Recently in crossfit Category

I was on Facebook, and talking to the erudite wordsmith Chris Halleron about the subject of "man boobs" & exercise (you know, we are so sophisticated) when he said, "What does your precious little Crossfit bring to the table?".

Good question, Chris. Here's my answer:

I re-read what I wrote and basically is a good impression of what I thought when I joined. I think its more than a gym, its really more like you join a country club because you see the same people all the time, and instead of golfing or tennis you are surrounded by people who want to be in shape. At a gym, you get all kinds of people the meatheads, the moms on the ellipticals, the guido who skips leg day, the yuppies who have no idea what they are doing, the stalkers, the strange guy with the headphones and sings out loud, and others.

Most of the the people I met at the CrossFit Hoboken are a pretty "normal" sampling of Hoboken. 20's & 30's year olds - and i'm 41 yet don't feel out of place, there are other 40-somethings. I go on average 3 days a week, but I really aim for 4 when I can and even 5 sometimes (life just gets in the way). Everyone checks their ego at the door, and its just a friendly environment. Strangers patting each other on the back.

Remember this isn't like a gym where you go and workout by yourself, put on your iPad and lift, rest, lift, rest. You go there, do a group stretch with a light warmup. There's instruction on what we are doing (like deadlifts, cleans, jerks, presses, etc) on proper form and how to pick the correct weight. There's a 5 minute window to get the correct weight and then its "Go Time", and you go intense for X minutes (it varies).

I think the reason why everyone turns into Mormons over it varies. Rather than spreading the "Good News" (HE IS RISEN!) - I just think if more people did it, they would see a remarkable change in their body shape. People make a ton of excuses. "I'm too busy!" "Oh, I can't do THAT." "I don't want to be big and bulky weightlifter!" "I can't diet, I love food too much."

I have heard it all. I'm just as bad. I love food. I love bad food. I work out so I can keep enjoying food like Shake Shack and know that Crossfit will at least make keeping the weight off easier. Hey, there's some people who can self motivate go to a gym or run on a treadmill for an hour. I'm not one of them. I need someone to kick my ass a bit, but don't need a Gunnery Sergeant shouting at me. I like the people there, the trainers are awesome. I like the other people who work out there, and its a nice community. I think just some people are scared of new things and eventually people will actually realize how great it is - if they just give it a try.

Crossfit Hoboken has a free class on Wednesday at 6:45pm and Saturday at 10am.

One of the most common refrains I hear about Paleo is that it is too difficult to maintain. I say that is bullshit.

Bullshit. There. I said it again. Its really not that difficult to maintain a healthy Paleo diet and enjoy eating.

I'm probably in the best shape of my entire life right now. I'm not an Adonis. I don't walk down the street and people marvel at my muscles. I don't have 4% body fat. I'm at a normal, healthy place and did it by eating Paleo and doing Crossfit 4-5 days a week. Compared to other people my age, i'm fairly sure i'm in the top 10% when it comes to healthy looking & feeling.

My point of writing this isn't about patting myself on the back, but trying to get YOU the reader to motivate. I have a ton of friends who are frustrated with their bodies. They point at some part of their body and ruefully wish that there was an easy way to lose weight and look good without having to eat salad for every meal, while wishing they could have ice cream.

I'm telling you - its easier that you think. You just need to follow my plan. Why? Well, it worked for me and I was still eating pizza, hamburgers, ice cream, pasta and bread - all of those "OH GOD YOU CAN'T EAT THAT" types of food.

I want to state, again, that i'm not in perfect shape. I still have body fat. There's some girls at Crossfit that can kick my ass in workouts. That's life. There's always going to be someone who has a better body or is stronger than you. My point here is that you can do Paleo, lose weight and still eat "BAD FOOD".

Consider that we have 7 days in a week. 3 meals in a day. That's 21 meals. Right? Well...read on for my suggestions.

Instead of 3 meals on Saturday & Sunday, try to do 2 meals. Instead of eating Paleo on weekends...eat whatever you wish. Your goal isn't eating 6 bad meals on Saturday & Sunday but trying to eat 4 bad meals.

But, you can only really do this if you eat strictly Paleo from Monday to Friday. Also, you need to work out at least 4 days week. Doesn't need to be Crossfit. But it does need to be a workout where you are breaking a sweat. Walking on a treadmill at 3 miles per hour does not count, even if you burned "1,000 calories". If you must walk - do it at a vigorous pace. My friend Chris hates to run - so he walks at 4.5 miles per hour and works up a great sweat for 1 hour of walking. Sure, it takes longer but that's HIS way of doing cardio which is 100% fine.

That's my method right now. I eat pure Paleo from Monday to Friday. No sugar. No bread. No pasta. No rice. No beans. No alcohol.

Weekend comes? Hooray - drink up, have some pizza. Enjoy some Rita ice cream. Go to Fiore's and have a roast beef special. Drink a beer or three.

Results? I lost weight. I feel great. I'm alert. I do NOT get sleepy at work at 2pm. I'm not eating salad at every meal. I have fruit. Bacon. Meat. Veggies. Etc. I drink my coffee black now...and (gasp) I like it black now. I have tried coffee with cream and I feel like i'm drinking a hot milkshake. Once you appreciate black coffee....GOOD black coffee you will find the nirvana of what good coffee really tastes like. Oh, and for a treat drop in dark chocolate into your hot coffee. Delicious!

One secret is that I use Paleo Cuisine. I can't tell you enough how great it tastes. I'm telling you right now that if this was mass produced and available like McDonalds that more people who gladly eat Paleo over the crap that is out there right now. Its delicious. Plus takes 8 minutes to get ready. One of the biggest issues I had with Paleo is making food for myself would take 30-45 minutes of prep time, and other 30-45 minutes to cook. Now I get home from Crossfit, boil water - drop in your entree & side bag of food and its ready in a few minutes.

Breakfast is easy for me. I eat the same thing every day - Bacon, 3 egg omelette (varies on what veggies or protein I have in there) and a fruit cup with black coffee.

Lunch? Dig Inn has been my "go-to" place. I also do Benny Burritos Mexican salad with chicken for lunch or maybe 1/2 rotisserie chicken with veggies from Dirty Bird To Go. That's basically my rotation for 5 days a week. I sometimes even order whole wheat wraps from Benny's 1 day from Monday to Friday.

OH NO. THAT'S NOT PALEO!!!!!!

See. But its one meal. Maybe you want rice one day. Go for it.

The problem with "diets" is people get so fixated on the rules. I use Foursquare to check in and still get "THAT'S NOT PALEO!" when I check into places like Rita's Ice Cream. Big deal. Are you losing weight? Do your jeans fit great? How do you look in the mirror? If the answers are positive then you are doing something right.

My goals now are trying to take things to the "Next Level". Last weekend I did three "cheat" meals and one Paleo meal. Maybe I get my cheat days to one day (Saturday) instead of two days. Maybe I try to start drinking Paleo-friendly alcoholic beverages like red wine, and cutting out beer - or get to the next level and see if I can drink one day a week instead of two or three.

But that's me. Where are you at right now? If you are bummed about your body and really want to lose weight - I can help. But you have to stop lying to yourself.I had a friend who would order a salad every day for lunch. Every day. But she would have it with "Light Ranch On The Side". She would dip her fork of food in it and every day i'm sure she thought to herself "I'm eating salad everyday!"

She wasn't. She was slathering on the "light" ranch dressing and wondering why her stomach and hips were getting bigger every year. When she would workout, she would go on the stairmaster at a low speed and read a magazine like US Weekly. If you are working out at a pace where you can read a magazine - you might not be working out. If you cry about "not having enough time to work out", you are lying. Crossfit takes 45 minutes. They have morning, afternoon and night classes. People who say they can't find the time to workout just don't WANT to find the time.

That's my rant. Get off the couch. Get sweaty. Eat healthy, and allow for "cheat weekend" - and get yourself to "Level One Paleo".

Paleo Part 2 - Week One!

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I decided to "Go Paleo" again. For a few reasons:

1. I'm overweight. I weighed myself the other day and I was 233 pounds. I have never, in my life, been over 230 pounds. I'm 6'4, so technically its not quite the same when you are 230+ pounds and 5'9 - but still.

2. I feel like crap after eating. Literally falling asleep at my desk as my blood sugar skyrockets. Or, on the weekend, I take about a 2 hour nap.

3. I'm wearing my "fat jeans". Enough said.

4. I come home from work and often would just nap with Rocco next to me. Wake up around 7 and get something to eat.

5. I restarted Crossfit about a month ago, after taking the last 3 months off. I kept coming up with excuses. First it was Hurricane Sandy. Then it was "the holidays". Once January rolled around it was "too cold". I finally signed up by 2nd week of January and it was like starting all over again. I was so weak. My back hurt. My legs hurt. Kept putting off things.

I'll be first to admit that my willpower is my biggest issue. I have a sweet tooth. I like cupcakes and Tastykakes. Seriously, its bad. Secondly, i'm inherently lazy. Cooking for myself versus walking three blocks to get a sandwich is a no brainer. Plus I like beer and wine - and scotch. My drinking really isn't like it used to be, but usually 2-3 drinks on a Friday or Saturday.

The hardest part of eating right is the planning. Having food on hand in a pinch or when it is late and you are hungry and don't feel like chopping, cooking and cleaning up. There are a few ways to get around that, especially with Hoboken. La Isla makes a great rotisserie chicken breast. Chipolte you can get a naked lettuce bowl with protein and salsa. I'm not letting condiments stop me so i'm allowing for a ketchup packet with my eggs, for example.

What was getting me down was that I first tried Paleo where I allowed for alcohol. Then I allowed a cheat meal. Then I had a cheat day. Then pretty soon I was thinking "Oh, I was good for 5 out of 7 days..."

It starts to cascade. A few days ago I was eating Pop-Tarts after lunch at work. Something had to give.

So, here we are. Technically it is Day 3. I started on Wednesday. I wasn't planning to write about this, but I changed my mind because I figure it would hold me accountable. Plus, I figure I need things to write about, and haven't been updating the blog very often and didn't want to wax poetic on my Facebook about eating.

I plan on being 100% honest until Easter Sunday. No sugar. No bread. No dairy. No beans. No corn. No alcohol. I have 37 days left. Think I can do it?

Comments or Questions? Email me! Philly2hoboken {at} gmail.

I told friends I started the diet for two reasons. One, I felt like my old diet plan was good, but most of my weight stabilized, and I wasn't really losing or gaining weight. Two, I wanted to see if there was a major difference in my Crossfit gains while working out.

Now, I did ramp up my Crossfit a lot. I went from 3-4 days a week to 5 days a week. Now each class is 'only' 45 minutes, and we focus on various muscle groups that each class is basically unique. So i'm hitting all body parts, rarely repeating exercises and some days we are doing strength and some days we are doing conditioning. It's good and I like it - plus I am seeing decent, if not grand improvements in my strength and conditioning.

The Paleo for the last week, I am starting to hit a slight rut with my cooking. When I first started I was excited to try new recipes. Now, I get home from the gym and want to eat without having to cook for very long. Most of my dishes take at least 30 minutes prep time and cook time, if not longer - especially if I forgot an ingredient, like i'm missing a certain spice, herb or vegetable.

Oh, here's my million dollar idea, after cooking Paleo for a month. Someone needs to come up with a compact spice line (similar to this - but maybe smaller and more choices for the random spices, so you have 30 spices available, not 15. Also the ability to change names on the bottles). Most spices, like that from FreshDirect or in your local store, are in 8 ounce bottles, or a 1/2 cup. I don't know about the rest of the world, but I have spices in my spice rack which could be over 3+ years old. I'm not talking Oregano or Basil, but the random spices for the "one time I made this dish..." kind of spices like saffron or cumin.

Spices aren't that expensive, really, at $3 for basil or oregano. Maybe more 'exotic' ones can be $4-5. I know saffron can be ridiculously expensive.

You know what the problem is? Not the price - but the size. Wouldn't it be nice to have a whole spice rack, compact, that costs $1 per spice, each in a glass vial about 3-4 ounces? Certainly you can get larger, more commonly used spices if you wish. My spice cabinet is overflowing with spices and often finding the coriander or chili powder involves me taking out about 10 different spices before I can find it.

My idea would be a compact spice rack, with small vials (like test tubes, and lids) of each ingredient, and keep the price low, but the quality high (from packaging to content). I would surmise these are your 15 "basic spices" that every chef should have on hand.

15 spices - $15 dollars instead of paying $50-60. Plus every year you could replace your whole spice cabinet for $15 to have fresh spices on hand every year. Most people agree that ground (not while) spices should be replaced every 6 to 24 months, and will lose flavor after six months.

So think about your marketing. You are selling the idea that you will always have on hand fresh spices, at a low cost, and market it online. Plus, once someone buys your bottle packaging, you can just sell them the spices in a plastic bag, which they can just refill into your special, well crafted bottles.

The only problem would be getting the word out and marketing it. There's lots of places to buy spices online. The key would be figuring out a way to distinguish yourself from the pack. I would think that Fresh Direct could do something like that....now only if I had a contact over there...

Back to Paleo...

I think it's a good diet, and easily do-able by anyone. The key is being prepared. The second key is getting rid of any 'cheat' foods you have in your home. Paleo makes a big deal about rice, wheat, beans and sugar as the 'bad foods' to avoid. It's nearly impossible to avoid them when you want something fast and on the go. We talk about sugar being the reason why our society is so overweight, but we have to think that empty carbs from wheat and other sources have to come into play here. Plus the explosion of gluten & celiac diseases certainly lends credibility to this.

The problem is just convenience to preparing and eating. But i think that's true for any diet, and not just Paleo.

For those keeping score at home, i'm down to 213 pounds. 4 weeks and 8 pounds, about 2 pounds a week, so I think that's healthy. My jeans are fitting great, and starting to see serious ab definition. I'm thinking I should be 210 by the end of this. Anyone getting married in 6 weeks and you need to lose 12 pounds (the healthy way?)?

Week 4 Update On Paleo

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The paleo diet started on January 9th and this is week four. My friend Matt emailed me, "Three weeks I guess.. how do you like Paleo?"

The Good:

1. It's much easier than I thought. I remember on my old diet it was very repetitive and after three weeks I was DYING for diversity in my meals. It's fairly easy to plan, since I started with a few paleo-centric cookbooks to plan out my meals.

2. I was already kind-of-sort-of doing a good diet Monday thru Friday before I started paleo. Brown rice, sweet potato, meat, vegetable etc was already part of my meal plan, but I probably cheated a lot more than I should have. With the Paleo Challenge from Crossfit, I paid $100, and will get $50 back if I complete the plan for 45 days. So there's a financial incentive to stick to it. Plus, if i'm chosen as the (male) winner I get what's in the pot. So far I have been adhering to the rules, and haven't cheated (as far as I know - zomg! that balsamic dressing had 1 milligram of sugar in it!!).

3. If you plan out your meals for the week it's easier. Where I would run into trouble is when I didn't plan my dinners out well enough and then be missing an ingredient (where's my coconut milk!?) and then be stuck. Fortunately, I kinda learned a few quick meals to make over the years which aren't that exciting but do the job. And, i'm always game for a steak and sweet potato dinner.

The Bad:

1. I don't feel "amazing". I thought maybe after a few weeks my energy levels would soar, and i'd be sleeping great. My sleep still sucks, but I think (not sure) my snoring must be reduced since I did lose 7 pounds and alcohol makes snoring worse. Rocco isn't complaining that i'm keeping him up.

2. Crossfit "gains" haven't nearly improved like I would have liked. I have gone to Crossfit since Jan 9 about five days a week, except for last week when I hurt my shoulder. I thought maybe i'd see (by now) some serious strength increases, but i'm still feeling weak in most classes, and still doing beginner weight levels. In our last "Fight Gone Bad" workout I scored a 170, and probably should have been around 200. I know these numbers probably don't mean anything to you, but they aren't good. The top end people are scoring 300+. It's still early on this, but now have to start re-thinking what i'm doing wrong here. I got the diet down, and been attending all the classes - I may need to hit my condo gym after class and just work on weights on my own. I'm definitely getting fitter, no doubt, but not sure if i'm getting 'stronger'.

3. I still miss pizza, sandwiches and alcohol. I would be lying if I said i'd do Paleo for the rest of my life. I don't have cravings for those things, it's more like a wistful remembrance of how good they were. I would (hope) that once the diet ends I can just do it during the week, and on the weekends try to "cheat less". Maybe try to keep two "meals" over the weekend where I can have a Fiore's roast beef or one meal is a personal pizza from Grimaldi's. Plus, making plans with friends where you cannot drink is nearly impossible (at least with my friends) - "Hey! Want to see a movie? Hello? Hello?"

That's about it. Bottom line is that the diet works, i'm halfway through it, but really will see where I am around day 45 before I give it a thumbs up or thumbs down.

Week 1 down, Week 2 Begins!

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What has surprised me most after a week of eating Paleo, is how my food cravings have been fairly low. I fully expected to be "dying" for cookies or candy or cupcakes by now, and really it's been a non-issue. Also I have found this diet to be fairly easy, thanks to Robb Wolf's book The Paleo Solution.

It already has a 30 day mealplan in the book. So I have been following it nearly to the letter. I haven't had any refined sugar. No wheat. No grains. No rice. No dairy.

So far it has been smooth sailing.

My Crossfit workouts haven't dramatically changed. I still get gassed real fast like I used to. I am hoping that after a week on real food that I see faster gains. I went to class five times last week, and plan to go five times this week, whereas in the past I usually went 3-4 times a week to Crossfit.

What has surprised me is how I tell people what i'm doing and the (mostly) negative reactions to it. You try to explain to people the plan and there's a tremendous amount of resistance. No bread? Not even wheat? No cheese??

Listening to people fret over the idea of not being able to eat their favorite foods anymore sort of reminded me when I quit smoking cigarettes. I remember when I quit smoking, how "drinking wouldn't be the same", "watching football wouldn't be the same", "a cigarette after a meal wouldn't be the same".

But once I quit, you got used to it.

Whatever the same pleasure receptors we have in our head for cigarettes must be tied to food. No doubt. That's why it's so hard to "diet". Plus if you look at most everything out there - there is sugar in everything. Or salt. The goal of the food industry is to pack sugar and salt and spike food like Marlboro spiked nicotine into cigarettes. It makes it really hard to quit, doesn't it?

I weighed myself yesterday. Started at 221 last week. I'm down to 218. 3 pounds in a week. Usually that's water weight. I don't have a goal for my weight, to be honest. I mean people put far too much stock into their weight. I'm just concerned about my mid-section, around my hips, stomach which seemed to retain the majority of my weight. Plus, I have zero interest in just losing weight if it involves losing muscle too. I took a 'before' picture with my camera (shirt off!) and will post that at the end of the 6 weeks.

My only issue with this diet is ONE thing. No alcohol. It's not about drinking, but it is about being social. I had two events to attend last weekend, one on Saturday, and one on Sunday. I didn't attend either. It's not fun being the sober guy in a bar when everyone else is drinking. And I didn't want the temptation to "just have one".

Also, coming up with idea to do things with your friends that doesn't involve drinking is a bit of a challenge. Movies? Hang out and watch TV? I gotta start thinking about things I can do on the weekend besides hanging out with Rocco or this is going to be a looooong five more weeks.

PC completed! Paleo Begins!

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My adventure in building a PC went fairly well. I ran into a few minor issues:

1. I bought everything to build the PC and forgot to buy a power supply. Oops! That set me back some $$ and a few days of waiting for it to be delivered.
2. I didn't buy a bracket for my SSD hard drive, and had to order that for delivery this week. A SSD hard drive is a Solid State Hard Drive, which is commonly used in notebook computers. Desktop users are buying them now, because they are faster than traditional hard drives. I put my Windows 7 operating system on the SSD drive, and my computer boots in about 15-20 seconds like a laptop. My old PC would be about double that speed. The SSD drive is basically wedged in my case at the moment, but it's no big deal.

Otherwise, building the PC was a lot easier than I expected. The only two difficult parts was attaching a heat sink to my processor, which wasn't hard, but nerve wracking applying thermal paste to my processor. The other difficult part was connecting up the wires in the case (LED lights, Boot button, Reset Button, Sound) to the connectors on the motherboard. I had barely any guidance aside from basic pictures included with the motherboard and i'm frankly shocked that my logical guesses were correct.

Otherwise, loading Windows 7 was extremely easy. Updating all my driver software was quick. I'm a guy who has been tinkering with PCs since 1986 and my memories are about how nightmarish it used to be. We definitely have come a long way since then. I don't know if i'd recommend this to anyone to try, you certainly need to have patience and a bit of computer/electronics know how. During lots of my build I have my iPad out and searching the web for answers or videos on "How to..." do something.

Aside from that, my Paleo journey begins today. I had all the food delivered on Sunday by FreshDirect. I woke up today, had a breakfast of 4 eggs, raw almonds and blue berries. Last night I cooked up chicken fajitas (chicken, onions, peppers, cumin, oregano, chili powder), and have a side salad of that ready today of lettuce & plum tomato. In my old diets it had me eating every 3 hours, which was a bit of work. I'm being told to just eat breakfast, lunch, dinner and if i'm struggling I can have a paleo snack at 3pm (I might have an apple or orange today at 3pm).

I'm cutting out all sugar, including any fake sugars like Splenda. I have done this before, and found that after a week without sugar, your tastebuds explode. Everything tastes better. I'm looking forward to that, because i'm already without my morning coffee and I can feel it. Ha ha.

I'll update here on my progress. Interesting enough is that my birthday is coming up on Feb 12, and my family and I plan to go out on Feb 11th or Feb 18th to celebrate. That will be Day 33 / Day 40 out of 45 of the 'diet'. Long way to go, but I wanted to stick to this at 100%, but I guess I can have a cheat meal by then...

Paleo Challenge: Accepted!

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I joined Crossfit last year, and I found the gym revolutionary. I have tried to convince my friends and family about it, and most people aren't interested. Each have their own reasons, or routines and don't want to rock their proverbial boat they are in.

I, on the other hand, constantly like to try new things & explore new ways of doing things.

My gains at Crossfit have been...OK. I tried to stick to my "Old Diet" while at Crossfit, but was doing it Monday thru Friday 100% clean, but then Saturday & Sunday taking "breaks". It worked, but I found my energy and gains at Crossfit were less than optimal to what I was expecting. I still can barely do pullups, it's my weakest exercise. I got better at other areas, like box jumps. But still felt like I wasn't getting stronger like I should be.

Often, I kept hearing from the Crossfitters about doing the "Paleo Diet". For a long time I just kept thinking "I know how to eat clean. 5 meals a day. Protein/Complex Carbs/Veg, no sugars, dairy, breads, pasta..." I didn't want to change.

But I kept reading about others doing the Paleo Diet and having remarkable results while doing Crossfit. I was intrigued. Curious. I'm not a big fan of "fad diets". I am more of a fan of being smart about what you eat. Limiting my bad food intake. Staying away from sweets and sugars.

The problem? It's not really working well enough.

I decided that it's a new year, a new diet, and going to eat, starting on Monday 100% Paleo for 7 days a week.

What is the Paleo Diet? You can read more about it here. In the most basic description, you just want to eat food that we, as humans, were meant to eat before the development of agriculture. We should eat Woolly mammoth and Sabretooth Tiger steak? Well, no - pro-Paleo advocates claim that genetically our bodies are virtually the same as they were at the end of the Paleolithic era some 20,000 years ago - and have not adapted to agrarian diets. We see plenty of people we know who are lactose tolerant, gluten allergies, peanut allergies or other autoimmune issues.

Here's what the diet basically details:

1. You can eat foods that can be hunted and fished, such as meat (steak, chicken, lamb, pork) and seafood (fish, shellfish, etc), and can be gathered, such as vegetables (including mushrooms), fruits, eggs, nuts, seeds, herbs and spices. All foods may be cooked, without restrictions.
2. Foods excluded from the diet, mainly grains, legumes (e.g. beans and peanuts), dairy products, salt, refined sugar and processed oils, although some advocates consider the use of oils with low omega-6/omega-3 ratios, such as olive oil and canola oil, to be healthy and advisable.
3. You are advised to drink mainly water, and some advocates recommend tea as a healthy drink, but alcoholic and fermented beverages are restricted from the diet.

So it appears that not only will I be on the diet for 45 days, but also on the wagon for 45 days. This will be...interesting. Anyone want to take odds on how long I last? I give myself about 21 days before I snap. But, with the Crossfit Challenge there is a $100 buy in. If I can stay on the diet for all 45 days, I will get $50 back. If I win the challenge, I win everything in the pot - more info on the Crossfit Hoboken website.

Suffice to say, I may be staying away from bars for the next 45 days. Sorry in advance if I am lame.

I have put in my order with FreshDirect yesterday, and using a diet plan from Robb Wolf's "The Paleo Solution".

I certainly will keep you updated here on my progress.

Baby Steps

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I couldn't find the Baby Steps video from What About Bob, but here's another great scene from an underrated movie:

Baby Steps.

Seems life is all about baby steps. If you didn't watch "What About Bob", it's about making small changes in your life towards an eventual goal.

One of those steps for me is my diet and working out.

I wrote previously about starting Crossfit, and now I have finished seven weeks, starting around the beginning of March. I first was going twice a week, it was all my body could handle. I recently upped to three times a week.

I'm still learning. Every class. It's hard. One of the things that I didn't like about lifting & working out was that we all get into a routine. I passed by an Equinox this morning and watched the people on the elliptical machines sweating it up, but they were like little robots. Same motion. Just swing the legs. Sweat the calories. Not getting stronger, and maybe losing weight if they do it for a long enough time.

I honestly believe that we, as a society, are lazy. We are lazy because we want it easy. Take a pill to lose weight. Do the "baby food diet" to lose weight. People cry about not being able to give up things or sacrifice. People get fixated on the word "DIET" when really eating should be about Baby Steps.

I love sweets. You name it, I love it. Cookies, cupcakes, chocolate covered pretzels and donuts are my weaknesses. Oh, not to mention pasta, pizza, bread and alcohol (beer and wine!).

Funny thing is -- I still eat them. I have no plans for a six pack. But, I do want to be healthier. So my attitude is pretty simple: Be healthy when you can. Cheat when you want.

My work diet is the same diet that I posted before. I start my day with a smoothie. 3 hours later I eat a fresh mixed fruit cup now (cantaloupe, melon, pineapple, blackberry, strawberry, grapes) instead of eggs & oatmeal. 3 hours after that I order from Qdoba rice, beans and chicken in a bowl. On workout days I eat another bowl of that 3 hours later and on non-workout days, I might 'cheat' and have guacamole & chips with it. For dinner, its sometimes healthy and sometimes not - and often I have one beer with my dinner.

Funny thing is, that if you broke down my diet, I really only eat one 'bad' meal a day, and certainly if I cut out that beer with dinner it would be that extra 150 calories I didn't need.

You know what? It's fine. To me, if 75% of my diet is good and I 'cheat' on 25%, I think i'm doing plenty better than the rest of the world - and i'm sane and not counting calories and panicked if I decide one day after work to go to Sweet Revenge after work and have a beer & a cupcake.

Since I started Crossfit, I have been feeling great. Probably the best of my life. I was brushing my teeth the other night, with my shirt off. I looked at my abs - and noticed my muscles. The last time I could actually see my abs was in NROTC at Villanova. Sure, I still have plenty of fat, and i'm a far, far, cry from a flat stomach. But it certainly make me laugh a bit to see progress after six weeks of Crossfit.

Baby steps. Baby steps.

Well it is one month later, and i'm done with my fundamentals classes.

When we started the class, I wrote about the "baseline" where we had to row 400 meters, do 15 air squats, 15 pushups, 15 situps...12 air squats, 12 pushups, 12 situps...9 air squats, 9 pushups, 9 situps...as fast as you can.

We did this in week 1, I saw it on paper and thought "No problem". I hadn't been to the gym in a few months, but lifted for four years at Club H. I wouldn't say I was buffed, but hardly felt like I was completely out of shape.

I completed the "baseline" in 9 minutes. Horrendous. I had to stop a few times to catch my breath that first week. I was literally collapsing when I got to the final pushups.

My final class I banged it out in 5:40. Not great, I wanted to be done in under 5 minutes, but hit my wall around the third round. I had to take a breather for 10 seconds and then pushed to finish everything.

Suffice to say, Crossfit is nothing like anything I ever experienced before.

Like I wrote, I lifted for years. Hats off to Tina for getting me into it, I used to laugh at people who were gym rats and were "so vain" about their bodies. Once I got into lifting, and started to get compliments on my appearance, it kind of gets addictive.

Plus, I was getting older, and when you are in your 20's it's easy to eat cheeseburgers and keep a trim figure - as I got older I found it was MUCH harder to shed some winter weight without starving myself.

Club H was the answer for me, and I have nothing necessarily against the gym itself, but I did find that some of the trainers there were cold and the fellow members really didn't interact much, if at all. I'm not expecting a social club, but I was always kind of put off by the types of people that Club H attracted - I would always say "Thank you" and "May I" when asking to use a machine or bench, and rarely get a nice reply in return.

Anyhow, Crossfit was like a breath of fresh air. First, truth be told, I do know some of the members there - like Meris, who is a trainer. She's part of the Philadelphia Eagles Club of Hoboken, and I have known her probably for 5 years now. But, for the fundamentals, she wasn't my trainer - I had Craig, and I didn't know anyone else I was training with in my class.

I think the best way to describe Crossfit would be like taking my Eagles club and combining it with a gym. There's really a sense of working together for a goal there, about being social and getting a kick ass workout. Everyone is friendly, meetings someone in your class and being helpful to each other is encouraged.

The only negatives I would say about Crossfit is that there's really no locker room, there's a changing room which is about 5x5 feet. I'm not looking for showers or a sauna, but I wouldn't mind something a bit better there. There's no benches or machines here. They have basic equipment for their training, but this wouldn't be something that you could join (like Club KO) where you can have the benefits of a gym along with your kickboxing. At Crossit, all the classes are instructor led. You can come to the gym during "free gym" times where the instructors won't be teaching and work on your form, using the free weights provided, and they can help you while working out.

The majority of the week there are classes which have the Workout of the Day (WoD), and are instructor led. They also have yoga on Saturday at 8:30 am. The Firebreathers class (higher intensity workout) and a Beginner's Class on Saturday at 10am (which is open to anyone interested in trying a workout at Crossfit). There's a mobility class which is taught once a week for improving flexibility. The classes are designed before work at 5:30am or 6:15 am or after work (5:15 pm, 6, 6:45, 7:30, 8:15), and are 45 minutes long.

Crossfit is designed to get you in, out, and tired from a good intensive workout.

But the fundamentals only taught me so much. I signed up for three months, and will see how the "normal" classes seem and keep you updated on what I think about it.

Team Hike, Open Letter, Crossfit Update

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1. Team Hike! A few years ago I wrote about "Team Hike", a group of friends from college who started a hiking/camping group that I met through my buddy Matt about four years ago. The Team Hike crew also did what they called "Team Extreme", which was hiking and camping during the winter, and I decided to do this with them over the Presidents Day weekend.

This had been planned for weeks, and we had no idea what weather to expect aside from it being winter. Snow? Wind? Cold Snap? Whatever was going to happen over the weekend, unless it was a blizzard, the team was going.

The hike itself took place near Tuxedo Park, NY, a bit over an hour's drive from Hoboken. We drove to the parking site, and hiked along the Appalachian trail, which was covered in snow, up to 8 inches deep in some places. The hike itself wasn't too bad, but the snow definitely made it harder. We hiked about two miles, found the site, which had a lean-to, and immediately started a campfire.

We had about thirteen guys on the hike, or "The Baker's Dozen" as "Gramps" (there are a lot of nicknames amongst Team Hike members) coined it. Our plan was to hike Saturday, camp Saturday night, and hike out Sunday morning. The only issue with the whole day wasn't the cold weather, but the wind. The wind itself wasn't the issue, but the campfire was swirling and blowing in all directions, which made it hard to stay warm when the smoke would blow directly in our faces, also sending ash & embers at us. As the night progressed the wind died down, but the temperature plummeted. We had lots of beer and liquor, and like any team hike we had a ton of people showing off their culinary skills and eating well wasn't an issue. I was stuffed before I turned it at 1am.

Some may ask - "How can you be in a tent when it's so cold?!"

Sure, it was cold, but actually I was in my sleeping bag, wearing a wool sweater with a few hand warmers lining the interior of the bag. By the time Matt woke me up at 7:30am, I was still happy to sleep for a few more hours. But, as we learned in the past, it's best to make an early exit and get back to Hoboken to beat any Sunday traffic.

2. Open Letter! In July 2010, I wrote an open letter to City Hall about creating an online ticket system. Imagine my surprise when I read Dawn Zimmer's State of the City speech on NJ.com and she wrote:
"Within the next several months we are implementing an online service request and complaint system. Through our web site residents will be able to submit and track all kinds of service requests, whether it's to report a pothole, graffiti, or a street that needs plowing.
This system will provide a performance measurement for my Administration, so that we can continue to increase accountability and better understand where our resources need to be directed. Residents should not need to figure out whether to email me, their council people or our directors to get a response. You should have one place to go, and you should be able to depend on a timely response.
This new system will be only the latest in our efforts to use technology to be more efficient and make services available online. As you may know, last fall our Recreation Division began accepting online registrations for recreation programs. People love this system, and it's helping us work more efficiently."

I'm not going to hold my breath to get a "Thank You" from City Hall for my suggestion. Still waiting for someone to take my next open letter ideas. From what I was told online registration for dog tags is in the works.

3. Crossfit! I'm entering week three. I can understand why they force everyone to do the fundamentals class first - no matter what your fitness level. I'm learning now that what I thought I was doing right was about 70% correct. My form was way off, and my endurance levels are low. Plus, my flexibility is in pretty bad shape, especially with my shoulders. Each class we are learning something new, and i'm also learning how weak I am. The one good thing about the classes is that they go really fast, and just at the moment you are hating the workout - it is time to leave. On an interesting side note, i'm kind of surprised about how many girls are into Crossfit. I was expecting this to be mostly guys - but in my training class alone we have 5 guys and 4 girls.

Here's the exercises we have learned in the last week:

Front Squats
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YOLc4MAx23Q

Thrusters
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4OhqIGYqELk

Wall Ball Shots
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TC2FmcPH64o&feature=fvsr

Overhead Squats:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wjuULPqI-WY

Medicine Ball Cleans:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=De0RpSAyu4g

4. Rocco! What? I haven't written about Rocco enough? Look, he's great. One funny thing about him is that when i'm watching TV, he will sit in front of me and just....stare. Here's a picture of him in action. 022311.jpg That's it. That's what he does. Sits there and doesn't move and tries his best to catch my eye. If I try to block him from seeing my eyes with my foot, he shifts slightly to the left or right to keep looking at me. As if to be using telepathy to say "YOU....MUST....PET....ME..."

Otherwise, Rocco is a great dog. Completely housebroken. Doesn't bark. Doesn't eat the furniture or my shoes. When he's unhappy, he snorts. His only downside is that he gets sick easily. If I expose him to the dog park too many days in a row, he will somehow find a way to get sick (respiratory infection & throwing up or bad diarrhea that goes on for days). Usually that means a trip to the vet and a $150 doctor's bill to fix him. This is the curse of the pure breeds.

Also everywhere I go, I still get stopped by complete strangers who fawn over him. Did I mention before buying a carabiner? I take Rocco with me anytime I need to run an errand, like going to CVS or Taco Truck or whatever. The only time I latch Rocco outside a store is when I can see him through the glass window or the door. I know there are some dog owners who completely refuse to do this - and that's their choice. At CVS, there are no windows to see Rocco, so what I do is talk to the homeless guys standing outside. I ask them if they can watch my dog, and I will pay them $1. I know most of the guys, and they are all really nice and know me by now. I go in, shop, and come outside and hand the guy $1 for watching Rocco. Everyone wins. Also, if there's no one outside CVS to watch Rocco, I wouldn't go into the store.

Plus, with Rocco I try to go to places that let dogs into their store. Hoboken Vine, for example, has always been dog-friendly, and even have treats behind the counter for dogs. Dames Coffee is also another dog-friendly business. I think I want to make a list of dog-friendly businesses in Hoboken.

Anyhow, that's all for now!

Valentines Day, Or As I Call It: "Monday".

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Last weekend was my birthday weekend. Unlike others, I kept it low-key and drama free. I invited a few guy friends out for cigars and to watch Nova vs Pitt on Saturday night at Wicked Wolf. In years past I had invited lots of friends out for bowling or a drink fest at the local pub. Wasn't really interested in that. The cigar store in Hoboken is cool because it's BYOB. So after four of us had some cigars and a few beers, we headed to the bar where a table was reserved to watch the game. Unfortunately the game was ridunkulously bad to watch - sloppy basketball all around. After the game, we said our goodbyes and I went back home.

Crossfit last week went well enough. In my last session, I learned the meaning of glamor muscles. If you aren't familiar with the term, then you must not watch It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In Episode 5.06: "The World Series Defense", Dennis explains to Mac that Mac's muscles aren't real muscles, but just for show:

Mac, Dee, and Frank arrive at the Park. Dennis notices their bleeding eyes. They desperately want to get into the Park, and Mac suggests he scale the wall.

Dennis: "Okay, I hate to tell you this bro, but you do not have the core strength to scale the façade of Citizen's Bank. You just don't."
Mac: "What!? I work out all the time!"
Dennis: "Yeah, but you only work out your glamour muscles, and you know it."
Mac: "I work out my core!"
Dennis: "No. You do not work out your core. You're totally arm heavy. You're all bis and tris and everything else is just... fat and ribs."
Mac: "Bro, I could do way more push ups than you and that's like 16 different muscle groups right there."
Dennis: "That is beyond retarded what you're saying right now. I could do way more push-ups than you even though I was just hit by a car."

They look at each other and get down on the ground to do push-ups.

What does this have to do with me? Well, I haven't lifted a weight since October. Crossfit was a cold splash of water last Thursday for me. Our first 30 minutes was all about technique of a deadlift and proper form.

I thought I knew how to do a deadlift. I have done them when I worked out, but they weren't part of my regular routine. But clearly after this workout, I had a lot to learn. We didn't lift heavy weights, we were just interested in getting the form right.

Once that was done we ended our sesson with the following:
Deadlifts w/kettlebell
Pushups
Situps

Not too hard, right? We started at 10 deadlifts, 10 pushups, 10 situps, then 9, then 8...all the way to 1 at our own pace.

Back to the glamor muscles - this is definitely me. I'm not ripped, but also not too flabby. Doing pushups my bi's and tri's were definitely standing out. Standing out and saying "YOU'RE WEAK!"

I knocked out the first 10 with no problem. Then I did the set of 9 without an issue. Once I hit 8...I also hit a wall. Crossfit is much different than lifting. When I lift, I can knock out 10 reps and 3 sets, get a good pump and do something else. Over the years that makes for decent arms and chest, but not much else. I rarely did situps in the gym. And it shows.

I was able to finish the workout, but I was dead last. I could have stopped when everyone else did (I was around 4 and gulping air), but I wanted to finish. I literally got to the point in the pushups where my muscles were giving out and I couldn't even hold myself up. To switch from pushups to situps, I couldn't even flip myself over right, it was like a half roll.

Yeah, I bet the girls there were impressed. LOL.

Anyhow, the good news is that I feel stronger and i'm also not very sore anymore. After winning my Super Bowl box pool last week, I figure I can take $800 of the money I won and put it towards 6 months at Crossfit. Happy Birthday, to me.

Hey! It's A Top 5 Random Stuff!

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I didn't have any great, major "events" to write one post about, so this will be a few quick stories to chew the fat on...but each one is mildly interesting...

1. Beer: Pacifico is dead, all hail Leinenkugel! Yes, it's true. I was out with friends the other night, and we are at the Cigar Store in Hoboken. Great thing about the Cigar Store is that you can smoke in the store, bring your own beer or liquor, and watch TV on their flat screen TVs. So, the other Saturday night i'm there with Jason, Chris and Keith - and Keith whips out a 6 pack of Leinenkugel. Leinenkugel? I never heard of that beer before. I scoffed it off, and drank my Pacifico.

The next night, my buddy Matt is watching his son, and his wife had a night out on the town with her friends, so he invites me over. I figure, hey, why not grab a 6 pack of Leinenkugel, and we can watch some NBA games. Bottom line? Buy Leinenkugel. Buy it now. This beer was so popular that on Super Bowl Sunday I went to Hoboken Vine, my favorite beer store in Hoboken, to buy Leinenkugel - and they were sold out. FUCK.

2. Whud Up Wid Dat? My "Whud Up Wid Dat" moment was the next day after #1 I woke up pretty tired on Saturday, cigars and alcohol gave me a wicked hangover, so I took a tylenol (which I normally don't do) because I had a massage scheduled at Body Balance for 10am - I didn't want a massage while my head was pounding. I took Rocco for a walk and nearly got into a fight.
There was a guy who parked his delivery truck in our condo driveway, effectively cutting off the sidewalk because of the large snowdrifts and the angle of his truck. His truck was wedged in such a way that there was no getting around him, I would have had to pick up Rocco, walk into the street around the back of his truck, through a puddle of slush & water. This delivery guy was working for the new construction at the Jefferson Trust Bank, and from Day 1, this new construction has been a pain in our ass at the condo. The developer has been rude and inconsiderate of the tenants living on the block. His car, and the cars of others are double parked along the street every weekend. It was just another aggravating instance, and with my hangover, my fuse was short to begin with.

I look around, and see a few construction guys milling around the outside of the building and say "Who's truck is this?", they all shrug their shoulders. I can see through the tinted window of the truck that there's a driver sitting there. I yelled at the window: "MOOOOOOOOOVVVVVEEEEE". The driver rolled down the window, with an angry look on his face and snapped back: "Bro, who do YOU think you're talking to? F*ck you, bro."

Well, i'm not one to back down - so we had a good 1 minute "Fuck you, no FUCK YOU" fest. I 'm telling him he's on our easement and it's our private property and he's telling me he's on the sidewalk, not the driveway. He's refusing to moving and snarls, "Go fuck yourself, I would have moved if you asked me NICELY." Fuck that. He's a fucking delivery guy driving a van, and thinks that *I* need to ask him all nice to move his fucking van from blocking the entire sidewalk??

It was getting to a point where either a fistfight starts or I call the cops. The delivery guy simply refusing to move and me being stubborn about walking AROUND his truck, I just called the Hoboken cops to report the guy blocking our driveway. A minute after I hung up the phone, a police cruiser was driving by with his window down. "Officer!" I yell. The police cruiser stops. "I called the front desk about this truck blocking our sidewalk...", I began. The police officer says, "OK, you called the front desk? Someone will be down to help you..." and drives off without saying why he couldn't take two minutes to help me.

His sirens weren't on. He was just rolling down the street. Maybe he had another call to go on - but I didn't get that impression. I got the impression he didn't want to deal with it.
The next cruiser shows up about 5 minutes later, but the guy driving the truck left by then.

3. Gambling: Every year I do a Super Bowl box. A friend of Chris's does a Super Bowl box, and it's $300 a box. $30,000 in the kitty. Well, wouldn't you know that we pull GB 1 and Pitt 7. Not bad numbers. NOT BAD AT ALL. Turns out we hit in the 3rd quarter on Sunday night, and won a cool $2,000 each. Huge win for a $150 investment. Although, i'm sure after all the years gambling on Super Bowl boxes i'm only up $500.

4. Online Dating: I really have to write a new and improved Dissecting A Personal Ad, after reading all the online dating personal ads - seems like not much has changed. I haven't used the site for a date, i'm kind of curious about it, and figure what the hell, may as well look around. I was out at Mulligan's last Saturday night, and the age range of women was 22-26 years old. Sorry, a bit too old for that age range & I detest the Manhattan bar scene.

5. Crossfit & Diet: Crossfit starts Tuesday & Thursday nights. Got a lot of email about that, and will write up my experience on it in a few weeks. I have been good about my diet. I have been strict during my work-week, cooking up my protein the night before, baking sweet potatoes on Sunday and refrigerating them, and steaming my vegetables (broccolini or asparagus) while I get ready in the morning. I pack it all in a tupperware container, and bring it into work. So far, I have had a few "cheat" meals, but if I eat maybe 20 times a week, I'd say I had 3 times where I ate something off the diet. 15% isn't bad. I lost about 10 pounds, and i'm back in my old jeans again. I still have a bit more to go, and hoping with Crossfit that it accelerates the process.

Crossfit First Impression

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Back in the day, I would spend every summer in Ocean City, NJ.

I was very lucky to have great parents who could afford a summer rental at the shore. Each summer, I would play at the basketball courts at 34th street, in pick up games. I wasn't some super star talent, but the games were fun, and I remember at the start of each summer how my lungs would burn after just one game, and i'd be gasping from running up and down the court. I'd get home and have blisters on my big toe, and my legs would be sore from the game.

Weeks would pass and my legs would get stronger, my endurance would grow, I could run multiple games in a row without a major problem. By the end of the summer, I was definitely in real good shape for basketball, and fall would come, i'd be back at school...and it would repeat the next summer.

When I went to Villanova I enrolled in NROTC. Both my brother in laws were Naval Academy graduates, and this motivated me to join the military. My first six weeks of college weren't about partying every night, but getting to bed early to be at PT by 5:45am - Monday through Friday. It was brutal stuff. Pushups, situps, jumping jacks, and pullups. Running until you are about to drop and finding that last burst of energy.

Why do I mention this now, when i'm supposed to be writing about Crossfit Hoboken?

Well, I was thinking of both of these things when I was gasping for air last Saturday. When the instructor towered over me saying "Lift up the medicine ball...higher. Higher. HIGHER!" When an extremely cute brunette girl was watching me do situps and motivating me with "Come on! Push! Do 1 more...1 more..." When I was done, and feeling like a weakling and would have a complete stranger pat me on the back and say "Good job, man".

At one point of time I wondered what the hell I was thinking by doing this. It was almost too difficult for me, I hadn't worked out in months - and even back at my days at Club H, most of my "lifting" was at a pretty easy pace. I would lift, rest two minutes, lift, rest two minutes...and just work out building up muscle but not a ton of endurance.

Crossfit is definitely different. It's hard, but good. What the trainers did with our group of about 30 people was divide us into six teams of five people. Then we had teams pair off until we had three groups (two teams to a group). We then had a competition where we had to do the following:

Row for 250 meters - Teammate #1
Box jump - Teammate #2
Shoulder Press - Teammate #3
Sit up Press - Teammate #4
Rest - Teammate #5

We had 8 minutes. The goal was to get the most number of reps in 8 minutes on whatever station you were on, and would ROTATE to the next station when the rower reached 250 meters. So the rower would go to the box jump, the box jump would go to the shoulder press, the sit up would rest and the guy resting would row for 250 meters. Rotate. Repeat. Rotate. Repeat. After 8 minutes, the second team would start and we would rest, counting their score up and tallying what they did.

Then when they were done - we did it again.

Lets just say for someone like me, it was a quick slap in the face for how out of shape I really was. Plus, you had people watching me barely able to do 10 situps (especially in the case of the cute brunette, only added to the humiliation) - but there was a key difference.

In many ways it reminds me of those days playing basketball at Ocean City and NROTC at Villanova. I can't sit here and tell you I was enjoying myself necessarily at the workout - I was really looking forward to it being over. But what did make it a bit more enjoyable was the camaraderie by the trainers and the other participants.

Working out at Club H over the years one of my biggest complaints were about the staff and the people who went there. Everyone had an attitude at Club H. My friends and I would laugh about it, but it's true - the trainers walk around like they own the place and wouldn't say a word to you unless you were in their way. Never a friendly smile. Always the "I'm the quarterback" smug look on their faces. Same was true with nearly everyone who worked out there. Nasty people, with a nasty attitude. I always, always, always asked permission and said "Please" and "Thank you" and never heard that in return except from the people working the front desk or the juice bar.

I think Crossfit brings to the table something different, fundamentally different, not only in the way they train people, but also about motivating people. This isn't the Marine Staff Sergeant yelling "YOU ARE A WORM! YOU ARE WEAK! YOU ARE WORTHLESS!" - but more of a team oriented group that definitely made a good impression on my first visit.

Much like everything else I write about on here, I think it would be disingenuous for me to write up a glowing review on one visit. But as first impressions go - score one for Crossfit Hoboken.

I plan to sign up for the fundamentals class. You can't just join Crossfit and go right into the classes, you first have to learn their calisthenics, and build up the energy and muscle over 8 classes, which are spread over a month long course. I'll take that course and write more on that later. But if you are interested in this, I would suggest trying out the free beginners class every Saturday at 10am. Crossfit Hoboken is located at 38 Jackson Street, you can't miss the entrance it has a nice blue banner over the doorway and it's located on the 2nd floor.

Time For A Change?

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For the last few years I was a member at Club H gym. I originally started going to a gym because of a friend who talked me into it, and once I started to go, I liked the changes I saw in my body. I started to eat right, take vitamins and worry about calories. Yes, I did see steroid meat heads at Club H, but I wouldn't say I became like this guy...

But after a while, I got into a bit of a rut. I had a routine at the gym. I was good at it, I would see early gains, and then plateau. I would hit a limit to what I could lift and get frustrated. I didn't want to hire a trainer, and I tried various ways to get around my plateau, like taking two weeks off from lifting or switching from heavy weights / low reps to light weights / high reps. They kind of worked, but often I just fell back into my routine, which was, well, easier.

While working out i'd always be "10 pounds away from my target weight". I was in relative good shape, at least I thought I was, but not quite where I thought I should be. My goal wasn't (and still isn't) six pack abs, but just not losing my breath when I run up a flight of stairs & having my jeans fit well.

The last few years I blame the Phillies for messing up my routine. With their playoff run to the World Series, it would mess up my routine and often i'd start skipping gym visits in November & December. Then, like most people, I would "get serious" in January.

This year is no different than other years. My weight would creep up, and my strength would wane. A few months back I quit Club H, hoping to use my condo gym instead to save some extra money. The condo gym was good. But something was missing. Maybe it was motivation after a few years of lifting, but I found myself going home from work and just losing motivation to go down to the condo gym. The couch looked so much more appealing or Rocco would look at me with his "sad eyes" and I had to take the little guy for a walk. Or a million other excuses.

A few years back some guys from my Eagles Club would tell me about this little gym they had in town. It was called "Crossfit Hoboken" and they told me it wasn't like other gyms. Instead of focusing on power lifting or aerobics they have a Workout of the Day (WoD) which is a mix of plyometrics and strength training. The focus on good form, but also on timing themselves to increase their intensity. Everyone I spoke to who was in the gym didn't just 'like it' - they spoke about it with a lot of enthusiasm.

You see the other people at the gym. They are on the elliptical, reading "US Weekly" and going through the motions. Each week, they don't get any fitter, and barely seem to be breaking a sweat. In a way, I was the same guy. I lifted, but I didn't really push myself. Some people are naturals at this, and they can do it themselves. Other people cheat and take steroids. I'm not a natural motivator - I need someone to push me, and I won't ever take steroids - that's for losers.

So I take the first class on Saturday with Crossfit. It's a free beginners class. If I like it, I may sign up. I will write about how I like it next week and try to keep updating here about my experience with it.


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