

It is important that you are at the gym on the first and last day of the challenge.

Entry Fee:

$20. Sign up at the gym


This is not a weight loss competition, while weight loss will be a portion of your final result, this challenge is a way to better health, performance, and a longer happier life.


All participants will be required to take before and after photos. For men this is will be with a shirt off, for women some sort of sports bra or something where the abdominal area can be seen. These photos will be stored away on our computer and will only be viewed at the end of the challenge to help assess the winner. The only photos that will be displayed are those that finish top 3 in the challenge. At the end of the challenge everyone’s photos will be assessed and you will be ranked by most improved on physical appearance.

Photos – Back and Front Double Bicep Pose


All participants will be weighed before and after the challenge. You will be ranked by percentage change in bodyweight. To keep this as accurate as possible we suggest you come in during the same class time on the first day of the event and last day of the event, and wear the same articles of clothing.

Weight change will be based off of starting weight.

Starting weight: 200lbs
Ending weight: 185lbs
Net Change: 7.5%


On the first and last day of the challenge we will be doing 3 benchmark tests. Each benchmark will be weighted equally, and an average percentage change will be used to rank each individual on the benchmark performance. It is important that if you scale any of the benchmarks you use the same scaling when we retest at the end of the challenge even if you no longer need that level of scaling.

Benchmark # 1: 1 Rep Max Front Squat
Benchmark # 2: Max pull-ups
Benchmark # 3: As Quick As Possible – 20 Burpees, 30 Power Cleans 135/95, 40 Wall Balls 20/14, 500m Row

All benchmark changes will be based on percentage change with the first test being the base.

Benchmark # 1: 250lbs to 275lbs = 10% change
Benchmark # 2: 10 pull-ups to 13 pull-ups = 30% change
Benchmark # 3: 360 seconds to 342 seconds = 5% change
Final Result: 15% net change


The final component of the rankings will be nutrition and what you put in your body. While all 4 components of the challenge will be weighted equally, the nutrition component will be the most important as it will play the largest role in positive change in the 3 other categories. There will be a large white board in the front lobby of the gym where you will be able to track your daily points. Ranking for the nutrition component will be based on points, whoever has the most points at the end of the 45 days will be ranked in 1st for the nutrition component. Again this is a paleo challenge, this means meat, veggies, fruit, nuts, and seeds. No dairy, legumes, refined sugar, or grains. You will be allowed 2 cups of coffe a day, a cup being 6oz. If you need clarification on where something fits, please ask.

I know we have at least 1 vegetarian in the gym and we would like all of you who follow this lifestyle to jump in on this. For those of you who are vegetarian you will follow the paleo diet and add dairy to the diet, but not all dairy. If you are taking this road you will be allowed hard cheeses (low in lactose), milk (preferably raw), greek yogurt (none of that sugar filled fruity crap that lines the grocery store), and cottage cheese. Of course as a vegetarian you should make sure to get a good supplement of eggs, 4 or more a day. The reason for adding the dairy to paleo for vegetarians is so that you can get complete proteins from more than just eggs, most of you don’t want to eat a dozen or more eggs a day so you can supplement your protein intake with dairy based products. The rest of the paleo diet applies, no grains, legumes, refined sugar, etc.

By nature the paleo diet is low in carbohydrates, high fat, and high in protein. Now we don’t want you to get to carried away with your exact macronutrient profile, but here are couple of guidelines. Don’t worry about how much fat you are eating, contrary to what our government and most modern medicine says, it’s just 45 days, don’t worry about your fat intake and see what happens…with that said don’t make it a point of living off of chicken wings, prime rib, avocados, and nuts, but don’t worry about making those foods a regular part of your diet. Don’t eat too much fruit, 3 pieces a day, 4 if you’re a large person, while fruit is good and natural it is still loaded with sugar, and no fruit juice, doesn’t matter if it is the purest stuff you can find, a glass will make up most of your carbohydrate intake for the day. Eat lots of veggies, especially leafy greens, they’re the best. Be wary of your root vegetables, sweet potatoes are great but don’t find yourself eating large portions of them every day. Try and stick to leaner cuts of meat, but again don’t worry if you eat fatty ones. Aim for 1 gram of protein per day per pound of bodyweight. Try and keep your carbohydrate intake to around 100 grams, another 50 or so if you are training more than once a day, or have a super hard workout.


You will be required to keep track of your eating in some sort of medium…computer, notebook, journal, phone, etc. From this log, you will give a daily score of 0-10 based on your compliance with the Paleo Diet. A score of TEN would represent a day of eating like a true hunter gatherer; nothing but meat, fish, eggs, veggies, fruit, nuts and seeds.

It is important if you do have something off the diet that you pay attention to a serving. For example most condiments, peanut butter, etc a serving would be comprised of 2 Tablespoons, a beverage would be measured by 8oz for a serving, a slice of bread would be a serving, a grain like rice would come in 2oz to a serving, etc. Again if you are super unsure of something please ask, and if you know the serving size but are unsure of exactly what you ate, lean on the high side as most don’t realize how large the portions of food are that they eat.

1 point off for every serving of: Bacon, sausage, deli meat, beans, hummus, peanuts (yes these are legumes), agave, maple syrup, honey, salt, peas, coffee (each cup in addition to your daily allotted 2 cups) most salad dressings (store bought, get in the habit of making your own, olive oil and vinegar and mustard).
2 points off for every serving of: Dairy (milk, yogurt, cheese, butter), soy products, quinoa

3 points off for every serving of: Cereal, grains, wheat, oats, corn, tortilla chips, bread, rice, pasta, noodles.

4 points off for every serving of: Soda (diet and full sugar), juice, sports drinks, potato (sweet potatoes are OK), fried food, chicken wings (store bought, homemade, un-breaded ones are fine, baked, grilled, fried in olive oil), most restaurant appetizers, cookies, baked goods, ice cream, frozen yogurt, sweets, pancakes, ketchup, processed marinades, BBQ sauce, sugar added dried fruit, beer, wine and all alcohol drinks, pizza.

Note: If you are going off the reservation, it’s important to know how many servings you are eating…for example, 1 can of soda is 1.5 servings. This means that if you drink an entire can you’d be losing 6 of your 10 points for the day.

Bonus Points:

There is a potential for 5 extra bonus points per day.

1. You get one extra bonus point for everyday you participate in a CrossFit workout. The benefits of Paleo are magnified when combines with a training program that combines constantly varied, high intensity, functional movements. Train Hard. Eat Clean. Live Life.

2. You get one extra bonus point for everyday you consume at least 3 grams of Fish oil (this means 3g or 3000mg of EPA and DHA. You need to pay attention to how much EPA and DHA is in your source. For example I use the cheap Costco fish oil capsules, while each capsule is 1000mg, it only has 300mg of EPA and DHA. So for me to get 3g of fish oil a day I need to take 10 of those capsules). One of our biggest goals with this challenge is to reduce Silent Inflammation. Silent inflammation is far more insidious than classic inflammation because it is at the molecular level and may not be detected until it’s too late! It doesn’t generate the pain associated with classic inflammation and therefore goes untreated for years or even decades. Virtually every type of chronic disease (heart disease, cancer, and Alzheimer’s) has a significant inflammatory component as its underlying cause. Silent Inflammation is the first sign that your body is out of balance and no longer well. You can’t feel it, but it is grinding down your heart, your brain and your immune system. Your weight and health are greatly determined by how well you control the inflammatory process.

3. You get one extra bonus point for everyday that you perform mobility and stretching work for more than 20 minutes (you Yoga goers get an extra point a day for going to Yoga).

4. You get one extra bonus point for every night that you sleep 8 hours or more (must be one session of sleeping).

5. You get one bonus point for brining some sort of post workout nutrition to the gym containing 30-45g of protein and 30-45g of carbohydrates and consuming it immediately upon completion of class.

Post Workout:

Post workout is the one time we will allow a slight deviation from Paleo. If you are unable to stomach solid foods after training a protein drink is a great alternative, if you are able to stomach whole foods by all means bring in a chicken breast and sweet potatoes. For fast and complete recovery we suggest a post workout protein shake and some sweet potatoes. You should mix the protein with water (aim for 20-45 grams), and eat 3-9 ounces of sweet potatoes. If your primary goal is to decrease body fat and get leaner skip the potatoes. If you just finished “Murph”, “Eva”, “Badger” or other 25+ minute intense workouts, go higher on the starches to replace glycogen. Your performance the next day is dependent on it.

The Winner and Rankings:

At the end of the challenge the top 3 participants will be ranked based on the 4 above categories.


We are not taking any money from the entry fees. All money will be distributed back to the top 3 participants. 1st place will receive 60% of the total entry fees, 2nd place 30%, and 3rd place 10% We are hoping that everyone in the gym jumps in on this, if so, that’ll leave $600 or more going to first place.

End of Challenge Scoring:

Each participant will be ranked in each one of the 4 categories. The final rankings will be judged by the net score of all 4 categories, the goal is to have the lowest possible score.


If you finished 5th in Photo Portion, 3rd in Weight Change, 10th in Performance, and 15th in Nutrition, your final score would be 5 + 3 + 10 + 15 for 33 points. Your final ranking would be based on where your 33 points fits in with the rest of the participants. Lower the score the better.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

CrossFit and More Snow

I finally made it back to CrossFit last night. After teaching skiing for one whole week and then being sick for another week, it had been a while. And, it was a really frustrating workout. To be honest, it left me really dispirited, wondering if I'm even fit enough to be a straggler at the gym.

After some mobility work, we spent 15 minutes doing work on the rings, practicing towards doing muscle-ups. I can't even hold my own body weight on the rings and I just felt defeated. Then, in the main workout, I used the lightest weight of anyone in the gym (deliberately after a multi-week break) and while I finished first, fewer than five minutes of work left me on the verge of throwing up.

Today, I'm sore from 4 minutes and 48 seconds of work with light weights. Pathetic. The comment that I left in my log at the gym questioned whether I even belong there. Just not my day, I guess. But, it remains frustrating to be the least flexible and probably least fit person there. It's like I'm never going to catch up.

The bad thing is that the frustration is taking the fun out of the workouts for me. It's even leading to me trying to find excuses to not go to the gym after work. I have to stop thinking about these things and just go to the workouts and do my work.

Today, I'm working from home because of a big snowstorm. My kids have a snow day as well. Once again, my piece of crap snow blower isn't working. It's about 9 or 10 years old, and I think it's time to give up. I bought a new John Deere tractor this past summer and I'm thinking I'll buy the snowblower attachment for the tractor. I don't want to spend the money, but right now, I have no idea how the driveway will get cleared. It's simply too big to even consider shoveling.

I wish I was skiing, even though I'm not feeling very competent at that sport recently.

Hopefully this post won't lead to others feeling as depressed and frustrated as I feel right now.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow, snow, snow

It doesn't take much for ongoing small snow events to start to add up.

When I was done teaching skiing on January 2nd, things weren't looking very good. All of the natural snow trails were closed and many trails were brown. We'd enjoyed a few great days of spring-like skiing conditions, but the thin base on the mountain had been exposed, and things weren't looking so good.

All last week, the snow guns were going non-stop, but it seemed like the mountain got a few inches of snow most days/nights as well. I'm guessing that the summit saw close to 3 feet of snow in the past 8 days or so.

Saturday morning trail-checks were kind of interesting. A lot of the snow from the snow guns was of very variable texture, while the fresh natural snow was very fluffy. On trails where snow was being made, you had to be very careful with your turns. You could easily be flying in natural fluffy snow, make a turn toward the snow guns, and end up moving too fast in very dense snow. The word of the day was caution - keep speed down and expect variations in the snow.

I had a small class on Saturday - only five of my nine girls showed up. I taught the third lesson in a four-part progression that I've been working on. Basically, I have used the past two weekends to teach three individual lessons, with my plan being that we would put everything together on Sunday morning. The less for Saturday was fairly simple, so we spent much of the rest of the day just free skiing as a group.

On Sunday morning, seven girls showed up. I went back through the previous three lessons quickly, and then basically asked the girls to do all three things at once. I was surprised at how easily they were able to do it and I like the results that I saw. I then told them that these weren't absolute techniques, but rather things to be used to help make better turns, when appropriate. For the rest of the day, I reminded the girls periodically about the lesson, but we mostly skied. It was a cold and windy day, and no one wanted to be outside for more than 2-3 consecutive runs.

And just like that, my weekend was over, at least the skiing part of it.

I did enjoy some tasty low-carb meals over the weekend as well.

Friday night, I cooked ribeye steaks with bernaise sauce. I added a salad and that was it.

On Saturday, we had a slow-cooked leg of lamb, braised all day in a mixture of onions, garlic, tomatoes, vermouth, bay leaves and tarragon. After the lamb finished, I reduced the cooking liquid and added some butter and served the sauce over the lamb. Again, I added a salad.

On Sunday night, my wife cooked dinner while I was skiing. She made a pasta sauce with some Italian sausage. She then roasted some eggplant and we ate the sauce over the roasted eggplant with a little bit of Reggiano parmesan cheese.

Tonight, after being away from CrossFit for two weeks, I'll return. I spent one week teaching skiing and then another week being sick. I'll definitely do some lower level workouts at CrossFit until I get back to full strength.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Long time, no blog

I think I last posted a couple days before Christmas. Life has been busy since then and I've spent very little time around a computer. The last workout I posted about kicked my *ss, and I was sore for days. Live and learn.

Then, my sister arrived for Christmas, and the fun began - nice wines, nice food, visits with family, etc. For a few days, it seems, I did little but eat and drink.

Then, my older dog got sick (pancreatitis) and that was the big thing for a few days. Finally last Tuesday, I headed to Sugarbush to teach skiing for six consecutive days.

The first day, it was so windy that almost every lesson cancelled. Oh well, this happens. After that, I had three really busy days teaching private (1 on 1) lessons. I taught students anywhere from age 4 to age 49 and really enjoyed this work. On Saturday, I returned to my normal weekend teaching, working with the girls I teach every weekend. We had great spring skiing conditions, but the warm temps devastated the mountain, causing many trails to close. Hopefully, by this coming weekend, with some snow-making and natural snow, more trails will open.

One of the highlights of skiing was getting a new pair of skis right after Christmas - the Rossignol S86 in 178cm length. I am absolutely thrilled with these skis so far. They are fun, easy carvers, yet fun on everything I've skied them on so far. In spring-condition moguls, they were outrageously fun. I bought new skis this time a bit sooner than I sometimes do, because my previous skis, while functional, simply weren't a lot of fun. That problem has now gone away.

By Sunday, I knew that I was coming down with some sort of illness as I headed to the mountain. That day was also my birthday. I taught skiing all day, and then got together with some friends for a few drinks and a nice dinner. My family gave me a wonderful framed photo of my late dog Rocket, and I was very touched by that gift.

On Monday, I knew I was really sick. Today is the third day I've been pretty much flat on my back, trying to work with my laptop. I finally feel better today and my fever seems to have broken. I'm guessing that I managed to catch the flu. This is the first year in over a decade that I haven't had a flu shot, so perhaps there's a good lesson in there.

As much as I want to get back to CrossFit, I think I need to take it easy the rest of this week, teach skiing on the weekend, and then get back to a normal schedule next week.

Being as old as I am now, I don't want to rush things.