Monday, November 8, 2010


This is my last blog under this name (but its a doozy).  I'm no longer 40, I'm no longer fat, I'm no longer "getting fit" but rather I "am" fit.  I still have 1 arm, but its much stronger.  With the birth of my daughter and the achievement of many of my fitness goals, my blogging will shift to family.  However, my fitness journey has just begun.  The drive to improve, stay thin, be healthy, has never been stronger in my life.  Barring injury or other catastrophe, I'm pretty sure this time it will stick.

This 11 month endeavor was a life changing experience.  That sounds quaint and neat, but it severely underestimates the transformation in my life.  Even though I documented the journey started at 300 lbs, I did not document the journey starting with my severe attitude problem.

Blow Me
One word: unhappy.  Work sucked, everyday life sucked.  I was miserable doing the simplest things. Getting out of the car was painful.  Going up or down steps caused me to break into a pant.  Simple chores around the house had me sweating like a priest in a whorehouse.  I was in a very bad place physically and mentally.

My bulk was scary, my face was so fat that my sunglasses look liked they belong to a 5 year old.  Me at my heaviest:

I KNEW my cholesterol, triglycerides, and blood pressure were dangerously high even though I refused to check them.  Deep down, I wanted things to be different, but the tasty food, the lazy evenings on the couch, and the multiple cocktails were too easy and too habitual to break.  I thought change would happen eventually...  I never knew how long it would be before it did, or how sudden it would occur.

I said it before, Crossfit changed my life.  However, when I sat down to reflect, the magnitude and breadth of the change was a bit overwhelming to me.

It was a bit of fate I even ended up at Crossfit 540.  Kate J. told my wife, Angela about the new gym opened by some of her friends (whom my wife knew well too).  Angie reminded me about it a few  times.  Finally, after the 2009 holiday food orgy, I decided I'd had enough.  I loaded up the kids and we went looking for it.  My first attempt was a failure.  I never saw the tiny letters declaring "Crossfit 540" so I said "screw it" and went home.

As luck would have it, I was out with my son the next day and decided to take another look.  This time I located the letters and walked up to the deserted looking establishment.  Luck shined again because Trevor was still there despite classes being adjourned for the day.

It was small and spartan, reminding me of my favorite gym from College.  He showed me around (which given the size took about 20 seconds) and I noticed a sign which would haunt me for the next month: "You can't out-train a bad diet."  It was written large on this whiteboard, by someone with penmanship similar to mine.  But it was clear enough to read and the message would become exceedingly sharp.

I promised to come back in a few days once vacation was over and I had time.  (Note: Trevor told me later he never expected to see me again.)  On January 9th, I did come back. And Hell was unleashed on me.  My subsequent pain was well documented in Facebook statuses and early blog entries.  To say I hurt would be a gross misrepresentation.  My pain was constant, excruciating, and unbearable.  Most people would have given up, but my embarrassment made me come back.  Crossfit showed me how sorely I was out of shape (pun intended).  I was so bad that the warm-ups were intimidating.  After a couple of weeks, every muscle granted me by birth had been annihilated.  The sign still sat on the whiteboard.

People doing Crossfit will tell you that it impacts their entire life.  Newbies don't really understand what that means for a while.  It impacts the whole of your life because it exposes every bad dietary, sleep, and physical conditioning you have.  It will MAKE you change things.  There really is no choice... at least if you are over 30.

"You can't out-train a bad diet."
The first to go for me was alcohol.  It's too bad, because alcohol is exactly what I need to make the muscle pain go away.  There was nothing worse than dehydration during a WOD.  You feel like a herd of sheep have walked through your mouth while wearing fuzzy slippers.  Your side hurts, you get dizzy.  This quickly leads to drinking less alcohol and a LOT more water.

Then it hits your food intake.  Wanna know how Pizza tastes 6 hours later?  Eat 4 big slices for lunch and then go do 100 burpees and run a couple of miles.  Let's just say that taste should not be offered as a speciality flavor.  Finally, the sign that hung in silence began to win.  I started changing my diet.  I thought I understood how to eat correctly (and just chose not to do it).  Boy was I wrong.

I won't bore you (again) with my diatribe on The Culprit and the Cure nor my enlightenment into the "Zone".  But let me say this... I am more in tune with my body than ever before.  I have transformed my body, mind, and health through learning, experimenting, and keeping what works.  If you change nothing else, change how you eat.

Looking back, I've learned more about myself in the past 11 months as I had in the previous 40.  I saw limits... then pushed past them.  I saw barriers fall, obstacles move, and tenacity gained.  I've been a confident person for most of my life and in early years many would say cocky.  Crossfit created a different sense of confidence, a much better one.  It is a calm, quiet confidence.  One that comes with the realization that few things in life can scare you after 70 minutes of "Murph" or "Adam Brown".  It is a confidence that allows you to go run a 10k after a 21 year layoff without specifically training for it.  It let's you compliment and help others with full sincerity.  It creates a desire to help someone looking for inspiration, to move them from where you were to where you are.

The Mind
None of this matters if you aren't happy.  My move from partially satisfied to profoundly happy was gradual.  I'll avoid the whole mushy story, but I have a new lease on life.  I no longer am looking forward "one day" (a sure sign of unhappiness) but instead, I enjoy "to - day", right now, right here.  Life is great and I appreciate what I have even more now.  This is probably the most important change that has occurred in my life.  One I hope to keep forever.

So let's bring this to a close.  Sorry it didn't live up to the funniness of older blogs.

Final numbers tally:
75lbs lost
18% body fat lost
30% drop in Blood pressure (from hypertension to normal).
37% improvement in my 1 Mile time
50+ friends gained.
24.5% increase in tenacity.
47.5% increase in grit.
85% drop in fear.
113.4% increase in my belief that the impossible is possible.

The pictures are the most telling:

Friday, October 22, 2010

Baby Kate

For those of you not on my email lists, here is the story:  

Well it was an adventure. Kate wasn't due to arrive until 11/18. So I decided to go to a work conference this week in Denver and even booked a mini vacation in the mountains for Thursday and Friday. Angie called Thursday morning to let me know she had a few signs of labor. But at her doctors appointment he said she was fine and I should stay in Colorado. 

At noon, her contractions were bad enough that Julie (her boss) sent her home. Meanwhile, I was wringing my hands on if I should return or stay for my mini vacation. Angie and I toiled over the decision until I listened to her experience a contraction over the phone and I knew it was time. One canceled hotel, one cancelled car, and 1 flight change and I was on my way. Unfortunately, I had 7 hours before the flight left. 

Back in Arkansas, the contractions got quicker and more intense. Angie's mom gathered her up and took her to the hospital. I was still sitting in the airport. Delynn, my colleague (who is 7 months pregnant herself), kept me pretty calm for the next few hours.  I even helped Angie through a few contractions over the phone. She was only 3 centimeters at that point. Plenty of time... right?

However, just before getting on the plane she was at 6 and heading for the epidural. This is the exact moment that I started 



A 2 hour plane ride with no updates. Even Delynn stopped pretending I had plenty of time. 

By the time I landed, an entire plan had been put in motion. My quick phone call revealed Angie was 10 centimeters and ready to push.  I also found out I had people waiting on me. The plane crew let me off first and the Gate crew ran with me to clear a path through the airport. 

Maisha was at the top of the escalator wanting my keys and directing me to a white SUV waiting at the terminal. Julie was waiting in her Land Rover with a police escort. As we flew through the back roads, Julie's glee at being in a police convoy kept me distracted. We survived the back roads and as we barreled down I-540, Julie explained my exact route through the ER door to my wife's room. 

Meanwhile, Maisha convinced a incoming airport passenger to drive her around the airport economy lot until she located my car. 

As I arrived at the hospital, I jumped out, got through the doors and made it just in time. The stirrups were in place and the pushing started immediately. 1 hour later, after a heroic effort by Angie, Kate Lauren entered the world. 5 lbs 1 oz, 19 inches long at 11:45pm. Mom and baby are great. Kate has a full head of brown and the tiniest hands imaginable. 

I'm a proud dad and now I get to lose sleep all over again. A heartfelt thanks to Linda, Delynn, Maisha, Julie, the police, the passengers of flight 6729, and the Willow Creek staff for a crazy, stressful and ultimately wonderful experience. 

And of course thanks to my lovely wife who did the hard work while I sat in an airport.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010


I read a good bit on many subjects.  Some stuff is for fun, some stuff is heady, and a lot of it is Crossfit related.  Predictably, I find fun, funny and enlightening quotes.  Oddly, I remember them.

There are two types of people in this world, Crossfitters and candyasses. - Glassman

I'm a fitness whore....if I find something that works I use it. - Glassman

Why do I keep dreaming about wall balls?

Discipline is the act of doing something good for you.  Self-Control is the act of avoiding something harmful to you.

There is no "I" in "Team", but there is in "WIN", so get the hell outta my way!

If I could just grip it a little longer, I could finish faster. - A Xfit 540 attendee

Words inspire, actions motivate. - Me

I'd finish faster if I wasn't so slow. - Another Xfitter

I hate burpees more than my ex-girlfriend.

Wall balls are my kryptonite.

We exist on the margins of decrepitude. - Glassman

All my workout clothes are the same color... chalk.


Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Narcissism, Affirmation, Facebook, and WODs

Can I be more random in a title?

I read an article the other day about Facebook and narcissism.  In a nut shell, a "scientific study" found that the heaviest users of Facebook are narcissists.  A quote: "Facebook provides an ideal setting for narcissists to monitor their appearance and how many ‘friends’ they have, the study said, as it allows them to thrive on ‘shallow’ relationships while avoiding genuine warmth and empathy."

The main behaviors are "friend farming" and frequent posts about accomplishments.  Evidently, this also implies that the person is insecure about themselves.  I put the "study" in quotes because I think studies that tell us things that are common sense are hilarious.  How many studies have been completed to tell us that vegetables and fruits are good for us?  Dumbarses.  Hang on one sec, I need to finish my science grant request to study why humans have a nose.

Anyway, back to Facebook... isn't everyone a narcissist at some level?  Otherwise, aren't you headed to a mental institution or toward suicide.  If you don't like yourself, how else are you supposed to cope with life everyday.  My parents called it confidence and it's needed as long as it doesn't approach hubris.  Regardless, I find there is probably some truth to it.  It made me glad that I only post once or twice a day and that I don't accept friend requests from people I don't know.  (Does it make me a narcissist that I just patted myself on the back for not being a narcissist? - Man, my head hurts!) 
I think Facebook has been successful for a much basic reason, affirmation.  Beyond, eating, drink, sleep and shelter, people have one very basic need ... to feel connected to someone.  Affirmation.  Want to be loved and have more friends than you know how to handle?  Affirm people, sincerely, truthfully, and poignantly. Ever notice how once you start commenting on someone's status, you magically get a return of the favor?  Try it sometime.  Pick the least well known person on your list and start commenting, once a day, on them.  By tomorrow, the favor will be returned.  I'll bet you 50 burpees.

Think about people you know that seem like they should have a lot of friends, but really don't.  They are nice, but my guess is that when it comes right down to it, they never affirm others.  They are too self-centered or self-absorbed to think about it.  They need affirmation but never return the favor, or if they do, it is shallow and people see right through it.

Do I affirm enough?  Sort of.... I suck in some areas and do pretty well in others.  I probably don't affirm my closet friends and family nearly enough.  God knows I have the best people around me but I don't always tell them how great I really think they are.  (This is normally where an author makes a bold promise to improve... but I'm not stupid!  I'll try to improve, but without the grandiose declaration.)

Affirmation.  It works, try it.  You need to do to yourself during WODs.  It helps your box-mates.  Holly set a PR EASILY one day after a strong affirmation from a box-mate when right before that, she was convinced she would not.  I set PR's every time I tell myself I will.  BUT, and its a big one, your affirmation needs to be sincere and truthful.  If you really aren't capable yet, a simple affirmation won't work.  But if that capability is somewhere deep down inside, you just need to tell yourself that its coming out and showing the world today, right now, in this box, during this WOD.  Tell yourself the PR is coming, then go and set that MFer.

Sorry this blog sucked... (clearly that is a desperate cry for affirmation.)

One final thought:  Words inspire others, but actions motivate them.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Zone: The Good, the Bad, and the "Really?"

I’ve been Zoning for a while and have a few things to say!  There is much good, much bad, and a few surprises.

-          The Zone works.  While it is true that it is a caloric restrictive diet, most people have more food than they can eat.  My muscle strength has gained while fat has melted off.  My results in the gym have convinced me beyond a doubt.  What started as an experiment has become a full blown lifestyle.
-          Salsa (carb block) and guacamole (fat block) makes SO many things taste great.  I hate green beans, but 'salsa green beans' ROCK.
-          The best “unfavorable carb” is a corn tortilla.  Fish tacos, chicken tacos, black bean tacos….yummy.
-          Most “ethnic” cuisine is healthy until you “Americanize” it.  Greek salad are very balanced if you add chicken or fish.
-           Natural peanut butter (fat block) on a ½ oz of very dark chocolate (carb block) is about the best damn thing ever.

-          I get really hungry between breakfast and lunch but can barely eat all my food for lunch/ snack/ dinner/ snack.
-          Reheated tilapia is the nasty thing on earth.
-          Cooking broccoli STINKS.   I feel bad for the people near the kitchen where I work.  It must suck to be toiling away only to have me bring a steaming, stinking pile of broccoli by their desk.
-          Black beans smell GREAT cooking, but make interesting smells later.  Make sure you have them in the evening or on weekends.  NEVER EAT THEM IN THE MORNING (especially if you work in an office environment) :D
-          No matter how hard you try, how much you season it, chicken tastes like chicken.  It never tastes like steak or hamburger.

-          One bodily function is really reduced (#2) while another dramatically increases (#1).  I guess it proves veggies and fruits are mostly water.
-          I don’t like “cheat meals” as much as I thought I would.  I like “little cheats” during a good meal versus the whole meal.  I feel like crap after a “bad” meal and it’s not worth it.  But adding a piece of cheese bread or goldfish crackers to an otherwise healthy meal is AWESOME.
-          Weighing yourself is an even WORSE measurement for “zoners”.  After tracking my weight every day for almost 8 months, I am considering not weighing myself anymore, it pisses me off too much.
-          Zoners are like Stoners but healthier.  We are obsessed with our habit, taking “hits” 5 times a day at prescribed times, in prescribed amounts in order to get the “next high”.

Monday, August 16, 2010

New Crossfit WODs!

I have been selected to think up a few names for upcoming WODs.  In the Crossfit mantra that is bigger, better, faster, stronger; I assume the WODs need to be tougher than ever.  Here are my submissions.*

11. The"Defibrillator"
10. Filthy 50 Gone Bad
9. Lunge 5k
8. "The Jester" - you repeat the WOD.... back to back.... in 101 degree heat.  You must repeat until you improve your previous score.
7. Karen and Randy "sittin in a tree"... look it up, think about it, cry.
6. Tabata Fran
5. The "WTF is Trevor thinking?"
4. "The Relo" - everyone grabs a bumper plate, barbell, and wallball.  Then run to the new location. **
3. Medusa (you don't want to know)
2. "Payback" - 10 burpees for every time you took water without paying, dropped a bar too hard, or said the "F - word".  Cut off is 2 hours.

and the #1 is:
Adam "the Murph" Brown

Bryon ***

* This is a joke.  No one wants me naming WODs.
** disclaimer, CF540 is not moving.  It's a joke people.
*** MOST of my blogs are full of sarcasm, except when they aren't.  Got it?