Water, water, everywhere

  
Two things:

  1. I may or may not have a urinary tract/bladder infection. 
  2. I ate a lot of food last week when visitors were in town.

Warning:

Hyponatremia is real. I witnessed someone die 20 feet in front of me in the 2nd mile of an ultramarathon. When you drink too much water without balancing it with needed electrolytes (salts), your heart no longer contracts properly. There was a lady who was challenged by a radio station to drink like a gallon of water in one sitting. She did and died not long after. So make sure you take electrolytes when drinking lots of fluids.

Good or bad, I have a lot of experience with cutting weight for wrestling early in life. I have also competed in bodyweight sports since then that require you to make a certain weight. So, given the two things I listed above, I need to lose weight in a healthy way. Dehydration diets do not work. When you begin to overly restrict food or drink, your body secretes cortisol and other hormones that put you in conservation mode. In essence, you start to store fat and try to conserve water. It doesn’t work, especially for people who are active and workout a lot.

Here is my experience. When I was in the Army, we often pre-hydrated before long road marches and hot weather training. Sometimes I would drink so much water, that I had trouble eating. I realized that I felt full when I was fully hydrated.

So, learn to drink a lot. This should be mostly water supplemented with salts. Be careful of sugary drinks like Gatorade or fruit juices. This will counter the effect you want. Instead, eat healthy meals and add a little extra salt to your food. Water is the best solution. Tea and coffee are OK, but the diuretic effect will also be counter to your goals. 

This is my plan:

  • Wake up and drink several cups of coffee (tea if you like)
  • Then switch to water. Maybe have a protein bar for electrolytes.
  • I make dinner my biggest meal (Warrior Diet style). I often skip lunch.
  • But…before you ever eat anything, drink a glass or two of water. 

Only weigh yourself in the late afternoon after drinking lots of water. Try to hit your high weight. This will tell you that you are drinking a lot.

You roughly lose a pound of water in your sleep. You also lose a pound with intense exercise. And even more in hot weather doing work and in hot yoga. So, weigh yourself every Friday first thing in the morning. This will be your weekly weigh-in. You will be fluid full most times and your cells and body will function better. Essentially, you are cleansing. But I can’t implore enough that you need electrolytes. I’ll let you know how it goes for me. Maybe you can tell me if you try yourself.

Gluttony

feast

I had software training all last week. And to be polite, I went to lunch with the trainer 4 out of the 5 days he was here. He’s a Southern boy who likes his food. In that respect, we are two peas in a pod. I really love food!

Now, I’m not just talking about fond of eating. One day we went to a BBQ place and we both had the Smokehouse 2 combo. That’s a half-slab of ribs, two other meats, two sides, cornbread, and a drink. Yeah, we snarfed that down without a problem. And I barely ate a salad that night. But this guy, he went to a steakhouse for dinner and had a 24 ounce sirloin, baked potato skin and all, salad, and a dessert. He can really put down some food.

The honest truth is that I could do the exact same thing if I wanted to. But I know my gall bladder, possible gout symptoms, and hereditary type-2 diabetes would set in rather quickly.

I was doing so well. I told myself I wouldn’t be in the 190’s ever again. So I haven’t stepped on the scales for a week. What I don’t know won’t hurt me. I am back on the Warrior Diet again, which is a superfluous term for what I normally do. I live off of my bodyfat throughout the day. If I feel the least bit hungry, I try to eat a little fat and protein to provide energy but not cause an insulin spike. Then I eat a big meal for dinner. I lose bodyfat quickly and body weight slowly with this diet. I essentially eat the same calories, but I’m burning fat all day.

So this week will be a good test of my diet since I was such a glutton last week.

Not Even There

big little dog

This is what I’m putting behind me with this writing.

There is an old cartoon. As I recall, it was a little toy breed of dog who would jump around all excited around his much larger friend, I think his name was Gus. Little dog was like “whatta we gonna do Gus?!!!” “What should we do today!!” This little guy was so excited and fawned over his friend. And the big guy was mostly apathetic toward it all. In fact, he probably wished that little dog wasn’t even there. What a nuisance, right?

Sometimes, friendships are like that. Some people light up your life. They walk in the room and their smile infects everyone to smile too. They have a charisma or a sweetness that melts your heart. Yet, you stand there like the Invisible Man. You may as well not even exist.

I often feel like that little dog. I can go head over heels in supporting my friends. They may be offering a “macrame workshop” and I don’t have a lot of interest in macrame. Or maybe I want to find interest in macrame just because I want to support my friend. I’ve set up events and workshops where a handful or less showed up. I’ll admit it made me sad. Not even my friends showed up. You thought that at least your friends would be there for you. So then, you become guarded and no longer set up events. Nobody likes to fail. And nobody wants to be disregarded by friends.

There is a song by James Taylor that goes:

Shower the people you love with love,
show them the way that you feel.
Things are gonna work out fine,
if you only will.

I would love to be this way all the time. Realistically, I would say I am that person 80% of the time. But the other 20%…well that’s where I’ve been lately. Its when you feel invisible…disregarded…alone. You feel like you are on a one-way street. A street that you travel to be there for people. But they don’t travel the other way to you. Is it selfish to seek goodness in everyone and not get it in return? To give compliments, empathy, and compassion, and not receive anything back? Maybe. But we can’t control other people.

So, I will take control. I will be the Master of my domain. I will probably not change my 80% as a giver. I need to do a cost/benefit analysis of my stocks. I will put all I have into investments that give good returns. And I won’t invest in stocks that give nothing.

To those I love…well, the showers of goodness they’ll get will overflow with richness, so much that they will have no choice but to share it with others.

Much love to you my friends.

Burn the Boats

burn the boats

Several years ago, I was the pacer for a runner in the Western States 100 mile Endurance Run in California. This started as an equestrian event many years ago. When Gordy Ansleigh’s horse went lame at the start, he decided to run it on foot. And so the tradition began for what is known as the Grand-Daddy of all ultramarathons.

A pacer’s job is to keep a runner on track, especially in dangerous terrain where they can get lost or suffer collapse. In some races, a pacer can mule for a runner, which means they can carry water, food, or other needs. But not in this race. I was there for safety, guidance, and motivation. At one point, likely midnight at around mile 70, my runner succumbed to the chair. They always say “beware the chair”.  I had put a mylar blanket on her and she ate some food and proceeded to pass out. She said, “I’m done.” I prodded her to keep going. I wasn’t about to let her quit. And I said, we are deep in a canyon. The only way to get out is to start climbing cross-country. And even if we get to a road, we may wait a long time for someone to pick us up. It was unsafe and unwise. There was no going back. And she continued on.

When you set your mind on a goal, you should stay the course. Cortes and a small group of Spaniards landed on the Yucatan Peninsula in 1519 A.D. and set out to conquer Mexico. He ordered the troops to “Burn the Boats”. That way, they would either collapse in defeat or fight to victory. And fight they did. I won’t say whether this idea or the historical act of colonialism was the correct course of action, but you have to admire the will to succeed by not allowing for an exit strategy.

Sometimes life throws things your way and often we don’t have an option. We are the soldier placed in a situation where we have no other way but to move forward. Sometimes, the boat is burned for us whether we like it or not. Sometimes people will say things in such a brash and unforgiving way that they burn the boat. There is no going back. Salvaging a plank of wood and wading into the ocean is not an option. You can forgive their anger and honest emotions, but you can’t forgive the substance of the message.

Move forward all you soldiers. Don’t even think of escape. There is only up. Gird your loins and find your reward. The horizon is yours for the taking.

Of Rice and Ramen

sun rays

Have you ever met a person who was beyond humble? Someone who has fought battles, has a resume that stretches the length of an arm, or saves lives for a living? Yet, these facts are never brought to light. They sit in a wheelchair looking out the picture window. They pick up a piece of litter as geese fly overhead. They walk along the lighthouse path with only their muffled steps and chirps of a distant sandpiper to flutter their eardrums.

Yet, some have nothing. No life experiences. No credentials. Though they find fame in the most glorious ways. The strings of the puppet are but threads of yarn.

Blessed are the humble in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven

Privileged

Triage

I had the privilege of helping someone in yoga class last night. I was teaching Ashtanga for Beginners. The title is somewhat of a misnomer because if you only see “Beginners” and not “Ashtanga”, you’d think it was accessible to everyone. We workshop postures and show how to modify, but it really isn’t very easy.

We had just attempted headstands and most didn’t invert. Instead, many did a modified downward facing dog with hands and head in headstand position. The counter pose to all inversions except shoulder stand is child’s pose. One person had her hips up fairly high, so I had her adjust her knees and I applied light pressure to her hips. She popped up and made me aware of previous back surgeries. I thanked her for telling me and gingerly assisted her.

After class, I sat next to her and asked “tell me about your back?” And she did. And then I shared about my back and its history of pain. My pain was in the exact same location with sciatic nerve pain and the works. Hopefully, my empathy went a long way toward her seeing the light at the end of the tunnel. I told her how I had trouble tying my shoes and when I could only drive with my left foot since my right leg was in such terrible sciatic pain. Sharing is good. And communicating with students that they aren’t alone. They don’t have to feel ostracized for what they see as deficiencies.

Today, I feel privileged for the numerous injuries and pains I’ve felt through my many decades of life. I still have many weaknesses and I fear drifting back into that pain that is always lurking in the shadows. I know that any weird and sudden twist can leave me bedridden for months. I keep this in mind when my students are struggling. I have the privilege of being there and can empathize with their pain. Decades of ultra-marathons, carrying 110 pound rucksacks in the Army, getting cranked daily as a wrestler, and a long life full of woes. It’s my privilege to share and understand.

We are all on a journey. There is no beginning or end. There is only now.

CrossFit flipped on its head

crossfit hspu

CrossFit programming can be variable from box to box. I have visited several boxes and have a CrossFit Level I trainer certification myself. With slight variation, the programming generally follows:

  • Warm-Up: rowing, jogging, maybe a short bodyweight circuit
  • Mobility: targeted to the workout of the day (WOD). This may involve elastic bands, yoga-type stretches, massage balls or rollers, or PVC pipes.
  • Strength work: usually a characteristic rep scheme, like 5 sets of 5 reps (5×5), and possibly percentages of your 1 rep max for a movement. It may be to get to a 1RM. An EMOM (every minute on the minute) may be tacked on to this as part of strength or as part of the WOD.
  • WOD: This could be any nature of scheme that cranks your heart-rate and may or may not involve heavy weights. It could be an EMOM, AMRAP (as many rounds or reps as possibly in a given time limit), couplet or triplet involving 2 or 3 movements with a set number of rounds, chipper (reps for each movement that you chip away at), or other scheme.
  • Cool-Down: This is similar to a warm-up and may involve a mobility element.

I’m a yoga teacher and have a daily personal yoga practice. So, mobility is not a big concern for me though I still do specific movements associated with the WOD. But, I’ve changed from what may be standard programming and it has been working for me. Ideally, I don’t do Olympic weightlifting movements in a WOD. Not that I feel it is unsafe, but it could develop poor movement patterns. And I focus on Olympic weightlifting anyway, so I don’t need to do it in WODs. So here is my daily programming:

  • WOD buy-in: I’ve heard James Hobart, CF guru, talk about going “Jaguar“. This means with little or no warm-up, which sounds unsafe, but its what I’ve done with success and have yet to be injured doing a WOD. I usually pre-plan my WOD, but sometimes I do it based on feel. I’ll program away from sore muscles. My WODs are mostly couplets and triplets per Chris Spealer recommendations. I’ll do a 21-15-9 or other rep scheme. My time domain is almost always in the 5-10 min range. I realize this is not random nor does it cover all my bases. I feel those bases are covered elsewhere. This provides me with the heart and body work that I need. It is also my warm-up for Olympic lifting. I’ll do a couple reps of each movement and then start right in without much warm-up. My goal is not to get sore; it is to pump up my heart using mostly strength movements.
  • Olympic Weightlifting: This is my strength work. Many times I’ll start with squats (front, back, overhead, other) and end with pulls. Despite there being only two lifts, the snatch and clean & jerk, the combinations are endless. I may just do the lifts as singles and then a few drop sets. I may do complexes getting time under tension. Or I may break apart the lifts and focus on multiple reps, like cleans, hang cleans, snatch balances, or jerks. I do a Max Lift Friday every week, so I don’t usually do singles during the week. But I do Olympic lifts almost every day.
  • Cool-Down buy-out: This is my strictly cardio element. It may be a quarter or half mile run repeat, 1 or 2K row, or similar Ski Erg. I may do intervals or a straight time or distance. I often wear a heart rate monitor and stay in a zone for 5-15 minutes.

I rarely go over an hour for a total workout. Sometimes I will do yoga-related strength work, like arm balances and hand stands, pistols and pushup related movements. Otherwise, I can do this every day if I can. I never feel overtrained or fatigued. But I do get sore. I can always program away from the soreness though and the active recovery is good for healing.

For me, this program enables me to do whatever I want. If I want to do a trail running race, I do a run on the weekend, but that’s the only additional specificity of training I need. I wouldn’t change if I were to enter a CrossFit or Olympic weightlifting competition. Its good for everything.