Sunday, May 27, 2012

Managing Work-Rest

In this CrossFit video, athletes gather together for a roundtable discussion in Tahoe and discuss how to manage work and rest, among other topics. CrossFit athletes want to maximize performance. However, you cannot just keep working out. You need to rest. As Chris Spealler puts it, "No rest, no recover. No recovery, no intensity."

Physical Fitness

I've been learning to manage work and rest in physical fitness. I typically rest Thursdays and Sundays, but listen to my body first. I've also wanted to do a muscle-up for a long time. I got my first one on Friday!

How? By managing work-rest. I would make a few attempts. But my arms would quickly tell me to rest, even though I'm itching to try again, and to get it "today". As I soon learned, the most effective way to reach your goal (and stay there), is to keep working at it, a little at a time, and not giving up or getting frustrated with yourself.

Here's video proof, filmed by Kyle during the Paleo Party at CrossFit Markham. At first I only thought Tasha was filming, so this is bonus! Also, this is technically my second muscle-up, as my first one (also on video - facebook) was done about an hour earlier. Finally, for full disclosure, I had a drink (Molson Canadian) before each muscle-up (a lot more for the second). Molson Canadian = Pre-WOD :)

"Work" Fitness ?

Lately I have also been working long hours, with multiple commitments. The lessons from CrossFit transfer to other areas of my life, including work.

In the past couple days, this meant leaving a bit early during a dragonboat race to take care of some work items. It meant leaving work at 11:30 p.m. last night, instead of staying until I was done. And waking up early this morning, when I would be more effective. Had I stayed up late last night (with the help of an energy drink), my already tired / sick body would be even more tired and sick. And while I would be done "work" stuff, I would still have a paper to write for this weekend.

Managing work-rest is about energy management, a concept I find more effective than just pure time management.

Food Pics :)
CFM Paleo Party: Fabio / Jason made this awesome burger, inspired by EpicMealTime

Post-Milton Team Dinner: Montreal Smoked Meat sandwich from Peter's on Eglinton

Thursday, May 24, 2012

4 a.m. mornings

No. I did not wake up today at 4 a.m. To be more precise, I did not wake up and stay up.

Why 4 a.m.?

There are several things I want to get done after work, asides from working out. Currently, I'm working on a paper. Once this finishes, I plan to study for the MCATs.

For the past few weeks, I have tried to work on my paper after work, to no avail. By the time I get home from work, my mind is fried. Indeed, as tired as I am in the morning, I feel the freshest in the morning.

Also, working at home after work is also generally unproductive. Our house is very open, and it is hard to concentrate while others are trying to make conversation.

One habit at a time

I read a post by Matt Frazier (the No-Meat-Athlete) about learning one habit at a time (he got his inspiration from Leo Babauta, author of Zen Habits). Often times, when we want to make change, we have a goal of changing a plethora of habits (from adding new ones, to eliminating bad ones). Here's a brain dump of habits I want to add / change:
  • Waking up early
  • Stop drinking coffee
  • Tracking finances
  • Running consistently
  • Morning prayer
  • Stop checking Facebook / e-mail often
  • Eat healthy
  • Memorizing scripture
And the list goes on. I have tried to change one of these habits. After failing, I would set my sights on another habit, hoping to change another area. What Matt found was that there is incredible value in sticking with one habit until it becomes a habit. The key is to not lose patience and to keep at it.
"We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act, but a habit." --Aristotle

So today I ended up waking up at 5:30 a.m. I had a back-up alarm. However, I will try 4 a.m. again tomorrow. And the day after that. And the day after.

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Going there ... not easy

Today I arrived a bit late to the gym, having come from work. Upon arriving, I found out I will have to do 20 burpees for every minute I'm late. I got pretty bummed about that for a while--well into the workout, which I didn't finish. Of course, I could have taken the motivated perspective, doing my best to be on-time, or else having another opportunity to become more fit.

Anyways, this sounds pretty depressing. And depressed I felt. However, awesome I now feel :)

Yesterday, I wrote about mentally going there in a workout. Today, arriving late didn't give me time to get in the right mindset. I suppose one day I can just turn on the switch and be ready to workout at max intensity. It definitely isn't easy to go there, and it will take some work.

My time at the gym ended with a failed-but-closer-than-before muscle-up attempt. I was pretty happy, despite my arms feeling like jelly. And right now I feel awesome because my post-WOD protein shake is much better than my pre-WOD Iced Cappuccino :)

Today's protein shake looked something like this:
- Cookies & cream protein powder
- Some milk
- Some natural peanut butter
... and the ingredient of awesome ...
- A generous scoop of mint chocolate chip ice-cream! 

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Just go there


Push press
3 x 95 lbs, 3 x 115 lbs, 3 x 3 x 135 lbs, 3 x 155 lbs

5 Rounds for Time
10 Front Squats (135 lbs)
10 HSPU (first couple strict, then scaled using a box -_-)
20 Box Jumps (20")
30 Butterfly Sit-ups
Going into the WOD, I told myself I had enough of mediocrity. I would stop making excuses. And stop being afraid. That I would just go there. Go to the place where it hurts. Where it is uncomfortable. Where you don't let yourself get away with anything less than your best. In this WOD, "going there" meant pushing through those front squats in the latter rounds. It meant scaling back the HSPU so I could go for intensity, even though I would rather complete HSPU as prescribed. Going there means dropping my pride to be comfortable with where I am, and to mentally go to that difficult place that does not let me give up. When I think about just going there in other areas of my life (psychologically, spiritually, etc.), I'm definitely challenged to make tough choices.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Paleo Challenge - Super-late post :)

It has been a while since my last post. Work has been pretty busy. While there are times of incredible stress, His grace is sufficient for me, and His power made perfect in my weakness (2 Corinthians 12:9).

Paleo Challenge Re-tests: I got stronger!

To re-cap, our gym held a 6-week Paleo Challenge. There are before / after tests, including body fat % and fitness tests. The fitness tests consists of two components: strength, and conditioning. While I made significant gains, I could have done better with a cleaner diet and remaining consistent. Nevertheless, I was pretty satisfied, given the circumstances (work, stress, etc.). Here are the results:

Strength: CrossFit Totals (previous scores)
Back squat: 275 lbs (+ 20 lbs)
Shoulder press: 135 lbs (+ 20 lbs)
Deadlift: 375 lbs (+ 60 lbs)

Conditioning: Fran (previous score)
Time: 6:01 (faster by 1:11)

Looking ahead ...

The 6-week Paleo Challenge helped me keep a consistent journal of my physical and spiritual fitness. Documenting this helped me reflect on where I was in my life journey, and where I need to be. I have also heard from others they enjoy reading this. It is my hope to inspire and be inspired by the life stories of others.

The next set of posts will revolve around the book I started reading. It's a Christian book that talks about loving God with all heart, soul, mind, and strength, based off Luke 10:27. I'm really excited since this book aligns with my personal vision of 4-D Fitness, and will be the perfect complement to my physical training with CrossFit.

The other half of my posts will continue to document my journey in physical fitness, including CrossFit goals and workouts, and nutrition. Stay tuned!

Post-workout picture after today's Surprise WOD @ CrossFit Markham