204 Blog

“Looks like someone has something to prove.”

I bristled at the cashier’s words for a second.

I’m not “that guy.” I don’t feel the need to show off or brag about walking uphill both ways into the wind. It isn’t Festivus, and we are not performing feats of strength for glory.

I just didn’t need any help getting the groceries to the car. It was about seven or eight bags, but it was mostly vegetables. The load was more awkward than anything, and I was sure I’d be just fine if I hooked all the handles in the crooks of my elbows and went through the exit sideways.

The cashier was exceptionally friendly, even at the end of her nine-hour shift, and she was just trying to help. She said she’d even make space so I could leave half the groceries by the till for my second trip.

I smiled, thanked her, and told her I’d be just fine. Then I picked up the bags and started lumbering toward the door.

And then I realized that I actually do have something to prove. Not to her or the people in line behind me, but to myself.

I have no competition goals with fitness. But I have life goals. I want to live a long time, and I want to be independent forever. When I die, I hope it’s while I’m working out and some vital organ simply reaches the end of its run and explodes after about 10 decades of faithful service. I recall watching my 97-year-old neighbour as he shovelled snow off his roof a few years back, and I want to be just like Ray even if a few others were really worried about him. Better to die on your roof than in a hospital bed, I’d say.

So I look at life’s physical tasks as challenges. I generally type all day, and grunt work is refreshing. It’s a chance to go caveman and reconnect with a body that’s been immobile for hours in a society in which physical tasks are disappearing. I like carrying my own groceries and dog food. I like moving furniture. I enjoy pushing cars out of snowbanks. I want to move that heavy thing just to see if I can.

As I got to the truck with all bags intact, I felt a real sense of accomplishment even if Brussels sprouts, bananas and ground beef don’t weigh very much. I felt good about having the capacity to do something another would have avoided.

So yes, the cashier was right: I have something to prove.

Do you?

If you know people who might benefit from improved health or fitness, please have them visit us for a free consultation.

Stay the course.

It’s as simple as that.

Maybe that isn’t a hack, but I think steering in the same direction is far less work than making a bunch of turns. For example, I spend a bit of time on the California freeway system, and everything is A-OK when you’re motoring onward. Leaving the freeway involves all kinds of ramps and turns and traffic lights, and the very kind GPS woman usually gets very upset at some point.

So stay on the freeway.

This is, of course, an analogy for nutrition and healthy eating. We planned the 204 Lifestyle Nutrition Reset for 28 days, but here’s the thing: This is how you should be eating. You should be consuming appropriately measured amounts of food in the proper macronutrient ratio. This is one of the great secrets of health and longevity.

As the challenge winds down, you have two choices:

1. You can say “thank heaven that’s over,” throw the scale and measuring cups in the drawer, eat anything you like and wait for our next nutrition challenge.

2. You can stay the course and continue eating appropriate quantities of high-quality food.

Option 1 is a poor choice. We’ll respect your decision, of course. But we’re not going to agree with it. We want you to be healthy, and we know that a good diet is critical. You cannot outwork a bad diet in the gym, and poor nutrition will cost you. Maybe not right now. But it will cost you big time down the road.

Option 2 is staying on the freeway. Over the last weeks, you’ve changed your behaviour and your patterns. You’ve consistently made better decisions. You’ve tried to eat the right amount of food in the right combinations as often as you can. You’ve allowed yourself a few planned indulgences, and you’ve forgiven yourself for mistakes. You’ve taken a lot of steps in the right direction, and your InBody scans at the end of the challenge are going to show that.

We’ve reviewed your progress throughout the challenge, by the way, and we can tell you that the results are very, very impressive. You guys have literally changed your lifestyles and laid the foundation for long-term health, happiness and fitness.

You have an exit approaching on Oct. 28, and, just as in California, there is a fast-food restaurant at the bottom of the off-ramp.

But you have to make a choice to get of the freeway you’re currently on. You have to actively choose to stop doing what your doing and eat poorly.

Don’t make that choice. Use what you’ve learned over the last weeks. You’ve got a map now, and you know how to get where you need to go. You’re full of high octane fuel, and the engine is humming.

Ignore the off-ramp, stomp the accelerator and turn up the radio. We’ll see you at the vegetable stand down the road.

To sign up for our revised 204 Lifestyle Trellis Program, click here.

Eat like Einstein.

Or something like that.

I actually have no idea how Albert Einstein ate, but I’d guess he didn’t want to hit that new hipster restaurant to sample its many craft beers and appetizers.

Einstein famously always dressed the same, apparently to save brainpower. While his obvious lack of fashionability horrifies my wife, it makes a lot of sense to me. I, of course, am not fashionable unless I’m at a rock concert, in which case I fit right in.

But even Barack Obama talked about trimming his wardrobe and limiting his food choices.

“You’ll see I wear only gray or blue suits. I’m trying to pare down decisions. I don’t want to make decisions about what I’m eating or wearing. Because I have too many other decisions to make,” he said in Vanity Fair.

I dig it. I am a creature of habit, and I love routine. This above all has helped me with my diet.

I have had the same breakfast 95 percent of the time for the last decade. I’ve eaten the same lunch, more or less, for the last 5 years. Dinner is a bit more varied, but it’s generally meat with a lot of vegetables. When I go to restaurants, I usually order the exact same thing every time. Boring, I know. But it makes me happy.

This consistency is really helpful because I don’t have to worry about accounting for new foods and experiments in my diet. Maybe I’ll never experience the ecstasy of beef bourguignon poutine or some other trendy dish, but I’m OK with that. I have established a baseline, and over the last decade it’s helped me maintain my weight almost perfectly. If things ever get weird, I simply make a minor adjustment to a known quantity of food.

That actually happened a little while ago when I changed to a lower-calorie protein powder in my morning shake and I accidentally lost 10 lb. in about six weeks. This was not a good thing. I switched back to the other product and I got back to my optimal weight quickly. Performance was better, and I won’t be making any more changes to the recipe.

Variety might be the spice of life, but it also adds a lot of variables to the mix. And I really don’t like spicy food anyway.

I’m not suggesting you can’t be a culinary Marco Polo a chart an intrepid course through the menu, but if you’re not into macro tracking and want results, it’s a good idea to go with what you know as often as possible.

Crystal spends a lot of time tracking every single thing she eats, and she gets great results because she’s committed. I’d recommend you track everything. It will bring great results. But I just don’t have the patience for constant tracking, so my hack is to stick to a baseline plan that works and make note of alterations to that plan. I want to be healthy, and I love a good routine. I know that if I eat the same things just about every day and get the results I want, I don’t have to track a thing. I just have to stay the course.

If you’re ever frustrated with tracking, just remember that the early period is an investment, and it will pay off. You need to establish your baseline. Once you know what you need, you can streamline things considerably. If you eat the same things two days in a row, copy and paste, and you’ll find you have more time to organize all your blue suits by hue, from lightest to darkest.

For more info on nutrition, check out 204 Lifestyle.

 

I guess it was a “sugar hangover.”

For a brief period just after high school, my drink of choice as a Kahlua mudslide. I was young and silly, and I knew nothing, Jon Snow. I hadn’t a clue about nutrition, health and fitness. I only knew that my seashell necklace was super cool.

After a night of too many mudslides, I’d wake up with a crippling headache. Like the kind of headache that makes you want to drill a hole in your head to make it hurt less.

This was no ordinary hangover. This was something different. I’m almost certain it was sugar overload. Check this out:

Kahlua mudslide, 200 ml: 480 calories, 57 g sugar

To put those astronomical figures into perspective, consider that a 355 ml can of Coke has about 140 calories and 35 g of sugar.

When I did an InBody scan recently, it said my basal metabolic rate was 2,063 calories.

So, needless to say, drinking more than 2,000 calories of sugar in a few hours was not ideal.

Over the years, I learned more about nutrition and grew out of my frosted-tips phase. Training become more important, and I started to think about what I put in my body. Some research suggested that I could significantly reduce calories and improve fitness by simply avoiding sugary beverages.

Drinking less or no alcohol is always better for health, of course, but for the sake of this article, let’s assume you are going to have a drink. Here’s what you do:

– Avoid all complicated mixed drinks. The fewer ingredients the better.

– Avoid all sugary mixes, both sodas and juices.

– Stick to low-calorie spirits such as gin and vodka, either on the rocks or with water, or consider mixing with sparkling water and a hint of lemon or lime.

– Limit intake. This is a good idea, period. Alcohol is empty calories. Try to stick to one or two drinks on special nights. Definitely avoid evenings of excess.

Here’s a favourite beverage that won’t derail your diet if you plan ahead to accommodate the calories here:

Gin Rickey

1-1.5 oz. gin

half a lime

sparkling water

Squeeze the lime into a highball glass and chuck the whole thing inside. Fill with ice. Pour in 1-1.5 oz. gin, then top with sparkling water.

The gin rickey is a great option that won’t ruin your nutrition. You’re looking at about 110 calories from the gin (1.5 oz.) and maybe 3 calories from the lime. Drink it slowly and savor it as the ice melts. You can nurse one of these for quite a while. And you can also pour the next one without the gin for a refreshing mocktail.

The best advice: Plan ahead to accommodate the calories from alcohol in your diet, avoid sugary drinks, limit intake, and don’t dress like I dressed when I was 20.

As most of you know, Crystal is the nutrition expert in our family, and I benefit from her passion for food and commitment to healthy eating.

My role is very different: In addition to being in charge of all guitar solos, I am a very pragmatic, practical person. I like running perfectly organized full loads in the dishwasher. I like using one match to light all the candles even if I burn my finger. I like to eat the same things almost every day because it makes grocery shopping easier. I almost always order the exact same thing at restaurants.

Before I was married, I developed a series of rules called The Bachelor Protocols.  The eat-over-sink rule was part of that creed.

I’m now happily married, and I’ve learned a lot from my wife. The Bachelor Protocols are but a memory I recall only when I smell Burger King or drive by a sign for three-for-one pizzas. The protocols worked for my lifestyle at the time but were not ideal for nutrition.

I’m not a nutritionist, but I hope these very practical tips will complement all the science and data Crystal provides through 204 Lifestyle.  I hope they’ll also help those of you who aren’t doing the Nutrition Reset but still want to improve your diet.

Tip 1: Don’t Eat From the Bag or Box

While this tip definitely dirties far more dishes than Bachelor Mike would like, I can assure you that you will eat less if you put food—any food, but especially chips—in a bowl and put the rest of the bag away. Even better: Measure out your food and track it.

But start with the bowl. Put a reasonable amount of food into it, then eat the food slowly and enjoy it. When you’re done, you’ll have to make a conscious decision to get more, and you’ll have to get up to do it. All that presents a series of barriers that will often prevent you from overeating.

If you sit down with the bag, the mindless ritual hand-to-mouth delivery system kicks in, and before you know it the bag is empty, while you’re full of chips and regret.

So put reasonable amounts of stuff in bowls or on plates. When you’re done, you’re done. Go do something else—like listen to Iron Maiden while looking for hidden messages on the album cover. Or something like that.

Additional pro tip: Rinse the bowl or plate right away with hot water so you don’t have to scrub later. I hate scrubbing. It’s time I could spend shredding on the guitar.

I turned 40 this year, and I finally started planning to die.

The topic of life insurance hadn’t really crossed my mind before, but suddenly it seemed like a big-boy issue that needed to be addressed. So I talked to a series of financial advisers and did a lot of reading about how life insurance works. None of the details matter, except one: Life insurance is not for you but for your family. You don’t get to use the money. You’re dead.

Lots of people have life insurance; they want to care for their families after they meet their end. Lots of people have health insurance, too; they want to ensure they’re financially secure if something bad happens and health deteriorates. Travel insurance, car insurance, home insurance—they all work the same way: Money comes after something bad happens.

I recently had a cup of coffee with one of our long-term members, and he talked to me about his life plan, which involved making good decisions that would help him live as long as possible. This conversation wasn’t about planning for bad events but preserving good things—planning to live rather than to die. What an amazing idea.

We certainly can’t prevent all bad things from happening, but when it comes to health, we can prevent a lot. For example, just by achieving a healthy weight, you will significantly reduce your risk for Type 2 diabetes, heart disease and stroke, some cancers, high blood pressure, osteoarthritis, breathing problems—the list goes on and on.

If you’re reading this, you’re interested in fitness. You are or have been a member of our gym or you want to learn more about fitness through this newsletter. That means you’re already thinking about prevention: Exercise builds muscle, strengthens bones, improves blood work, reduces stress, eliminates fat and so on. These are all good things that will help keep you out of the doctor’s office and the hospital.

But exercise isn’t enough.

At our Sept. 14 nutrition seminar, I used this analogy: If you’re trapped in a room with two zombies and you kill one, do you still have a problem?

The answer is chasing you.

Health is like that. Exercise is an amazing thing, and since 2009 we’ve focused on learning how to use it to make you as healthy as possible. Now we’re focusing on combining that training with an improved diet—we’re going to kill both zombies.

If you work out and eat better, you’re going to save yourself from a lot of bad things, and you’re less likely to need life insurance before you’re very old. But you need to kill both zombies before you’re as safe as possible. Eat well without exercise or train well but eat poorly and you still have half your problems.

We’re committed to killing both zombies, and we’ve invested heavily in the nutrition side of our business. That includes both training and equipment. With that in place, we’re launching our most comprehensive nutrition challenge ever: The 204 Lifestyle Nutrition Reset runs Oct. 1-28.

We’re going to use an InBody scanner to collect your data at the beginning, then we’re going to help you improve your diet for four weeks. Then we’ll scan you at the end so you can see what happened. And after that, we’re going to keep talking about nutrition throughout the year so we can help you be as healthy as possible for as long as possible.

You should probably look into life insurance and plan to take care of your family when you pass on. But before you do, I’d encourage you to focus on improving and preserving your health.

Stay active, train hard, optimize your diet, kill zombies and do everything you can to live a long, healthy life.


tester-igThanks to everyone who signed up for Fitness First!

If you missed out but still want in, talk to Crystal, and she can slip you in past the deadline.

If you have your card in hand, here are the details once again:

You need to work out 24 times–4 times per week–over the next six weeks to fill the card and earn the prize.

Workouts at the gym count–be sure to give your card to the coach and ask for a punch whenever you work out (maximum 4 punches per week).

But we know many of you are out and about enjoying the weather and sometimes can’t make it to the gym, so outside-the-gym workouts count, too. All you have to do to get credit for the workout is post a picture or video to Instagram, note what you did and tag @crossfit204. Then punch your card yourself if you’re away or bring it in and get a coach to do it. (Max 4 punches per week–but you can do more than 4 workouts!)

For example, Coach Dave did today’s workout in his basement and posted it to Instagram. Jeremie has also documented his on-the-road training with a kettlebell. Running and swimming cycling count! Dock workouts count! Moving a giant pile of wood for time counts! Count anything that shows you’re committed to staying fit over summer!

Remember to tag @CrossFit204 so we see the post! We’ll comment, like and share.

Need workout ideas? Click here.

After Aug. 12, hand in your completed card to receive a prize.

If you have any questions, talk to Crystal!