Thank you to everyone who attended the Guardian Angels Regional School 2014 Beef and Beer fundraiser! Below are photos from the event, feel free to download and share 🙂
Congratulations to the 2014 Gibbstown Gators on another excellent swim season! Below are photos from the end of season pep rally, feel free to download and share 🙂
Oy, I appear to be the sloth-like CrossFit guy at the moment. My fellow newbies seem to be blazing through workouts, while I slowly grind through them.
Some of you may be waiting to hear me talk about what CrossFit is and what it entails. Those answers will come soon. At this point, I’m just learning techniques and getting used to their class regimen. However, I have a pretty good idea that my biggest challenge will be my lack of stamina.
You may have heard me mention that I’m a schlub. That’s both true and untrue. To be more accurate, I’m an ox – a big, slow, lumbering, beast of burden. My mother’s nickname for me was “Moose.” The phrase “bull in a china shop” has been thrown around, too.
As a kid, my family and I would take vacations to the mountains of the Appalachian Trail. More than once, I walked up those mountains with my mom holding onto the back of my belt as I played the role of tow truck (and yes, I warned my mom this little anecdote was making it into the blog. She said
“you’re out of the will” she’s thrilled.)
When I played football in high school, I was a lineman. A very poor, little used lineman. When I played “flag” (aka “no-blood, no-foul”) football from college till just a few years ago, at my best I was a pocket quarterback or possession receiver. Eventually, I turned into little more than a speed-bump center, just trying to do what I could to
cheat block a rushing defender.
Two years ago, like any good middle-ager pining for a crisis, I started playing softball. I’m the guy who turns inside-the-park home runs into triples. I’m also the guy who complains about having to run
saunter past first base.
So, why do I tell you this?
Because stamina plays into a lot of CrossFit. And I got none of that. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
So far the weights haven’t been a problem. Most of the exercises themselves are perfectly doable (save for one that will be getting its own blog post in the very near future because it is the work of the Devil).
However, for a fat 41-year-old, the lack of stamina is the real challenge. I’ll do one or two reps of a particular routine and I’ll be fine. But reps three until the end have me breathing hard and wishing that I had the power to fast forward time.
Happily, I seem to be the only one having this issue, at least as severely. That means it’s probably me, which suggests it’s probably a hurdle I can jump. Thankfully, that is exactly what every formerly-out-of-shape CrossFitter I’ve met has told me. The stamina will come. Just keep chugging.
I did find one workout, a CrossFit staple, that appears to be tailor-made for me, the rowing machine. Finally my height and orangutan arms can be put to good use 🙂
Week 1 into my “New Body by CrossFit” was a little less than stellar. However, I have only my own life to blame for it.
Last Saturday, I hit my first class, I blogged about it (which generated more support than I ever could have hoped for) and then… I whiffed on the rest of the week.
The first class at CrossFit1Force went very well. Everyone was really cool and supportive. The workout, which was an introductory class called “3-2-1,” was great. I had very helpful and positive instructors, Kevin and Meredith. There were four other people in the group – three of whom that had the same look as me, “ok, I can do this… don’t be scared… oh crap, now I have to do something… what was that move…? please don’t let me be the first person to screw up… hey, that wasn’t too bad… this is fun… I may be sore in the morning… wow, what a great workout…!”
When it was all done, I felt exhausted but weirdly exhilarated. I hadn’t had a workout that strenuous since my last football practice in high school. Even the next morning, though I was sore and moving a little slow, I still had a very positive feeling. I was looking forward to my next class.
And then life got in the way.
Monday – snowstorm, locked in at home
Tuesday – get the family off to school/work, work, evening volunteer meeting
Wednesday – get the family off to school/work, work, evening work meeting
Thursday – get the family off to school/work, work, dinner with family, catch up on chores
Friday – get the family off to school/work, work, work late – miss class
Saturday – morning “3-2-1” class
So here’s the thing, there’s really no place to lay blame. Because of where I live, where CrossFit1Force is located and where I work, I can’t attend weekday pre-work classes. I can’t control the weather. I have to do my job, which occasionally requires me to work late. I’m a member of the Knights of Columbus, which means twice a month I have council meetings, and one occurred last week. I have a family, I’d like to see them occasionally.
That’s life. Well, that’s my life anyway.
So, how do I deal with that and still get into shape? I forget last week. Yup, put it out of my mind.
There are going to be stretches where life says, “sorry, pal, you’re not getting the workout in, I need you to focus on this instead.” The key is, when the schedule breaks my way, I have to make sure I’m focused and ready to get back into the workout regime. I can’t let those fleeting windows of opportunity appear and instead of hauling my ample derriere to CrossFit, I decide to park it on the couch and watch Big Bang Theory re-runs.
That’s the real danger. It’s not life getting in the way, it’s letting laziness fill those precious few hours when I can focus on the things I need to improve. I also may need to strive to find a better work/life balance, but right now I can only play the hand I’ve dealt myself.
Next week I hope to make CrossFit on Monday, Thursday and Saturday. If life pops up and messes with my plans, I look for other days. If it becomes another dud week, I toss it, and try again. Failure happens. It’s not the end, just a hurdle.
Oh, but here’s one thing I realized, I found the person I might have a chance to resemble when I finally get this CrossFit thing worked out: Joe Manganiello. Ok, so mostly I choose him because he’s the only famous person I know with as much gray in his beard as I have. But also, the dude is ripped:
I’m a schlub.
There’s no way to sugarcoat this. I’m not lazy, though I’d like to be, but if you can imagine what the word schlub might look like, I’m it. A big doughy dude. I’ve been a big doughy dude since I found out a meal plan in college was all-you-can-eat. And, then the drinking plan at night was all-you-could-drink. I can do both quite well. I mean, decades of practice good.
I love to eat. I mean, I really love food. And not that frou-frou crap. I like a good hearty Irish meal, meat and potatoes with a healthy side of dessert. Snacks. Mmmmm…. snacks.
Sweet tooth? Check!
The real problem is I’ve never been able to use all those calories as fuel. So I convert them to fat. Blubbery, disgusting, killer fat. I’ve read all the studies. I know that quickly on the heels of smoking, alcohol and drugs, getting fat is a sure way to a dirt nap. Made even worse if you never get exercise.
At the beginning of 2014, I decided to make some changes.
1) Moderate my crap intake. I’m not going to become a bean sprout eater yet, but cutting out fast food and dialing down the white grains is my start.
2) Get my ass in gear.
There’s nothing a schlub likes better than a chair. And I have several. The chair at work I’m chained to for 10 hours a day. And there’s a variety of comfy seating at my home, which I enjoy riding for hours of TV and Xbox.
But here’s the thing, I don’t want to be a big doughy couch rider. I love to play sports. I love to move around. I love to go out for walks. I’m a middle-aged man with a career and a family; guess what I don’t do much of?
I’ve tried. I’ve joined more gyms in my life than I’ve had jobs or girlfriends (though the latter shouldn’t be that surprising).
So after years of exercise failure, I’ve decided to bring out the big guns. I’ve joined a CrossFit box. Not because I’ve watched the CrossFit Games on ESPN. Not because I’m looking to become an elite athlete. No, I’ve come to CrossFit1Force for one reason: community.
Fortunately, I went to high school with the owner, Erin Kelly. Until three weeks ago, she and I hadn’t seen each other in 20 years, though weirdly we had been traveling in the same career circles. However, she and I have stayed in touch via Facebook for quite a while. She began her CrossFit box three years ago in her garage. All the while, I’ve been sitting on the sidelines watching success story after success story blossom through 1Force. From her home confines, CrossFit1Force now occupies a huge facility in West Deptford, N.J., boasting hundred of members.
On January 1, 2014, I made a fateful decision. After three years of finding excuses not to join, I would stop dragging my feet. A few weeks later, I stopped by on cold Friday night and caught up with my pal and she laid it out for me. It’s time to begin.
So today I did. And it was great. I haven’t worked out this hard since high school football. In the future weeks I’ll talk more about what I’ve done, and why I think CrossFit will work for a loner like me. (Psst… that’s the key by the way, no great success truly ever happened alone. But more of that in later posts.)
Am I going to be committed to this? I don’t know. I hope so. But yesterday I did something I’ve never done before. I took a “before” picture and recorded my measurements. I won’t abuse you by showing you the before pic. Maybe if there’s an awesome “after” pic you’ll see it someday. For now, I’ll just fill you in on the measurements.
Weight: 251 lbs. (on a 6′ 2″ frame)
Chest: 47 inches
Waist: 49 inches
Hips: 47 inches
(Geez, I’m an apple)
Neck: 17.5 inches
Arms: 14.5 inches
Forearms: 12 inches
Thighs: 26 inches
Some of these need to go up. Some of these need to go down. But it isn’t going to happen alone. It’s going to take village.
Those of you who follow me on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram no doubt saw a plethora of irritating selfies from various South Jersey high school football fields. What you didn’t see (because the publication I work for only publishes with ink and not pixels), is the fruit of my labors. Well, since the season is over, I figured I’d let you all get a glimpse of what football in the Garden State looks like. Enjoy!
I already miss photographing it 😦