Category: rant

A message to a few people I know… ([rant], you have been warned)

I’m a husband (20 years), a father (10 ½ years), a person (way too many years), an employee (again, way too many years, and why the hell do I always gravitate to insane hours at startups?), and an athlete. I’ve been doing the athlete thing for several decades now. It hasn’t been easy. At times it is glorious. Like when I have just hiked, sleep-deprived, overnight with a 40 pound pack up a steep assed trail to over 10,000′ of elevation and see a sunrise that makes me remember just how amazing life is.

In case anyone missed it…. the sunrise was glorious, but I earned the view of it.

Earned.

I have heard some of my favorite phrases over the last few weeks, and my head is about to explode.

“Staying fit is easy for you”
“It’s much harder for me to workout. You workout all the time and don’t know how hard it is for those of us who don’t do that.”
“If I only had as much time as you do to workout.”
and, of course my favorite,
“You want to gain weight? I wish I had that problem.”

Fuck off.

No, really. I mean that.

Fuck off.

I love to workout. I absolutely, positively love it. It’s part of my psyche. It’s part of my being. It’s central to my sanity.

But it ain’t “easy” and it never has been. Here’s the deal – the feeling of accomplishment that I get after a workout far surpasses any other feeling of accomplishment that I can get on a regular basis, and I am addicted to that feeling.

OK, that’s not true. Seeing my wife or daughter’s smile blows all the other stuff away. Comforting a scared/stressed kid and know that I’m truly making a difference in someone’s life is a feeling like no other in this world. But I digress.

Back to the workout stuff. It’s a HUGE pain in the ass to get to the gym every day. It’s time away from my family. It’s time away from my job. It’s time that could be spent doing a zillion other things – things that REALLY need to get done. But there’s a catch. Without my health, without a good sweat, without endorphins in my blood stream, without a feeling of accomplishment that comes from hitting a solid workout – I’m freakin’ useless.

I’ve been through 4 major surgeries. It should have been 5 major surgeries, but I just couldn’t deal with another surgeon cutting into my spine again. Once was enough. After each surgery I could have quit. Instead I took the brutal path of regaining strength, doing the days and days of physical therapy, the embarrassment of lifting 2 pound weights when I had been doing 50 pounds, 200 pounds, or more…. the frustration of walking 30 minute-miles instead of running sub-6 minute miles… because I didn’t give up. I didn’t quit.

So you chose to quit. Fine. Honestly, I’m not judging you. I’ve got enough on my plate to worry about that your choice of lifestyle is totally, completely, and utterly irrelevant to me.

I got shit to do.

I’ve got a wife I want to stay married to, and marriage takes work.

I’ve got daughters who need my care, direction, love and support.

I’ve got a mind that has suffered through over 40 years of extreme anxiety that needs to heal and start a new way of thinking.

I’ve got a career that consumes a lot of time and energy.

I’ve got a busted ass old body that needs a lot of work to stay healthy.

Those are my choices. Those are my priorities. Staying fit is not “easy” for me. It’s a lifelong commitment. There are days when I can’t even think about going to the gym, but I go. I get in my car, I drive to the gym, and I figure it out from there.

Usually I figure it out by going in the gym and busting my ass. Hell, I’ve already driven there, right?

And, yes, there are some days when I say, “Fuck it. I’m not going.” Yep, those days happen, and sometimes it’s a really good decision. Sometimes I really hate myself for giving in.

But the next day I get back to it.

I’d love to see you at the gym. I think it’s a boost for anyone, but I’m not going to cap on your for not going. It’s your life and your choice.

Just don’t try to insult me for choosing to go…..

Covering the Masters

Now that the Games are over the ranting can begin.

How horrible the broadcast coverage was of the Masters events.
How names were mispronounced.
How Masters winners received only $10,000 instead of $275,000 like Ben Smith and Katrin Davidsdottir did…

OK. Here goes……

Are you fucking kidding me???? 

Holy shit people! I don’t know about you, but I watched 3 FREAKIN’ DAYS OF MASTERS AT THE CROSSFIT GAMES!!!

3 days. An easy 24 solid hours of coverage.

You know what I saw?

I saw the only sporting event that I know of where Masters are treated as legitimate athletes.

I saw 60 year old women throwing down in some grueling events and the announcers TOTALLY RESPECTED their efforts. They were not treated like some kind of freakshow. I never heard, “these women are grandmothers. Shouldn’t they be knitting or something?”

I did hear “I’m not 55, and I could not thruster that weight.”

Nobody even made a crack about whether a 61 year old woman should be wearing booty shorts in public.

(for my money – they can wear whatever they damned well please. They earned it)

Heck, after every event, in every age group, they interviewed the winner. Live.

I know, that’s not critical. It’s hard to have a coherent interview with someone who can barely breathe, but it was legit and just what they do with the youngsters.

It was clear that Master are athletes, and they were treated as such. It probably helps the all (?) of the announcers are CrossFitters, so they understand.

Sure, some announcers mispronounced names (sometimes repeatedly). Sure, the coverage was almost always about the top 3 in the heat.

Guess what? That shit happens on every other sporting event too. Well, maybe the names are pronounced correctly, but have you ever watched NBC’s Hawai Ironman coverage? It sucks. It’s 10 hours distilled down to 90 minutes (with commercials) of some editors decision about what is “most viewable.” They cover the top-3 athletes, and they throw in 4 or 5 of those tear-jerking “human interest” stories. They woman who lost 300 pounds and is now doing Ironman. The guy raising funds for his sister’s heart transplant, etc. Sure those people are amazing, but the 47 year old mother of 3 who has a career and makes time to be an elite athlete is pretty amazing too. We all know how hard it is to balance our lives, career, and family.

Notice I didn’t say “social life” since I have no clue what that is….

The 1,400 other people on the Queen K, including about 900 Masters, who are out there busting ass and getting it done? Nope, no mention of them. Maybe they will get captured in some B-roll footage or a silhouette against the setting sun.

If a marathon gets covered do they go deep into the crowd and show indicative athletes from each age group? Hell no.

On an NFL broadcast? Oh yeah, nobody over 40 is even in the NFL…. except for that one guy, maybe.

This week I spent 24 hours watching people who looked like me do werk. Grey hair, wrinkles, hugging their kids (sometimes their grandkids) after each event. Real people. Most of them even have real jobs. Well, not the 60+ year olds. I hope to hell a few of them are retired.

Maybe my criteria is too low. Maybe Masters should have an equal broadcast relative to the individuals.

But I’m pretty damned happy with what was made available. I’ll say the coverage of the Masters events was pretty amazing, and better than any sport I can think of.

And I can hit YouTube any time I want to see real people busting ass. That’s pretty cool too.

CrossFit programming is – totally random and haphazard

One of the criticisms that I often see about CrossFit is that the programming (i.e. the way workouts are scheduled on a daily basis) is totally random. There is no “periodization” or “grand scheme” or “structure” to how boxes create WODs from week to week or from month to month.

This may piss a few people off, the people who talk about CrossFit’s scientific principles and shit, but so be it.

I TOTALLY AGREE. CROSSFIT IS TOTALLY FREAKIN’ RANDOM, AND MOST CROSSFIT GYMS MAKE ALMOST NO SENSE. FRONT SQUATS ONE DAY HANDSTAND PUSHUPS THE NEXT, ETC.

And here’s the follow-up. The randomness is one of the biggest reasons that I still love, love, love CrossFit even after 4 years of doing it.

I have no delusions of becoming a professional athlete. CrossFit is a pastime. It’s a hobby. It’s what keeps me in shape. It’s the physical outlet that helps rest the cavalcade of demons screaming in my head. If it was in any way routine I’d have quit long ago. “it’s Tuesday, so it’s back and bi’s today” is something I’ve done, despised, and never wish to return to.

I never know from day to day if a workout will be smack in the middle of my wheelhouse or will make me question if I have any place in the gym at all. Today’s workout? Overhead walking lunges (135#) and strict Handstand Pushups (HSPU). My first thought on reading the WOD? “Oh FUCK! Really? Can’t you just add some wallballs to really highlight how much I suck?”

But that’s the game. It’s what keeps it interesting. I’m going to go in today and absolutely suck. I’m also going to get just a little bit better at HSPU’s and overhead walking lunges. The improvement will be slight. I will still suck at both things, but I will be just enough better that there will be some room for pride of performance.

Sunday’s workout with power cleans and pull-ups? I shredded that shit.

But there are so many facets of CrossFit that we don’t get to shred everyday. If someone is a competitor then they need a more structured training plan. I have my own training plan outside of CrossFit to improve where I am weak, but CF is about throwing down. It’s about getting challenged. It’s about getting pissed off at movements that I cannot figure out, and it’s about doing really well on the occasional workout that I am actually good at.

I equate it to another time in my life. I got bored with triathlons and switched to Adventure Racing – no set course, no aid stations, map and compass navigation, no knowledge of the checkpoints before you started racing…. My triathlete friends couldn’t comprehend why Adventure Racing could be fun. They wanted verified distances, known aid stations, course profiles with precise elevation gains.

I wanted to be challenged and have to overcome challenges while moving. Trail on the map doesn’t exist anymore? Figure it out.

If you need structure and periodization and specific plans – rock on! I totally support you. However, your need to have those things in no way affects my need to have a nice chunk of randomness.

You are not wrong, and I am not wrong either. We are both chasing our passion.

Is CrossFit programming random? Hell yes! Does that make CrossFit less valuable as a training regimen? Fuck no.

You do you.

‘cuz I’m over here doing me, and it’s pretty cool.



Care to comment? Click here and leave me a comment or question at the bottom of the post.

 

So I want to GAIN weight

bit of rant… but you may have come to expect that from me.

So tired of the usual reply when I say, “I’m trying to gain weight.”

  • “Oh, I wish I had that problem.’
  • “Cry me a river. I gain weight just looking at food.”
  • “That’s insensitive to those of us who struggle to lose weight.”

No, it’s fucking NOT insensitive at all. I don’t judge you. I frankly don’t care what your goals are. Why not? Because they are YOUR goals not mine.

I have a goal to gain. That’s me. You do you. I’m skinny and weak and always have been. I hate it. Part of getting stronger is having more mass. That’s my goal. It’s got NOTHING to do with you. You asked why I track my calories, and I told you. If you don’t like the answer then don’t ask the question.

just pisses me off sometimes.

Sure, I get that other people have other problems, but I ain’t judging your goals. Keep your mouth shut about mine.

It’s time to kill High School Debate

having been an avid political-junky for many years I’m decided that the the central problem facing America is…

High School Debate

It teaches you that “winning the debate” is more important than….being right or admitting that your position is flawed or [God forbid!] ever admitting that your opponent has a point. Look at the format – a topic is provided and you have to be able to both support and destroy it regardless of your personal views or what the scientific consensus is.

Your only goal is for your position to be better stated than your opponents. 5 seconds later you might be arguing the opposite position.

Look at politics today. What I said two seconds ago is irrelevant. There is no history. There is not agreeing that someone else may [gasp!] be correct. The PPACA (i.e. Obamacare) is a Republican health care plan… but they seek to repeal it. Ted Cruz charged handsomely to defend the Stimulus package payouts until he was against them…. those are just 2 examples.

Consistency of message and maybe listening to what the other person has to say will save us. Clearly Debate contests are the heart of the problem and must be stopped, for the good of America.

The Downfall of America

Saw a bunch of folks decrying the downfall of America and sharing pithy videos where TV characters railed about how much better America used to be when “we were united as a team.” Quite frankly, some things deserve a long-form reply.american flag

Dear folks who bemoan that “America was so much better back then”

Shut the fuck up. No, really. Just shut up.

Maybe I’ll be quiet for a minute and you can tell me which specific America you have in mind? 1950’s? 1980’s? 1850’s?

It’s OK. I’ll wait…..

Nothing?

I get that America is fuckin’-A-awesome. It offers so much to so many people. It has created more value and more progress than probably any other society in the history of the entire earth. Actually it still does.

But let’s get serious for a minute. Which “magic decade” should we go back to? Which time period provides more opportunity for literally everyone than America today? When you look at your daughters, as I look at mine, can you tell them, “because of where we are now you are more able to do whatever you choose than at any point in this nation’s history?” Yes, you can.

Is this country perfect? Hell no. Nothing is perfect. If you want to talk perfection then we have nothing to talk about.

Let’s look at a few things. Sure, I’m set. I’m a 6 foot tall white man. I’ve benefitted from over 200 years of affirmative action. Before you get bent out of shape try looking up the definition of the word, “benefit.” It’s an “advantage” it’s not an all-encompassing gift. I put myself through school, both undergrad and graduate. I’ve worked a lot of hours and still have a LOT more hours to work. That said, I know I have benefitted from several things. One of the things I have benefitted from is 200 freakin’ years of people treating white men better than anyone else in this country.

It makes me laugh especially when my brown-skinned friends yearn for our better days gone by. Tell me honestly, when was life so much better for you? When you joined the Navy and you were only allowed to be a steward (eg. a servant) but you were not allowed to even be an officer let alone rise to the level of command? When you weren’t allowed to buy property in most neighborhoods?

America is great, but it’s not some failed ass nation-state.

Was America great? Hell yeah. Is America still great? Seriously – do you really think this is a problem? Jesus people.

I know there are still societal limits placed on girls (like my daughters), but I also know that, unlike any other time in the past, they truly have almost any door open to them that they wish to pursue. Do they want to be a lawyer? They can do that. Do they want to be a plumber? They can do that. Do they want to be a stay-at-home mom and raise kids? They can do that.

Do they want to do all three at some point in their lives? Yes, they can do that too.

One of the most amazing things that has happened in my lifetime has been the election of a black man to be be President of the United States of America which is, arguably, the most powerful position on this planet. Does this mean we are “post-racial?” Fuck no. Does it mean he is infallible? Of course not. What it means is for 200 years only one type of person was allowed to run this country. You could be from any background: rich or poor. You could have any hair color. You could come from any sate in the Union. You could be from just about any Christian denomination (mostly), but you had to be White. Barrack Obama broke through that glass ceiling, and I’m still amazed when I see a man of color speaking during the State of the Union. Quite frankly it makes me incredibly proud. Things are not perfect, but we are marching forward.

Is America worse than what it was?

For that to be true you’d have to show me during which decade things were so much better.

I’m open to suggestion. Show me when.

Paleo diet …. has NOTHING to do with cavemen

As marketing guy I tip my hat to whomever came up with the name “paleo” to describe the most recent diet fad. Granted, it’s not trademarked, but it is recognizable. Even my 80 year old mother, who doesn’t have a computer let alone Internet access of any kind, knows what “paleo” is.

Here’s the funny part. I haven’t seen a single study, peer reviewed or other, that traces the elements of the paleo diet back to what any caveman actually ate. Sure, there are anecdotal stories about mastodon meat and running for hours to kill game, but a study? Let alone historical documentation? Nothing… bupkisss.

Here’s why “paleo” as a name freakin’ rocks. Because calling it the “eat good food” diet would be boring as hell.

So, if you eat good proteins, avoid crappy additive laden junk, stay away from grains that bloat the hell out of you and get PLENTY of carbs from vegetables… are you a caveman?

NO

But are you healthier? Probably…. After all, what could possibly be the argument against eating a top quality grassfed burger covered in fresh avocado versus a Big Mac where the beef was processed God knows where, the salt content is through the roof, and the “special sauce” can only be made with the miracle of modern chemistry?

Notice how I snuck that one little bit in there? Yep, I said it, “plenty of carbs.” On paleo, or primal, you get plenty of carbohydrates. You don’t get them from bread (which 99% of the United States runs on), but you do get a lot of carbs. Maybe that’s where the confusion comes in.

When people say “don’t eat grains, bread products, etc.” a lot of people think, “Oh, bread is a carb therefore eliminating bread means eliminating carbs.” No. That’s not the way it works. Carbs are NOT bad for you.  A sweet potato or a nice salad – yummy, yummy carbs.

A loaf of bread (though delicious if made properly) – hollow carbs.

That’s all I’m saying. Paleo is about eating good food. Thats it. That’s all. It’s not “low carb” or “what the cavemen ate” – it’s just about eating good food.

Eat clean. You will appreciate yourself for it.

I’m usually pretty welcoming and embrace input at the box, but…

Really crappy day. Granted, I phoned it in on a project, so it’s my fault that I got called on it. That, however, was just the capper on a day of complete messiness…. That coupled with my hip aching and being chastised for going too hard had me a bit annoyed.

Strength was 5 sets of 6 reps of front squats. It was programmed as 65% of max, but I am nowhere near doing that yet. Racking dime plates on a bar for a grand total of 65#’s just digs at my ego. I know. Shut up and do what you can. I get it. I also hate it. Maybe you hate recovery too. Because, quite frankly, recovery sucks. You just want to “do more” even though you know that you really need to “do less” and focus wholeheartedly on form.

One of the challenges of front squatting 65#’s (as a 200 pound man) is that it looks a lot like I’m a stone cold newbie. Can you get this is all about my ego? Yes, it’s about my ego.

Coach recommended a fingertip hold on the bar. I mean, it’s front squats off the rack after all. Dude across from me was struggling with 95#’s. Not that I’m better than he is. Well….

About to get under the bar for a set I gave the bar that pre-squat full grip. You know, when you have a heavy lift, fixate on the bar for a second, and roll your hand completely around it in slow motion? Sure, you take your hand off right away, but it feels good to grab solid steel. Dude yells at me. Not the coach, the dude front squatting 95#’s, “Hey! Hey! Stop! Didn’t you hear? Coach said like this (showing me fingertip hold on the bar). That’s what coach said to do.”

OK bud. You have been here a month or two. Literally everyone who has walked by has stopped to say hi to me and ask me how my recovery is going. Isn’t it totally fucking clear that I might have a little, tiny, minuscule bit of experience and time in this box? And in the middle of my lift? Does that even make sense?

I’m sure he was being nice. I’m sure I was just being an asshole. For the record I just said, “OK man.” But I wanted to say so much more.

I think I’ll write a long-winded, self-centered, rant instead and get it all off my chest. Oh hey! Guess what this is??? 😉

 

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What I know and What I don’t know… about women

I have received several anonymous messages (from the same person maybe?) asking me questions about why women think things, do things, etc. I replied to one the other day thinking it would be clear that I know nothing. Then I got another message mentioning that I have a large % of female followers so I must have some insight.

Yup. It turns out that a large percentage of my followers are female. I don’t know why. I can’t even fathom why or begin to offer an explanation.

Truth be told, when it comes to some things I can clearly explain why women do them. Breathing, for example, is one of those things. I know why women breathe. I know why all humans breathe. I also know why they blink, eat, etc.

When it comes to behaviors I have two thoughts. First thought – I have no idea what motivates other people. Second thought – it’s insane to try to take what we may know about one person in a group and extrapolate that across huge, huge, over 50% of the population sized group.

I don’t know why women post their feelings about sex. I don’t know why women post their intimate thoughts. I don’t know why women post pictures of themselves. I don’t know because….I am not them.

I have been married for 19 years, and I still don’t know completely what motivates my wife. We have the most intimate relationship that I can possibly imagine, and if I can’t answer for her how the hell can I answer for a 20 year old college student whom I have never (and will never) meet?

So I’ll end this rant here. Just sayin’ that I really appreciate interacting with all kinds of people, but that doesn’t mean I can offer insight into their mindset.