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My Book Reading

Lou Reed: A Life by Anthony DeCurtis

   (in progress)

The Night Trade - Barry Eisler (revew published)

The Woman in the Window - A.J. Finn - (review published; just get your hands on this and read it!)

The Kremlin's Candidate by Jason Matthews - (review published)

Into the Black Nowhere - Meg Gardiner - (review just published; superb)

Agent in Place - Mark Greaney (Gray Man thriller, review up)

The Saboteur - Paul Kix (review up)

The Escape Artist by Brad Meltzer (review published)

Operator Down - Brad Taylor (done, great book)

Robicheaux - James Lee Burke (in progress - outstanding, of course)

Podcast Favorites

Joe Rogan Experience #1058 Dec. 28 2017 . Nina Teicholz


CrossFit NorthCentral Regionals Day One

Watching Elisabeth Akinwale, Stacey Tovar, Nick Bloch, Andrew Kuechler and others exercise their guts out during day one of the 2013 Regionals competion, I walked away from the long day of events with one overwhelming impression:

Brandon Pastorek is a stud. I know, I've written about his competitive attitude before, but I saw a couple of little things today that stuck with me, and impressed me. During the 3-rep overhead squat ladder, Pastorek waited until the last of the seven minute set, looked around at his competiton, saw he was tied with a couple or three other competitors at 290#, and calmly loaded 295# on his bar and banged out a single rep. It was tough, but he rested a bit, found his moment, and made a competiive athlete move at the right time.

A few minutes later, during the burpee/muscle - up portion of the event, Brandon was superb in his handling of the muscle-ups. He's a professional athlete, not just a genetic superior or hard worker getting through a tough workout at Reginals. Pastorek aims to win. He calmly made certain the rings were not moving around after each muscle-up; he raised up for the rings after his burpee from the spot his feet were one; he didn't stutter-step or make any unnecessar moves. No wasted energy. 

Brandon Pastorek, make the Games or not get to the Games this year, is an athlete!, @games.crossfit, #northcentrlalregionals, 


Julie Foucher and Travis Begent interviews

Two more interviews I conducted at the Arnold Classic CrossFit went up on my YouTube channel 

Julie Foucher, no introduction necessary, and Travis Begent, world-class arm-wrestling champion and voice of the CrossFit Games competition. Find me on YouTube at John Koenig.


Jason Khalipa has Rich Froning in his sights!

After this past weekend's NorCal CrossFit Regionals, watching Jason Khalipa destroy the events and a few of his competitors, I'm confident he's pointing towards the CrossFit Games crown. Watching Khalipa move, seeing him steadily mow through the seven events uninjured (or at least without any Rock Tape on his body; some of the competitors looked like mummies on day 3), Jason Khalipa is at the age and has the backlog of fitness and CrossFit experience to go head to head with Froning at the Games this year. 

We've entered a new age in competitive CrossFit. The gulf between Games and Regional competitors, and the 99.9% of other CrossFit participants, is already widening rapidly. But now we're witnessing the leading professional CrossFit athletes making the rest of the pack look like they're all competing for second place. Jason Khalipa, Sam Briggs, Josh Bridges, Lindsey Valenzuela, Rebecca Voigt... who joins this elite elite group as the Regional competions march on? 

The top tier of CrossFit competition is absolutely fascinating to watch.


No Time to Eat but Big Workout Ahead?

Yesterday proved to be one of those days that hits all of us, no matter our preparation. Both Anne and I didn't eat from lunch-time to early evening, for different reasons, but suddenly it was 5:00. We were hungry, had only had coffee during the afternoon, and we were faced with a 6:30 CrossFit workout. Max effort cleans followed by a WOD. What to do?

Solid food wouldn't help at that point; generic protein shakes weren't going to be of much assistance. I'm out of both Progenex More Muscle and Simply Pure Nutrients Pro3 Synergy Fuel (ordering each of them tomorrow in fact). Solution:

Genr8 Vitargo S2 combined with MRI EO2 Edge to the rescue! One scoop of each in a Blender Bottle, sipped before and during the workouts, and we were golden. Anne remarked after the session that her hunger had been blunted and she had plenty of energy for the cleans and WOD. I felt the same way; hadn't even given either hunger nor energy a thought after heading for the gym. Of course after the workout we were ready for shakes and a good meal, but that's consistent with every day.

What was magic here? Vitargo is a mainstay for myself; regular readers know I use this anti-catabolic, gluten-free carbohydrate powder after nearly every workout (I've even been known to combine it with Progenex Recovery or Simply Pure Nutrients Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel when I'm really destroyed). EO2 Edge is new to me, yesterday was my first use. MRI calls it their "advanced endurance optimizer." I'd say yesterday that was accurate.

Basically, EO2 is a low-sugar, nitric oxide, BCAA-laden, electrolyte-replacing, maltodextrin, gluten-free recovery compound. It mixed nicely, tasted fine (tropical punch flavor), and absolutely helped us hammer through two tough sessions in the gym. Reading the instructions closely I note MRI calls for a half-scoop portion, and each of us had a full scoop. Perhaps that helped. Tomorrow I'll go with a half scoop and see how I feel.

I like my new intra-post workout recipe: MRI EO2 Edge combined with Genr8 Vitargo. Better than cookies and ice cream!

@genr8endurance, @anthonyalmada_, @mriperformance


Simply Pure Nutrients - PRO3 Synergy Fuel and Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel

John Jaramillo, founder of Simply Pure Nutrients, first came to my attention last year when he was loudly running the Paleo Wagon at NorthCentral CrossFit Regionals. I was working for CrossFit Media at the event, pinned to a laptop for long hours, and CrossFit took care of us volunteers with plenty of free tickets for meals from the Paleo Wagon parked outside the building. Lines of athletes waiting to buy meals were always long, delicious smoke came in waves from the wagon, the food was wonderful, and John provided verbal entertainment and support. We ended up having several engaging conversations throughout the three day event.

Intermittent contact via Facebook about John’s supplement company, Simply Pure Nutrients, brought him back to my attention. Aah, here’s what this guy really does! The name of his company sounds good; his mission statement and ingredient profiles look top-notch. Curious to learn more, I reached out to John and a long, rambling phone conversation later, he sent me a handful of sample packets of PRO3 Synergy Fuel and Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel.

I’ve been using and writing about performance, life and fitness supplements for many years; let’s call it two decades. It’ll possibly take me fewer words to tell you why I love these two products than it did for me to ramble on about how I met John!

First, I’m in love with sweet potatoes as a performance food. For body composition, for health, for my active life in CrossFit - sweet potatoes are king. Yeah, you may have crowned protein or even saturated fat as your top of the pyramid food, but for me, the difference maker surrounding my workouts is the sweet potato. They’re always part of my first meal after a workout (whether strength training, or metabolic, or CrossFit), and often part of a day-time dish when I’ll be training at night. My body needs and desires this starchy carb as fuel. I feel better and perform better when sweet potatoes are in my life. 

John has Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel! 27 grams of carbs, 11 of egg protein isolate, it’s delicious and readily mixes. Travel to the Simply Pure Nutrients site for close-ups of the ingredients; you’ll find 15 grams of good fiber and 7 of coconut oil. No added sugar. Gluten-free.

I love this stuff, and even when I’ve used it in my “immediate post-WOD, gotta-get-this-shake-into-me-now” period, I usually still enjoy sweet potato fries afterwards. Flavoring is subtle; my shakes made with Sweet Potato Fuel don’t scream “sweet potato” at me. There’s no cloying artificial flavor - drinking from my shaker after a WOD, the flavor is great; so is my confidence that what I’m putting into my body is real, and that it’s going to help with my recovery. 

PRO3 Synergy Fuel is Jaramillo’s basic meal replacement. Setting this product apart from most is the 3/1 ratio of fat to carbs, and the nearly 7/1 protein/carb design. Grass-fed whey and egg protein lead the charge; coconut powder (MCT) is the fat. The alkaline internal PH balance of PRO3 helps fight the free radicals developed from regular, intense exercise. On the Simply Pure Nutrients site is a good deal of explanation for what’s in here and why. I’m a believer.

My handful of sample packets were used alone before workouts, and mixed with Sweet Potato Recovery fuel afterwards. I feel using them together is over-kill, but in my experience, many strength athletes and most CrossFit people tend toward the “do more” side of life. Post-workout, using PRO3 and Sweet Potato Recovery Fuel together felt like too much food, even in the magic window after a workout. Shaking and downing one PRO3 Synergy Fuel an hour or two before a workout kept me full yet ready to train; my energy levels were good. I look forward to using it for meal shakes in the BlendTec, mixing with a half dozen other ingredients.

Here’s my bottom line: I believe John Jaramillo has the best interests of athletes and his customers in his heart. He wishes for you to be healthy and to succeed. These two products sport nice flavor, mix easily and well, are good with or without each other, and have as good a nutritional ingredient profile as any other supplement out there, I believe. I will continue to use Simply Pure Nutrients’ product line.

@spndenver, #paleo, #CrossFit, #simplypurenutrients