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No pretending to like tofu any more!: Eric's primal transformation

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  • One more thing. The other day, my weight dropped down to 196! This was a new low. Now it is bouncing between 197 and 199, whereas before crossfit it was bouncing around the 200 to 203 range. So I think I can safely say that I have lost a bit of weight.
    My primal journal


    • I saw the WOD for this morning's (7:30am!) crossfit last night before going to bed. I lay awake for a little while dreading/eagerly awaiting the challenge. At one point, I wondered if this would violate the Geneva convention if war prisoners were forced to do this. OK. Maybe I got a little carried away. Here is the workout:

      A1. Benchpress 8-6-4-2-1 - find 1RM: My 1RM was 67.5 kg with a close grip benchpress
      A2. Glute Bridge 515 (unweighted)

      B. for time:
      50 Overhead Walking Lunges (25R+25L) with a weight plate: 5 kg
      40 Plate Situps: 5 kg -- I could have gone heavier on this.
      30 HR Push Ups: I scaled with a band under my hips, but everyone else did too.
      20 Burpee Pull-ups: I scaled by using a box to do a jumping pullup (as did everyone else)
      10 Wall Climbs: Ugh. By then, if I could get both feet on the wall higher than my head, I counted the rep.

      Time: 15:30. It wasn't pretty, and I scaled the hell out of it, but I did it. I finished it.

      I'm going to feel it in my shoulders too. I am scheduled to go to crossfit again tomorrow morning at 10 am. I'll have to see how I feel in the morning.
      My primal journal


      • I thought I'd be sore from Friday, but I wasn't. I did crossfit again on Saturday. It was Fight gone bad, which is the first "standard" WOD I've done, so it is nice to be able to compare. I did 230 reps (82, 78, 70).

        Wall ball: 1st round 9 kg, 2nd & 3rd 6 kg
        SDLHP: 20 kg KB
        small box
        push press: 20 kg
        row: 8

        I felt alright. I've found that anything that doesn't involve running, I can pretty much keep up. Of course, I'm scaling, but given my current strength, my age, and the fact that I'm still 40+ pounds overweight, I'm doing OK.

        My family and I walked around Vienna all afternoon. On Sunday, we went to the park in front of our building, and we played with my new slackline. We had seen people use them in the park here in Vienna before, and then when Mark wrote about it a couple of weeks ago, my wife's friend by coincidence mentioned that a sports shop in town had a kit with everything including a nice messenger style carrying bag for 49 euros down from 79 euros, we couldn't resist. That was my early birthday present. Anyway, it was a lot of fun. I went from barely being able to get on the thing to taking 3 steps before falling off. It will take some practice, but it is a great excuse to get out in the park and play. Too bad summer is coming to an end. We also walked a couple of hours on Sunday afternoon.

        This morning I had crossfit again. We worked on pullups. I scaled by doing negatives.

        The WOD:

        3 rounds of:

        50 air squats
        7 pullups (I scaled by doing ring rows)
        10 hang power cleans (27.5 kg)
        500 m row at setting 4 (had the option of 400 m run, but I did the row)

        I finished in 21:20. There were 2 who finished in the 19th minute, and one in the 20th, I and 3 others were in the 21st (i'm sure one of these guys was dropping some reps though), and then a woman finished at 23 or 24. My general strategy is to not rush my lifts and to go quickly through the "easy" stuff for me like ring rows and row machine and then hope I don't finish last. It has worked so far, and I'm getting great workouts.

        I do have this lower back thing that is toward the outside ... basically over my left hip. It started in kettlebell class months ago, and it has gotten more noticeable since starting crossfit. I'd classify it as a pain rather than soreness, but it is maybe a 2 on a scale of 10, and it doesn't affect my workouts. I notice it during the day if I've been sitting a while, then stand up. I know I should probably stop and give it time to heal, but I really don't want to give up the momentum I have. I'll be in the US in October for 2 weeks, and I doubt I'll have much time to work out, so hopefully, it will get a little better by then.

        By the way, the scale giveth, and the scale taketh away. The last few days I've been hovering in the 201 to 203 range.
        My primal journal


        • I had crossfit yesterday. We found our 1RM front squat. My problem is that my hand position was killing my wrist, so I wasn't able to get even close to my max rep for the squat itself because I couldn't take the pain in my wrist. I stopped at 40 kg. In the WOD, we were supposed to do 45% of our 1RM in the front squat portion of the WOD, but I did 75% or 30 kg, which was fine.


          OTM (on the minute) for 10 minutes, switching:

          rowing machine, 8 Cal
          10 reps, front squat (30 kg)

          1 minute rest

          OTM (on the minute) for 10 minutes, switching:

          jump rope, 30 reps
          ring pushups, 8 reps

          On my first round of ring pushups, I did knee pushups, but they felt pretty easy. The next round, I did full ring pushups for all 8 reps. Then 7 reps. Then 5 reps + 3 knee reps. Then 4 reps + 4 knee reps.

          On one of the rounds of jump rope, I did 45 reps in a row without a mistake. When I first started crossfit, I'd be lucky to string together 5 or 10 without tripping up.

          Oddly enough, after the front squats, my back actually feels a bit better.

          I'm going to try a little experiment on myself with resistant starch. I found some bio "kartoffel mehl" here that, despite being called "mehl," which is typically translated as flour, the nutrition profile suggests that it really is potato starch -- it has 81.5 g of carbs per 100 g and only 0.5 g protein and 0.3 g fat. Potato flour has more like 7 g of protein. Since I bought it in a health food store, and it is bio (organic), I'm hoping that it is also unmodified. I did, umm, have some flatulence later in the day after eating it, so I hope that is a sign that it really does have a lot of resistant starch that I'm fermenting in my large intestine. I did feel unusually hungry afterwards, so maybe it isn't resistant starch. I'm going to give it a try anyway. One of the reasons I'm trying it is that I had to take some pretty hardcore antibiotics to get rid of the superbug eye infection I had earlier this year. It occurred to me that this was about the time that I hit my plateau, which nothing seems to help in breaking through. So I thought if I try to feed the good critters in my gut, maybe they'll do their thing, and I'll benefit.
          My primal journal


          • We finally did back squats today. I like them SO much better than front squats. We found our 3RM, though I could have gone higher than what I did. I did 75 kg, but I'm sure I could have done 85 or 90 kg. Last year I was doing as much as 100 kg, but I realize now that I was only doing a half squat, not a full squat. It makes a big difference.

            The WOD was the Nordic challenge 2013.

            AMRAP in 16 minutes:

            6 toes to bar
            8 burpees
            10 wall balls (6 kg)
            12 KB swings (20 kg)

            I did 5+ rounds for a total of 199 reps. Our coach said that the winner of the Nordic challenge this year had over 400 reps. Yikes.

            It was a really tough workout ... the kind that makes me want to collapse on the floor (which is basically what my burpee form devolved into!).
            My primal journal


            • I didn't go to crossfit on Wednesday, but I did go Friday and Saturday and then this morning.

              Friday's workout: We did the push jerk for our strength/skills segment and found our 1RM. I did:
              33 lb x 8
              55 lb x 5
              66 lb x 3
              66 lb x 3
              82.5 lb x 1
              100 lb x 1

              I could have gone heavier, but I'm still learning the form, so I wanted to be safe.

              The WOD: 4 rounds

              400 m run
              Push jerk: 5 reps, 55 lb
              burpee: 10 reps
              Wall ball: 15 reps, 10 lb

              Time: 21:53

              On Saturday, we didn't do a strength component, but we warmed up doing Cindy, but not for time.

              3 rounds:

              5 ring rows
              10 pushups
              15 air squats

              The WOD was brutal. It was a team workout with 5 people on a team. Go for 30 minutes and keep cycling through the stations, counting reps + calories on the rowing machine. The stations were:

              400 m run (timer for the rest of the team
              box jumps
              wall balls (6 kg, but halfway through I switched to 4 kg)
              rowing machine
              KB swings (16 kg)

              I did 322 reps + I averaged about 30 cal on the machine per round for 3 rounds. Our team lost, but I tied for 2nd on # or reps within our team. I wanted to collapse on the floor. Because our coach explains everything in German, I thought we were only doing one full round, so I was going really hard the first round and thought it was over, then had to suck it up and do another 2 rounds. Ugh. I was wiped out.

              This morning (Monday):

              We did benchpress for the strength component. Find 5RM. I did:
              44 lb x 8
              66 lb x 8
              88 lb x 8
              110 x 5
              132 x 4
              122 x 3
              122 x 1
              122 x 1

              I went up too quickly and went to failure before coming close to 5 reps in my last 4 sets.

              The WOD: 5 rounds for time:

              Thrusters: 44 lb, 12 reps
              ring pushups: 10 reps (I did 5 full ones for the 1st round then switched to knee for the rest ... the benchpress killed me)
              toes to bar: 8 reps

              I finished in 13:53. There were only 4 people, and I came in 3rd. This was a really hard workout, I think because I'd already gone to failure on the benchpress.

              Now I'm looking forward to 1.5 days rest before the next workout.

              I still haven't moved from being around 200 pounds. I saw some friends I haven't seen for maybe 6 weeks today, and they said I looked like I've lost more weight. So I guess my body is shifting from fat to muscle, which is awesome.
              Last edited by en2ec; 09-24-2013, 02:04 AM.
              My primal journal


              • I weighed 205 this morning. I think I'm retaining water ... probably because of my workout yesterday. For the last 6 or 7 weeks since I started crossfit, I've upped my carbs. Now I've cut them again. I'll see if it affects my performance and recovery. I don't think it has so far. I'm curious how I'll do in crossfit on ketosis. The reality is that with anything that involves running my performance is terrible no matter what. A lot of the workouts are grind it out kinds of workouts that should be OK on ketosis. I may not be able to lift as much weight during the strength training, but I don't mind a little hit on strength.

                I'm also doing IF on days I don't do crossfit. I really wish I could break through this stall. Yeah, I am gaining a little muscle, and I'm retaining a bit of water, but if I've lost any fat, it is a tiny amount. I tried on my primal t-shirt over the weekend, and it was tight on my belly, and I was able to wear it a few months ago.

                I don't think I'm overtraining. I'm going to crossfit 3x a week. I'm also getting a decent amount of slow movement every day and more on weekends. I drink 1 bottle of wine per week now, so I don't think alcohol is the issue. I probably indulge in too much chocolate, but that's my only indulgence, and it is 90%, so it isn't too bad. I'm probably more strict now than I was when I was losing weight like crazy. So it is pretty frustrating. I suppose that it could be that the # of calories I'm eating was low enough to lose weight at 280 pounds but high enough to maintain at 200. I don't think that calorie in/calorie out on a 1 for 1 basis makes sense, but I also don't think that unlimited calories from fat and protein don't matter. So maybe my next experiment will have to be to cut back a little and see if that has any impact. But I don't want to slow down my metabolism by eating too few calories.
                My primal journal


                • I think you and me are having the same problem. I have stalled too, in weight and measurements. I'm able to fit into a smaller size though so maybe my body is reshaping itself. At least that's what I keep telling myself, lol. Since I started crossfit in Jan, I've only lost 4 lbs total. But I feel and look better so I will keep going.

                  The only time I'm able to drop any weight is when I reduce calories between 1200-1400. But I love food so much I can't do it for more than a few days. Reducing carbs doesn't work for me anymore and I feel terrible and bomb at crossfit, so I'm done with that. I guess you just have to keep tweaking things until you find what works for you. But believe me, I understand your frustration.
                  F 45 5'5"
                  SW 177
                  CW 141


                  • DoraV: yeah, it is very frustrating. I guess the ultimate test is feeling and looking better, and you do. That's what really counts. I sometimes have to remind myself of all of the health gains I've had. It is so easy to adjust into a new normal, whether the normal is great (on paleo) or terrible (on SAD). I have so many little things that are better now that when you add them up, I'm a different person and so much healthier, both physically and mentally.

                    Nevertheless, when you have certain goals and you either aren't making progress or the progress is so slow and gradual that you can't see it, it is really frustrating. The scale isn't moving, so I base my progress on clothes now. My primal t-shirt was too small the other day, but I was able to wear a shirt I ordered on-line in May that was too small then. Did the t-shirt shrink? That was always my excuse when gaining weight! "Oh, the stupid dryer is shrinking everything." :-o Or did the shirt stretch? I have two conflicting data points, so I don't know what's happening other than I feel great.

                    I'll post my crossfit workouts from Wednesday and this morning later today. So, when I started crossfit, I upped my carbs. Not a huge amount ... probably in the 100 - 150 range with some days probably going over 150. Since Sunday, I've dropped back down to less than 50 g a day. Although I can't compare my crossfit performance doing the same WOD with higher carbs and with VLC, and so I can't say for certain how my performance compares now, I can say that my perception is that there hasn't been any difference in performance. I haven't been gassed. If anything, at least compared to my fellow crossfit athletes, I think my performance may have improved a bit. So for the moment, I don't have any reason to go back to higher carbs. When I went higher carbs, I'd get wicked hungry around 3 in the afternoon. This week, that has mostly gone away. I've also IFd 2 times this week.
                    My primal journal


                    • I have a bunch of crossfit workouts to post. Good thing my box posts photos of the workout board every day!

                      In the meantime, I thought I'd post here some things I put in a comment to one of Mark's posts several weeks ago about health improvements. These are the things that I've noticed that have improved significantly since going primal.

                      - zero heartburn (I’d go through Tums like candy before)
                      - no more stomach pain, constipation, bloating, and crazy flatulence (I’d miss 3 or 4 days of work a year after being on the toilet in agony for hours in the middle of the night).
                      - much better sleep (my head hits the pillow, and I’m out)
                      - greatly reduced snoring (and likely sleep apnea)
                      - almost no issues with carpal tunnel syndrome — I used to need to wear a wrist brace when I slept or else I’d be doomed to utter misery all night long, waking up every hour or so with a painful burning numb hand. Sometimes I wear it out of habit, but often I’ll go for days without it with no problems.
                      - fewer colds of much shorter intensity and duration (I’d typically get 2 severe colds that led to bronchitis and antibiotics 2x a year for at least a week each, but I haven’t missed work for a cold in over a year)
                      - no more reactive hypoglycemia and ravenous hunger — this is HUGE
                      - tons more energy
                      - greatly reduced allergies
                      - I’d had some issue with my throat for several years that felt like I needed to constantly clear it. That’s gone.
                      - my asthma is extremely well-controlled – I haven’t taken my rescue inhaler in well over a year
                      - my testosterone levels are much higher
                      - my skin looks much healthier, and I don’t have dandruff any more
                      - I have more patience and much less of a temper. I’m much more even-keeled now and am generally in a much better mood
                      My primal journal


                      • I've been bad about posting my crossfit workouts.

                        I haven't worked out this week, though, because my workout on Saturday was freakin crazy, and I'm still sore. We did Helen meets Karen. I've since googled it, and some boxes simply add 50 wallball shots to each round of Helen. We did them separately with 5 minutes rest in between. I did ring rows for Helen instead of pull ups. I did Helen first and finished in 11:27. For Karen, I did 70 reps with a 6 kg (13.2 lb) ball and 80 reps with a 3 kg (6.6 lb) ball. I did them in sets: 30, 20, 20, 20, 20, 20, 20 with mini breaks of 5 to 8 seconds between sets. I finished in 7:15.

                        If you add my times together for Helen and Karen and then compare the total to the people from the 2 classes on Saturday, I came out 4th overall out of 19 people! I was 8th in Helen (running kills me) and 5th in Karen, yet 4th overall. Most people were gassed after their first one (we split the class, and half did Helen first and half did Karen first). But I was pretty consistent in both. I did Karen second, yet placed 5th, beating out quite a few who did Karen 1st.

                        I wonder how much of the consistency is thanks to being fat adapted. In any case, Karen killed my legs. It is now Tuesday, and I'm still sore. I was scheduled to go to crossfit yesterday, but the strength component was finding 5RM for thrusters, which is basically the same movement as wall ball shots. I think my 5RM yesterday was my bodyweight. I scheduled for today, but it was overhead squats. No thanks. Still too sore. Hopefully, my legs will be ready tomorrow.
                        My primal journal


                        • Just read your whole journal and wanted to stop by and say hello and how much I enjoyed reading it :-)
                          It has been amazing watching your transformation pictures and you look great, and so much happier. Well done !
                          I am just really starting out though I have the diet ok its now trying to fit in exercise. I've just been for a 2 hr walk and feel loads better so its a start :-)
                          I love your pics of food, quite inspiring me to be a bit more adventurous. Thanks :-)


                          • Dragonette: That's so nice of you to say. I'm amazed that you read through it all. I'm glad that my experience can be helpful. I always intend to post more photos of food and of me, but I never seem to do it.

                            Do you have a journal too? I've found that it is a good way to keep me honest, though I go through periods where I don't write much.

                            A 2 hour walk is a great start. I think if you are really starting out at ground zero on fitness, the primal blueprint fitness is a great way to go. Another good option that I did for a while is You Are Your Own Gym. As always, food is the most important thing to get right, but if you are doing well with what you're eating, you'll have the energy to gradually do more and more exercise.

                            When I started out, I had difficulty getting up off the couch. Now I'm addicted to crossfit. It takes a bit of time and dedication, but you can dramatically improve your fitness.
                            My primal journal


                            • I haven't been writing in my journal lately. For one, there isn't a lot to add in terms of my health, weight, and exercise. My weight has frustratingly been hovering between 203 and 205. If anything, I think I've gained some fat since joining crossfit. But I really like it, and I think I feel better going to crossfit. So I'm sticking with it. Nothing new with my health. The other reason I haven't written in a while is that we went to the US to do some job networking, and my wife has now been offered a job. We're moving to Durham, NC!

                              One of the things I'll miss from Vienna is the bauchspeck or bacon. The really good stuff is very firm and dry with a really strong smoke flavor. I don't think you can get bacon like that in the US. I don't eat a lot of dairy, but I will miss the phenomenal dairy products available here. On the other hand, I'm really looking forward to getting good Mexican food again! And good barbecue! And being able to buy vegetables other than lettuce, cabbage, zucchini, onion, tomato and carrots. And Whole Foods! And farmer's markets and CSAs. And chipotle.
                              My primal journal


                              • Great to see you back Eric. And congrats on moving back to the US (I think, lol).
                                F 45 5'5"
                                SW 177
                                CW 141