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A Hundred Pounds Lost

Yep, that’s me in the picture on the left at 330 lbs.  Just six years earlier I weighed somewhere in the 230 lb range. How did I gain 100 lbs in just 6 years? Who had I become? What happened? What Change of events transpired to let myself gain so much weight? Well, those are questions I’ve been trying to answer now for the last 6 years. Some have been answered and some are in the making.

“A Hundred Pounds Lost” is dedicated to my personal  journey of not only losing 100 lbs but my pursuit of a better life. I’m not perfect. I have gained some of the weight back, lost it and repeated that cylce a dozen times.  I know about the cravings and weak moments. The “I NEED SOMETHING FATTENING RIGHT NOW!” thoughts. The “God, will I ever be size ‘X’ again?” days. The doubt, fear and self-hating feelings. I’ve been through it all. Even though I fail at times, there are day’s whenI succeed as well. I have come to place of living in the good days and learning from the bad ones.

I have done countless hours of research and found the 1st and most important secret to weight-loss: THERE IS NO SECRET. Each person is different. We have different body’s, minds, struggles, addictions, aches, pains, diseases and reasons on why we shouldn’t work out today. There are no “secrets” to weight loss and there’s no magic wand that will make the fat disappear. It all comes from hard work, consistency and dedication…Losing 100 lbs wasn’t easy but man was it worth every painful step.

Come join me in my journey

Why Are You (We) Fat?

OK, so I totally just stole the title of Gary Taubes‘ book “Why are we fat and what can we do about it?” but I did so because it is the inspiration behind this post and my new eating lifestyle. Over the past 3 years and 105 lbs I have eaten a balanced diet consisting of whole grain carbs, low fat, lean protein and lots of veggies. This worked for the first 50-75 pounds but I’ve had to make some changes along the way because when you are 325 lbs, any healthy change in your diet works. But if you truly want to lose fat and get lean you have to know your body and how it works best. I’ll get into the new diet in a second but first lets discuss the question, “Why are you (we) fat? I’m sure you know this but there is a reason but it’s probably not what you think it is.

I’m sure you’ve asked yourself this question,”Why am I fat?”, figured out the answer and then probably had very mean thoughts about yourself afterwards. I’m sure there was a lot of blaming parents, maybe genetics or your love for cookies, cakes and fried foods. You probably said to yourself, “Well I hate to exercise and I eat like crap” or perhaps “I don’t know cause I eat decently healthy and exercise”. This has probably led to some frustration and possibly to the conclusion that you’ll always be “fat” and there is nothing you can do about it. Well I’m here to tell you that is false on so many levels.

So who is Gary Taubes and why should we care what he thinks? Well….

Gary Taubes (born April 30, 1956) is an American science writer. He is the author of Nobel Dreams (1987), Bad Science: The Short Life and Weird Times of Cold Fusion (1993), and Good Calories, Bad Calories (2007), which is titled The Diet Delusion in the UK. He has won the Science in Society Award of the National Association of Science Writers three times and was awarded an MIT Knight Science Journalism Fellowship for 1996-97.

Born in Rochester, New York, Taubes studied applied physics at Harvard and aerospace engineering at Stanford (MS, 1978). After receiving a master’s degree in journalism at Columbia University in 1981, Taubes joined Discover magazine as a staff reporter in 1982. Since then he has written numerous articles for Discover, Science and other magazines. Originally focusing on physics issues, his interests have more recently turned to medicine and nutrition.

Taubes’ books have all dealt with scientific controversies. Nobel Dreams takes a critical look at the politics and experimental techniques behind the Nobel Prize-winning work of physicist Carlo Rubbia. Bad Science is a chronicle of the short-lived media frenzy surrounding the Pons-Fleischmann cold fusion experiments of 1989.

Note the second paragraph…This guy is smart and I don’t mean just kinda smart. This dude has three degrees from three of the top Universities in this country. He’s smarter than you and probably most of the people in the country. But it wasn’t his credentials that made me pay attention, it was his use of science and the human body. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to follow some new fad or some skinny persons opinion who has never dealt with weight gain. No Gary has never been obese but his diet has a lot to do with that. I won’t attempt today to explain all of Taubes’ points and the science behind his findings. Instead, I’ll quickly summarize and then provide you the links to the youtube videos that opened my eyes and changed what I believe. He’s not some blogger (like me) with an opinion or some “fitness guru” at a gym. If I were you I’d listen and pay close attention to what he has to say.

So what is all this science?

Gary’s main hypothesis is that if you are overweight, it’s not because you ate too much and didn’t exercise. Yes, these are factors on why you got fat but it’s not the reason. As you will see in the videos Gary did extensive research showing that you can become obese and still be starving. That cultures that were once thin and healthy, became obese and riddled with heart disease during famines. (How is that possible?) This very thought challenges our core beliefs. After all, we’ve been told for the last 50 years that obesity is caused by overeating and being physically inactive. I mean, how is it possible for people to gain fat while starving? (watch the videos to find out more)

Gary Taubes “Why we are fat.” Part 1

Gary Taubes “Why we are fat.” Part 2

Gary Taubes “Why we are fat.” Part 3

These videos are long and they are full of information. Just take the time, watch them and learn something.

Well one of Gary’s main points is that we’ve been lied to by the American Heart Association and doctors since the early 1960′s. That their science is just bad.

National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES)

hmmm….In the 1960′we were told that eating fat makes you fat and eating carbs is good. Is it a coincidence that in just 50 years, since the creation of the food pyramid, the obesity rate has QUADRUPLED?? I think not. As Gary explained, once society started to eat a high carb, low fat diet, obesity and heart disease reared its ugly head to the point that it’s now considered to be an epidemic.

So lets cut to the chase. If its not fat what makes us fat? EATING CARBS MAKES YOU FAT. Well, at least for certain people. This is not new science and what Gary has found isn’t some new revelation. But for some reason it still challenges us to the core. Why? CAUSE WE’VE BOUGHT IN TO THE LIES and we haven’t listened. Also, we don’t want to believe cause truthfully we like carbs and desperately want to eat them. They taste good and are delicious. But carbs (not all mind you) are toxic to those of us who struggle with weight loss. It’s like a smoker who is told, you WILL get cancer if you continue to smoke, yet they still smoke a pack a day. If you do so you are ignoring truth. Here’s a great video explaining why some people (those of us with excess fat) are in fact fat…

So, remember how you would think, “Man that person eats whatever they want, never exercises and doesn’t gain a pound. I HATE THEM.” Well now we know why. Some of us, and if you are overweight you are one of these people, are insulin resistant and do not use carbs properly. Carbs are our greatest enemy. It’s science. Protein and Fat do not make us fat. And in fact, the reason why you are so hungry while on a diet is probably because you don’t eat enough fat, which makes you feel full. That’s why people hate dieting. They don’t want to feel hungry all day.

So no, losing weight isn’t about calories in and calories out. It’s not about how much exercise you do or how little you eat. It’s about WHAT you eat. I’ve been on this diet a week and have already lost 7 lbs. I feel full all day and I never have those intense cravings. I plan a cheat meal every Friday night for one meal only but the rest of the week it’s virtually no carbs. Now go do some research on the glycemic index and you’ll find a ton of carbs that are OK to eat. I’ll have a post up next week explaining this is more detail but for now, if you haven’t done so already, go watch the videos, buy his book and stop listening to the lies we’ve been told for 50 years.

CrossFit WOD 121021 “Row, Tabata Dumbbell Thrusters”

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall achilles stretch (both feet) x 3

Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 3

Couch stretch (about 2.5 minutes each leg alternating every 30-45 seconds)

Sit in bottom squat position- 2 minutes, hamstring stretch x 2

Video for the Hip Opener Stretch

Video for “toe on wall” (scroll to about the 3 minute mark but the entire video is good info)

Video for the “couch stretch” (scroll to the 2 minute mark)

Cash-in

CFSB- Bench Press

115 x 10

135 x 5

185 x 3

225 x 1

WOD “Row, Tabata Dumbbell Thrusters”

WOD Demo

1000 meter Row
Rest 4 minutes
Dumbell “Tabata” Thrusters (30 lb dumbbell)

Row time was 3:32. Got an old school row machine. Not fancy but does the job.

Tabata reps 9,8,6,5,4,4,4,4 = 44

CrossFit WOD 121010 “50 Burpee Pull-ups”

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall achilles stretch (both feet) x 3

Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 3

Couch stretch (about 2.5 minutes each leg alternating every 30-45 seconds)

Sit in bottom squat position- 2 minutes, hamstring stretch x 2

Video for the Hip Opener Stretch

Video for “toe on wall” (scroll to about the 3 minute mark but the entire video is good info)

Video for the “couch stretch” (scroll to the 2 minute mark)

Cash-in

CFSB- Push Press

145 x 3

WOD “Burpee Pull-ups”

WOD Demo

50 Burpee pull-ups
The bar should be at a height that you don’t have to jump to to reach it.

Time- 7:48

Burpees suck. There are no arguments against this fact. Add pullups and you have one hell of a workout. The idea is to have to jump up, grab the bar and do a pull up. Well my pull up bar is within arms reach so I did jumping pull ups. This made the WOD slightly easier but i was worn out by the end.

CrossFit WOD 121009 “Squat Cleans, Box Jumps”

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall calf stretch (both feet) x 3

Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 3

Couch stretch (about 2.5 minutes each leg alternating every 30-45 seconds)

sit in bottom squat position- 2 minutes, hamstring stretch x 2

Video for the Hip Opener Stretch

Video for “toe on wall” (scroll to about the 3 minute mark but the entire video is good info)

Video for the “couch stretch” (scroll to the 2 minute mark)

Cash-in

4 Pull-ups EMOM for 10 minutes.

CFSB- Dead-lift

250 x 3

WOD “Squat Cleans, Box Jump”

WOD Demo

Three rounds for time of:
95 pound Squat clean, 10 reps
20 Box jump, 20” box

Front squats aren’t easy and need perfect form. So here’s the advice given on how best to attack this WOD.

So lets look at this for a second.  The WOD calls for squat cleans.  That isn’t a power clean and a front squat, but rather a clean that is received below parallel.  Let’s try today to check our egos and desire to post “as RX’ at the door and actually scale the weight, not just to satisfy the range of motion, but rather the technical points of performance of this lift.

I took this advice to heart and scaled back the weight for the squat clean all way down to 65 lbs. I also did hang cleans due to the light weight. (my power clean max is 195 lbs) So yes 65 lbs is a small weight but the most important part is form and intensity, not being able to do the WOD as RX’d. Plus, given my struggles with proper form in my front squat scaling back was the right choice to begin with. Gotta check ego at the door, son!

Time- 7:37

I was happy with the time. I was able to do the squat hang cleans unbroken (i had a pause at rep 5 on set 3) and the box jumps were slow but steady. Yeah the guy on the Demo says the box jumps would be easy..yeah screw that guy cause they werent.

CrossFit WOD 121005 “Dead-lift 5 sets of 5″ (New 5 rep Max!)

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall calf stretch (both feet) x 3

Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 3

Couch stretch (about 2.5 minutes each leg alternating every 30-45 seconds)

sit in bottom squat position- 2 minutes, hamstring stretch x 2

Here’s the video for the Hip Opener Stretch

Video for “toe on wall” (scroll to about the 3 minute mark but the entire video is good info)

Video for the “couch stretch” (scroll to the 2 minute mark)

Cash-in

3 sets of max pull ups
9 x 7 x 7

Was hoping to average 10 but chest and biceps were still sore from the bench and high pull WOD the other day.

WOD Dead-lift 5 x 5

WOD Demo

Other great videos that explain proper dead lifting form

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDeadliftIntro.wmv

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAlignment1.wmv

http://media.crossfit.com/cf-video/CrossFit_RipDLAlignment2.wmv

5 x 135

5 x 185

5 x 225

5 x 245

5 x 255 (last set was broken up into 3 and then 2.) I don’t have rubber plates so bouncing isn’t an option like they suggest in the Demo)

255 is a new 5 rep max

Honestly that felt GREAT. Probably my best dead lift workout to date. no pain in lower back whatsoever (which is a major goat for me). Kept the bar close to my shins and weight over my heels. Still working on setting the upper back. Whats crazy is Ive added over 125 lbs to my dead lift in the last two months. It’s amazing how once you get the form right how everything seems to just work right.

CrossFit WOD 121002 “Sumo Dead-lift High Pull, Bench Press” CF Strength Bias

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall calf stretch (both feet) x 3

Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 2

Couch stretch (about 2.5 minutes each leg)

sit in bottom squat position- 5 minutes

Here’s the video for the Hip Opener Stretch

Video for “toe on wall” (scroll to about the 3 minute mark but the entire video is good info)

Video for the “couch stretch” (scroll to the 2 minute mark)

CrossFit Strength Bias- Push Press

45*10
95*5
115*3
125*3
140*3

WOD “Sumo Dead-lift High Pull, Bench Press”

WOD Demo

The WOD calls for rowing but I dont have a rowing machine. So the sub for rowing is a Sumo DL High Pull. Video here. They suck. I hate them. IMO they add 5 minutes to your WOD time but its really the only sub for rowing.

Five rounds for time of:
50 SDHP 45# bar
115 pound Bench press, 15 reps

time: 20.38

SDHP were the limiting factor…..AGAIN. It was taking me about 2-3 minutes to complete the High Pulls cause i had to break them up due to muscle fatigue. I was able to get the bench in unbroken. Had I been able to pace myself and just row without stopping i would have cut 5 minutes off my time.

SDHP were broken into 1st rd- 16*16*18 2nd-5th 5 sets of 10

CrossFit WOD 120927 “Angie”, CF Strength Bias

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall calf stretch (both feet) x 2

Shoulder external rotation work , Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 2

sit in bottom squat position, Couch stretch, 5 slow air squats x 2

Hamstring stretch (leg up on bench), legs crossed bent over hamstring stretch x 2

Test mobility once more with a few air squats.

Here’s the video for the Hip Opener Stretch

CrossFit Strength Bias- Box Back Squat

115 x 5

135 x 3

Getting kinda frustrated with my squat. Thought I was doing them below parallel but after videoing myself i found I wasn’t. Found a lower box that allowed for a deeper squat and lost nearly 25 pounds from one week to another. I dont think its my legs cause my dead lift is getting stronger every week. I think my core is just so weak it can’t handle the weight on the lower depth squat.

WOD- “Angie”

WOD Demo

Angie is a CrossFit work designed to be a sprint not a slog. The prescribed workout is

For time:
100 Pull-ups
100 Push-ups
100 Sit-ups
100 Squats

Seasoned CrossFitters will do this workout in about 13 minutes. Think about that. 400 reps in 13 minutes. That’s insane. Most people can’t do this WOD unbroken, meaning no rest during each movement. Someone new to CF would take about 30 minutes with many, many breaks to complete this WOD as RX’d. So, the idea is to scale back and allow for fewer reps and allowing yourself to “sprint” through it. Once you can do a scaled back version in half the RX’d time, then double your reps and repeat until you are able to the RX’d time or the reps unbroken.

I chose to scale Angie back to just 25 reps for each movement. I had never done Angie before and i wasn’t sure how my body would react. so.

For time:

25 Strict Pull-ups (broken into sets of 5)

25 Push ups

25 Sit-ups

25 Squats

Time: 3:58

Given the fact I was able to do this scaled WOD in a third of the RX’d time, the next time I do it I’ll double the reps to 50.

CrossFit WOD 120926 “Adrian R.I.P.”, CF Strength Bias

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall calf stretch (both feet) x 3

Shoulder external rotation work , Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 3

sit in bottom squat position, Couch stretch, 5 slow air squats x 2

Hamstring stretch (leg up on bench), legs crossed bent over hamstring stretch x 3

Test mobility once more with a few air squats.

Here’s the video for the Hip Opener Stretch

WOD- Adrian R.I.P.

Video

U.S. Army Sergeant First Class Adrian Elizalde, 30, of North Bend, Oregon, assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 1st Special Forces Group (Airborne), based in Fort Lewis, Washington, died on August 23, 2007, in Baghdad, Iraq, of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device. He is survived by his parents, Jorge and Teresa Elizalde, sister Rachel, and daughter Sydney Grace.

3 Forward rolls
25 ft Spider Crawls (it was the only sub i could find for wall climbs)
7 Knees to elbows
9 Box jumps, 24” box

Time: 12:20

Happy with the time and im sure it would have been a tad slower had I done the wall climbs cause those looked tough. Probably should have done a little bit longer spider crawls but dang those weren’t easy either.

CrossFit Strength Bias- Push Press

105 x 5

115 x 3

135 x 3

First time doing CFSB after the WOD. I was running out of time and didn’t think I had enough time to squeeze it in but i found a way.

CrossFit WOD 120925 “Weighted Pull-ups”, CFSB

Warmup

Jump rope 1 minute, 20 seconds Toe on wall calf stretch (both feet) x 3

Shoulder external rotation work , Hip Opener Stretch (both legs), 7 knees to elbows x 3

sit in bottom squat position, Couch stretch, 5 slow air squats x 2

Hamstring stretch (leg up on bench), legs crossed bent over hamstring stretch x 3

Test mobility once more with a few air squats.

Here’s the video for the Hip Opener Stretch

Cash-in

CFSB: Dead-lift

165 x 5

195 x 3

225 x 2

240 x 3

WOD- Weight Pull-ups

1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1 – 1

Add weight each set until you reach your 1 rep max or fail to complete rep

25 – 35 – 45 – 50 – 55 – 65 – 75 (Failed)

Current body weight: 225

Pretty happy with my effort here. Wanted to try for 75 pounds to make the total weight lifted 300 lbs but couldn’t get above half way. The 6th set may have been just below  getting my head above the bar.

Cashout

Ran 1 mile in 7:45

Build A Better Warm Up (with videos yay!!)

What do you do as a warm up before you begin an exercise routine? A light jog on the tread mill? A few stretches which probably includes bending over a few times, stretching the tricep and maybe bending your fingers back to stretch the fore arm? Maybe you are one of those people who don’t do anything at all besides a few reps of bench press? Perhaps, and hopefully, you treat your warm up like a mini workout that includes both stretches and warming up the body slowly but methodically preparing it for the hell you’re about to put it through.

Stretching vs Mobility

Most people, and six months ago Lyell, believe(d) stretching is just something you do for a few minutes  to help prevent injury. The idea of “mobility” never even crossed our minds. Well let me tell you, though stretching is important, mobility is way more important to someone who wants to get the most out of their workouts. Stretching isn’t necessarily mobility and mobility isn’t exactly flexibility. All these terms work together but they have their own purpose. For instance, someone who is mobile has the ability to move freely and that has nothing to do with flexibility. Let me have an expert explain it a little better: From www.mobilitywod.com

Stretching only focuses on lengthening short and tight muscles. Mobilization, on the other hand, is a movement-based integrated full-body approach that addresses all the elements that limit movement and performance including short and tight muscles, soft tissue restriction, joint capsule restriction, motor control problems, joint range of motion dysfunction, and neural dynamic issues. In short, mobilization is a tool to globally address movement and performance problems.

Mobilization will allow for better range of motion and will help speed up recovery. For instance, if you have tight hips, hams, Achilles and glutes your lower body exercises will struggle. Subsequently, you won’t be able to get in that deep squat position and other muscles will take the brunt of your poor flexibility which will eventually lead to injury. This could also effect everything you do from bending over to pick up your child or just simply working in the yard. Another example is shoulder mobility. Yes the muscles of the shoulder should be “loose” but what about the rotator cuff, the tendons and ligaments surrounding the shoulder joint? What are you doing to prepare them for work? You can seriously injury your shoulder if you press too hard without having proper mobility in that area.

So think Mobility not just stretching or better yet think about them both.

What Your Warm Up Should Look Like

First off you should always plan ahead. Before starting your your warmup think about what exercises your workout will include. If you are about to workout the upper body, your warm up should include some upper body movements but not ones that would tire them out. For instance, do a 3 sets of 5-10 pushups, dips and pulls ups not 3 sets of 15. The idea is to prepare them not work them. Your warm up should also include lower body, some cardio, stretching and mobility work. My goal is by the time I”m done with my warm up my body, from head to toe, should be ready for anything.

Example of my Warm-Up. Three rounds with each round consisting of 3-4 sets with 2-4 movements of: stretches, some cardio and mobility work. Videos posted below.

Round 1- 100 Single-unders (jump rope), 30 seconds Toe on wall calf stretch (both feet) x 3 sets

Round 2- Shoulder external rotation work (about 45 seconds) , Hip Opener Stretch (about a minute for each leg), 7 knees to elbows or sit ups x3 sets

Round 3- sit in bottom squat position (1 minute), Couch stretch (3o seconds each side) 3 sets

Round 4 (optional. If you have tight Ham like me you’ll want to do this round) Hamstring stretch, 5 slow air squats, legs crossed bentover hamstring stretch 3 sets

Here’s the video for the Hip Opener Stretch

Video for “toe on wall” (scroll to about the 3 minute mark but the entire video is good info)

Video for the “couch stretch” (scroll to the 2 minute mark)

Video for “sit in bottom squat”

Video for “knees to elbows”

Video for “shoulder internal and external”

Video for “Ham Stretch”

As you can see my warm up doesn’t contain much cardio or any movements like pushups or dips. Why? Well my workouts typically work my cardiovascular system and my biggest problem is mobility and flexibility. So my warm up focuses on my weaknesses not my strengths. If you want to throw in a 400 or 800 meter run in the beginning instead of jump rope go for it. That certainly wouldn’t be a bad idea. You could also interchange most of the movements above depending on your workout for that day.  The one thing you will notice is the focus on the entire body and preparing it for work. It doesn’t really matter what my workout will be, my body will be ready for anything I throw at and that my friends is the whole idea.