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Twisted Prey - John Sandford

The Spy Who Came In From The Cold - John LeCarre

UNSUB - Meg Gardiner

A Spy Named Orphan by Roland Philipps

How It Happened by Michael Koryta

The Word Is Murder - Anthony Horowitz

Star of the North - D.B. John

The Sinners - Ace Atkins

The Outsider - Stephen King

Spymaster - Brad Thor

The Other Woman - Daniel Silva

The Man Between - Charles Cumming 

Operation Mincemeat - Ben Macintyre 

Berlin: Caught in the Mousetrap by Paul Grant 

Berlin Game - Len Deighton (for the Spybrary book club)

Desolation Mountain - William Kent Krueger

Podcast Favorites . (The life and Legacy of Ian Fleming, with author and historian Jeremy Duns, always an excellent and entertaining interview) . (the true story of Oleg Penkovsky, regarded by many as the greatest spy of the Cold War era - with Jeremy Duns, whose book on the topic, Dead Drop, is a classic) (wonderful history of Ian Fleming's involvement at Bletchley Park during WWII, and Anthony Horowitz making a presentation about his new James Bond novel, Forever And A Day. "How I Nearly Started World War III" with Mark Valley, host of the Live Drop Espionage podcast



I Got Mad At Myself

I got mad at myself during a workout last week. Afterwards, the more I thought about it, the more frustrated I became.

This was at Crossfit Green Bay. The three-round WOD consisted of three movements, and it was typically tough. The harder I pushed myself the rougher the workout became. Same as it always is. 

15 power cleans were in each round (the weight doesn’t matter - it became heavy enough). I’d broken the first two sets into 9 and 6 reps, momentarily dropping the bar, catching a couple of wheezy breaths, then hitting it. Even while I was doing this, I knew I really wasn’t giving my all. I thought I needed those few seconds of rest. Not really.

One of the coaches parked himself in front of me during the final set of cleans and yelled “do this unbroken!” And I did. Sure, it hurt and was tough and all that, but I did it.

That’s why I’m angry with myself. Why do I so often “pace” myself during metabolic workouts? If a coach I respect yells at me, or encourages me (sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference), I go for it. Often I find myself performing at a level I didn’t think possible.

I know it’s all in my head, but I’d think that after 45 years of weight-training and competitive sports, and a half dozen years of CrossFit, I’d be able to throw the switch. Some days I can, some I seemingly cannot.

Solution: Study. Learn from the best. Currently on my bed-side table are an advance copy of Mark Divine’s Kokoro Yoga - Develop the Spirit of a Warrio - the SealFit Way, and How Bad Do You Want It? - Mastering the Psychology of Mind Over Muscle by Matt Fitzgerald.

Divine is a legendary trainer of the mind and body. A well-read copy of his Unbeatable Mind has a home on our bookshelves. My wife Anne (also a CrossFit athlete) eagerly read How Bad Do You Want It? and reports great things about Fitzgerald’s message and philosophy and writing.

I’m diving in. Look for full reviews soon.

@MarkDivine, @Mattfitwriter, @stmartinspress, @velopress, @davetrendler


My Latest Fun Pre-Workout Combo

Lately I've been working out a bit more in a traditional gym utilizing machines. I was following a bodybuilding protocol, in an effort to remain strong and retain muscle, while rehabbing some injuries. At the same time I experimented with different pre-workout products, combining BCAA powders, creatine, and various stimulatory magical powders in a shaker. Back to CrossFit now, so living in both gym worlds, I've settled upon my favorite combination:

Progenex Peppermint Bark Recovery, strong coffee (Peet's, in my case), and Progenex Force.  In one Blender Bottle mix one scoop Recovery, one cup of cold coffee, and a single packet of Force! 

Taste is good, effects are great, with no heart palpitations or jitters.  I begin sipping while driving to the gym, and continue throughout the workout, adding water to dilute depending upon how long the session goes.

Give this a try. You'll maintain a nice level of nutrients (protein, carbs, BCAA, creatine) in your system while working out, feel energized and powerful for the entire workout.

@progenex, @peetscoffee, @northcentralprogenex


New Progenex Bars Are Here!

I just got my hands on the first shipment of the new Bars from Progenex. This is their first venture into the competitive protein bar market. Based on the sample bars I chowed down, Progenex will succeed. High-quality hydrolized whey and CLA are primary and welcome ingredients. Each bar is tasty, maintaining the high flavor and mouth-feel standards set by Progenex long ago.

Two flavors are available: Toasted Coconut Almond and Peanut Butter Caramel Crunch. These make a great morning breakfast, especially on early workout days. Today I enjoyed a Coconut Almond bar with a couple cups of coffee, before setting out on the half hour drive to CrossFit Green Bay. My workout went great, I was strong and energized throughout, and my stomach felt good and settled. The Progenex Bar is easy on the gut.

According to the Progenex literature, each Bar "contains Symetrym™, a revolutionary hydrolyzed whey protein and trace mineral complex combined with CLA (Conjugated Linoleic Acid). These two powerful ingredients found in THE BAR have been shown to increase endurance capacity and lean body mass while reducing body fat." I can tell you the science behind CLA is strong and real; it's not bro-science.

Protein bars, by definition, fall short of real food. In my opinion, Progenex powders rank higher than The Bar, too. But, there's important times and places for a bar like this. The portability will often come into play; I know I'll have one stuffed into the little bag under the saddle of my road bike. I can easily see The Bar going to a movie theater, or to my in-law's house! Even a long grocery shopping expedition (I've been known to visit two or three grocery stores on one outing) will find me taking a Progenex Bar with me. Oh, and walking the dog. 

Maintaining a good flow of quality nutrients in the body is critical, if optimum recovery and muscle growth is desired. I want that, every day. I'd much rather enjoy a tasty Progenex Bar inbetween meals if that's what will fit into my life and schedule, rather than miss a meal. 

At CrossFit Green Bay the Progenex Bars are available for $3 each. A box of 12 can be ordered from me for $32 and usually delivered the following day.



Don't Do What I Did!


Pulling a random packet of pre-workout powder from my Arnold Classic goodie stash before CrossFit today, I went with Mayhem. What could be better for a long, draining, metabolic workout than something billing itself as "uncensored pre-workout madness"? So, about four cups of coffee into my day, I dumped this into a shaker and headed for CrossFit Green Bay.

By the time I was warmed up and had finished mobility, I'd sipped about one-third of the Blender Bottle full. Today's workout was merely a 1600 meter row - 64 53# KB swings, 18 strict pullups, 100 meter row, 42 KB swings, 12 strict pullups, then 500 meter row, 24 KB swings and 6 pullups. As quickly as possible.

This metabolic torture took me 31 minutes 30 seconds. Here's where I made a mistake: I added my Progenex Recovery, Progenex Build, BCAA and creatine right to the half blender of Mayhem, filled it with water, and slammed it. Yikes. Within minutes I had heart palpitations, felt pretty weird, and struggled with the few sets of benter-over barbell rows I was hammering through for extra credit.

Lesson:  if all the descriptive literature about a pre-workout product includes "madness" "mutant" and "uncensored", save it for a bro-workout, not for the metabolic hell of a CrossFit chipper.

#donethisbefore, #lessonlearned, #afteralltheseyearsinthegymshouldknowbetter




Why the Best Bar Ever IS the Best Bar Ever!

If you currently eat protein or snack bars, get ready to change how you think about them forever.  If you haven’t already tried The Best Bar Ever and are looking for something quick, convenient and healthy – you have to try this bar!

This is one of the new, functional food products that we offer at CrossFit Green Bay. See John Koenig for ordering details. CLICK HERE to watch a short 60-second video that shares the story behind why the bar was created and what makes it The Best Bar Ever. 

#bestbarever, @TheBestBarEver

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