Tuesday, February 24, 2009


I'm out of commission again! I told myself I'd make it in tonight. But when I left the house this afternoon to run errands, I came back exhausted and warm. I decided this isn't a good sign if I'm trying to workout again. So I'm taking an extra day. Margaret says to take a week off. I can't. I'm getting antsy. UGH!

In the spirit of continuing healthy eating habits, I'm going to share my menu this week. I realized that I cooked quite a bit last week. As I mentioned, I shared some food with my friend Shirl. Today I gave the rest of the ground beef stir fry to my sister's family. I'm sure they'll know what to do with it! My eating has been thrown off because I'm sick. Therefore, I've been living on broth-y soups that I bought at various inexpensive Asian places. (That's just the best stuff when you're sick. Think things like pho or chicken soup and such.) I've also bought a few cans of chicken soup. (Note to self: BAD IDEA! Canned anything is just gross to me. I don't know why I was dumb enough to think being sick would make this an exception.) Moving on...

It's a new week and here's my semi-new menu:

(2) kinds of fruits: strawberries, blueberries (stored in green bags), a few tangerines, last week's plums
(2) kinds of veggies: last week's green beans, spinach, bok choy, mushrooms
(1) fresh green salad
(1) breakfast option: Not sure. So far it's a mixture of fruit and whatever else comes to mind. Perhaps some eggs.
(2) lunch/dinner options: Last week's chicken marsala, beef caldareta, one more dish I haven't decided
(1-2) snack options: hard boiled eggs with hummus (see the photos below)

Hard boiled eggs make a great snack, especially if you don't want to snack on dairy. I recommend that you scoop out the yolk to avoid the cholesterol hub-bub. I'm a big fan of deviled eggs, but to make it healthy, I stuff the eggs with eggplant hummus from Trader Joe's. This stuff is low in calories and is quite tasty. For those of you who are zoning, a hard boiled egg with hummus is one block. Here is the simple and finished product:
Viola! If you're feeling schmancy, sprinkle some paprika on top.

Hope you find these tips useful!

Monday, February 23, 2009

(temporarily) out of commission.

You have to be a real lazy ass if you're going to take the escalator. This is every CrossFitter's nightmare and every globo-gym's fantasy. Okay. I shouldn't talk. I have a membership to globo-gym (um. not this one). For me, it's inexpensive yoga and spin. I'm sticking to that story.

On Friday I felt a little itch in my throat. Since I had to go to work, I nursed it as best as I could with water, vitamin C, and a salt water gargle. The symptoms persisted on Saturday. But since I still had to work, I did the same thing. By Sunday the cold came on full-blown, complete with a stuffy nose, itchy throat, cough, and a really hoarse voice. Bleh. Today I decided to rest some more. However, I did have to run some standard errands like laundry, cooking, grocery shopping, etc. But I'm finally catching some rest again.

For the record, I'm not big on cold medicine. As someone who doesn't get sick very often, I take sickness as fate's way of telling you to slow down and take care of yourself. To combat a cold, I go old school and fuel up on water, vitamin C, chicken soup (the Anglo and non-Anglo versions of the stuff), and hot tea. At best, I take echinacea and some zicam. Unfortunately, it's been a while since I've nursed a cold, so I forgot about the zicam and just started taking it today. I may be defeating the purpose, but I'll say it's helped a bit. I think I'll be up and running in CrossFit by tomorrow night. Wa-hoo. For now, it's rest, hydration, and desperately trying to find something interesting about the tired old movies I've been watching (cuz I have no cable).

I think I'm developing a temporary crush on Rick Fox. I think it's the height. and the curly hair. and the dimples. Blame it on the cold. and these damn Tyler Perry films. I swear. Tyler Perry makes men look so damn good 'cuz his characters actually pursue women! Where the hell are these amazing brothas anyway?! Send one my way, will you?!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

80s unlimited!

I lifted this photo from CrossFit Unlimited. Our friends there recently celebrated their one year anniversary. Congrats CrossFit Unlimited! I think Austin is an amazing trainer and runs a great box! To mark the occasion, Austin organized a little 80s theme party. Um. How cool is that?! If we did that at One World, I so would have showed up as Janet a la "Pleasure Principle." Damn!

I was running late because I missed my bart train. Therefore, I caught the last round of push presses, overhead squats, front squats, pull-ups, push-ups and supermans.

CrossFit One World WOD

Complete 10/9/8/7/6/5/4/3/2/1 reps for time of:
Dumbbell thrusters (20#; by round 6, scaled down to 15#)
Wall balls (14#; by round 7, scaled down to 10#; by round 5, scaled down to 8#)
Box jumps (18"; by round 5 scaled down to 12")

Joanne's Final Time - 17:54

Notes (to myself) about this workout: So we're starting this new mode of training where we scale down to finish within a particular time set. The goal was to finish in 12-14 minutes. I'm learning that these time goals are not necessarily for someone like me. I was hoping to finish in around 20 minutes (no scaling down). However, Eric adjusted our weights and such to up the intensity. I'm not sure how I feel about it because at the end of the WOD, I just feel like I cheated myself. Though I didn't mind dropping the weight for the thrusters and wall balls, I didn't really like switching the box because it threw my jump off. I wouldn't have minded a longer time if the box stayed the same. Oh well. All adjusting needs a little tweaking. I'm still tweaking.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

on food and feed.

I just did a health check-up recently. For the most part, I’m healthy. However, my doctor really wants me to drop the weight. It’s frustrating because I eat fairly well and train, but my weight is pretty consistent. I will say that I have noticed my body changing. I’m a pant size smaller than I was in the summer and about ten pounds lighter. But the doctor wants more.

Right now, I’m going to really focus in on my eating. My doctor recommended that I do Weight Watchers. When I did it a few years back, it worked pretty well. But let me digress and give you my spiel on WW. I think it definitely works and the point system is magic for certain kinds of dieters. Yes, it did help me escape a plateau I was in. Unfortunately, when I started marathon training, my dietary needs were a little different and the program just couldn’t answer to that. The center I was going to was getting under my skin because (1) the leader was totally annoying. She laughed like a hyena on steroids and my ears just hurt! (2) I didn’t find the conversations helpful because controlling your food issues usually revolved around guilt, hindering other people’s desires to eat as they pleased, and harsh judgment. I’m not saying everyone in WW experiences this. It was just me.

Anyway… the final straw for me was when I went to a meeting and sitting next to me was an elder Filipina lady and a disabled woman. (The elder Filipina was a caregiver.) The elder Filipina lady asked me how much weight I’ve lost (which I thought was utterly inappropriate), and then proceeded to tell me that I wasn’t progressing as well as I should. In fact, she kept telling me how well her patient was doing and if someone who is disabled could loose weight and I couldn’t, then I’m pretty much a loser! (Granted, these weren’t her exact words, but it was her basic logic. Luckily, I respect my elders so I refrained from throwing my shoe at her.)

I never went back to a WW meeting.

With or without WW, food issues have been and are currently a life long struggle. So I’m using this blog to gain back some control. After doing lots of reading and thinking, I’ve decided that there are three schools of eating thought that work best for me (a diabetic fathlete). (Note: For more information, please refer do your own reading and research for these schools of thought.) They are:

The Zone. For me, the Zone is about a balance of protein, carbs, and healthy fats. For the hard core, this is in my opinion, the best eating program for athletes. In fact, it’s highly recommended for CrossFit athletes.

Clean Eating. For me, all this says is that you need to eat as clean and as fresh as possible – no processed foods. Try to eat things that come from nature and in their purest form.

Intuitive Eating. For me, this is probably the most important part of eating. Intuitive Eating is about having a healthy relationship with food. Food is meant to nourish our bodies and not answer to an emotional need. It’s also about listening to your body’s demands. Sometimes you’ll have these massive protein cravings. If so, feed that craving reasonably. (Long runs always inspire my need for steak. Don’t ask me why. It just does.) If you have a chocolate craving, answer it. You can have a few bites of chocolate, but please refrain from eating the entire one-pound bar! Intuitive Eating is about listening to your body and being reasonable about what it asks. I’m all about that!

As per a conversation with Miss Diana a few weeks ago, I am going to incorporate a feature that showcases my weekly menu. When I’m on, I’m kind of a freak about food. So this is how my crazy self manages my food…

When preparing a weekly menu, I’m all about proper preparation. My list is as follows:
(2) kinds of fruits
(2) kinds of veggies
(1) fresh green salad
(1) breakfast option
(2) lunch/dinner options
(1-2) snack options

This week my list looked something like this:
Fruits: strawberries (washed, cut and sprinkled with a touch of splenda to keep it peppy) and plums

Veggies: steamed broccoli and steamed green beans

Fresh Green Salad: At Trader Joe’s, I pick up two bags of whatever salad I’m feeling and store it in a green bag.

Breakfast option: cottage cheese with fruit and a sprinkling of nuts (I also keep a supply of eggs and fast-cooking oatmeal in case I want to switch it up.)

Snack Options: baby bell cheese to incorporate with my fruit and such

Lunch/Dinner options: I cooked two savory dishes this week. The first was chicken marsala from Trader Joe’s. They sell a sauce in a jar. I sautéed chicken and mushrooms and added the sauce to simmer. I supplemented this with a couscous/grain medley that they also sell. I simply dumped the couscous with some chicken broth in the rice cooker.

The second dish is a goulash-type thing my sister used to make when we were growing up. I started by sautéing some red bell peppers and mushrooms and set that aside. I then sautéed an onion and a head of garlic with some lean ground beef (that I slightly marinated with soy sauce and ground pepper). When that was cooked, I folded the red bell peppers and mushrooms and BAM! Done! I supplemented that with some brown rice (again, a task for the rice cooker).

From left to right: the first column are the steamed veggies. The second column is the goulash with rice. The third column is the chicken marsala with couscous.

I prepped all this in one night and it took me a little over two hours cook everything. I have to warn you that I’m a mad woman in the kitchen because I chop like crazy and cook with minimal dishes (because I hate washing dishes!). After everything cools off, I pack each element in various Zip-Loc containers. I like these because they’re clear, re-usable, inexpensive, and recyclable. (Don’t get me started on how OCD I am packing food in the CORRECT-sized containers. I’m such a space freak about that!)

Another issue I have is (1) I cook in pretty large batches and (2) I get tired of food really easy. I combat cooking in large batches by sharing food. This week, I packed three days worth of lunch for my dear friend Shirl (it partly makes up for the amazing lunch at Semo Sushi she treated me to). When I don’t do this for Shirl, I give it to my sister and her family. In exchange, I steal whatever they happen to have cooked and use it for my next meal. In the past I’ve also done food exchanges where a friend and I will cook a dish or two and exchange it with their dish or two. It’s a simple way to vary up the food and encourages eating in. (It also helps if your food exchange partner has the similar ideas on food that you do. For example, my food exchange partner can’t be the type that thinks veggies from a can. Cans? Seriously. Really?!).

If you prep properly, packing lunch or avoiding the drive-thru is really easy. Here’s an example of what my Wednesday meal bag looked like. I packed a breakfast (strawberries and cottage cheese), lunch (chicken marsala with couscous and a helping of green beans), green salad (not pictured), and two plums with two snack cheeses. When I pack my meal bag, I adjust according to what my day looks like.

I hope these tips work out for you. Also, if any of you (who live locally) are interested in doing a food exchange with me, let me know!

on power and intensity

This is what a typical 6:15 class looks like at One World. Yes. There are a lot of sweaty, hot, half naked people. That's just how CrossFitters do it. Though constantly sweaty, I'm neither hot nor half naked. In fact, I'm always fully clothed. I guess that makes me just a partial CrossFitter.

On the most recent CrossFit One World post, Freddy pointed out the importance of intensity. Here are his thoughts:
“Power: Work done or energy transferred per unit of time; The time rate of doing work.”

Force x Distance = Work
Work / Time = Power

“Intensity: Magnitude, as of energy or a force per unit of area, volume, time, etc.”

Power = Intensity

The simple definition of Crossfit is “constantly varied functional movement performed at high intensity.” I think you all have a great grasp of “constantly varied” and “functional movement.” I want to ramble on a bit about “high intensity.”

Intensity, simply put, is where the good shit is. You want to lose weight? Intensity. You want to get stronger? Intensity. You want to get healthier? Intensity. Get it? As Crossfitters, you must grasp the fact that intensity is not how loud you yell during your workout. It’s not about throwing up after a workout. Its not about being dizzy and turning bright red. Intensity is achieving the highest power output that you possibly can in a workout.

I owe you all an apology for not better explaining this to you when I first started posting time goals on the workouts. I can’t lay claim to it as something I figured out myself either. I decided to start programming this way after attending Dutch Lowy’s trainer seminar. It’s pretty simple to explain. Crossfit is about producing the most power output you possibly can in any given workout. The best results will be achieved with more power output. Let’s take “Fran” (21/15/9 reps for time of 95# Thruster and pull-ups) and do some mathematics. I figured these numbers using the power output calculator from Catalyst Athletics (kudos to Greg Everett for such a great website).

Athlete #1 (5’8”/185#) does Fran as prescribed in three minutes. His power output numbers look like this:
291.48 watts
0.4 horsepower
214.98 ft-lbs/sec
(Wow! Almost half a horsepower. That’s badass!)

Athlete #2 ( height & weight the same) does Fran as prescribed in ten minutes. His power output numbers look like this:
87.44 watts
0.12 horsepower
64.49 ft-lbs/sec
A HUGE drop off in power output.

If I take Athlete #2 and lower his thruster weight to 65#, and he finishes in three minutes, suddenly, his power output numbers look like this
255.45 watts
0.35 horsepower
188.41 ft-lbs/sec

The lower weight in the thruster with the faster time brings Athlete #2 closer to the power output of Athlete #1. Athlete #2 will actually see better results with the lighter weight! As he gets faster, he adds more weight until eventually, he is producing high power output at the prescribed weight.

So here is the hard part to grasp. If I tell you all a workout should take ten minutes (I set the goals high because you all want to get there right?), and you take 25 minutes, there is an issue. Yes, you sweat and you feel good because you gutted through it, but really, you just sweat a whole lot without getting the true benefit of the potential power of what Crossfit can do for your overall fitness.

Think about it! Try checking your ego at the door and lowering the weight a bit. I am slowly trying to drop this on all of you and see how your progress comes along. In the near future, I will occasionally not even post prescribed weights on the workouts. I will post a time frame to finish the workout. You need to start logging your weights and times so you can easily figure out what you need to do in any given workout to make it happen within the required time frame. If its a ten minute workout and you finish in 3 minutes, you went to light. If you finish it in 15 minutes, you went to heavy.

Just so you know my train of thought. I will take the run/deadlift/sit-up workout just posted. It was four rounds. I estimated a Crossfit athlete could finish the 4 x 800m runs in 12-15 minutes, the 4 x 15 deadlifts at 225# in 3-5 minutes, and the 20 Abmat sit-ups with a medball in 3-4 minutes. That's the whole workout in about 18-24 minutes. So how can you finish this workout in the time frame? Maybe you just work harder than you normally would. Maybe you need to lower the deadlift weight. Maybe you shorten the run a bit. Maybe you do the sit-ups without a med ball. Figure it out and get it done.

I hope this all makes a little more sense to you. Once again, kudos to Dutch Lowy for enlightening me!
Run 1.1 miles
random stretching
watching the 6:15pm class suffer in agony

CrossFit One World WOD
Complete four rounds for time of:
Run 800m
15 deadlifts (95#)
20 Abmat sit-ups w 8# ball

Joanne's Final Time - 38:13

Notes (to myself) about this workout: According to Freddy's comments above, I should have shortened the run to about 600 meters and pushed a lot harder. I'm constantly adjusting to the CrossFit system because a part of me comes from a distance running background. When you're a distance runner, you workout for distance and not time. I'm all about finishing. However, CrossFit is a bit different. I need to take heed of Freddy's notes, make the proper adjustments and up the intensity. However, I have no interest suffering for a WOD, so this is another negotiation I need to figure out. Hmph.

After Eric's calendar photo debacle, it looks like he punked out of going to CrossFit tonight. Such a chicken! ha ha!

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

so this is how it all started...

...a few weeks ago, Freddy posted this photo of Chong and Mel on the One World site: Needless to say, Chippendale Chong and Mel (as Laura Croft) inspired a slew of comments on the site. Inspired, I emailed Freddy and sent him this photo of Eric. I figured I was following typical CrossFit protocol and sharing another "trainer-in-stripper-mode" photo. Who could blame me?

Well, Freddy finally posted Eric's photo on the site and OMG. Within five hours of the post, there are already 25 comments, with way more on the way. Now that is CrossFit luv for you!

Run 800 meters

CrossFit One World WOD
Complete five rounds for time of:
Row 300m
30 push-ups

Joanne's Final Time - 17:51

Notes (to myself) about this workout: I've been out of commission for two weeks because life just happens. I've had some bad car issues (which are now fixed) and my uncle in the Philippines passed away, leaving me to house sit for my mom and simply reflect on life and such. My family and I are fine.

Truth is, these things are no excuse to put my health and exercise life aside. Please remind me of this if I ever fall off the bandwagon again. Thanks!

When I came into the gym, I realized how much I really missed One World. That place is just so awesome and I'm so glad to be back.

Anyway... This was a pretty tough WOD to come to because it totally works the arms. Freddy is posting WODs to help prepare the athletes for the NorCal CrossFIt Regionals. WIth the growing popularity of CrossFit, the games are no longer open to just anybody. You have to compete in a regional qualifier in order to go to the games in July. It's crazy!

Yes, this was one of those WODs that you look at and think, "this isn't too bad." Then you actually do it and you wonder how such stupidity entered your mind. Hmph. I survived and finished. That's all that matters. BIG KUDOS to the lovely ladies that did the WOD with me. A special shout out to Little Miss Shannon who is doing excellent work day in and day out. You are such a rockstar!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

nuun tablets

First off, a big thank you to Matt Hart (or whoever happens to run your blog) for leaving a comment on this post. From what I gather, Matt is a professional athlete who is sponsored by nuun.

As I mentioned in the side bar, when I do long distance running, I do it with nuun tablets. Back in 2005 when I trained for the Maui Marathon, our coaches told us about using Gu or some kind of energy gel to help us get through the longer distances. It’s advised that we try several ones to figure out what is most agreeable with our systems and such. So during one of the runs, I tested out the Gu.

I have type II diabetes and for some reason (it’s just how my body happens to work), exercise initially spikes my blood sugars. I’ve seen it spike to almost 200 after a major workout. That’s a bad thing. The good thing is, the sugar levels off and I get a long, sustained lower blood sugar level. I had to learn the hard way that in long distance running, Gu just doesn’t work for me. The sugar/carb count is way too high. During the one run I tested the Gu, my blood sugar level was over 250, my head hurt, and I was seeing silver. Seriously. I looked around the Berkeley Marina and everything was silver. I thought I was in some random scene in The Matrix and all I was missing was Neo, Trinity and Morpheus.

The problem is, I’m a heavy sweater and though I may not need the carb charge Gu gives me, I do need to restore some electrolytes and such. Gatorade is way too sugary as well. So what’s a diabetic to do?

This is where nuun comes in. I highly recommend it because the carb and sugar count is non-existent. They’re agreeable (at least with my system). The tablets make it easy for you to travel with. Plus, they come in a ton of flavors. You can’t go wrong with that! I find that nuun and a few bits of a protein bar or some nuts work great to get me through those long runs.

So Gu if you want to. But if you’re like me and simply can’t, then I recommend that you use nuun tablets.

**FYI I am in no way paid or compensated for sharing my opinion about nuun or any of the products I feature in “fierce products.” These are just things that I personally like. However, if you are from nuun and you want to shoot a gal some stuff to try out, I’d have absolutely no objections to that. I promise to share an honest opinion about it!

Sunday, February 01, 2009

more snatches

Right now, I'd like to formally declare that any reference to the snatch from here on out will no longer be followed by inappropriate and dirty snickers. A snatch is an Olympic weightlifting movement that I can't seem to nail. So until I can formulate a bona fide sense of humor about it, a snatch is simply an oly lift. Period.

Here are some demos of the snatch. This first one is the snatch balance (my personal favorite of the bunch).

This is the power snatch:

This is the hang power snatch:

Last week we did the snatch in Jason's class. Today we still worked on that. I'm glad 'cuz I totally suck at it. Right now, I still suck. I just suck less. My max so far is 53#. Last week I didn't go past 35#, so to go up almost 20# was a gift. I kept trying to get that 63# weight up, but I just couldn't.

When I started taking the Oly weight lifting class, I just wanted to do the movement. I'm not concerned about pulling big numbers, but I'm finding that it's a natural desire. Well, not necessarily pulling big numbers, but lifting at almost your max. Coaches have a better sense of what you can lift, and Jason thinks I can lift a lot more than I think I can. (I think Eric would probably agree.) I will say that I really like getting to know the different lifts. Jason usually goes through two lifts. Personally, I don't mind spending the hour on just one lift. We'll see how the next classes go!

BIG THANKS to Jason, Maria, Alex and John for cheering me on today.