Day 22: Double unders

Posted: February 22nd, 2012 | Filed under: CrossFit, Food Diary, Lessons Learned | 2 Comments »

I’ve been practicing double unders every day for about the last few weeks and I’m quite happy to share that for the first time ever, I did a WOD entirely with double unders. No modifications (no halfsies or 5:1 singles mod). RX.

Wow. I’m so Awesome. Aren’t I wonderful? Not really. Let add some context for you…

I started going to Forever Strong about two years ago and recently started taking double unders seriously enough to practice them everyday for the last six weeks. Recently. In the last six weeks. Why didn’t I do this on my first day, 1 year and 10 months ago?

As far as I was concerned, the 5:1 singles modifications were good enough for me.

Whatever, I’ll just do singles. I’ll figure out double unders some other day.

Gunnery Sgt Hartman knows the truth

(By the way Figure It Out is secret procrastinator’s code for “I don’t want to face the fact that I have to put in a lot of work to get something done.”)

I’d come in on days with a double under WOD, get the rope, throw down a few half assed attempts, then sigh and realize that I’d have to figure it out some other day. Again.

This happened all the time. But you know what really made me mad? Doing a workout and watching other people fly through their double unders. Fortunately, getting mad at myself is one way I get motivated. After repeatedly getting the beat down, I gave myself a month to master double unders. It’s taken me 6 weeks so far, oops. I go three times a week, and only practice for 5 minutes during warm ups.

Here’s the video that helped me the most.

Double Unders from Again Faster on Vimeo.

For the first two weeks, I only picked up the rope during my warm up, then did 5 singles + 1 extra high jump.

In the third and forth week, I learned how to whip my wrists forward quickly enough during the extra high jump, incrementing the number of double unders on each subsequent visit to the gym.

In the last two weeks, I learned how to time my jumps and keep my posture. I’m still learning, so at the moment, I’m alternating between singles and doubles.



  • 2 hard boiled eggs


  • 10, 8, 6, 4, 2 Clean and Jerk 115/85
  • 100, 80, 60, 40, 20 Double Unders

Yes, 300.


  • Eggplant lasagna


  • Chicken, fish, spinach, and green peppers w/ cayenne peppers marinade.


Day 16: Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the face

Posted: February 16th, 2012 | Filed under: CrossFit, Food Diary, Lessons Learned | 1 Comment »

At the Winter Open, I was impressed with how the athletes made everything look so easy. So easy in fact, that I almost forgot how much training it took to get to that point of performance. For every squat, ten thousand came before. For as many meters as they rowed, it was likely tiny compared to the total number of meters they have ever rowed.

I was thinking about that during today’s workout. For me, the biggest game I play during a WOD isn’t physical or technical–unless it’s double unders or handstand push ups. No, the biggest game I play is going on in my own head.

Part of this is because I like going in with a strategy. Here’s my inner monologue:

“All out in the first two rounds, then ease up on the third round, then all out in the last round! Okay, let’s go. Come on. Yeaaa!”

As if managing pain with magical strategy dust is somehow going to make everything okay. It’s not and it doesn’t. As Mike Tyson suggests:

Everyone Has A Plan Until They Get Punched In The Face

Just to be clear, there's no punching going in CrossFit

Deep down within me, I know I’m mentally handicapping myself by calling this a strategy, when it’s a more like a barrier. Something that holds people back. And if you take a step back and listen, you’ll hear them all the time.

“I’m not good enough”
“I can’t lift much weight”
“I can’t do a handstand push up”
“Box jumps, no freaking way!”

I get irritated when I hear other people saying it, and I get insanely more mad when I catch myself saying it.

The truth is, CrossFit brought out my tendency to erect barriers during highly intense situations and ever since I noticed that was happening, it made me wonder if this behavior was spilling over into other parts of my life. What other barriers have I created?

Riyad and I started CrossFit at around the same time. This quote reminds me of how I felt after about 6 months. Sometimes you just have to tell the voice of doubt to shut the fuck up and get past your own state of mind and execute the WOD even if your legs are burning, your heart is pounding, and you can’t feel your calves anymore.

But I didn’t do that today. I haven’t beaten my own mind, yet. But like the competitors in last week’s Winter Open who practiced distance rowing and speed squatting, beating the mental game will take practice. And that I can do.


  • Banana nut pancakes
  • Sausage links


  • 1 Round for fastest times: 500 m Row, 100 m Row, 250 m Row, 1000 m Row


  • More awesome quail
  • Side of butternut squash
  • Side of broccoli
  • Side of cauliflower


  • Pesto squash with chicken
  • Side of cauliflower
  • Side of broccoli

Yes, I know it’s only 4pm, but I’m forecasting what I’m having for dinner.

Day 15

Posted: February 15th, 2012 | Filed under: Food Diary | Comments Off


  • Two hard boiled eggs
  • One tablespoon of almond butter. Sounds gross, right?

Workout (saw this one at the Winter Open)

  • 1 Round for Time:
  • 400 m Run
  • 5 Rounds of: 5 Back Squats 225/155, 8 KB Swings 72/53
  • 400 m Run


  • Fauxghetti leftovers w/ half avocado mixed in. For that creamy, cheesy, substitute


  • Leftover quail.
  • Side of butternut squash
  • A whole avocado

Day 14: Valentine’s day

Posted: February 15th, 2012 | Filed under: Food Diary | 3 Comments »


  • Frittata’s and sausages.


  • Chipotle (My favorite: lettuce, fajitas veggies, steak, and guac)


  • Deboned a quail. Ate a quail
  • Side of butternut squash
  • Side of cauliflower and broccoli.

How to debone a quail.

Day 13: Keeping track of food is hard

Posted: February 13th, 2012 | Filed under: Food Diary | Comments Off

I don’t remember what I had in the last 5 days. Jeez, for a guy that loves to use technology to make life easier, I haven’t made this entire ‘daily journal’ process easy at all. Will have to research apps this week.

I also got back from the CrossFit Winter Open, which was incredible. Very inspiring. I took a boatload of pictures and will upload them later.

Daily Food Journal


  • Hard boiled egg
  • Frittata thingy with veggies


  • 6 Rounds for Total Weight + Total Meters. 1 Min to perform 4 Power Clean. 1 Min Row. (Score: 5001)


  • Leftover Massamum curry


  • Fauxghetti (Spaghetti squash w/ lamb & pasta sauce)

Day 8: Off to a good start

Posted: February 8th, 2012 | Filed under: Food Diary | Comments Off


  • Banana nut pancakes
  • Leftover pasta sauce

And…. I got lazy for the next 4 days.

Day 7: Week 1 Done

Posted: February 8th, 2012 | Filed under: Food Diary | Comments Off


  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Banana nut pancakes


  • The world’s most boring salad


  • Can of macadamia nuts.  They were awful. Hard and chewy, but I needed a snack.


  • Pesto spaghetti squash w/ tomatoes.
  • Date balls

Day 6: A new salad

Posted: February 6th, 2012 | Filed under: Food Diary | Comments Off


  • Banana nut pancakes


  • Penalty pushups: 3 Rounds for Time: 20 Front Squats 65, 20 Double Unders. A bar down or a missed under is an immediate 5 Push Up Penalty.
  • Did a bunch of singles instead. 5 to 1 ratio.


  • Cucumber and avocado salad w/ chicken (Just learned about this recipe today)


  • Cucumber and avocado salad w/ tomatoes and arugula (I had to have it again)
  • Spaghetti squash w/ pasta sauce and ground lamb
  • Date balls

Beating Superbowl Sunday

Posted: February 5th, 2012 | Filed under: Lessons Learned, Paleo | Comments Off

My current 30-Day Challenge takes place over Super Bowl Sunday. I’m sure the organizers thought this would be funny *wink* *wink *nudge* *nudge* if you know what I mean.

So you’re probably thinking about how today only happens once a year, which totally makes it okay to cheat, right? I have some news for you.

There will always be a Birthday Party, or a Baby Shower, or an Easter, or some Out Of Town Friends Who Are Visiting, or a Chinese New Year (Dim sum is my Kryptonite), or a Super Bowl Sunday, or a Valentine’s Day, or some equally Important Event Where People Celebrate By Eating Food Together™.

Believe it or not, I love these days because I get to test out different ideas for staying on track. Here are a few tactics I use in situations like a Super Bowl party.

  1. Eat before heading out to the party. By filling up on food, I’m making myself less likely to gorge when temptation strikes. In this case, temptation is a being surrounded by friends drinking beer and eating cheesy buffalo chicken dip.
  2. Make or bring a dish. I keep a recipe for guacamole deviled eggs ready for such events. Alternatively, I’ve also brought fruit or salad trays if I’m in a rush. The idea is to keep options open. I don’t ever want to decide between eating potato chips, driving to the nearest grocery store for a fruit bowl, or exerting willpower over my hunger. Convenience always win. Second place is my stomach.
  3. Keep a can of nuts in the car.  In the event that the guacamole deviled eggs are a smashing hit, it’s critical to have something as backup. Nuts are a quick and easy backup, but any snack will do: raisins, grapes, cherry tomatoes, fudge balls, etc. Just have backups stashed nearby.

Did you notice that in each of these tactics I either raise or lower specific barriers? I’m finding ways to increase or decrease certain habits. For example, in the first tactic, I make it harder to eat bad food (by filling up) and in the second and third tactics, I make it easy to eat good foods (by having it conveniently available). This is one of the strategies I’m using to stay on track and crush the competition.

Day 5: Leftovers

Posted: February 5th, 2012 | Filed under: Food Diary | Comments Off


  • Skipped. Lame. I know.


  • Fajita leftovers
  • Lasagna leftovers
  • Side of guacamole
  • Iced coffee. Black

Having leftovers make life a bit easier.


  • Lots of nuts.


  • Meatloaf leftovers
  • Fajita leftovers
  • Side of guacamole
  • Bunch of fudge balls