Paleo Cocktails

The staples of paleo-friendly alcohol are wine (red, white, or sparkling), vodka and tequila. Rum is further down the acceptable list because of the high sugar content (it's derived from sugar cane and molasses). Gin gets an honorable mention due to the paleo-friendly ingredients; however, the base alcohol for gin originates from a grain mash, so it's lower down on the list but still a better choice than rum, whisky or any other hard alcohol not mentioned.

The biggest antioxidant bang for your buck is a fairly obscure style of red wine called Cannonau. It's a Sardinian wine with three times the amount of antioxidants of any other wine. I inquired about it at my local liquor store and they didn't carry it, but you would find it in the Italian section at most places that sell wine. I've only ever had it once and it was by dumb luck at an Italian restaurant in San Francisco this past May. I'm not much of a wine drinker and I wasn't wowed by it, but I didn't think it was horrible either. Kara thought it tasted like band aids. I'm always on the lookout for it because I'd love to try it again to compare.

If you're strictly a beer drinker, then try to go with a gluten-free beer if possible. I've been fairly impressed with Green's line of gluten-free beers. They have some strong beers in a variety of styles and make it a point to keep out most of the common allergens. You can find more gluten-free beers here.

As for mixers, club soda (also known as soda water) and seltzer (pretty much the same as club soda) are usually safe as they're just carbonated water, whereas tonic is a no-no due to the additives and sugar. With whatever you buy, double check the ingredients label to make sure there are no added sugars of any kind.

Fruit juices (even if they're organic, unfiltered and 100% juice with no added sugar) are not ideal but a better option than tonic or any regular or diet soda, and therefore get an honorable mention as well. Your best bet is to use fresh squeezed juice from oranges, lemons, or limes and top off your drink with some club soda if needed.

Paleo Drink Recipes
All of these recipes are meant for smaller portions in an old-fashioned sized glass (like the one shown below). Fill the glass with as much ice as you like and follow the steps for the appropriate drink. Here are a few of the better options to get you started. Happy New Year's Eve, everybody!

Nor-Cal Margarita (A Robb Wolf original)
1-2 ounces of tequila (something better than bottom shelf)
Juice and pulp of 1/2 lime (squeeze it like the modern caveman or cavewoman that you are and use a fork to rake out the pulp)
Top off with club soda to taste

Gin Rickey
2 ounces of gin
Juice of 1 lime
Top off with club soda
Lime wedge for garnish

Rum and
Coconut Water

1-2 ounces of Rum (Light or Dark, but not Spiced)
Juice of a lime wedge
Top off with coconut water (regular or any flavored coconut water you prefer)

Vodka and Club Soda
1-2 ounces of vodka
Top off with club soda

Paleo Screwdriver
1-2 ounces of vodka
Squeeze the juice from one orange in your bare hand and grunt to make this drink a little more manly.

A Belated Christmas Greeting

The follow up to last year's Christmas music video phenomenon. For full viewing awesomeness, click on Vimeo on the player and then maximize the video screen.

Food Porn - White Dog Cafe Revisited - Wayne, PA

We went back to White Dog for lunch today as part of our day-long anniversary festivities. I started off with the butternut squash soup which included candied walnuts, Kaufmann granny smith apples, and fresh sage. The soup was more of puree than a soup, like elegant baby food. It was warm, sweet and savory. I could've had that as dessert. I'm going to have to try to recreate that sometime soon. But make it more paleo, of course.

For my main dish, I went with the steak again because it was so damn tasty last time and it sounded the best to me given the other options. To call it a steak with fries is putting it too plainly. The steak again was from Green Meadow Farm and came with shallot butter, crumbled blue cheese, and parmesan fries. There is a time and a place for dairy and white potatoes, and this is it. The steak was cooked rare and it was better than last time. The fries were well worth it.  Cooked in truffle oil, with a side of cheddar cheese sauce that I'm not quite sure what exactly was in it, but it was delicious. Our lunch, like our brunch, was a bit pricey. But, since it was a special occasion, we splurged a little.

Training Log: 12/30/10

Grand Cayman - December 2008
Rest Day

Today is our second wedding anniversary so that means massages and going out to lunch and dinner.

Training Log: 12/29/10

Kara got her first handstand today. 
Strength
Weighted Pullups 5×5

Metcon
800m Run
then perform three rounds of:
7 Turkish Getups
14 Goblet Squats
21 Kettlebell Swings
finish with another 800m Run

Wow, I'm a hypocrite. After lamenting my disdain for running in the cold yesterday, I turn around and do a wod today that involves running in the cold. I had a nice showing on my weighted pull ups, doubling my previous 5x5 of 12.5 lbs. Today I got 25 for five reps and 30 for 3.

For the metcon, I started off slow in the run, since I generally have trouble breathing in colder weather. I used a 26# kb for the TGU and a 53# kb for the other two movements. I had pain in my right shoulder on the TGU, but I still found that movement the easiest of the three. My time for this wod was sad: 27:40.

Training Log: 12/28/10

A better place to spend the winter.
Strength
Squat 3x5 @190
Close-Grip Bench 3x5 @135
Sit ups 2x25
Back Extension 2x25

Mobility
Couch Stretch: 4 minutes each leg (before and after lifting)
Pigeon: 4 minutes each leg
Grok Hang: 1 minute (before and after lifting)
5 minutes of shoulder stretching
10 minutes of active stretching/yoga

When it's cold out, I have very little desire to do metcons. I just want to lift heavy things. The winter is the perfect time for focusing on getting stronger, if only for that reason. Last winter, my wife and I began training for a half marathon that we eventually ran in May 2010. That meant spending a good amount of time running in the cold, dodging icy patches and cursing neighbors and local businesses for not shoveling their sidewalks. Staying indoors and lifting in sweatpants is a much better alternative.

After taking the last four days off I had a few cobwebs to clear out of my joints before I could get moving today. I had a great night's sleep last night, which made up for a few lousy nights in a row of waking up tired. I started my usual warm up with some mobility and dynamic movements. When I began my warm up sets of squats my hip flexors felt painfully tight. I had neglected doing my routine couch stretch, which has been a staple of my squat days since I started this recent strength cycle. After my third warm up set, I felt I needed to stop and do the couch stretch (4 minutes on each leg) and then retest my squat. As I suspected, the stretch loosened things up and my squat felt much better. A little additional stretching of the achilles tendons and we were ready to rock n' roll. 190 felt better than 185 did last week and with less grunting. Although that could have been from the butt-load of rest between sets I gave myself. I did find myself leaning too far forward on a few reps, but all-in-all it was pretty solid across all three sets.

The close-grip felt fine on my shoulder. I'll take what I can get. Any pressing motion that doesn't give me any pain I'll take for now. The weight was good for three sets. I'll stick with a linear progression on the close-grip bench and a very light overhead press once a week until my shoulder can handle regular bench and overhead press pain free.

If Dark Chocolate is Paleo Chocolate Chip Pancakes


If Dark Chocolate is Paleo Chocolate Chip Pancakes

3 ½ cups of almond meal
6 eggs
1 ½ tsp of vanilla extract
½ can of coconut milk (full fat)
3 tbsp of honey
1 whole bar of Trader Joe’s Dark Chocolate Lover’s Chocolate Bar (chopped)
¼ tsp of baking soda

This was a nice break from eggs. And after a short morning wod of shoveling snow for time, paleo pancakes were just what the breakfast doctors ordered. The pancakes alone are decent, but they actually taste like real pancakes when you add maple syrup to them. Keep it paleo and use 100% real maple syrup. It's more expensive than Mrs. Butterbottom's but at least you know what you're getting. I added a few links of Applegate Farm's Chicken and Sage breakfast sausage on the side, which I got at Whole Foods. I think they tasted great, but my wife thought they smelled like pot. 

Red Wine Beef Stew


Red Wine Beef Stew Recipe

2 packages of lean beef stew meat (Trader Joe’s)
½ bag of cubed butternut squash (Trader Joe’s)
½ bag of asparagus, brussels sprouts, sugar snap peas (Trader Joe’s) – quarter the brussels sprouts
1 cup of baby carrots
1 cup of celery (chopped)
1 tbsp of garlic powder
2 tbsp of arrowroot powder
Black pepper to taste
1 yellow onion (diced)
2 cups of organic beef broth (Trader Joe’s)
2 cups of spicy red wine of choice (We used a 2008 Tres Ojos – Old Vines Garnacha Calatayud: Sounds a lot more expensive than it is)

Combine all the ingredients in a crock-pot (add the liquid last), and stir together. Set the crock-pot to low and cook for 8 hours. Paleo-friendly red wine makes any beef stew tastier.

Training Log: 12/24-12/27/10

The Conservatory at Longwood Gardens - Kennett Square, PA - December 2010
Rest Days

Happy Holidays from the ScrawnyWOD.

Training Log: 12/23/10

Strength
In 20 minutes, find your max Deadlift.

Metcon
As many rounds possible in ten minutes, perform:

50Ft Overhead Walking Lunges (45/25)
10 Push Presses (95/65)
10 Pullups

Mobility
4 minute bottom squat hold
Shoulder/Upper Rib mobility with lacrosse ball
MWod #70

I had a horrible night's sleep. I was exhausted after yesterday's metcon but still couldn't fall asleep until sometime around 1 am. I woke up at 3:30 am and was awake for close to a half hour. I had a some yerba mate on my way over to the gym because I needed a little caffeine kick. I was determined to PR on my deadlift. I wasn't so much concerned with doing the metcon and originally planned on skipping it. I PR'd on the deadlift by 55 lbs for a new 1rm of 375. 

I ended up doing the metcon and only got 3 rounds plus lunges. My shoulders were smoked from yesterday and doing the overhead walking lunges into the push press further fatigued everything. I had some pain in my shoulder during the push press but mostly fatigue slowed me down. 

I stayed after and did about 30 minutes of mobility work, which really helped loosen up my shoulders and hips. It looks like I'm going to take this week off from squatting. I'll pick it up next week and hopefully get two days in somewhere. For now, I could use a nap.

Training Log: 12/22/10

Metcon

‘The Twelve Days of CrossFit’
Twelve movements, performed ‘like the song’.. So, do one round of exercise one. Then one round of exercise two and then another round of exercise one. Three, two, one. Etc.

The exercises are:

1 – Walking Lunge 10m
2 – Bear Crawl 10m
3 – Handstand Pushup (9-second hold is the sub for all three HSPUs)
4 – Ring Row
5 – Situps
6 – Pushups
7 – KB Swings (53/35)
8 – Goblet Squats (53/35)
9 – Knees-to-Elbows
10 – Sumo Deadlift High Pull (75/55)
11 – Plate Press (45/25)
12 – Burpees


This was a long wod. I am exhausted. I was moving pretty well for the first 7 rounds or so and then I started to hit a wall. A combination of being winded and muscle fatigue set in. Everything took longer than it should. I thought I could have finished in sub 30 because I believe I was in my 10th round at 20 minutes, but those last few rounds took forever. My burpees at the end were ugly. I was peeling myself off the floor. Getting up right very slowly and then doing a half assed clap above my head. I'm glad that one is over and I don't want to see it again for a long time. My time for this wod was 39:21, scaled only on the HSPU with two abmats.

We had brought beer with us for a post wod stink n' drink and so we stayed after to have a couple with other members of the gym and cheer on the 7 pm class. The beers were good but now I'm exhausted.

Training Log: 12/21/10

Mark Center, OH - July 2010
Rest Day

I felt exhausted all day even with a decent 7 hours of sleep last night, and refrained from coffee as much as I thought I could use the pick-me-up. I was sore everywhere from yesterday's KB complex. I thought about maybe doing just a 3x5 squat today but given my energy level it would have been a wasted effort.

Mobility
30 minutes of foam roll and lacrosse ball action.

Sleep Banking

Sleep. I like it. I'd like to get more of it.  I definitely do not get enough sleep, especially on the nights before I get up for the 5:30 am Crossfit class. I can't fall asleep early. I've tried to reprogram my body clock but it doesn't want me going to bed any earlier than 11 pm on average. Most nights it's around midnight that I finally get tired enough to fall asleep. Some nights I luck out and can fall asleep around 10 pm.

Tippy thinks sleep banking is so much better than branch banking.
The idea of sleep banking is that if you do not get enough sleep one night you can make up for it on other nights. I'm going to set the goal as 8 hours per night. Each day I'll keep track of the number of hours in the previous night's sleep as well as any additional sleep I get throughout the day, if I'm fortunate enough to get in an afternoon nap. At the end of each week I'll see where I'm at as far as negative hours, even, or positive hours. For Monday, I had a total of 6.5 hours leaving me a sleep score of -1.5. I'm interested in keeping track of this self-experiment for the next two to four weeks to see just how sleep deprived I am each week and how it's affecting my recovery.

Training Log: 12/20/10

Metcon

Kettlebell Complex
Perform 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 4, 3, 2, 1 rep rounds (right/left) of:

KB Clean
KB Front Squat
KB Shoulder-to-Overhead (press, push press or jerk)
KB Overhead Squat
KB Snatch

The rx'd weight for men was 53#. After warming up with a 26# kb, I tried out a snatch with 53 and it felt heavy. I decided to scale it 44# which was the smart choice. 53 would have killed me. My lower back was smoked by the end. This workout was tougher than it looked. Rounds one through three went unbroken. When I got to round four I started to hit a wall and my snatches got a little sloppy. I'm no Pavel Tsatsouline, but I've had plenty of experience with kettlebells and complexes. Although that experience was at lighter weights so that I could teach myself the technique and mechanics. This was definitely a strength issue. My shoulders were fatiguing fast from the weight and the shoulder-intensive programming of the comples. I had a some minor pain in the overhead press, that I was hoping would not be there after a very light week last week. I finished the workout in 21:36.

Mobility
Couch Stretch - 2 min each leg
Pigeon - 2 min each leg
Shoulder Rehab

Training Log: 12/19/10

Grand Cayman - December 2008. Photo by: Kiera Dubach
Rest Day

Congratulations Joe

Joe T. - Mid Atlantic Hopper Challenge - Crossfit BWI - November 2010
Congratulations to my good friend Joe for finishing 3rd overall at the Midwest Hopper Challenge yesterday at Hyperfit USA. Joe flew in from Indy to compete with me at the Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge back in November and was one point shy of making the top ten, which kept him from competing in the final wod in that competition. I think he definitely redeemed himself this weekend. Awesome job, Joe.

Here are the four wods he competed in.

WOD #1
Max Reps of Back Squat in 3:00 (#225/#155)
then...
Max Reps of Pull Ups in 3:00

WOD #2
Row: 3,000 Meters for time (Time Cap 12:00/13:30)

WOD #3
Clean and Jerk/Double Under (#185/#115)
Clean and Jerk: 6
Double Under: 30
5 Rounds for time

WOD #4
Deadlift: 50 (225/155)
Burpee (Over Bar): 40
Toe To Bar: 30
Squat Snatch: 20 (115/75)
Hand Stand Push Up: 10

Training Log: 12/18/10

Mobility
MWod #101
Shoulder Rehab
Reverse Hypers 3x10 w/ 20lbs
1k row at a moderate pace

I physically went to the gym today but didn't actually workout. I mainly worked on shoulder mobility and threw in some reverse hypers to loosen up my back. It was feeling tight from the squats last night.

Training Log: 12/17/10

Mobility
MWod #13 (9/3/10)
Couch stretch 2 minutes each leg
Bottom squat hold for four minutes

Strength

Squat 3x5 @185
Back extension 1x25
Unanchored sit ups 1x25

Today's the day. I started this strength progression with 95 lbs and I'm finally doubling it, using work sets of my previous 5rm. I did five warm up sets leading up to the three working sets. The sets felt heavy and the last one required some focus and guttural noises on my part. Next week I'll start with 195 and see how the three sets feel and decide if I will continue to go up by 10 lbs or scale it back to 5 lb increases.

Training Log: 12/16/10

Dominica - January 2009
Rest Day

I wanted to do some hill sprints tonight, but given the snow and how slippery driving around was, I'm not going to mess with that.

Paleo Post Workout Meal

The popular post workout (PWO) meal tends to be the whey protein shake. I'm guilty of it myself. It's really convenient, and after a long or intense metcon, the last thing I want to do is chew something. It's just easier to slam down a shake. The convenience is what keeps the supplement industry in business. Not necessarily the results/benefits, if any, you get from ingesting the pills and powders. It's the convenience, plain and simple. The drive thru Dollar Menu at McDonalds is convenient too, but I'm not rolling through there after Fran.

Photo: The Schell Cafe
Paleo Post Workout Meal
Protein: 5 whole eggs (hard boiled), or 1 grilled chicken breast, or 1 can of wild caught salmon
Carbs: 2 cups of mashed sweet potato/yam (see recipe below)

Since I'm in mass gain mode, I try and keep a 4:1 ratio of carbs to protein in the PWO meal. The above meal will give you roughly 30g of protein and 120g of carbs. If I were in a maintenance phase, I would keep the protein the same and cut the sweet potato/yam down to 1 cup (roughly 60g of carbs, 2:1 ratio). For anyone trying to lean out, I had pretty decent results with a 1:1 ratio of protein to carbs in your PWO meal.

Getting this meal down after a strength workout usually isn't hard. But I find it difficult to eat anything shortly after an intense or long metcon. If I give myself 30 minutes and then eat slowly, it'll go down smoothly. On workout days I try to get the majority of my daily carbs in the post workout window, with the immediate PWO meal and the next big meal that follows. On days off, I spread the carbs throughout the day but try and keep most of them in the breakfast and lunch meals. 

Mashed Sweet Potato Recipe 
1 bag Trader Joe's Organic Sweet Potatoes
2 cups unsweetened apple sauce
1 teaspoon ginger
2 tablespoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 cup 100% pure maple syrup

Cut off just the strings at the ends of the sweet potatoes only, and dump them all as is into a large pot. Don't bother to peel them. Fill the pot with water and bring it to a slow boil. Continue boiling until the sweet potatoes are soft and can be easily punctured with a fork. This could take a while depending on the size of the sweet potatoes. Once they are tender, drain all of the water from the pot and mash the potatoes in the pot. They should mash fairly easily. Add the remaining ingredients and stir everything together. If the consistency is too runny for your liking, turn the heat back on to medium-low and slowly stir the pot until the excess liquid has cooked off.

Training Log: 12/15/10

Hicksville, OH - October 2010 (Yes, it is a real place)
Wow, my hips are sore from yesterday. I think my hips have only ever felt sore like this one other time, and that was the one and only time I've ever gone skiing. Damn snowplow done me wrong. Today, I only focused on mobility. It was MWods and yoga for this kid. My hips still felt sore afterward but I definitely broke up some kibbles and bits.

Mobility
60 minutes of active stretching

Training Log: 12/14/10

Metcon
5 rounds for time of:

50ft Inchworm Pushups
100ft Suitcase Carry
25 Vertical Jumps (16″/12″ – touch ring on each jump)

5 rounders always seems to take me a while. I usually forget which round I'm on after the third and have to struggle to remember and finish the workout. For the suitcase carry I used 115. I tested 135 before the workout and it was noticeably heavy. I figured I would lose my grip on that by Round 3, so I scaled it back to 115 which was heavy but much more manageable. I think I only dropped it once or twice. I found the vertical jumps the easiest of the three tasks. Although, every time I jumped up to tap the ring it would move a little and I found myself unconsciously jumping in circles around the ring as I was jumping up to touch it. Trying to keep the ring still was a bit of an art. I finished in 23:38.

Mobility
Couch Stretch: 2 minutes per leg
Pigeon: 2 minutes per leg
Bottom squat hold: 4 minutes total

Strength
Squat 3x5 @175

I was hoping to get in some bench and turkish get ups tonight but I think I need to give my shoulder a rest for the remainder of the week. My hips are sore from a combo of this morning's wod and this evening's squatting. 

Stronger Faster Healthier Fish Oil

Photo: Strongerfasterhealthier.com
I used to take fish oil pills for recovery because it seemed more convenient than drinking the oil, and the thought of drinking fish oil was a little gross. But after an endorsement from both Whole9 and Crossfit Endurance, I thought I'd give Stronger Faster Healthier a try. This is simply my opinion/review of their fish oil.

I ordered the sample/travel pack which included a two ounce bottle of each of the five flavors: Vanilla, Chocolate, Lemon, Tangerine and Mint. In that order is how I prefer the flavors. I was surprised at how much I liked vanilla and chocolate over the fruit flavors. Mint initially burned my throat. But after subsequent samples it got to be more palatable. Another nice thing about the flavors is that, when you get the fish burps (and you will get them), you burp up the flavor and not fish. I used to take eight grams a day which was eight pills (usually four in the morning and four at night). Now I take only two teaspoons once a day, which is four grams total.  Both of these calculations of grams per day came from the Fish Oil Calculator at Whole9. Because the quality of the fish oil is so much cleaner and potent, I am able to take less and still recover faster than with the pills.

If Dark Chocolate is Paleo Chocolate Chip Cookies

This recipe makes 12 thick cookies.

2 1/2 cups of almond meal (Trader Joe's)
1/4 tsp baking soda
A pinch of salt
1/3 cup of honey
2 tbsp of vanilla
1 whole bar of 85% cacao chocolate, chopped (I used Valrhona Le Noir Extra Amer from Trader Joe's. Another good option is the Trader Joe's Dark Chocolate Lover's Bar, also 85% cacao.)
3/4 cup of coconut butter (Artisana Raw Coconut Butter from Whole Foods) It's pricey but good. See also: The health benefits and uses of coconut butter.

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Soften the coconut butter in the microwave if it's not already in a peanut butter-like consistency. Mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and then flatten them in your hands into a cookie shape and put on a greased cookie sheet. Unlike regular cookies these will not rise and spread into a flat cookie. Whatever shape you put them into the oven is how they come out. Bake at 350 for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies start to brown around the edges. 

These cookies are delicious but dense. If a cookie can be hearty, these cookies are just that. This is the meatloaf of cookies. Seriously, all you need is one and you'll be satisfied. Or, you could make the cookies smaller and more bite size and stretch the recipe a little further. Although, making the cookies bite size might leave you inclined to eat more of them.

Paleo General Tso's Chicken

Every once in a while I get a craving for the General. Maybe it's that radioactive red glow, or the questionable chicken that's fried in who knows what, but it's tasty. I like to make paleo versions of the dishes we want but shouldn't have. It's pretty easy to find substitutions that are far healthier and taste the same or very similar to whatever it is you're trying to replicate. I searched online for a paleo recipe of the General but couldn't find one anywhere. So, last night I attempted to make my own paleo version of General Tso's Chicken. The end result was damn near close to the flavor of the General and much better for you than the original.

Paleo General Tso
Since this was a trial run, the recipe was made with two chicken breasts and the sauce was just enough for that amount of meat. From the picture to the right you'll see that it obviously doesn't look like the General we know and love. That's because it's not deep fried in a ton of dyes and chemicals that are added to give it that unique red color. The taste however was pretty close. It probably could have been a little bit sweeter but it definitely has the heat on the back end.

Sauce
¾ cup Organic Free Range Chicken Broth (from Trader Joe’s)
2 tbsp arrowroot powder
3 tbsp raw organic honey
1/3 cup (plus a little more) Coconut Aminos (from Whole Foods)
½ tsp ginger
Juice of ½ lemon
1 tsp red pepper flakes
1 scallion, chopped

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl, whisk thoroughly and set aside. Melt the honey in the microwave before adding so that it mixes fully with the rest of the ingredients.

Meat
Using a large pan or wok, put two tablespoons of olive or coconut oil in the pan and set it to medium heat. Cut the chicken breasts into small strips or cubes and place in the pan. Brown all sides of your meat. This should take a few minutes. Once the chicken is starting to brown, add the sauce and begin stirring everything together. The sauce will begin to thicken. Add broccoli and chopped carrots at this point and continue to stir everything together. Cook the chicken and veggies in the sauce for another five minutes, or until the chicken is cooked through.

Cauliflower Rice
If you have a potato ricer, boil a head of cauliflower until it starts to get soft and then chop it into chunks and put it through the ricer. If you do not have one of these handy gadgets, like I don't, chop up a head of cauliflower into little pieces and boil it in a pot until it starts to get soft. Taste it as you go. Whatever kind of texture you want out of your "rice" is up to you. If you want it crunchier, you won't have to boil it as long. Once you've gotten the cauliflower to your ideal texture, drain all of the water out of the pot and serve.

If anyone stumbles across this recipe and tries it out, give me some feedback on it. I'd like to get some outside opinions and see what it's missing, or if it's good the way it is.

Training Log: 12/13/10

Rest Day
Tower of London - London, England. September 2010

Sunday Brunch Food Porn - White Dog Cafe - Wayne, PA

I've always found the word brunch to have a pretentiousness to it. As a concept, it's great though. Breakfast and lunch, everybody wins. I love breakfast. My biggest cheat food with breakfast is pancakes. I'll usually just order one chocolate chip pancake when I'm out and that's enough to hit the spot. This morning we went to the White Dog Cafe in Wayne, PA for brunch.

We had been to the Philadelphia location a few years ago and I remember the food being good and the restaurant rather dark and dimly lit. The new location in Wayne was a nice improvement. There are four rooms in the restaurant, each different from the rest. It feels more like you're in someone's home than a restaurant. I believe the room we sat in was called the kitchen. We definitely were inspired to hang up some pictures of Tippy on our walls after leaving the place. Most of the walls are covered with portraits or paintings of dogs. The great thing about the restaurant is their commitment to serving locally produced, sustainable, organic foods from farms usually within 50 miles. I went big and got the steak and eggs with a side of bacon. The menu also had pumpkin pancakes with apples, brown sugar mascarpone and maple syrup, which sounded fantastic. I tried to talk the waiter into bringing me just one pancake on the side, but he said that I'd still have to pay for the full order. So, that was a no go.

I don't know if the picture or words could do it justice. The steak and bacon both came from Green Meadow Farm in Gap, PA. The steak was tender and delicious, and the bacon was perfectly crispy. If you take away the hollandaise sauce that was on the steak and shrimp, it's a pretty damn good paleo meal. In terms of breakfast, it was a bit pricey. But given that it's locally produced, sustainable, grass fed beef and cage free eggs, it was priced fairly.  It's definitely a place I'd go back to again. Maybe next time, we'll split the pumpkin pancakes.

Training Log: 12/12/10

Rest Day

Training Log: 12/11/10

Mobility

Strength
Press 5×5

Metcon
3 rounds for time:
21 KB Swings
100ft Broad Jumps

Throwdown #5
3 rounds for time:
200 M Row
10 Burpees

I managed 110 lbs on the press (10 lb pr), and eeked out 113x4. My shoulder felt pretty good and I probably could've gotten that 5th rep at 113 but I think I took too much time between the fourth and fifth rep. I was a little overzealous on the metcon and started with a 2 pood kb. I did the first round unbroken but when the second round came, the good mornings from last night were not making my lower back feel very good. Things got pretty tight pretty quickly. I scaled the weight down to 1.5 pood, which I think was the smart move. There's no glory in being stupid and injuring yourself just to say you used a heavier weight. The metcon ended up taking longer than I anticipated. Broad jumps get me surprisingly winded. I finished in 8:28.

Afterward, I rested for a few minutes, stretched and foam rolled a little and then took on Throwdown #5 versus Meg, a superfit female from my gym and the creator of this wod. The throwdowns are challenges started by four elite females in my gym, as a way of working on weaknesses and having a friendly competition amongst themselves. Some of the guys in the gym found out about it and wanted to be included. This was the first throwdown I've attempted. It looked simple enough. I felt like I moved at a really good pace on the first round. The second and third rounds my row felt slow and heavy. At that point, my legs were pretty fatigued and started to burn. I thought I could beat Meg, but given those slower rows on the last two rounds, she ended up beating me by about 9 seconds. I finished in 4:43.

Training Log: 12/10/10

Mobility

Bottom Squat Hold: 4 minutes
Couch Stretch: 2 minutes per leg
Pigeon: 2 minutes each leg
Mobility Wod #5

Strength

Squat 3x5 - 165 lbs
Bent Over Row 3x10 - 12 kg kettlebells
Good Mornings 3x10 - 45 lbs

The squat felt good and the weight was noticeable, which is a start.  By the end of next week I will be at my current 5rm for the back squat. After that things should start getting a little more interesting and the weight more challenging. I threw in some good mornings tonight as well, which I think I'm going to feel in my hammies tomorrow. This is one of those movements that probably gets overlooked, especially in Crossfit, but I think is pretty valuable. It's a great accessory lift that will complement my other strength work and provide overall gains in my deadlift and squat. The bent over rows were intentionally light because of my shoulder. I was hoping the pain would continue to diminish as it has been but this week it came back. I was planning on doing a 5x5 shoulder press tomorrow but we'll see how it's feeling in the morning.

Training Log: 12/9/10

Rest Day
U.S. Naval Academy - Annapolis, MD.  August 2009.

Paleo-Friendly BBQ Pulled Pork

This is quickly becoming a weekly staple in the colder months. I can eat pulled pork any time of the year, but pulled pork and some mashed sweet potatoes or mashed cauliflower (paleo sub for mashed potatoes), is great comfort food in the fall and winter. And with a recipe this simple, I'll be making it until I get sick of it.

What you'll need:
1 crock pot
1 pork roast
Organicville BBQ sauce

Turn the crock pot onto low and put about a 1/4 inch of water in the bottom. Place the pork in the crock pot and cover it with about 1/4 of the bottle of bbq sauce. Cook on low for six hours. After the time is up, take the lid off and with two forks pull the pork apart. It will look like shredded pieces. Keep doing this until the entire piece of pork is shredded up. Add more bbq sauce to taste. Place the lid back on and let it cook on low for another 30 minutes. Enjoy.


Organicville BBQ Sauce
I found this in Whole Foods and it's about as paleo friendly as you're going to get with bbq sauces. It's gluten free and no added sugar. It's sweetened with organic agave nectar and molasses. So depending on how you feel about those as sweeteners, it's one of your better choices for bbq sauce. The total amount of sugar per serving though is comparable to any traditional bbq sauce, so you still have to keep that in mind and not crack out on this stuff. See the picture to the right for the full nutritional info.

Training Log 12/8/10

AM: Metcon

50 Double Unders
then
3 rounds of:
Run 400m
10 Clean & Jerks (135/95)
then
50 Double Unders

My shoulder and lower back were feeling a little funny this morning and I knew 135 would give me trouble in the long run so I scaled this one to 115. My battle with double unders was lost in the first 50, where I threw a temper tantrum and chucked the jump rope across the gym. I was trying out one of the new speed ropes and after about 40 lashings and not much consistency in my double unders I switched back to the heavier one I usually go with. I also subbed a 400 meter row for the run. Last week when I did a wod that had running in it, my airways felt like they closed up in the cold air. This morning it was 25 degrees and I thought I'd do myself a favor and stay indoors. My time was 24:04. Not a very good showing on my part.

PM: Strength

Squat 3x5 @155

One Month Results

I weighed in this morning with the following results:

Weight: 179.5 lbs
Body Fat: 13.5%

Starting Weight: 175.0 lbs
Starting Body Fat: 11.7%

I would have liked to have gotten that full five pounds but what can you do? The last month I've definitely had bigger meals than normal and consciously overfed myself. GOMAD didn't exactly pan out. There were a lot of days where I would drink an entire gallon but on average it was more like half a gallon. I think a big factor that kept me from leaner gains and more of an increase in total bodyweight was the fact that the weights used in squatting are still relatively light. Whereas, in the next month the weight will exceed my current 5rm, 3rm and 1rm, which hopefully I will be able to exceed without too much trouble. I'd like to be able to get up 250x5 across three sets by the end of January. I've currently had my fill of dairy for a while, so I'll be taking a departure from that for the rest of December. I'm going to try loading up on sweet potato and olive oil and see where that gets me.

Training Log: 12/7/10

Rest Day
Central Park - New York, NY. Taken in November 2010.

Food Rule: No Spicy Food Before Bed

I spent most of the day yesterday working on home projects and neglected to do any food shopping. I made my way through the day eating leftovers that were in the fridge but when dinner time rolled around there wasn't anything left. I decided to hit up Chipotle for a barbacoa burrito. I generally don't eat grains but in an attempt to get in more calories, I decided to go with the burrito option. The barbacoa is a spicier shredded beef that's pretty good on it's own. To add to that, I got the red salsa. Now, it's not blazingly hot but it's the hottest that Chipotle offers. It tasted great and really hit the spot. I went to bed some time after 10:30 in the hopes of getting 6 hours of sleep before that 4:30 alarm goes off.

I really value my sleep, and any night I can make it through without waking up at all is a win in my book. Most nights I wake up at least once. I've tried to eliminate the factors that have caused disruptions to my sleep in the past: drinking too much water too close to bedtime, letting the dog into the bedroom, eating a huge meal, or one containing a lot of sugar right before bed. Last night, I slept pretty soundly until 1:30 am when I woke up to take a drink of water. 2:30 am: another drink of water and a slight feeling of indigestion/heart burn. 3:30 am: I get out of bed to take an antacid, go to the bathroom and have some more water. I proceed to lie awake until the alarm goes off at 4:30. It was a miserable, restless hour, where I tossed and turned, would get too hot so I'd take the covers off, get too cold so I put them back on, rinse, repeat.

Training Log: 12/6/10

Strength

Deadlift 5×5

Metcon

As many rounds as possible in ten minutes of:

6 Burpees
6 Pullups

Start each minute with 3 hang power cleans (135/95, workout starts on the HPC’s).


I realized today there is a huge discrepancy between deadlifting in my basement with steel plates and deadlifting at the gym with rubber bumpers. I can deadlift a hell of a lot more with bumpers. I recently PR'd on my deadlift in the basement with 255, and it was a struggle. Maybe I wasn't warmed up enough, maybe it was an off day. This morning. I pulled 315 for a new 5rm PR. Although, I did pull 315 as a 3rm at the gym not too long ago. Still, it's an improvement. The only thing I can attribute the discrepancy to is that the rubber bumpers bounce off the floor in between reps and that helps propel them back up on each subsequent rep. Whereas, the steel plates in the basement while they are being lowered onto a thin piece of rubber matting is pretty much coming to a dead stop after each rep. I think I will have to keep any deadlifting I do in the basement to strictly work sets and go for PR's at the gym on the bumper plates. 

I was pretty damn tired after the deadlifts and would've been happy with calling it a day. At least the wod was only a 10 min AMRAP. I was moving along pretty well until after my fourth round when my grip was pretty much shot and I kept failing on the cleans. I spent probably the last 3+ minutes doing cleans because I failed several of them, and by the time I completed the three, the minute was up and I had to do three more. The wod was tough but fun and I would like to try it again some time when I'm a little fresher. 

Training Log: 12/5/10

Rest Day
Penn State University, Taken in October 2009

Training Log: 12/4/10

Metcon

15 Kb Swings (70/53)
15 Pullups
30 Box Jumps (24″/20″)
15 Pullups
60 Situps
15 Pullups
90 Squats
15 Pullups

Strength

Squat 3x5 @145

I woke up still a little full from last night's dinner. It was a huge meal and was disgustingly full afterwards. With the feeling of why did I do this to myself? On Tuesday, it will be one month of my mass gain project so I will weigh myself for the first time since starting this project as well as retest my body fat percentage. I'm hoping for at least five pounds and for my body fat to be close to it's original percentage. It's hard to tell if you've gotten any bigger when you see yourself everyday, so the only thing I have to go off of are the numbers. I guess I could've been more thorough and done measurements at the chest, arms, neck, thighs, hips and waist. Maybe for the second month I'll do that to further track my progress. 

I switched things up this morning and did the strength after the metcon. The metcon wasn't too bad and I finished in 14:24 as rx'd. I was hoping for a faster time than that but got held up on the pull ups and the air squats. Both took longer than anticipated. I thought I could make it through the wod without any tears on my hands, but I still came away with a minor tear on each one. No blood though, so it should heal quickly. I waited about ten minutes after the wod, stretched a little and then got into the squatting. I thought I might have felt the weight a little more after the wod, but the 3x5 was still pretty easy. I'm getting inpatient with the strength progression, but I know in the back of my mind that it'll start to get heavy soon and that I should shut up and stick with it. 

Training Log: 12/3/10

Strength

Push Jerk

3,3,2,2,2,1,1,1,1

Metcon

Tabata Row for meters.

8 rounds of 20 seconds max effort work followed by 10 seconds of rest. The score is the lowest number of meters in any round.

I was still sore from Thursday's workout and my shoulder was extra sore from my games last night. I wasn't feeling very strong or fast in my push jerk tonight. My push jerk, if you want to call it that, is still looking like a push press. I switched to a split jerk once I got into the sets of 2 and even that was still reminiscent of a push press. I really need to work on the technique of this because I'm definitely capable of bigger weights. I tied my 1rm of 165 tonight and then failed at 175. I didn't attempt 175 again after that. I thought I'd leave some in the tank and save my shoulder. The tabata row had a low score of 88. I thought I could keep all of my intervals at 90 meters and above but I slacked on the 7th interval. I also should've done my 3x5 squats while I was there. Now that I'm home and cooled down, I don't feel like doing them. There's steak to be eaten. 

Training Log: 12/2/10

Boston, MA. Taken in April 2009.
Rest Day

So damn sore from Blake yesterday. I have a volleyball game tonight, which I guess you can call "active recovery" but I'm usually a little sore in my right knee and shoulder after playing, so I don't think it's much of a recovery. We'll see how it goes.

Training Log: 12/1/10

Metcon

Blake

4 rounds for time of:

100ft Overhead Walking Lunge (45lb plate)
30 Box Jumps (24″)
20 Wallballs (20lb)
10 Handstand Pushups

Started off with some more lacrosse ball action this morning, and mobility work with bands followed by a light 1000 meter row. I scaled the hspu using two abmats under my head, all else was as rx'd. My time was 43:36. This wod absolutely smoked my shoulders. No noticeable shoulder pain other than pressing the plate overhead to do the lunges, but once it was locked out I was fine. As a standard recovery habit I iced my right shoulder for ten minutes when I got home. My legs will probably be sore tomorrow but felt fine during the workout just fatigued from the volume. The first set of box jumps was dicey after the overhead lunges. But after shaking them out a bit, I was able to get into it. My lungs were taxed the entire time and I had to take breaks for longer durations than I had hoped, for both breathing and muscle recovery. This workout was rough. It was my first time trying it and I don't plain on doing it again for quite some time.  
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