Unconventional WODs – Because who wants to sleep in on the weekend?

So the past week has been one of those where while I wasn’t super busy at work, the week WOULD. NOT. END.  And that’s even with taking Monday off to work on the sprinkler system (the system was set up to do a particularly good job of watering the gravel, so that had to be addressed),

Anyway, I was really looking forward to the weekend.  Some time to relax and unwind.  Even have a dinner party to go to with all the other people who suffered through the paleo challenge.  However, so that we don’t feel completely guilty when we chow down on all the non-healthy goodness, there was an unofficial WOD at the park today.

MemorialParkHouston

Ladies and gentlemen, meet “Gill”:

“Gill”

  • 2 person partner workout
  • Dumbbell Run, 1 mile
  • 100 Burpees
  • Dumbbell Run, 1 mile
  • 100 Push-ups/100 Jumping Squats
  • Dumbbell Run, 1.25 miles
  • 150 Dumbbell Snatches
  • 50 AbMat Sit-ups/50 Cross Overs/50 Leg Throwdowns

Switch off carrying dumbbell, all exercises with exception of abs to be split between partners, each partner to do all ab exercises (ALL 150 reps)

Our coach Emily came up with this one, and she also assigned the weights.  Usually I really like Emily: she’s very knowledgeable, makes sure you get your form right so you don’t hurt yourself, and is impossibly cheerful when we show up bleary-eyed for the 5 am WOD during the week; but who gives you a 50 lb dumbbell to run with for over 3 miles?  We’ve done some WODs with 400 m carries of 50 lb dumbbells, but this is thirteen times as far!(Actually, 50 lbs was probably appropriate, but it’s just in my nature to complain about workouts like this one, Emily’s still ok in my book).

For those of you who have never run with weights: it’s terrible.  Even if it’s not a particularly large weight, the awkward, unbalanced nature of it makes running so much harder.  Weighted vests would be your best option, followed perhaps by a pack, but handling a 50 lb mass of metal as you trundle along is tough.  Big shout out to Dan who suffered through it with me.  We managed to maintain a jog up to the second station, but after that, we had to start throwing in some walking.  I say that without shame.  IT.  WAS.  HEAVY!  Trading off, I tried to do my shift about 1/2 run, 1/2 walk.  The most comfortable position ended up having the weight behind my neck resting on both shoulders and using my arms to keep it from bouncing around too much.  Of course, this makes your arms very tired.  And I’m still pretty sure I’m going to have massive bruises all over my shoulders tomorrow.

Totally worth it.  And we managed to tie for second place on the run!

I know that I always feel better if I do something active on the weekend; probably just as much to assuage my guilt as to keep my body loose.  But it was also just fun to get outside with friends on a beautiful morning.  There’s something to be said for this kind of qasi-masochism.  Although CrossFit does a good job of keeping the workouts fresh, sometimes it’s nice to just throw it all to the side and do something completely out there.  We’ll see if I still feel the way tomorrow morning!

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Cold Brew Coffee – Part 2

Lately the weather here in Houston has just been freaking amazing.  It’s cool in the mornings, then it warms up with sunshine and a slight breeze, and most surprisingly, not much in the way of humidity (that won’t last).

However, I’m still the sort of person who tends to run hot, so I’ve started in again on the cold brew coffee.  And since my wife discovered my stash, I’ve had to start making a lot of it!
IMG_0028

After a bit more internet research and some experimentation, I’ve modified my recipe somewhat.  Also, it helps that we have bought a scale:IMG_0029As mentioned before, I am a huge nerd, so the fact that I can now weigh out ingredients to the 100th of an ounce is just awesome.  My current ratio is now 2.5 oz to roughly 1 quart of water.  I say “roughly” because I mix this up in quart size mason jars (BTW, you should buy mason jars, you’ll end up using them for everything).  I add the ground coffee to the jar, and then fill it up, so the actual amount of water varies a little bit.

A few notes on brewing this way:

  • Don’t grind the coffee too fine.  I just use a blade style grinder and pulse it until I cannot see any full beans, and then I give it 1-2 more pulses.  I’ve considered getting a fancier burr grinder, but I just don’t know if I would be able to appreciate the difference.
  • Give it a shake.  I leave the jars out on the counter, and I try to shake them every few hours.  The coffee floats to the top, so try to keep it evenly distributed.
  • Filter twice.  I first pour the brew through a fine mesh sieve.  This catches about 95% of the ground coffee, and makes the second filtration much faster.  For the second pass, I put it through a reusable coffee filter.  This catches most of the remaining grounds, although some fine particles still make it through.
  • Mix 1:1 with water or milk.  If you’re feeling really decadent, throw in a tablespoon of sweetened condensed milk.  Make it closer to a Vietnamese coffee (which I love).

I like to mix mine up in a mason jar (see?  use them everywhere!) with ice.  You’d be surprised how fast it goes, so if it’s starting to get hot where you live, make up 2-3 batches at a time.  The concentrate seems to last pretty well in the fridge.  Bonus, on the weekends, you can spice it up with some Baileys or Kalua and really kick the morning off right.

I’ve also tried making larger batches using a fine mesh bag like this.  I’m still working on the correct ratio.  I tried the 2.5 oz per 2 quarts like with the mason jars, but then I realized I don’t actually use 2 quarts because the coffee displaces some of the volume.  I’ll probably try 3 oz of ground coffee next time.  I will say that using the bag is easier in terms of clean up, as you can skip the filtering when you remove the bag.  I’m sure this will come into its own once the temperature at 6 am is above 90 degrees.  Sooo…. next week probably.

Stay frosty my friends.

Don’t you just hate it when virtue has its rewards?

Howdy folks,

Back after another long break.  I’m really not very good at this whole blogging thing.  It’s been pretty rough with everything that’s been going on.  But since my project at work is now largely behind me, I should hopefully be able to spend a bit more time here.

As you might have read in the last post, I took part in a Paleo Food Challenge along with a bunch of people from Village Crossfit.  As I predicted, it wasn’t fun a lot of the time, but I have to say, I was pretty surprised at the results.

I’ll be honest, during that period, I was not very good about making working out a priority.  I was traveling a lot, and I didn’t get my act together to sign up again at Crossfit Mobile (partially because I started working a midnight-noon shift that didn’t jive real well with their class schedule).  Regardless, I should have done more.  However, I was pretty good about sticking to the diet rules.

I think I should probably take this opportunity to share my personal philosophy on paleo.  I figure I follow it about 90%.  I skip the processed food, the cereals, the grains, the dairy, etcetera.  However, I will still use a condiment like ketchup or mustard, and I don’t insist on organic, free range meat.  While I’d believe that eating grass-fed beef is probably better for you, I also would like to spend some of my free time NOT at the grocery store.  Also, when I would go out to eat (as I did a fair amount while working out-of-state), I just could not bring myself to be the guy asking the waitress if the salad dressing contained any canola oil.

Anyway, at the end of this challenge, despite the reduced gym schedule and less healthy food, I still lost 10 pounds.  I couldn’t believe it when I stepped on the scale.  And while I was happy to see that result, I was also a little disappointed.  I guess I was hoping that all this healthy eating was a load of hooey, and that it wouldn’t really make a difference.  Wrong.  Also, when I went on a little binge afterwards (burger, shake, queso, mmmm), my body let me know that it didn’t appreciate the sudden change.

paleo tree

Bonus poster my wife saw at her doctor’s office.  Intense!

So I think that from here on out, I’m going to try to maintain the paleo lifestyle 5-6 days a week.  I may have a beer after a rough Wednesday at work, and I might go to a Thursday happy hour, but I am going to try to maintain the gains I’ve realized.  And to keep me honest, I went and got a body composition test so I can check in a month or two to see if I can still improve.  I’m a huge nerd, so having numbers that I can through into a spreadsheet and create graphs is a huge bonus for me.  Oh, and I’ve also signed up for 5 days a week at the gym for the month of May.  I’m sure it’s gonna hurt, but let’s see where I end up June 1st.

Cheers!