Thursday, December 22, 2011

If Donny Doesn't Inspire You...

I get it. Donny is a beast. He's genetically made for the sport of weightlifting. He's amassed technical skill and mental fortitude over years and years of training. While it can be awe inspiring, sometimes people see that and think "Cool, but not me so... whatever."

Well here is a guy that arguably has very little in his favor: he's blind and still made it to the World Championships in Paris for weightlifting.

Don't need sight to do a snatch or clean and jerk? Try doing it yourself with your eyes closed, or perhaps crossed. Not easy, huh?

Donny is Bigger Than You

Donny Shankle is many time National Champion, has attended the World Championships, and this year also participated in the Pan Am Games. He trains hard over at California Strength in San Ramon. I don't think I've ever heard him complain, whine, ask why he needs to do something, or push back ever. He just works hard and doesn't take a miss as an answer.

Watch, be amazed and be inspired.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

SFCF and UB and HIIT

Acronyms are fun!


So starting in the new year I'll be observing and hanging out at San Francisco CrossFit and will start taking on clients, helping with the on ramps and strength classes. I'm very excited to get in with a group of coaches that really know their stuff in so many areas. The opportunities to learn will be endless.


I can start training clients at United Barbell - CrossFit SOMA NOW! I'll be out of town next week, but in January, I'll be all over that shizz. UB is a sweet little gym with an awesome community of both coaches and members.


I love HIIT training. And I particularly love using a blend of CrossFit methodology and HIIT style intervals. I found this neato infographic on the awesomeness that is HIIT.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

This should be good!

Krista Scott-Dixon, the genius behind Stumptuous has a new, FREE e-book out called "Fuck Calories." You can get it HERE.

I have downloaded it, but I haven't started reading it yet. Her style is colloquial and sassy. It's intelligent without being pedantic. In other words, I think it will be a really fun and informative read.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Scale Lies

On the left is a beauty contest winner Chloe Marshall, weighing in at 5'10" and 180 lbs. On the right is me, at 5'8" and this day I was 174 lbs. Her BMI is 25.8, mine was 26.5, which puts us both in the overweight category, and me even more so. In an article about this beauty contest winner, she explains that she does what she does to promote healthy body images for women, and to show that self esteem shouldn't be tied to looking like a model in a magazine.

Wait, healthy body image? As the Old Spice man might say, "Look at her, now look at me." Who do you think is trying to promote healthy body image, and divorce people from caring what the scale has to say?

Where is this rant going?

Train like you mean it and throw out your scale.

Unless you are competing in a weight class sport, if you are in the gym, working up a sweat, and putting the right foods in your mouth, it's probably time you got rid of your scale and either get a tape measure or body fat calipers.

If you train hard, lift heavy, and hit that HIIT training hard, it's highly likely that you won't lose weight right away. Usually, though, your pants will fit looser, you'll have to tighten your belt, and your arms and legs will get tighter.

Weight can change fairly drastically day to day, especially for women because of our hormones. If you drink alcohol one day, the dehydration will make you seem lighter. If you gorge on carbs one day, the water retention will make you seem heavier. But none of these readings accurately reflect any true measure of health.

Muscle is the best thing you have for longevity.

Study after study is coming out now that the best indicator for longevity and quality of life is fitness. Increased bone density means fewer fractures and less worry about osteoporosis and osteopenia (which, yes, men can get too). Muscle mass help increase your insulin sensitivity since muscle has insulin receptors and is the only place, other than the liver, that glycogen can be stored without being turned into fat.

How do you reap these benefits. Well, through strength training and HIIT conditioning, of course! These training methods will also make you denser (read: toned) and potentially heavier than you are now.

Muscle makes you useful.

Being strong is a great way to get free pizza and beer. How? Because you'll be the one friends call when they are going to move and they can't handle their couch all on their own. And helping a friend move always means compensatory feedings.

I guess I should also say, USEFUL muscle makes you useful. Because no one cares if you can bicep curl their dresser. Can you deadlift and farmer's walk with it?

Lift Big and Eat Big

Training hard means your metabolism is moving light a freight train. It's not the muscle itself that increases your metabolism, it's the heavy lifting and intense conditioning that puts on the meat and keeps the calories burning long after you leave the gym. (More on the muscle =/= high metabolism later.) And that means the occasional slip up isn't going to cost you the way it would if you spend all your time on the elliptical or treadmill.

Okay, I've kind of left my original argument, which is healthy body image should not be tied to weight, but to health and fitness. There is more than skinny vs. curvy, paper vs. plastic. So stop obsessing over the scale.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Want to get mad? Watch "Killer at Large"

I'm currently watching "Killer at Large", and I have to say that it's just making me mad. In a good way, not because it's wrong, but because of the awful ineptitude of our society to take care of the obesity epidemic.

It's on Netflix instant play if you want to check it out.

They point out that the California budget to feed criminals is greater than the NATIONAL budget to feel grade school students. Seriously. They highlight cases where high schools have gotten rid of vending machines and parents protested and stood outside the school property fence line and handed candy and soda to their kids during lunch breaks.

When Sesame Street decided to have Cookie Monster promote more healthy eating, there was picketing outside the studios, with signs reading "No to Carrots, Yes to Cookies!" Who are these parents? And what is their BMI?

(I actually take issue with the BMI measurements, but that's a rant for another time.)

For another interesting take on the school lunch food issue, visit The Lunch Tray written by a mom who volunteers on a parental board for school lunches in the Houston ISD.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

My 2011 American Open Experience

It didn't go down great.

First, it was the weekend after Thanksgiving, which I spent in Houston with family I don't see often. One might ask why I didn't just see my family for Christmas instead? Not an option, as my dad works on a seismic boat 5 weeks on / 5 weeks off and he was to be in country for Thanksgiving, not Christmas.

Holidays also usually mean I'm exposed to children, and children are walking petri dishes.

So as tradition would have it, after I return to California, I'm knocked on my ass by a nasty cold. Fever, chills, achy muscles, phlegm everywhere. Cancelled appointments. Cancelled training sessions. When I tried a final heavy day, I mostly succeeded in constantly coughing, blowing my nose a lot, and missing everything I tried to put over head. Awesome.

Still. I'm part of a team, and no matter how I do, I'll earn points for the team. There is no backing out now.

My lift day is on Sunday, which TOTALLY SUCKS because all my teammates are done Friday night. That means I get to watch them relax, eat, and drink and be jolly for two nights while I'm supposed to be amping up my focus and tapering down my training and calories for weigh ins. It's almost enough to convince me to drop back to being a 69kg lifter. Hell, I was a 63kg judo player once upon a time, why not?

I still don't feel 100% come competition time, and it shows. We take what should have been a no-brainer weight for my snatch, 73kg, I miss it twice. On the third attempt I think "Fuck this" and just power snatch the thing. I don't know how high I caught it, but I was told it basically looked like a muscle snatch. 73kg is too light for me to be missing.

Now I'm so amped from the snatches on top of not feeling great that I start getting dizzy. Which is weird because it's not like I had to do much cutting this time around to make weight, so it's not lack of food or water that's giving me problems. To avoid any further dizziness setting in, we start with a no-brainer clean and jerk of 90kg, and end with 94kg. Also because I'm not feeling well, I power clean all of them. I'm not going to squat in this condition if I don't have to.

Afterwards, I lay on the cold ground for a while which is the best feeling in the world at that time. Then I get a beer, drink said beer, and fall asleep on the chairs in the spectator section.

Oh well. Time to get healthy (I'm even driving to work for a week) and get back to the drawing board.