Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Guess What I Just Did!

I did a 30 inch box jump today. YEAH, I KNOW!  How freaking cool is that!

I never thought in a million years that someone could talk me into doing that, let alone actually doing it!  

It really got me thinking.  How many really cool things have I been able to do and will be able to do later because I am choosing to live a healthier lifestyle?

I want to be able to be there for my kids.  I don't want to be that dad who doesn't go to my kids' events, because I'd rather finish my raid in a video game.  I want to not only be able to go to my kids' events, but I want to be able to go on a run with them.  I want them to come to me as a father and also as a coach.

I already get to workout with my wife.  We get to make a lot of the same friends doing something we love. Our kids saw Jenn doing some pull-ups the other day.  Micah has now started doing pull-ups. We were doing sit-ups on the GHD machine, and Devon walked over when we were done and tried doing them.  They see us being active and healthy, and they want to emulate that and when they are old enough, we get to do it together.

Paige and Micah joined the Clever Running Club at their school.  They have been running after school 2 days a week since school started.  They love it.  Paige has come a long way, and Micah, like his mom, is a natural at it.  This last Saturday, they ran the mile route at the Shelby's Run in Clever. Jenn has won the 10k twice in the last three years but decided not to run it this year so she could run with Paige. I told Micah to pace himself, but like I do on race day, he took off way too fast.  Jenn and Paige started off on a nice trot.
Paige and Jenn 
Devon and I hung out at the starting line chatting with others and at about the 8 minute mark, I saw a familiar figure turn the corner.  I realized no one had crossed the finish line yet.  I started yelling to Micah, "COME ON, BUDDY!  FINISH STRONG!"  He took off in a sprint to the finish.  He later told me that people cheering for him gave him energy and my cheering gave him the extra energy to run harder.  While I was cheering, a couple of the other parents said, "That boy is fast," and "Wow, he did it so fast."  He won the mile run!  He did it in 8:43. Paige had an accident about a half mile in, but she did great before then.  She would've finished too, but we had to run her home to change her. So proud of my family.
Micah winning the mile run
I cannot wait to see what new things my healthy choices will bring my way and how high my box jumps will go up once the weight comes down more.  In the two weeks I have been trying to eat healthy, I have lost 15 pounds!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Running and CrossFit, Why They Both Rule

I wanted to title this blog "Running vs. CrossFit," but I didn't feel like that was a good way to start this thing. "Running and CrossFit, Why They Both Rule," was better. As I have been starting down my weight loss journey again, I have looked back on when I started running and how that was such a great time in my life.  I got down to 244 pounds from 333 when I was running.  That is pretty awesome.  I am not running anymore, but I am doing CrossFit.  I am a friend hoarder, so any endeaver I start, I add as many people as I can as friends in that pursuit.  So I get to see a lot of running and CrossFit posts daily.

When I started running, I quickly made many friends in the running community.  Life-long friends. When I started CrossFit, I quickly made many friends in the CrossFit community. Life-long friends. I have noticed both sides tend to think the other side is crazy.  Even though CrossFit does preach the importance of having endurance, and running coaches do preach the importance of cross training.

My observations:

1. Both are very passionate about what they do.
I am pretty sure I posted just as much about running on Facebook as I do CrossFit now.  Maybe CrossFitters are a little more vocal as a whole about what they are doing, but I have several CrossFit friends who never post about it.

I think the obsession on posting so much about CrossFit is because it is still new for so many people. There are so many fun and different things to do, and then you start getting PR's and lifting heavier. You are doing things you never thought about before.  I think I can swap out the word "CrossFit" for "running" and it would almost work.  I remember how excited I was the first time I ran 30 minutes without stopping, I posted about it.  Or when I got blisters on my feet.  When you start doing something good for your body and your body starts changing, you get super excited!

2. Injuries happen.
I remember when I was talking to friends about how I wanted to start running to lose weight. I had several people tell me how bad it was for my knees, or how they tried to run but got hurt.  Guess what? I got injured a few times when I was running.  My knees did hurt some.  I stepped wrong and twisted my ankle.  Sometimes I over-trained and tried to run more miles than I was ready to run. Sometimes I would get blisters the size of silver dollars on my feet. Some of these injuries could have been prevented if I would've listened to my coach or running partners.  Sometimes they just happen. If you don't listen to your body or to the people who know more than you, then yes, you can get injured from being stupid.

I remember when I was talking to friends about how I wanted to start CrossFit to lose weight.  I had several people tell me how bad it was for my knees, or how they tried it a few times but got hurt. Guess what? I have been injured a few times doing CrossFit.  My knees do hurt sometimes. I jumped off a box and rolled my ankle.  Sometimes I over-train and try to lift more weight than I am ready for. Sometime I tear my hands from doing pull-ups.  Some of these injuries could have been prevented if I would've listened to my coach or lifting partners.  Sometimes they just happen.  If you don't listen to your body or the people who know more than you, then yes, you can get injured from being stupid.

3. It does amazing things for you.
I remember when I first started running, I thought it was going to kill me.  I could not even run from one light post to the other. But with anything you stick to and keep at, it gets better, and the weight came off quickly. I remember really looking forward to getting my 5 runs in a week.  The feeling of that runner's high that would stay with you throughout the day. I loved that. I miss it.

I remember when I first started CrossFit, I thought it was going to kill me. I could not even finish the first few minutes of the workout. But with anything you stick with and keep at, it gets better.  The weight didn't come off as quickly partly because I wasn't eating like I should.  I do look forward to getting my 4-5 workouts in the week.  The feeling of finishing a really hard workout carries you through the day. I love it too.

I can keep doing this all day.  I wanted to point out the similarities between the two things.  Maybe the two camps can have a little more understanding for each other.  My wife still runs 3-4 times a week, and she does 3-4 CrossFit workouts a week, too.  I remember when one of my running friends told me I should run more, "CrossFitters don't run, and they hate running."  But to be honest, I don't think a lot of CrossFitters love running.  I remember at this year's Tanger Throwdown, they announced the first workout was a 5k.  You should've seen how pissed off people were.  I heard one girl say, "THIS ISN'T CROSSFIT!" The funny thing is that she is wrong.  Running is a part of CrossFit!

I asked our endurance coach at CrossFit Republic, James Pettit, why running is important for a person who wants to do CrossFit.
"It's important to run while doing CrossFit, because endurance is part of the 10 general physical skills. But beyond that, it's a super accessible way for anyone to get into fitness. Also, endurance is a huge part of being better at CrossFit. Once that 10-minute mark hits, a person's endurance comes out in a big way. In order to be more competitive, you need endurance, and I believe running is one of the best ways to acquire it."
James was a runner before he ever found CrossFit, and he has crushed his previous PR's since he started his regular WODs. My wife can say the same thing. She just ran a 1:38 half-marathon, her best time ever and a 5-minute improvement!
Coach James
I wanted to get to the bottom of why running is hated by CrossFitters, and why do CrossFitters hate running so much? I liked it a lot when I was doing it. I fail at it now,though, and that makes me not enjoy it that much anymore.  So I put the question to our endurance coach James.
"I don't think all hate it but a lot do. Here's my opinion of why. Running is boring, slow, lonely, and not glamorous. None of those adjectives are used to describe CrossFit. CrossFitters love CrossFit, because it's fast, exciting, loud, and community-based. Typical CrossFit hashtags: liftheavyshit, beastmode, etc. So taking this and combining it with the 'why run' info above, I think CrossFitters eventually come around to embracing running, because it's a weakness that needs to be attacked in most people."
Maybe we will see more and more running in CrossFit.

I remember my coach Shannon Cochran from Nixa Running would always preach how important any kind of cross training is.  It doesn't have to be CrossFit; it can be many different things.  So I asked her, "Why is it important to run and cross train? If it's CrossFit, yoga, body pump or anything."  I really enjoyed her response.
"Cross training is important for any sport. It can reduce the chance of an overuse injury with one specific exercise. Cross training for runners, for example, needs to be something that mimics the heart rate of running. Examples are cycling, rowing, skiing, etc. It needs to be challenging but use different muscles.
Strength training is important  to runners and cyclist because it builds those muscles up to where they can sustain the hard work these two exercises put on particular muscles. 
I am a believer that endurance runners need endurance strength training: more reps, lower weight.
It is irrelevant if a runner can squat hundreds of pounds if their back, glutes, and abs (core) are weak from ignoring them.
A runner and cyclist both need ST for upper body. As you know carrying your arms in the same position for HOURS can be exhausting. ST (at an endurance level) can help with that fatigue. 
Three fundamentals of fitness are: cardiovascular, strength training, and flexibility. Pilates and or yoga are great for runners. 
A lot of heavy lifters forget they still need to work their Hearts. Cardiovascular health is as equally important as being functionally strong."
Shannon doesn't just run. She cycles, stair climbs, goes to body pump classes, rows and teaches boot camp.  I would never challenge her to a plank contest.  I don't think I know of many people who could hold a plank longer than her.
Coach Shannon
My unprofessional opinion from just someone who has been immersed in both worlds, I feel like it is important to find balance in running/endurance activities with strength training. I, for one, am going to make an effort to start running more.  Who knows, I might even sign up for a race.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Chinese Food... It's A Problem

I love Chinese food.  Like, I really, really love Chinese food. I've been known to go to lunch at Pacific Kitchen in Springfield 5 times in a week.  They know my order.  I don't have to tell them.  I get the Sweet and Sour daily special with an extra egg roll.

Food Porn
My boss picked up my lunch one day, and when he gave them my order, they said, "Oh, I know who this is for.  Tell Chris hi!"  (Part of them knowing me is that I will talk to everyone, and everyone is my friend.) So, if I look back on it, I realize that in the work week alone I spent almost 30 bucks!

I have a problem. As in I would eat the lunch Jenn packed me, and THEN I would go get Chinese food. The thought of not being able to eat this really made me sad.  I know some of you do not understand that feeling, but when you have a food addiction, the thought of not eating all the favorite foods anymore truly make you sad.  I got depressed.  I was okay with not getting Wendy's or Taco Bell (BTW, the new breakfast bacon crunch wraps are amazing... I mean gross) or all my other haunts. Just the thought of giving up my sweet and sour was almost too much for me to handle.

When I tried and failed at eating healthy before, I would start the week out right. Come Wednesday, I would justify buying just one egg roll at lunch, because I had already done so well that week.  Then the next day, I would buy the lunch, and Friday, I would get the extra egg roll and some extra rice... because I already fell off the wagon.

So what am I to do? How do I take my weakness and make it into a strength? I BET YOU WANT TO KNOW!  Other times I would take a free day on Saturday.  I would then hit up a Chinese buffet and CRUSH IT.  You better believe I can put some hurt on a buffet. I would continue to eat like that the whole weekend.
Me going into a buffet
Afterwards, I feel terrible every time. While I am eating, I'm happy. But right after, I am in pain.
Leaving the buffet
So I figured out what I am going to do. I posted the other day that if I lose any weight that week when I weigh in on Monday, I can add 1000 calories to one of my meals, a total of 1400.  My friend Raymond from CFR gave me that tip, and it has helped him a lot. When he told me, I thought it was a great idea, and that I was going to do that.  Later that night as I was thinking on it, I realized I could have Chinese food again once a week!

I got so excited.  At work that next day, I kept telling everyone about PK Monday.  I would just turn to my boss and say, "Guess what? I get PK on Monday."  I think he got sick of it after the 7th time I told him.

So I weighed in on Monday, and I had lost 9 pounds for the week.  I didn't run off to get my fix right away.  I didn't weigh in until after work.  I didn't want to slam my dinner and then go workout, so I put it off until Tuesday.

I got my trusty app, MyFitnessPal, and figured out that if I didn't get the wontons that come in the meal and only eat the one egg roll, it would be about 1000 calories.  I was going to be 400 short.  I was happy with that.  I threw off the girls at the counter by not ordering the extra stuff and by asking the wontons to be left off. I destroyed the lunch.  I ate it way too fast.  Next time I will take my time.

It was the best PK I ever had.  Do you know why it was so good?  It was because I earned it.  I was good throughout the week and to me it tasted that much better. I wasn't uncomfortable after I ate it because it was a "normal" sized portion.  My stomach didn't know what to do with it, though.  When I got back to work, it started rumbling.  After eating clean and healthy for a week, it didn't like it.

I can still love my Chinese food, but if I eat it sparingly, it will taste that much better to me. And I am still within my calorie allotment for that day, too. I got on the scale the next morning, worried that I ruined everything, and I found that I was down another 2 pounds.

What I feel like I can take away from this is we need to find a balance in life. I go from one extreme to another, but when I lose the weight, I can balance the foods I enjoy with the healthy stuff.
Cake is a sometimes food

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

That's How Winning Is Done

Being mentally tough is something I struggle with.  I logically know what I need to do, but when the going gets tough, sometimes I stop going.  Not all the time.  But enough that it is something I need to improve on.  If I try to start eating healthy, I might have all intentions on doing well on Monday, but come Friday, ask me how I did.  I’ll tell you how I started the week off right, but around Wednesday or Thursday, I fell off the wagon. Then I will make some kind of joke about eating Chinese food.  We will have a laugh about how we all love Chinese food, but then when you leave, I feel fat and like a failure, because I wasn’t tough.  I gave up, because I wanted to eat the junk more than I wanted to be healthy.

I am not sure how people go to a “dark place” in a workout.  I am not as mentally tough as they are.  I am not able to suffer through a workout. Sometimes a third of the way through it, I start thinking to myself, “Why the hell am I doing this?" Is that being mentally tough?  I see people who love the hard workouts.  I want to love the hard workout! Instead of thinking of why this is hard, I want to think about how much this will improve me.

I’ve been trying to lose weight and become better in the gym, but I felt like I wasn’t getting the results that I wanted and needed.  I wasn’t losing weight, because I wasn’t eating like I should.  I wasn’t hitting my goals in the gym, because I wasn’t eating like I should, and I wasn’t pushing myself to my fullest potential in the workouts.  I had to humble myself and ask for help.  I personally could not do it on my own; I’ve tried.  So I reached out to my friends and coaches for help.

My "before" photo 11/17/2014
I’ve started a weight-loss program with Macy.  He is one of the owners and coaches of CrossFit Republic and has a lot of experience with nutrition and strength.

Coach Macy
His Dad, Scott, is also coaching me on my weight loss.  He has recently lost 50+ pounds and looks great! He has struggled with a lot of the same issues I struggle with.  I also have my coaches at CrossFit Republic who are going to help me stay on track at the gym and give me little extra credit workouts throughout the week.  Joe wrote me the training  program for the burpee mile and is always quick to give me some extra things to do.
Coach Joe and I at Shredfest
So I put my trust in my coaches and promised myself I will follow the plan they set up for me.  I am going to be weighing in twice a week.  On Monday and Thursday after work is when I weigh in. This will keep me honest throughout the week.  Scott gave me his nutrition guild lines that he used to lose the weight.  This is the start of week 2 and when I weighed in on Monday, I was down a total 9 pounds for last week.  I always drop weight fast at the start because a lot of it is water weight and just cleaning out all the junk. So far so good.  I am going to be posting here to update everyone how it is going.  Posting on my blog last time I lost a lot of weight was a huge piece of the puzzle for me, because it was another level
of accountability.

A cool thing that we are doing this time around is we are doing a free meal IF I lose weight that week. The free meal isn’t a free-for-all, eat- everything-in-sight free meal, but I get an extra 1000 calories for one of my meals one day. I can eat that one meal or thing that I have been craving all week.  It is also after my weigh in on Monday, so I have to be good throughout the weekend.  This is when I am the weakest.  So I have motivation to eat healthy and stay on the plan throughout the weekend. Before I would do a free day on Saturdays, and it would turn into free weekend, and I would pretty much undo all my hard work throughout the week.

Macy sent me this quote last night from the movie Rocky Balboa.  It struck true to me.

"Let me tell you something you already know. The world ain’t all sunshine and rainbows. It’s a very mean and nasty place, and I don’t care how tough you are, it will beat you to your knees and keep you there permanently if you let it. You, me, or nobody is gonna hit as hard as life. But it ain’t about how hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done! Now if you know what you’re worth, then go out and get what you’re worth. But ya gotta be willing to take the hits, and not pointing fingers saying you ain’t where you wanna be because of him, or her, or anybody! Cowards do that, and that ain’t you! You’re better than that!" –Rocky Balboa

 It feels like at times I keep getting hit, and I feel hopeless.  There are days I just want to give up and be fat and eat what I want.  I have to keep getting up and keep moving forward for me and for my family. I am worth it, and I have to go out and get it.  Sometimes it takes humbling yourself and asking for help, but that is okay! That’s how winning is done.