Wednesday, August 10, 2011

2011 Games

After coming back from the 2011 Crossfit Games out in Carson, California it's hard for me to believe that anyone present at this years games including the athletes, vendors, spectators, judges and volunteers wouldn't want to return year after year. This sport is amazing and it's only going to get better.

I knew nothing about crossfit before 2010 but with my recent infatuation and obsession with the sport, its not hard to see the kind of progress and incredible attention that it has gained over the past few years. Looking back on some footage from 2008, 09 and even last year and hearing some of the veteran athletes talk about previous games, its pretty clear to say that the crossfit games have completely evolved within a remarkably short period of time...and this is simply from the outsider viewing in.

It was truly an overwhelming experience. From showing up several days in advance only to have Dave Lipson greet you at athlete check in to receiving 20lbs of gear from Reebok which included personalized attire, shoes, sweatshirts and even sweet ass compression calve sleeves that I happen to be wearing as we speak. Why, because they're awesome.

Those first few days really gave me the chance to teeny bop on all the crossfit celebrities before shit got real and man did I seize the opportunity. I think I went up to every athlete and called them by name, sadly they did not know mine, but that was where I simply told it to them and by the weekends end I was certainly the most popular crossfitter inside the Home Depot Center. Fact.

The events prior to the first "real event" on Friday that were set up for the athletes were almost as sweet as a 210m open water swim. Tuesday night we all gathered at the Marriot ballroom to have a special dinner that included only the individual athletes and the HQ staff. The buffet consisted of possibly the healthiest selection of foods possible. But I mean really, what are you going to feed 100 of the fittest athletes in the world? Suprisingly though, there were blue cheese crumbles that Spencer Hendel seemed to be devouring. I followed in hopes of equating a similar food selection with a similar performance that weekend. I was wrong. Dude is not human. Period.

As the night continued, Dave Castro spoke and recollected on the past games speaking briefly but specifically on each of the individual champions and we all had the opportunity to stand up and introduce ourselves considering we'd be spending most of the next week together. I stood up and said that it was my first games and that it was a privilege to be able to compete this weekend with the world's greatest athletes. It really was incredible to be in the same room with the type of athletes that were present. Everyone was so nice and so cool, very down to earth and real like J Lo.

Wednesday and Thursday were a bit more formal and consisted of some decently long hours spent at the Home Depot Center going over some prerequisites to the competition like standards, movements, a swim test and some cool media interviews. Before you knew it, Friday had come and the 2011 Crossfit Games had truly begun.

The events were extremely unique and ingeniously programmed. Just looking back at some of the workouts from the previous games, it seemed like the programming continued to evolve along with everything else. This year, workouts consisted of a higher technicality of skills and play intertwined within traditional style crossfit workouts making for 10 very uniquely varied WODS. From open water swims to sand runs to handstand walks, L-sits, softball throws, rope climbs, monkey bars and farmers carries, to say that the Crossfit Games was searching for the most athletic along with the world's fittest would be a statement not far from the truth. It was quite an experience to just observe the way some of these athletes went about their preparatory routines and pre-workout rituals. Superstitions wouldn't be the right word, but rather a simple warm-up routine that you could tell had been repeated over and over again in which would best prepare the athlete for success in whatever unknown lied ahead.

You'd be surprised how much technique and strategy went into some of the movements. With the announcement of the workouts literally an hour before the first heat began, it left little time for any true strategy to take place, so you saw a lot of guys feeding off one anothers tactics within their individual heats as well as exchanging practical advice that would assist in their own upcoming heats. That is why you can't beat this sport. Never will you see in any other sport, the type of camaraderie and companionship like that found in crossfit. Guys completing workouts high five-ing one's that are on their way to finishing, guys staying on the field after finishing cheering on the other competitors as they do the same, hugs, handshakes, exchanging of techniques and strategies. The competition is really only a small aspect of what Crossfit is as a big picture. It's meaning goes beyond fitness.

Last but not least, my support crew, my fam and my friends that came out to support me while I put my fitness to the test. They knew how much it meant to me to be there and they knew it meant just as much to have each and every one of them there in my corner. I wouldn't want anyone else there to share the experience with (except 1 who couldn't make it out, you know who you are!) and I certainly wouldn't want anyone else there to watch me punish my body like I did all weekend. You guys know who you are and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for all of your support, encouragement and sheer presence of being. Sometimes support can be overlooked and taken for granted but not here. I want all you guys to know that everything you do is appreciated and it's the relationships developed with people like you that make life's accomplishments more enjoyable.

Overall, an unbelievable experience. I certainly learned a lot and can take that with me into 2012. I can't speak for everyone but it's an honor and a true privilege to compete at that level, the money's not what it's about. It's amazing being out there in that atmosphere because you realize you never want to miss an opportunity of getting back. Makes you hungry...real hungry. Until next time folks.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Recap and Respect

This past weekend I was fortunate enough to take a small break from school to go and put myself on the pain train for a few days. I don't know if it can get much better than that. Not only was I able to participate in the 2011 South Central Regionals but I also had the opportunity to be with my family and close friends that I've missed so dearly in the past month or so.

I must commend all the participants this past weekend. The female individuals, male individuals, and team competitors did an outstanding job not only competing but enduring that Texas heat and showing unreal acts of camaraderie and sportsmanship. I can't forget about the judges, media team and staff volunteers as without you guys this event wouldn't have run as smoothly as it did.

First and foremost I want to congratulate Zeph Littleton and Andy Lewis, you guys were awesome and there is no one more deserving than the two of you.

I also want to thank everyone who came out to support me this past weekend. I met a lot of new faces and am overwhelmed with the support and community that exists in the South Central regional. It was an honor to simply be in the same area as all of the athletes competing. Congratulations to everyone that participated and a special congrats to the Crossfit West Houston athletes who really came in this year and did nothing but live up to their potential and open some serious eyes.

Leah Shullenberger placed 9th in her first standard competition. The girl was second guessing competing a few months out of sectionals, now she's the 9th fittest woman in the region. Sorry bout it.

The Crossfit West Houston team of Ryan Hopkins, Kristen Mullen, Garrett LeFevre, Papi Bejarano, Steph D, and Tricia Jackon did nothing but impress and represent West Houston to the fullest. They ended up taking 8th out of about 30 nasty teams in the region. Big ups to all of them as they truly left it all out there and showed what they were capable of.

And last but not least how can I forget about my brother, the big behemoth, Aryan Barto. The dude did nothing but impress all weekend. So inspiring to watch a guy his size move the way he does. He came into the weekend an unknown just wanting to have a "good time" and left with everyone knowing his name. He's big, he's fast, he's strong and he wears shirts with loosened neck ties. The dude keeps it casual but obviously from this weekend, he means business. It was a real treat to be able to share the floor with him on Day 3 and I have no doubt in my mind that he will be in contention for a podium position in the years to come.

Props to Bayou City Crossfit as they put one heck of a team together. An unreal balance of strength, speed and skill made for one heck of a team that will be fun to root for out in Cali at the end of July.

These competitions that come around every so often are a beautiful thing. It's not so much about going toe-to-toe with the fittest athletes that Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi has to offer but it's about the time spent with them in between workouts. The time spent just picking each other's brains, laughing, shooting the shit and having a great time is what I look forward to the most. What makes these athletes so valuable is that they're damn good people. I can't emphasize how great it was to catch up with all the old faces and meet a ton of new ones and I look forward to what the future holds for us all.

I want to give a special thanks out to my family. I love you guys and thanks for everything you do for me. Big Robert Exline and my West Houston family, thanks for coming out to show your support, I miss you guys dearly and wish you all the best. My newly acquired Crossfit NOLA crew, you guys killed it and I'm so proud of you guys. Syn and the NWA crew for the awesomely controversial gear that I will never stop rockin'. And lastly thanks again to everyone else for all the kind words, gestures and support that you showed my brother and I all weekend, thank you from the bottom of my heart. Crossfit would not be crossfit without you guys.

With that being said, I've taken a few days down to recover and by recover I mean not doing shit. I'm trying to let my body heal up a bit before I get back on the grind and get this thing going. I'm really looking forward to representing the South Central region out in Cali at the end of July. I really believe we've got some heavy hitters and I know this is the year we're going to make a name for ourselves. I'm going to do everything in my power to best prepare myself to compete against the best come July. I'm hungry to prove myself and ready to lay it all on the line for the South Central.

Here's an interview I did with ESPN 97.5 on Day 2:

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Are you hydrating properly? Enough? At all?

(Updated as of July 2, 2014)

HYDRATION is our valuable topic for this post. I know a lot of you at the box have heard Aryan and I talking about the importance of this topic and I'm hoping the majority (hopefully all) of you guys are applying this delicate information to your everyday lives. As the summer's hottest months approach, the temperature and humidity are skyrocketing and as we slowly melt away within our workouts, we begin to lose much more of our fluids then I bet we're taking in. 

One of the biggest cause for concerns that we see is just overall hydration in general. Just like sleep and caloric intake, we don't believe you guys are REALLY getting enough. We will break this up into 3 hydration components, pre, during, and post.

1. PRE - this is before you guys come in the gym. Lots of you have desk jobs and some of you have more active jobs. If you are sitting at a desk all day long, you should look to be hydrating consistently throughout your time there at the office. A good gauge is to be working towards 1/2 your bodyweight in fluid ounces (read more below). Those with more active jobs where you are up and walking around, outside, sweating, for every hour you are being "active", I'd add in 16 ounces. A little bit more is better here.

2. DURING - this is during the workout. Take note at what kind of "sweater" you are. If your drenched during our arm swings in the warm-up, then start hydrating early and throughout the hour session. I'd recommend a MINIMUM of 3-5 water bottles during your time at that class. Break it up throughout the hour and don't just take it in when you need it. Remember, if we are "thirsty" most likely we are already experiencing de-hydration. Really stay on top of yourself to drink water throughout the class period, even if you have to force yourself to do so. Drinking 1 bottle of water throughout the class just isn't cutting it. If you guys are using NUUN tabs, a good gauge is about 1-2 throughout your time at the gym. Just drop it in your water, let it dissolve, then drink.

3. POST - this is after your session, once in the car and at home. This is an optimal window for us to not only get nutrients in post-exercise (protein and carbs), but to begin our recovery process. Plain and simple, we need to replenish what we lost during our exercise. This will be a good time to add some salt to our food or even our water so that what we are drinking isn't just going straight through us. This goes for throughout the day as well, if you are pissing every 30 minutes, toss some sea salt or a NUUN tab in your next water so its not just running through you. Most importantly, we want to retain our fluids, there are some good examples below for further guidance.

Overall de-hydration can be a huge detriment to our performance and simply our overall health. Let's take a look at how important water and proper hydration can be:

-We can live 4x longer without food than without water.

-Our bodies are 70% water

-Every cell, tissue and organ within our bodies needs water to function properly.

-Water aids in our bodies temperature regulation, joint lubrication, digestion, nutrient absorption, waste disposal, heat dispersion, almost every damn thing our body does, water assists.

-Dehydration is even sometimes and MOST LIKELY the culprit for everyday physical nuisances such as:

-Extreme thirst and/or hunger

These are just a few examples of how water works within our bodies. This list could literally go on forever. Don't wait until you're experiencing some of these symptoms before you begin to hydrate. Start early and continue to fill er' up. If you're wondering how much water to consume throughout the day, take your body weight (BW) divide it by 2 and take in that many fluid ounces of water DAILY.

For example, a 200lb man would need to consume 100 fluid ounces of water a day. Now, this only pertains to non-training days, continue reading for training day RE-hydration.

If H20 intake and proper hydration is this critical when it comes to everyday life, imagine how vital it must be to us fellow athletes and crossfitters? We tend to be much more active than the typical human being. We damn near base our lives around activity. If we're not properly hydrated, the symptoms I listed above are the least of our worries. Dehydration not only magnifies the problems I've listed above, but de-hydration also affects our overall physical and mental performance. A 2-3% dehydration rate can affect our performance by 10%. Let me say that one more time. 2-3% dehydration rate can affect our performance by 10%. Wonder why you are sucking it up today? Yep, you know the answer.

"But coach, I've drank a ton of water today!" A cup at breakfast and two water bottles downed before 5pm isn't sufficient...unless you are an 80lb, sedentary 12 year old. Remember, a good gauge is half your bodyweight in fluid ounces for a MINIMUM amount of water consumption for the day. I'd even go as far as to say this is MINIMUM for someone who sits inside at a desk, all day long with 0 activity.

So moving on, hopefully we've been hydrating throughout the day AND if we plan to exercise later on, preparing our bodies for whatever physical activity lies ahead. But, when we're talking about training, we don't just lose water when we sweat. We lose a lot more than that, with one of the most important elements being electrolytes. This is what leads to muscle cramps, fatigue and sometimes full body shut down. Sometimes when the heat approaches rapidly, our bodies really aren't acclimated to the conditions and it can sometimes be overwhelming in the beginning. Our sweat rate can get out of control and that means we lose more fluids and more fluids faster.

Here's an easy way to find out how much you're actually losing during your workouts. Hop on a scale NAKED before your workout, then simply hop on a scale NAKED after your workout. Take the total lb's lost and for every lb lost, drink 16 oz of water. So, 4 lbs lost = 64 oz of water. This is consumed ON TOP of our daily intake.

We can initially best prep our body to avoid these downfalls by hydrating properly (1/2 body weight in fluid ounces daily) and by also replenishing our electrolytes post exercise or sometimes, depending on the duration of our activity, during exercise and between exercise, which I would reccomend.

Most potent electrolyte loss begins when you're 90 minutes into activity (anywhere between 500-2000mg). Now, this can all change with the intensity of the activity and how much you are actually sweating. So, you're sweat rate will determine how much you're actually losing. If you look like you just took a shower in your clothes post-warm-up, then you better believe you're losing a lot and you better be replenishing. 

Here are a few simple solutions:

- Salt sticks (here at, to be honest, these may be best bang for your buck, just purchased some of these, have been taking 1 capsule every 30-60 minutes and has been working well) - during/post

- Electrolyte tablets (NUUN tabs - this is going to be your best deal, don't buy them in the store as they are incredibly pricy) - throughout day/during/post

- Coconut water/juice (try and find an asian market, be sure to read ingredient list for 100% young coconut juice!) - during/post

- Ice water with a squeeze of lemon and a pinch of sea salt - throughout the day

- Pickle juice (, this stuff isn't for the faint of heart but LEGIT stuff) - post

With the NUUNs tabs, you can break those up and drop them in your water. They'll dissolve and replenish. These are really good throughout the day and during your workout. Salt sticks you can just throw back with some H2O, again, good here during the workout. Try the coconut water post-exercise. I've even tried a scoop of protein with coconut water and it tastes really good. It also serves as a decent protein/carbohydrate recovery beverage with a close 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs.

If you haven't heard, pickle juice is an excellent combative against muscle cramping. Possibly the best. With one of it's main ingredients being vinegar, pickle juice seems to do the trick better than any other water or sports drink in replenishing electrolytes and mineral replacement in the muscles. It's a fermented drink that has digestive and vitamin-enhancing benefits without the sweeteners, additives and processing like it's sugary counterparts (Gatorade/Powerade). The pickle juice sounds interesting. I have yet to try it but have only heard good things. Apparently they distribute to HEB! To be honest, I've tried the pickle juice and it certainly isn't pleasant. This should maybe be an "all else fails" option or maybe for extreme de-hydration, but if you prep early throughout the day, during your workout and afterwards, this option won't be necessary. FYI I'm pretty sure I've seen a pickle juice snow cone at Bahama Bucks as well!(

So, soak it all up and start drinking early. Replenish you're fluids on training days and if you're prone to cramping and excessive sweating, drink a gallon of pickle juice.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Train hard live smart gets deep...

Just a thought...

If and when we're lying on our death bed what do you think will be our final thoughts? Our final requests? Our final wishes? Few of us are likely to say that we wish we had accumulated more material things any more than we are likely to wish we had spent more time working at the office. Step past self-imposed limitations and create a life that is truly desirable. Don't settle. Don't go through the motions. Live life to the fullest because you only live once. This life is much too short to wonder what if.

"Stop wondering if you can and understand that achieving is as simple as trying"

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Yes, yes you do.

Coming from a once avid consumer and supporter of all the cosmetics and over-the counter lotions, cleansers and ointments, I will tell you that they do absolutely nothing compared to simply changing the type of food you are putting into your body. The solution may be right in front of our face...and right on top of our plates.

If it were as simple as understanding that what I was putting in my body was initially the source of the problem, then I would have buckled down and made a change IMMEDIATELY. But, that is where I was lacking and that is where our nation is lacking. It's a constant trend of misinformation. People still follow the food pyramid for God's sake and eat a 60%+ carbohydrate diet! That crap is more out of date than my joveralls (jean shorts + overalls = joveralls) and fortunately for me they're not affecting my overall health and well-being. But, that's aside the point. The fact of the matter is people are too reliant upon prescriptive medicines and these "supposed" cure-all drugs, expecting them to somehow magically resolve their issues at hand. Regardless of the problem, whether it be an illness, an injury, sickness or disease too many people rely on their doctors advice when the root of the problem could be, and most likely is, simply what they're eating.

I personally suffered with this same problem. I tried doctor after doctor after dermatologist and so on and still ended up right where I began. No where. No one could give me a straight answer and all I was looking for was some sort of guidance. I completely relied upon their knowledge and experience and the end result was still the same: either expensive creams and anti-biotics or the notoriously dangerous Accutane. I was so desperate. I even booked an appointment 2 months in advance to see a renown skin specialist (yes, that's a 2 month waiting list). I prepped questions and even wrote down everything I had eaten the past few weeks hoping something would come up that would help her help me. But, to my complete surprise, she had nothing. Not one thing. All I can really remember is her answering each and every one of my questions with "I don't know, everyone is different" or "Yes, it could be that" to every one of my 203842 foods I had written down. I try to block it out. It just frustrates me to recollect. All I wanted to do was throw that woman out the window. It was complete bullsh&t. I waited around for 2 months for this woman to tell me that she didn't know what was causing my acne? Really? I mean, aren't these people supposed to be specialized in skin treatment? Who knows...

Whatever, I was fed up and I knew I had to figure this out by myself...

So I did what I think anyone else would do in that situation and took it upon myself to search for a solution. I began with eliminating things from my diet as well as cutting back and being very cautious with the contact of my face on sheets, dirty hands, etc. Usually factors that would somewhat be overlooked by most people. Fortunately for me it didn't take long before I began to notice a difference. I started with what I was putting in my mouth and began with the common "myth" of dairy products being linked to skin irritation. So, I cut out all dairy and dairy products from my diet. This was incredibly difficult since I was basically consuming a couple quarts of milk a day in addition to my post-workout shakes that usually consisted of a few heaping scoops of whey protein powder. Not smart. Within a few weeks I really began to notice improvement. The inflammation along my beard and neck line began to digress and the redness started to die down. After seeing this kind of immediate progress, I began to improve my all-around nutrition, including watching my sugar intake as well as making sure I kept my omega-6 consumption to a minimum. Needless to say my progress continued to progress.

I did some research and found that apparently my acne woes were all tied into the notorious insulin spiking/elevated blood-sugar cycle. A viscous pattern that is the culprit to almost every health problem seen today. Dairy products boost hormones like testosterone and androgen in males and increases insulin levels exactly how foods like sugar and starchy carbohydrates quickly raise blood sugar levels and spike insulin. These hormones, especially androgen, and elevated insulin are the stimulants that irritate your skin to produce acne. Milk promotes rapid growth within the body. It is a potent anabolic product that's filled with numerous amounts of growth promoting hormones. We really don't want to F with these hormones. When we do and they become imbalanced and out-of-whack, acne ensues and sometimes much worse.

"Drinking a glass of milk can spike insulin levels 300 percent. Not only does that cause pimples, but it also may contribute to pre-diabetes. This is true despite studies funded by the dairy council showing that milk helps with weight loss. The question is compared to WHAT diet--a diet of bagels and Coke, or a healthy phytonutrient, antioxidant-rich, plant-based diet with lean animal protein? ("

Think about keeping your omega-6 to omega-3 ratio as close to 1:1 as possible. Filling our diets with pro-inflammatory foods such as sugars, starchy carbs, grains, legumes and all forms of dairy can worsen, as well as promote acne and other forms of inflammation within the body. Inflammation has been linked to acne and as you know our standard "American" diet is high in pro-inflammatory foods. Keep those omega-6's under control and you're acne will do the same.

Be cautious about the foods you're eating and get educated on what they're actually doing to your bodies. Every food we decide to eat is either making us more or less healthy. Be conscious of your decisions. If you're suffering from an issue, regardless of what it is, try cutting specific foods out of your diet to find which one is really causing the problem. I guarantee you'll find some interesting feedback. Whats the worst thing that can happen? You cut a food out of your diet for a short period of time? Best thing that can happen? You finally find the root of your problem. I made the sacrifice and reaped the benefits, let's see if you can do the same.

Live smart people because you are what you eat...

Read more here:

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

If the shoe fits, THINK before wearing it...(Pt. I Converse All-Stars)

Lately I've found myself speaking with a lot of you guys on shoe preference in relation to weight training, olympic lifting and crossfit in general. I've even gotten many of you to convert to a more performance-based type of shoe. Those same people have seen immediate improvements in their lifts, their workouts and even to go as far as their joints, ligaments and lower body musculature by simply changing the type of shoe they're wearing during workouts.

I'm not an expert on which or what shoe to wear or when to wear it. I don't know the specifics on sole thickness, sole density, heel thickness or angle, and flexibility of the shoe, but what I can give you is a personal opinion on why I think certain shoes suck and why others are awesome as well as my experience with a few of the ones that you may see laced up at a box nearest you.

With style and fashion aside, let me remind you that these posts are based predominantly on performance and comfort in shoe selection. Once we find a shoe that helps us perform comfortably at our best...we can then consult with style, model, lace color as well as matching outfits and attire (you're welcome lulu lemon).

So, first and foremost, take your tennis shoes and just donate them to a retirement home or give them to your mother, your father or even your grandparents. They're better orthopedic supports than they are athletic shoes at best. They do not belong in a crossfit gym. I've worn them one time and felt like I was overhead squatting on two memory foam pillows. The soles in the shoes are extremely padded and do not benefit you in a workout that consists of anything more than simply running and/or standing. Most crossfit-style workouts consist of more body weight movements, weight lifting and Olympic lifting than they do running, so the detriments of choosing tennis shoes in this situation greatly outweigh the benefits. Over time, the build up of repeated movements and pounding on an unevenly cushioned surface (sole of tennis shoe) can lead to aches, pains, inflammation and sometimes injury, not to mention insufficient workouts , failed lifts and even the restriction of one's own potential. This is no bueno for your lower half. Through crossfit workouts, we want to prolong the strength and well-being of your legs not the opposite. So, if it is as easy as switching shoes to better protect the health of your stems, then let's make that conscious effort to do so.

Now let's jump into a couple of the most popular brands that can be seen around your local box.

Converse All-Stars or the infamous "Chuck Taylors".

I personally am a huge fan of the "chucks". I was converted early and have since then purchased
several pairs and have yet to look back. The flat sole allows stability through my lifts and movements as well as provides me with a stable base when jumping, landing and repeating. It's the closest thing that comes to barefoot for me. People may feel differently about the All-Stars, but if you are skeptical or on the edge about switching sneakers, I recommend you start with the Converse All-Stars. Why? Because they're cheap (40$), effective and so far everyone I know that has made the switch has yet to regret their decision. In most crossfit workouts, you're spending most time in a confined area where you will be performing a variety of different exercises that don't necessarily involve too much actual "running" or moving long distances. Barbell and kettlebell work, burpees, double unders, wall-balls, rowing, gymnastic movements, etc. can all be performed effectively and efficiently while wearing a pair of Converse.

To put this into perspective, imagine wearing a thick soled, heel-strike absorbing pair of Nike's Free's while performing an exercise like the deadlift. In a movement like the deadlift, we must maintain extreme core stability and elevate a loaded bar by forcefully driving through our heels and into the ground. During this lift, the sole of the Nike Free is going to perform just like it was created to do. The sole will compress as tension is being applied to it and must completely compress before any force is actually applied to the bar. This is what we call "deadlifting on a mattress" because that is basically the equivalent. Sound stupid? Well it is. Now imagine repeating this action on a moderately heavy load for repetitions? Not fun and not productive whatsoever. With any sort of power movement, you want a thin, flat, hard-soled shoe that will allow us to apply the greatest amount of force directly through the heel. Now that is fun. That is smart. And that is moving large, heavy loads efficiently.

Overall, chucks are awesome for strength movements yet well-rounded enough for indoor/stationary workouts and surprisingly with proper form and technique (POSE Method), they aren't bad running shoes either. Buttttt that's another blog post for another time...

Up next Pt. II the hideously versatile Inov-8's, stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

This video doesn't suck

So this past weekend, Aryan and I decided to put away our spatulas and aprons and put on a pair of designer workman glasses so we could bust out the table saw for some good ole' weekend carpentry.

Armed with a shed-load of PVC pipe, a tape measure-er and the fumes from a couple incredibly stubborn cans of PVC primer and cement, we continued to make magic happen.

Although the footage may not be of the best quality, you can guarantee the dancing is.

So now, without further adieu, I present to you ladies and it's finest.

For thorough instruction on how to build this PVC pipe dip station please visit:

...or just watch this video again

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Truth Hurts...

Saw this on one of my buddies blogs the other day, so true in both cases. Gives us more reason not just to eat right and fuel ourselves properly, but to also set a good example for the little ones that are watching our every move.
"There Is A Lot Of Talk About How Many Overweight Children There Are In The United States. Statistics Show 1 Out Of Every 3 Children Is Overweight Or Obese. And The Number Doesn't Seem To Be Going Down. Books Are Written About It. Magazine Articles Have Been Written About It. Even The First Lady Of The United States Has Gotten Involved. While There Has Been Much Said And Written, Finding Solutions Is The Key To Helping Kids Change. Studies Show That Children Follow The Example They See In The Home. If Mom Eats Healthy, They Will Eat Healthy. If Dad Stays Active, They Will Be Active. The Reverse Is Also True.Parents Who Do One Thing And Say Another Are Not Very Effective Examples. Kids Tend To Be Very Good Observers. They Are Also Very Good At Noticing Inconsistencies. So, For Healthy Kids


Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wealth is knowledge, so share the wealth!

On my recent trip to the almighty Ranch Market 99 (click the link to find a location nearest you) off of I-10 and Blalock Rd. I found a few more reasons why this place is f*ckin' awesome. Let me now begin to share those reasons with you...

1). They're produce is cheap, fresh, and seasonal. They really don't supply their store with fruits and vegetables that are out of season. It's winter time, so you can expect winter produce along with the produce that is good year round. Why do we buy fruits and vegetables that are in season? Well because they're cheaper, fresher and more nutrient dense when they're growing naturally within their appropriate time of the year. If you're curious about what fruits and vegetables are actually in season and which ones are good year round, check out my old post Eat ya greens. Also if you want depth on why you should stop paying 9$ a lb for pesticide-infused strawberries go here: Five reasons to go seasonal by Whole9

Check out the fresh shipment of Gold Kiwifruits. If you enjoy Kiwifruit then you will literally kill a man for these Gold Kiwis. They're that awesome and guess what...they're in season. I just picked up about 30-35 today for 16$, oh no you didn't Ranch99...yes they did.

2). They have top-quality eggs. They carry USDA certified organic and certified humane eggs. Yes you are reading that correctly, two certified labels in one. Remember, farms must go out of their way to pay the money to have their poultry and egg processes certified under USDA or Humane Farm Animal Care in order to allow these stamps to be placed upon their product, so these certifications are meaningful! Being certified organic means these chickens are fed an all-vegetarian diet, free of animal byproducts, antibiotics and pesticides. Also these animals organic foods can't be grown using any synthetic fertilizers, chemicals, or sewage sludge, cannot be genetically modified, and cannot be irradiated. Certified humane is in conjunction with a program called Humane Farm Animal Care. These chickens are cage-free and must be able to perform their natural behaviors such as nesting, perching and dust-bathing. Forced molting through starvation is prohibited as well.

The combination of the two makes for some happy hens and some damn good eggs. Quality is pivotal when we're concerned with food consumption. We must understand that the way these animals are both treated and fed has a complete affect on our bodies well-being. Essentially we're eating these animals or products of these animals, so the better lives they live, the better lives we live.

Fortunately for us (@ West Houston) we have access to top-quality eggs with the delivery of Yonder Way Farms every 4th Thursday of the month. So, for future reference stock your fridge with quality eggs because healthy eggs last a long time.

For more information regarding eggs or clarification and validity of my crazy talk, see Whole9's post on eggs here: The Conscientious Omnivore: Eggs.

3). They have top-quality coconut products. If you haven't read Tricia's post on coconuts and the benefits of coconuts over at the CFWH nutrition blog I suggest you do> (The truth about coconuts). She hits the nail on the head. What's not to like about coconuts? Honestly? They're sweet, deliciously hydrating and you can damn near eat and drink every aspect of the coconut itself (except the shell). Coconuts contain a high concentration of saturated fat and contrary to the belief that "fat makes you fat" or "fat makes you unhealthy" this type of saturated fat does not. It actually makes you, well...healthy. Most of the saturated fat is a type of fat called lauric acid. This type of fat has no affect on cholesterol levels whatsoever and can actually strengthen your immune system as well as help to reverse the process of "leaky gut syndrome" A malfunction of our gastrointestinal system due to tiny micro perforations within our intestinal lining after a repeated consumption of anti-nutrient proteins found in grains, legumes and dairy (lectins and gluten).

Not to mention it is an excellent source of energy. Cocounut products like other good sources of dietary fat have no effect on insulin and glucagon, 2 main hormonal players in the storage and mobilization process of food digestion after consumption. In simplistic terms, without all the chronic carbohydrates, our bodies can be trained to use both this dietary fat and body fat stores as fuel. This can allow us to really tap into an "unlimited" source of energy.

Coconut milk is one of the most popular sources of coconut now-a-days. Be sure to read the label before purchasing. We want to try and keep the ingredient list short, preferably to one. Here is my favorite brand found at Ranch 99, notice the ingredients on the left...100% coconut milk. Sweet language, but even sweeter price. 3$ for about a quart of pure decadence. Get some healthy medium chain triglycerides in ya system!

Coconut water or young coconut juice seems to be another popular trend amongst athletes and weekday warriors everywhere. Loaded with an incredible potassium, mineral and electrolyte content, in one serving this potent liquid is said to have more electrolytes than your typical sports drink and more potassium than a full banana. So, take this with you to the gym for post workout re-hydration or drink it instead of your typical weekend martini, guarantee this won't go straight to your ass. They're running a special right now, two 18 oz cans for three bucks. I no lie.

Again, notice the singular ingredient on the left...

Friday, January 7, 2011

Our very own Christopher McMillan taking on his own "danger wod-esque" type of workout in Thailand at the Full Moon Party. What's the wod you ask? As many jumps as possible until you catch on fire or pass out. Atta boy Chris!

Mr. McMillan is in town for a short while, so if you see him, tell him how much we miss him at CFWH, cause' we do.

Let's see more pics of our members living life! Feel free to email them to me at

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Goal setting...

I've been doing some research on goal setting and improving our capabilities to better help you guys understand the importance of goals, setting them and busting our ass to get to them. I came across a guy named Blair Morrison's blog, for those of you who are unfamiliar with Blair, he is a 2-times Crossfit Games competitor (09'..7th place,10'...23rd place) and an overall intellectually brilliant expert on fitness and all that encompasses. Here's some brief excerpts from the various sections pertaining to goals, potential and exposing weaknesses on his crossfit journal 3-part article "Fitness is..."

"Discovering our weaknesses also gives us the opportunity to improve. If we only do things we are good at, we will have no motivation to train and no knowledge of where we can get better. And the affirmation won from hard fought gains is far more powerful than that which we get after discovering a hidden talent. Most people know this from experience. Think about your first push-up, mile run, handstand or all-day hike. Think about the time you set a personal record of any kind after being stuck on a plateau for months. This type of empowerment only comes from improvement. Nobody is without weakness. In fact, in the history of time, nobody has ever been that good at any one thing that he/she couldn’t get better.

The good news is that physical potential does not expire. It has no shelf life. Whatever state you’re in at whatever moment, you can always be better. So be better.

Too often, people try to do this (goal setting) by setting a number to hit, a person to beat or a mirror to impress, implicitly attaching a finite quality to the process. This focus is flawed. As you change and improve, so too should your potential grow and your ambition swell. Remember that fitness is a goal inadvertently attained through the systematic overestimation of yourself in all fields. It’s a byproduct of setting the bar too high, of striving for perfection and falling just short. It’s knowing that you’ll never get there but trying your damndest nonetheless. It’s constantly pushing your limits in every direction regardless of your skill. Do this and we inevitably yield the best version of ourselves.

This is one of the most important discoveries we get to make in fitness: There is no ceiling."

A little reality check...

"I love fitness because it’s a results-based pursuit, the purest form of meritocracy. You set goals and you reach them. Or you don’t. No list of excuses will ever change the fact that you didn’t make the time, lose the weight or prevent the heart attack. So stop making excuses. Some people have it harder than others, I grant you. Tough shit. The mirror doesn’t care, and neither do I. If the individual reaps the benefit, then so too must he shoulder the burden.

Whatever the challenge, just get it done."

-Blair Morrison Anywhere Fitness. 2-time Crossfit Games competitor

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Virtuosity, the overlooked and forgotten...

My brother has recently been reading the Crossfit manual in preparation for his certification coming up in late February. The other day he asked me about "Virtuosity" and if I still remembered what it was. "Of course" I said, "It's doing the little things well, the details." He replied with "it's performing the common uncommonly well." Ehh I was close enough. Well..not really

Intrigued by his question, I took to the article on virtuosity written back in 2005 by Coach Greg Glassman, the founder of crossfit and began to read. I was immediately put in my place. Virtuosity is more than just paying attention to detail and doing the common uncommonly well, it IS crossfit and so much more. Virtuosity seems to be a fading trend amongst coaches, trainers and crossfit boxes due to an infatuation with "fancy" movements and sexy met-cons with a lack of adherence towards fundamental movements and foundational principles.

Any athlete or coach that takes passion in crossfit and completely respects the sport as a whole will understand that one must exemplify mastery within a skill/art before advancing onto one of more difficulty. We all have a tendency to go against the grain. I'm sure we would all love to be great overhead squatters, but if our air squat sucks, our overhead squat would be abysmal. Next, imagine adding weight to that bar overhead when you can't even air squat efficiently with your own body weight. Possible? Doubtful. Smart? No. Lack of progress? Yes. Injury? Most likely.

It's instinctual for us to WANT to be good at everything, but we must understand that we WILL NOT and CAN NOT be good at everything. We must set our ego's aside and become "coach-able". This does not solely pertain to crossfit but also life. Let yourself be the student and understand and learn from the ones who are knowledgeable. Learn the basics and work towards perfecting those basics before moving onto the next step. There's no way to go from step 1 to step 3 without going through step 2. It's an impossibility. When you cut corners you only hinder progress and put yourself in danger, regardless the situation.

Within crossfit, there are reasons behind why we constantly preach full range of motion, correct technique and proper form. Why we constantly scale rep schemes, weight and intensity. We tell you to scale because we care about your progress and advancement as an athlete. We pleasantly yell for chest to the ground, full extension during your push-ups and hip crease below the knee, stand tall for your squats because we care for the safety, strength and well-being of your joints and musculature. There is reasoning why we sound like broken records when it comes to movements, standards and crossfit. We expect a lot from the athletes because we know what they're capable of. The athletes should hold the same for the coaches. So next time someone tells you to scale reps, drop weight or move to your knees and get that ***damn chest to the ground , understand why they're doing it. It's not because they hate you or because they enjoy singling you out, but rather because they truly care for your safety, your progress and the rate of return on your efforts.

Virtuosity ladies and gentlemen...virtuosity.

Read the whole article here: