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Monday
May022016

Ready to Try a New Protein ...

I'm always up for interesting supplements to experiment with upon myself (and my wife Anne). We're guinea pigs, always learning and pushing for more.

Matt Sutor at Vital Proteins was kind enough to shoot me this jug of their Pasture-Raised, Grass-Fed Collagen Whey. The nutritional profile looks great. This protein is a bit unlike any I've used, so I'm looking forward to adding it to the mix. This is cocoa flavor; my best guess is it will work nicely in the 'ol Blend Tec with strawberries, kale, an apple and a carrot, and perhaps some unsweetened coconut flakes.

Full report soon!

@vitalproteins, #filltheblender

Sunday
Apr242016

Cross-Training My Life Away

Cross-training and functional training, considered by many to be the holy grails of "getting in the best shape possible," are vague terms. So is "best shape possible," or "most physically fit". Or whatever you aspire to. Myself, I consider my 45 years of exercise to be one long functional life.

Let's take the last two weeks of my workouts, as an example. Spring seems to have finally made it's way to Wisconsin, so my road bike is back in action, and I bought real running shoes for the first time in years. Thanks, Run-Away Shoes!

In the past 12 days, I've run three times. Outdoors, on the earth. Twice with Jack the dog. Two to three miles, probably closer to two. Not quick by any means, but considering my meniscus tear of a year or so ago, I'm happy to be running at all. Last summer I couldn't; all I could do was the Concept II rower. 

I got on the road bike, and quickly eclipsed the mileage of the past two summers. Three rides, one of about 30, one of probably 20, then a few days ago, a fairly energetic 40 miler with my friend Conor. Oh, does it feel great to get back into the saddle. 

My squat workouts continue, two or three times weekly. Last week one night I ended a back squat session with 20 reps @ 235#. I'll happily take that at 61 years old. Twice weekly I train in a big gym, bodybuilding style. My only rule is I don't allow myself to bench press unless I've squatted already! Last week one of my weight training sessions took place at The Exercise Coach, entirely on Xerbotics machines. Very different and hugely stimulating.

Two or three other workouts weekly take place at CrossFit Green Bay. Sometimes my squat session is added, but I'm getting a metabolic WOD and some lifting each time.

How's this add up? Rare are my "days off" from exercise. I can easily handle a slow run of two or three miles and still fully recover from the previous couple of days of workouts, and the run. 

Nutrition remains on point. I'm consuming less fat than I have the last couple of years; no more coconut oil and butter in my coffee, for now. My decision to eat less at night has paid off, with nearly a 10# bodyweight loss in the last six weeks. I came back from the Arnold Classic the first week of March, with a few extra pounds of body fat, ironically. Spending five days driving or watching the strongest people on earth compete, while I got no exercise, coupled with my practice while there of consuming massive breakfasts and dinners with little inbetween, paid off with a nice few pounds of instant body fat. It's gone now.

Life is all about being functional. Everywhere and in everything you do, not just in the gym.

Go for a run. Ride a bike when it's nice outside. Hit the gym when it's raining. Do something every day, eat real food, and be smart.

Sunday
Apr102016

Four Mile Creek - Gone Forever?

Yikes! I'm told by my friends at Ray's Liquor (my go-to wine merchant for more than two decades), that Four Mile Creek Red Table Wine is gone. Forever.

The 2012 vintage was terrific. The Novy Family Wines people suggested Four Mile Creek as a "drink it now, don't hold it in the cellar", and they were absolutely right. Of course. It was their wine, so of course they'd have the best take. Right out of the bottle this dry, smooth and soothing wine was enjoyable. Cold winter nights, warm summer afternoons, it didn't make a difference in my enjoyment. Four Mile Creek was easily one of the finest (under $15) wines I've tasted and enjoyed.

If you find this terrific wine somewhere in a wine shop, buy it (all of them!). I miss it already (our last bottle was consumed last night). Novy Family Wines, please reconsider your decision to discontinue Four Mile Creek Red Table Wine.

@rayswine, #fourmilecreek, #novyfamilywines

Monday
Apr042016

My Frank Zappa Roots

Recently I was listening to one of my favorite podcasts, Marc Maron’s WTF, Maron interviewing Dweezil Zappa. I looked forward to learning about his life, but frankly I had no real driving interest in his career. Actually, I knew next to nothing about him at all. In the 1970s and ‘80s I was a fan and admirer of Frank Zappa, and for a few years worked with a magazine publisher who was a passionate collector of his music, but for the last two decades I’ve not listened to Zappa once, that I remember.

But as Marc Maron often does, he brought the music and passion of Zappa alive for me, and I ended the podcast wishing I’d seen Zappa Plays Zappa once in the past decade, or paid attention to Dweezil’s career. Marc Maron often is a magical conversationalist, never better than in this instance. So here’s my 2016 response: rather than head to my local used record store to buy some back catalog, I’ll fire up Spotify and see what they have to offer from Dweezil. Check out the interview for yourself:

http://www.wtfpod.com/podcast/episodes/episode_688_-_dweezil_zappa

Weasels Ripped My Flesh is the first Frank Zappa album I bought, a long-time ago (1970, when I was in 9th grade). Wish I still had it. Listening to Dweezil talk about his dad’s output made me wonder why this was my first Zappa LP; it’s sure not a traditional “first Zappa album”.


 

 

 

Wednesday
Mar162016

Healing With Rock Tape

A couple of weeks ago, during CrossFit Open workot 16.1, doing strict pullups immediately after overhead walking barbell lunges, my left upper back painfully gave out, sending me to the floor. A couple of tries on the bar convinced me I could not support any weight at all with my left arm.

I worried it was torn, and the subsequent colorful and painful bruising and swelling made it tough to determine if it was my rear delt, tricep, or upper lat. Only a couple of days later I was at the Arnold Classic Expo, and headed for the RockTape booth for assistance. At that point, day one of the three-day Arnold Classic, my back hurt just from carrying schwag. I needed help.

Olivia Barton of RockTape took care of me. She first steered me to one of the two therapists working with RockTape at the show. A quick shirt-off assessment and my back and shoulder were being profesionally taped. Immediately I felt better; carrying my steadily-gettng-heavier bag was much easier and no longer painful.

I left the RockTape booth witha roll of RockTape, a roll-on Rock Sauce Chill, and plain, hot Rock Sauce. Today, I put them to good use. Chill, RockTape, Rock Sauce

My back has improved greatly; the original tape job from the RockTape booth lasted for a week and a half, through workouts, showers, and daily life. Impressive. I am pleasantly surprised at just how "sticky" their product is. I know that's very unscientific, but it took more than a week for the tape to even begin to loosen and pull away from my skin, and between CrossFit and my traditional gym, that area gets a hell of a lot of work with weights.

Two days ago I ripped the original, Arnold-booth tape off. Today I visited Dr. Alex Tapplin, my friend and chiropractor-active release-soft tissue certified magic man. After a scan, happily determining there is no tear, he applied a good base of Rock Sauce Chill, then re-taped me. My back feels terrific. On Monday I deadlifted and felt no pull in the taped area until 325#. This afternoon at the gym I'll give it a new test; Dr. Tapplin thinks it's time for me to hang from a bar and see how that feels, too.

Due to a clumsy step last night, I was able to put the hot Rock Sauce No Solor to work today, also. Due to walking into a wooden footboard, I've a nasty bump and bruise on my left knee. Paintul to the point of keeping me awake last night. A nice dose of this hot Rock Sauce and I'm feeling immediate relieft.

To say I'm impressed with these three RockTape products would be an understatement. They are going into my gym bag; I now consider them an essential part of my workout life. Thanks, RockTape, for helping make my entire Arnold Classic experience more enjoyable.