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September 29, 2010

Gearing up for the Whole9 Thirty Day Challenge - The Web

Starting Monday, I'm embarking on the Whole9, Whole30 Thirty Day Challenge with many of the others at the gym where I train.  In preparation, I thought I would put together in one place a bunch of the resources that I use to share with the other folks.

I've been living part Paleo, part Neo for the last year or so, and I'm feeling like it's time to give up the grain for good and truly practice what I preach.  So here's to it:

Paleo specific sites I read:

Krist Amory (of Feasting on Fitness) also has a Resources link that is useful

I'm a fan of The Food Renegade, (which, while not 'Paleo' per se, has a load of useful links and recipes that qualify as Paleo) and Mark's Daily Apple, also not precisely Paleo, but has a LARGE number of recipes that, if not Paleo, can be easily modified.

I'm also looking at flexing my Amazon Prime muscle a bit and getting some shipments of coconut products (milk and shredded) if I can find the appropriate quality, otherwise, it will be down to the co-op with me.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 9:59 PM | Comments (0)

August 3, 2010

This week in Health News - How are our Kids?

Over the last week, a few articles have hit the news wires that have left me in a seething, ranting fit, culminating today in a discussion sparked by an "article" on FoxNews (of course).

A Weighty Issue: Mass. Schools' 'Fat' Report Cards Crossing the Line?

So, first of all, the school district shouldn't be allowed to classify a child as obese until they can prove that it's not their deadly food and lack of physical education that are the main contributors.

In it's current accept usage,  BMI is improperly referenced as a measure of obesity rather than an observational starting point for individual data collection and analysis. To suggest that BMI is the MEASURE by which a child is called "fat" is scientifically improper as it describes a scale along a statistical norm and NOT the basis of individual measure. The only way I would accept BMI as a data point is if it was corroborated with correlating individual data, eg. Body Fat % and Lean Body Mass. "Because Shelby's BMI was observed to be on the high side of normal for her age group, we tested her body composition (caliper method) and determined that she was 23% body fat, which is high for a child her age[...]" 

Personally, I would argue to tell the school nurse (who should know this already) that BMI is irrelevant and useless without corroborating, individually unique data. The only body composition numbers that are important for measuring health and fitness for an INDIVIDUAL are Body Fat Percentage and Lean Muscle Mass.

While everyone SHOULD be upset with this gross misconduct, the story is pomp and bluster, and I believe that they are 'angry' for the wrong reasons. While the patterns for healthy eating habits and fitness start at home, our children spend 80% of their time at school, and the environment is toxic and sedentary. IF FoxNews and the parents were REALLY upset there would be a LARGE outcry against the irrelevance of the measurement and the environment that put them all in this situation, instead of politically charged BS about 'who's invading/violating whose rights.'

I would say that a healthy country (in just about any sense of the word) starts with a healthy family. Our schools should not be the enforcers regarding our kids health, but they should definitely be the primary benefactor. Childhood obesity has more than tripled in the past 30 years. The prevalence of obesity among children aged 6 to 11 years increased from 6.5% in 1980 to 19.6% in 2008. The prevalence of obesity among adolescents aged 12 to 19 years increased from 5.0% to 18.1%. [1]

What's the financial impact on our Health Care Industry when there is a pediatric load on the system with adult issues (High blood sugar, type II diabetes, high cholesterol, and all the other hyperinsulinemia induced diseases)? When the cost of a patient over a lifetime can almost TRIPLE because of the childhood onset of obesity related diseases (which doesn't even CONSIDER the rise of 'elective' treatments related to obesity on the rise with teens) , I think this is actually one of the easiest to solve issues taxing the entire system, and America is to much a coward to fix it.

Americans dig their own graves with their teeth.

Consider it's national security impact.  ABC news carried a story about an opinion from Mission: Readiness (a think tank of retired military officers)called “Too Fat To Fight” (check out the Counter Think Comic) detailing a new report that says that more than 9 million young adults, or 27 percent of all Americans ages 17 to 24, are too overweight to join the military. Now, the officers are advocating for passage of a wide-ranging nutrition bill that aims to make the nation's school lunches healthier.

All this to say that while I don't think a school should be testing kids for obesity without being a MAJOR contributor to the solution, I also think we all need to take responsibility for the health and wellness of our children, lead by example and stop killing our kids with bad information, poisonous food and no motivation.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 3:04 PM | Comments (0)

June 22, 2010

Oly Cert - A retrospective

This was a dense weekend to put it mildly. My body was sore by Saturday night and my brain reached the full tipping point by 11:00 am Sunday morning. I could try and recap everything we did; the Burgener warm-up, both lifts, all of the skill transfer exercises for each and the plentitude of coaching cues…but I won't.  There's a cert for that, and if you want to really understand the snatch and the clean/jerk, the only way to do it is to learn it as if you had to teach it.

What I will do is thank everyone appropriately.  First, a huge thank you to Kate (and Paul) and The Athlete Lab for being such fine hosts.  The little things were all taken care of, which helped to make the big things go smoothly. I felt welcome and included, and their passion for CrossFit was evident in the beauty of their space and their attention to detail.  They even provided a great list of places to find food in the area for those of us from out of town.

Next, thanks to all the attendees.  The cert wouldn't have been a CrossFit cert without the great people from our region, with athletes and trainers from as far away as Sioux Falls, SD making the trip to learn from the best.  Everyone that I had a chance to talk to and train with was helpful and a testament to pursuing virtuosity. It was also great to meet more CrossFit athletes from closer to home, and I hope to spend a little more time with them in the future.  My CrossFit home will always be CrossFitMN, but one thing that I have learned from trying to train Aikido, Jodo and CrossFit on the road (both while in Japan and back here in the states as a consultant) is that visiting other schools expands your horizons, offers new challenges and allows you to meet some of the best people in the world; and who wouldn't want to do that?

Next up, the coaches.  A huge “Thank You” to all of them.  They were all top notch, and their passion was evident from the moment we started with the introductions.

Amie TaylorAmie Taylor isn't just a CrossFitter and Oly Cert wise-woman, she's also a 9th  grade algebra teacher, and her passion for CrossFit and education collided with the creation of CrossFit Algebra.  Truly inspiring, and something that any educator should read.

Debbie HudsonDebbie Hudson is a competitive Olympic Lifter from Oakland County, MI (my home town) and is opening a CrossFit affiliate in the YMCA near Oakland University (where I will now need to visit while I'm home to get a tune up for my clean). She was always right there with succinct advice and positive feedback; and Lord knows, I needed some of both this weekend. If you are interested in seeing what this CrossFit thing is all about and you are in the Oakland County area, I highly suggest you look her up.


cody burgenerCody Burgener, CrossFit Sioux Falls coach and son of the coach, Mike Burgener, was an interesting reflection of his father.  He has as critical an eye as does Coach, but a completely different coaching style.  Though different, he was as direct and specific and each one of his cues moved me closer to success.  He also hit a 315# PR Clean and Jerk over lunch on Sunday while wearing street shoes, which is nothing to be scoffed at.

Erin Okonek Karshner Erin was a phenomenal coach and offered me several words of wisdom that I will keep with me as I start to coach others in these lifts. My favorite moment of hers for the weekend, though, was actually at dinner on Saturday night. Someone mentioned that the plate of Cody's Chili cheese fries she was amount to NOM from might not be Paleo, and she responded "Do I look like a person that eats Paleo?" I looked at her and and said "Um, yes, Erin, you do." She actually looked down at herself briefly and said, "Yeah, I guess I do...", and proceeded to help herself.

I should also mention that she and Amie did "Bear" for a workout on Sunday, and she maxed at 145#, which is staggering.

coach mike burgener Of course, the cert wouldn't be complete without Coach B from Mike's Gym. Coach was everything I expected and more.  He was direct, stated his expectations clearly and concisely and there was never any doubt that he was going to push us toward not just lifting with excellence, but with teaching it as well.  From the intro to the wrap up, everything was organized, well thought out, excellently presented and worth every minute of agony.  As my good friend Kevin Oie put it, “Best. Weekend. Ever.” And I wholeheartedly agree. Coach cares about Olympic Lifting.  It's his passion, and that passion bleeds through with every contagious word.

Before the start of the weekend, I knew that I loved CrossFit and thought that I wanted to be good at the lifts because I didn't see MetCon excellence in my immediate future, but now, I  know it. I practiced skill transfers with a broom today while sweeping and stole ten minutes to head out to the garage to go through the warm up.  After the kids are in bed tonight, I have a Clean workout and a Kettlebell, pull up sit up cookie to attend to.

Thank you, Coach, for your time, your passion, your knowledge, the burpees and the Jodi.  What a package deal. Please come back to Minnesota soon… and next time, bring the Harley.  When there aren't tornadoes, it's quite the rider's paradise.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 2:29 PM | Comments (0)

May 18, 2010

Today's Workout, Firsts and the Burpee Challenge

We executed today's WOD* outside today which was awesome.  We're in that perfect time during the year that isn't too cold (last week) and isn't too hot (mid-July).

Team Eric Nielson (Team Alpha)  put in s a strong effort, but managed to lose by a single run (48 –  47) when all was said and done.  I was able to put in a strong 5 rounds and even scored a couple of firsts while doing it.

Midway through my second round of pull ups I finally hit a rhythm and the light went on and I can now do kipping pull ups (Yay!!!). On my way back out side for my fifth set of burpees I had a sharp pain across the ball of my foot, and I think this is because I was attempting to do double-unders in my Vibrams on the the concrete. I suspect that with all that pounding, my foot was reminding me to land lightly…I went back to singles.

My final first, as it were, was my first ripped callous from pull-ups today. If I would have stayed down off the bar after the WOD, all would have been fine, but traffic had me back on a box on the last set and I felt like I cheapened the workout, so I got back up and did the set again with kipping...and tearing...

Finally, I agreed to participate in aBurpee Challenge (PDF) with Kevin Oie over the next 100 days.  Day One, one burpee, day tw0, two burpees, on up to 100 burpess on day 100.  I knocked out 45 yesterday and 50 today, so I'm seriously looking forward to just three tomorrow.

*CrossFit Baseball (team WOD SCORE:47)

    AMRAP 20 Mins - Each person to finish a round, scores a run
  • 1st  Base: 10 Burpess
  • 2nd  Base: 10 Squats
  • 3rd  Base: 10 Double Unders (30 Singles)
  • Home Plate: 10 Pull-ups
Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 4:48 PM | Comments (0)

May 4, 2010

Why I lean Paleo

mmmm baconA quick “Thank you” to Melissa Urban for her post “The Paleo Pitch,” which is a discussion on how to talk to the uninitiated about choosing to eat naturally.  I try to explain to people what and why I eat what and why I do and all I get are blank stares, silly questions and fear.

"Oh, so Atkins?" Buh, huh, wha? Well, I suppose, but not in the “Extreme carb restriction followed by slow carb re-introduction cyclic method."  More in the “I don’t eat processed sugar or most grains anymore, so my body will actually burn fat for fuel” kinda way.  Atkins was certainly on to something, for sure, but reintroducing cheap, processed carbs (which, let’s be honest, is what most folks who go “On A Diet” will do) is the lazy way.  I believe in changing my diet to something that is healthy and sustainable.

"Don't you hate eating that way?" Didn't I just tell you I loved to eat real, natural foods, how good it makes me feel and how well I'm improving in the gym?  People see me eating simply and think "Wow, poor guy.."  Meanwhile, I'm sitting there humming happily and chowing on my blackberries, which, in my humble opinion, are like little bombs of juicy, sunshine flavored crack on the tongue after a long winter in rehab.

Bad, processed food makes me feel icky.  After a sandwich with processed bread, I need a nap, Burger King makes me want to commit seppuku almost immediately, just so I can use the quickest possible method of getting the poison out, and the smell of a microwave / instant meal literally makes me gag (someone was “cooking” a lean cuisine yesterday in the break area and my response was visceral and took me by complete surprise).

So, no, I don’t “hate eating this way.”  No, not at all. Last week my weight didn’t change, but I lost yet another percentage point off my Body Fat % (the only real number I follow at this point, though I try not to lose lean muscle mass) and all I did was eat food I loved and kick my own ass at the gym.

The kicking your own ass part is not really optional if you truly want to improve your health, longevity and fitness, but just eating cleaner will have a dramatic impact on your day-to-day life.

Here’s Melissa’s Elevator Pitch, because I like it so much:

“I eat “real” food – fresh, natural food like meat, vegetables and fruit.  I choose foods that are nutrient dense, with lots of naturally-occurring vitamins and minerals, over foods that have more calories but less nutrition.  And food quality is important – I’m careful about where my meat comes from, and buy produce locally and organically as often as possible.

It’s not a low calorie “diet” – I eat as much as I need to maintain strength, energy and a healthy weight.  In fact, my diet is probably much higher in fat than you’d imagine.  Fat isn’t the enemy – it’s a great energy source when it comes from high quality foods like avocado, coconut and nuts. And I’m not trying to do a “low carb” thing, but since I’m eating vegetables and fruits instead of bread, cereal and pasta, it just happens to work out that way.

Eating like this is good for maintaining a healthy metabolism, and reducing inflammation within the body.  It’s been doing great things for my energy levels, body composition and performance in the gym.  It also helps to minimize my risk for a whole host of lifestyle diseases and conditions, like diabetes, heart attack and stroke.” —Melissa Urban

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 9:57 AM | Comments (0)

April 19, 2010

Today's WOD

SquatDiagramThis was pretty straight forward, which is good, given the complexity of Saturday's workout.  Before we started Darcy gave a quick recap of the running seminar she gave on Saturday.  She focused specifically on the lean, arm position and a brief discussion on foot placement.  She used me as an example and I hope I did her proud.

    4 Rounds for Time (17:30)
  • Run 400m
  • 50 Air Squats

Then Core Work.  This was an uncommon occurance (I don’t think I’ve ever been there and done this), and nothing we did was common place.

Tabata Intervals (four rounds only) of Scissor Kicks, Modified Windshield wipers, Air Straddle crunch.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 10:15 PM | Comments (0)

Day 2, pt I: PIF9 meets Core CrossFit and The Filthy Fifty

Core CrossFitAfter rolling into town Friday night and staying to the end of the shows, I got to bed around Midnight (local).  I wanted to have at least a couple of hours of shut eye before I awoke at 5:45am on Saturday.  I needed to make sure that I had time to get food in my stomache before heading to the 7am WOD at Core CrossFit.  Thank God I set my boundaries and followed the plan. I woke up, ate lightly and rolled back into bed for another 30 minutes, then got up and dressed and headed outside to finish waking up sitting in the sunlight.

DSCN0142The Gym is literally two blocks from the Holiday Inn Express, so I walked over in the early morning light to find a couple of people already on the mats getting warmed up.  After a few, brief, introductions I set to getting the blood moving again.

The BoardIt turns out that it was a gym member’s 50th birthday, and to celebrate we were going to tackle “The Filthy Fifty” which is technically described as a “Chipper” but is really a “Crusher” or “Destroyer of Worlds” from a MetCon perspective. 

    "The Filthy Fifty" (30:57) 
  • 50 Box Jumps (24in box)
  • 50 Jumping Pull-ups
  • 50 Kettle Bell swings (16kg)
  • 50 Walking Lunges
  • 50 Knees to Elbows
  • 50 Push Press (45lb)
  • 50 Back Extensions
  • 50 Wall Ball shots (20lb ball)
  • 50 Burpees
  • 50 Double Unders

DSCN0141When we had reached a critical mass of athletes we got started setting up the space, and once the stations were set we broke into teams of four for the warm up, which was to cycle through the stations for ten reps each (I think that makes it the Filthy Sixty or some such).  After the warm up we all grabbed a PVC and went through a stretching sequence that I will definitely include in my own warm up sequence as it targeted some specific gaps in my armor.

The workout itself was exactly the way it looks – long and intense.  Couple that with jet lag, a late night and the fact that it was almost 80 degrees when we started the WOD at 7:30am (up here in Minnesota, we’re lucky if it’s 55 degs by noon), suffice it to say that I was definitely challenged.  My team started on KB Swings and I scaled a couple of things to get through it all.  By the time I got to the Box Jumps, I was stepping up on a 25” tire, I used a 26lb KB, a 15lb medball and since I can’t do double unders to save my life when I’m well rested, I did 150 singles.

The TimeAfter I dropped off the bar from the jumping pull-ups and called time, I grabbed my second bottle of water and went outside to dump it over my head, refill, repeat, refill, guzzle. I chatted with some of the athletes, bought a T-Shirt (WHO DOESN’T BUY A T-SHIRT?!?), talked up the show (I asked management to set aside a couple of tickets for Drew and his girlfriend, but didn’t get out front in time to see if he had picked them up, but I hope he was there and had a great time) and bid my farewells while the next group of folks trickled in for their attempt.

I saw on my phone that Clif had arrived, so I slowly made my way back to the hotel, got myself some mediocre hotel breakfast and headed up to my room for a reunion and a shower.

All this before 9am…not bad.

Thank you again to Thomas and the trainers and athletes at Core Crossfit in Phoenix, AZ for a great Saturday morning workout, I’ll hopefully be back this time next year for PIF10 and another well deserved Saturday Morning CrossFit Ass Kicking.


Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 10:51 AM | Comments (0)

April 15, 2010

Deadlifts, Endurance, Torn Hands, Torn Shoes

Really simple (to understand) WOD today, but the execution was dicey.  I hadn’t expected to do the endurance WOD today, nor was a mentally prepared for sprinting in my VFFs.  I also underloaded my deadlifts, leaving me short of what I think my max should be (my last lift at 260# had a lot of room left).  Even with the underloading, my hands were pretty torn up, which means a few things, most importantly of which is, I need to lift heavy tings more often.Ripped Pam

Ripped VibramOn my second lap I stubbed my toe on a funky ripple of asphalt while sprinting in the parking lot, which isn’t normally a big deal, but I wasn’t strapped in tight to my VFFs and it resulted in me tearing a hole in the top of the big toe.

Thankfully I wasn’t actullay running barefoot, I’m certain I would have busted a toe.  As it is, I had to sit for a minute and reset my shoe and my brain, which put me behind the rest of the group by several important minutes.

All that bitching aside, I learned some important things today. 

  1. I think I need to rework my deadlift at a 325# max and set my next percentages from there.
  2. I need to use a LOT more chalk, my hands a pretty torn up
  3. I need to pay attention to my shoes and actually strap them down for running (DUH!)
    WOD: Deadlift and Endurance
  • Deadlift (1x1x1x1x1): 260#
  • Run 2 Miles (1600m): 20:08
    • sprint 100m, jog 100m
Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 5:36 PM | Comments (0)

April 13, 2010

Team Challenge

Two great work outs in a row so far this week.  Yesterday’s  workout was all about perseverence and increasing complexity, today was all about “Team.”  Kevin, Terry and I worked through the challenge as a team and wow, we were pretty wasted after.  The weights I list below are mine, Terry and Kevin each had their own bars to contend with.  We figured out our rythm such that one of us was in each of the movements at any one time, although there were some specific rules about when a new round could start.

Kat's HandsThe aftermath was felt by all.  Since each person was able to scale appropriately, everyone certainly was challenged.  There were several ripped hands from heavy deadlift holds coupled with the pull ups, and just about everyone commented on just how rough the workout was, and many were surprised.  Being a relative n00b to Crossfit, ALL of the workouts are hard, so I’m not surprised.

Kat (who’s hands are shown herein) mentioned that it had been a while since she was in a WOD where there was the same relative quiet intensity in the gym as there was today.  No talking or bullshitting, just bars hitting the floor, an appropriate amount of yelling to get the bar in the air (or keep it from slipping out of your grip), periodic swearing and the occasional encouragement from a team member.  All of the teams seemed to work intensely well together, and the lack of the usual chatter is a clear indicator that this was a tough workout.  I look forward to more team challenges at CrossFitMN, they really make CrossFit the sport of fitness.

    Team Challenge: AMRAP 20 Minutes (Thrusters/Deadlift Hold 115# | 9 Rounds) 
  • 3 Thrusters (rx: 135#)
  • 5 Pull Ups
  • While Member “A” does the movements, Member “B” Holds a 185# bar in Deadlift position
    • A dropped weight from the deadlift = +1 rep to each movement for the next round
    • ex
      • 4 thrusters
      • 6 Pull ups

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 5:38 PM | Comments (0)

April 12, 2010

The Iron Mile

Today's workout was pretty rough, but it was still pretty awesome.  My arms were like jello and my legs were destroyed, but not so much that it was a problem.   

    The Iron Mile (Rx’d 45#): 27:57 
  • 25 Presses
  • 25 Push Presses
  • 25 Push Jerks
  • Run 400m
  • 25 Front Squat
  • 25 Back Squat
  • Run 400m
  • 25 Squat Cleans
  • Run 400m
  • 25 Snatches
  • Run 400m

Poor form in the gym is caused by insufficient yellingBut then I think about my daughter wanting to ‘work out’ with daddy, and then, yeah, things are all better and I don’t mind the running and the yelling and the heavy things.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 8:43 PM | Comments (0)

April 7, 2010

Yesterday's Workout as described by Today's Running Clinic

Yesterday we worked on (low) back squat and while I had a decent finish (185# for first time back squatting), I DEFINITELY had more in the tank at the end of the set scheme (5x5).  Having now done it once, I will set my self to max out at least body weight (210) for my next go around.

After back squats, we did “Annie” and I completed both workouts in my VFFs.

I should point out that I scaled my Double Unders to 3x Singles, meaning that I had a total of 450 jumps and 150 sit-ups.

    Work Out
  • Back Squats (5x5): max 185#
  • Annie (50-40-30-20-10): 10:41
    • Double-unders (scaled 3x Singles – 150–120–90–60–30)
    • Sit-ups

Move ahead to today, where my first discussion with my feet this morning was one of stiffness and a general “WTF was that?!?!” squeal from my Ankles and Achilles.  No biggy.  A little stretching and rolling and the stiffness subsided. 


Darcy Rowe Franklin got a hold of my running form.  Wow oh wow wowee wow wow.

I skipped my normal CrossFit workout today to do a running intensive (again, in my VFFs) with our resident Endurance/Running instructor, Darcy.  It turns out my POSE form isn’t that bad (it’s not that “good”, but…).  I’m starting to get the basics correct (upper body form, foot placement, foot pull), but oh what a story a slow motion video can tell.  It wasn’t “Ministry of Silly Walks” or anything, but it wasn’t like watching Bikila either.  Darcy told us before we started that she had had a dream last night wherein our gaits basically looked like kids playing hopscotch poorly – setting expectations early is the sign of a great instructor, I suppose.  *grin*

The physiological aftermath has already begun to set in, as I feel my ankles and Achilles tighten again, but all-in-all, it was a great experience.  While I definitely have some things to improve upon, I was actually surprised by how well I was translating my reading and research into practice, and I look forward to working on my homework at the track this weekend. 

Thanks again to Darcy and CrossFitMN for offering me such awesome instruction and opportunities to improve.


Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 4:02 PM | Comments (0)

March 23, 2010

Today's Workout, Skills work and really enjoying myself

I was over at CrossFitMN today for my lunch time workout and I was convinced to do as many rounds of the WOD as I could in my VFFs.  I didn’t too poorly, although I definitely knew when it was time to take the hit on my score and change back into my running shoes.  I solidly finished 800m in the VFFs before my calves suggested that I shift back to my running shoes.  I blame this mostly on the asphalt and really uneven parking lot (and my weak legs…jeez…).  That being said, this is the second WOD of outdoor running that I’ve done in the VFFs and I’m not in much more discomfort than after any normal day at the gym.  The trick now is to increase my distances gradually while not impacting my times too much.  I don’t have a lot of time for extracurricular running at this point, but I might need to find some time on the weekends to get some 400m/800m/400m splits in at the track.  The warmer weather means I can take Rachel with me to the middle school and she can run around until Dad’s winded.  I have a feeling I’ll be done before she is.

I really enjoyed myself today.  Not that I don’t every day, but I’m starting to find a good rhythm. Also, it’s hard to not feel a part of the group there.  Everyone is supportive, friendly and motivated, which really is the recipe for a great community. 

My enjoyment today blossomed out of time.  I had enough of it after the main WOD to work on some of my Olympic Lifting skills, which always need work.  Skills work is different than the WOD.  It’s not (as) grueling, it’s not for time, it’s just exploration.  Not that it’s not work, not true by any means; I was push jerking decent weight for a good 15 minutes, but it was a different focus.  I got to critically analyze someone else’s form and apply it to my own movements, not to mention I received focused coaching on my form, which it desperately needs.

Damian took us through the CrossFit Kids Push Press / Push Jerk evolution and you could see the lights going on in people’s eyes (including my own) once they got under the weight and applied it.  A great day all around.

    AMRAP in 20 minutes (4 rounds of running, 3 rounds of wall balls):
  • Run 400M
  • 40 wall balls

Followed by

    Push Jerk form work:
  • 5x5x5x5 of light to moderate weight (95 lbs). 
Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 5:10 PM | Comments (0)

February 25, 2010

Why there is no CARE in health care

There was a vocal health care discussion on the Facebook comments section of a picture a good friend posted, and it just irks me that no one is really talking about the problem.

Health Care and Health Insurance are two, diametrically opposed systems with one common goal.  Money. In the US our care is governed by the insurers.  Health insurance companies are in business to make money.  Not help grandma get end of life care, or to make sure Bobby gets his braces.

As a matter of fact, the way that they MAKE money is to NOT pay for either one of those things.  To put the choices of our well being into the hands of ANY entity whose sole purpose is money will insure that the only moment we will see them care is when it is fiscally responsible.  And it is NEVER fiscally responsible to give money away.

Ever. They give away just enough to make sure that people don't leave and go to another insurer who is willing to accept just a little more risk by giving just a little more money away.

On the other side of the coin, we have a for-profit health CARE industry, whose sole purpose is to MAKE MONEY!  Hospitals and medical entities make money ONLY if we are sick or traumatize.  There is no profit in that model for preventative care.  None.  Why?  Because if you aren't obese with high blood sugar and coronary disease, then they won't be able to charge you for heart medicine, cholesterol medicine, heart surgery, diabetes management, etc, etc, etc....they can't make any money off of you.  If they endorsed that you eat less food of higher quality, move at least 30 minutes a day, NOT smoke...EVER and actually BE healthy rather than treating the symptoms once you AREN'T healthy, they wouldn't make any money.

That isn't to say that all doctors are bad, on the contrary.  They are the warriors who work in an industry that has no interest in seeing them succeed in curing and preventing.  Just cutting and prescribing.  And they weigh that on their conscience every day because they, too, need food on the table and braces for their kids.

The only people who don't want a health INDUSTRY overhaul are the ones who get paid or who already get it free (some fall into the BOTH category).  They are the insurers, the hospitals, the drug companies and the politicians; and they, my friends, have EVERYTHING to lose if we, the (un)insured and (un)cared for actually get a system that is a health CARE system.  They have everything to lose and they are the only voice at the table.  Not one of them is there negotiating for with our voice. 

I’m not saying that for profit is bad.  Capitalism is one of the main things that drives continuous improvement through competition.  I long for the day when our system actually either a.) let’s capitalism work in the industry or b.) abolishes it completely and makes it illegal to turn profit on the health and care of ANYONE.  Right now, you have a system that is part mob protectionist racket (You can’t sell insurance here in THIS state…unless we get out cut), part clinical lab trial (I bet your six year old can name at least one heart or erectile dysfunction drug), part Dr. Frankenstein (What, you want to lose weight?  Here, we’ll cut you open and staple your stomache) and part jabba the hut (What with your stomached stapled, you won’t have to move at all).

Take your health and your health care into your own hands. Get informed and please, please, please understand the motives of the entities that control your insurance and care.  Eat less food, eat food of higher quality, MOVE (run, play lift, skip) and most importantly CARE.  If YOU don’t care (about your health, your money and your future) then why the hell should anyone else, dirty politician or otherwise?

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 10:28 AM | Comments (0)

February 22, 2010

I'm Back

I’m back into a more mellow swing of things as of this week for the foreseeable future.  And by more mellow, I mean at least a little more time for me.  Burning 65+ hours a week for 7+ weeks in a row took its toll on me.  Stress levels were up, I gained 9 lbs, I lost my rythm around health and fitness and even though I was in Chicago, I was only able to see a couple of shows the entire time I was there.

The new role is different at this point, and I’m involved at the beginning of the work, rather than being low level zip lined onto a burning ship to try and fight the fire, sail it to shore and still convince everyone that everything is going just fine.  It also has me working in Minneapolis again, which has a few other benefits.

First, I’m closer to home, which doesn’t seem like much, given that I’m still gone all week, but being a 2 hour car ride vs. three hours total travel by plane (6 by car in a real pickle) –  IF there is a flight, and IF there are seats on it – is a big deal.  Not to mention that Sara’s brother and his family are here, which means that her coming up to visit me isn’t out of the question once the glacier decides to receed.

Of course, with a more stable work environment, I can plan to be at the gym, and there is no place better than CrossFitMN in Edina to recapture my work out rythm and shed the final 25lbs of fat I’ve been dreaming of.  I asked to rebaseline myself today (not out of fear of the AMRAP that was on the board, I SWEAR!!!)

    Baseline #1 (6:44)
  • Row 500m
  • 40 Squats
  • 30 Situps
  • 20 Pushups
  • 10 Pull ups

6:44 is faster than the last time I did it (8:04) and a MUCH better time than I thought I was going to put up, given the last few months that I’ve had.

Today was also my first real CrossFit workout wearing my Vibram Five Fingers, and they did not disappoint; as soon as the workout started, I forgot they were there.  Granted, this wasn’t an intense lifting or running WOD, so there’s still research to do.  I haven’t worn them running a significant distance yet, but as things get warmer here in the great white north, I’m sure Damian will oblige my curiosity and invite me to run my self into the dirt on several, soul liberating occasions.

Finally, I’ll hopefully get to return to Improv.  I’ve offered to Sub for any of the current teams that need a stand in coach for the current round of Six Ring, and if all else fails, I can get out to the theatre for a $1 show.  How sweet is that?

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 6:05 PM | Comments (0)

February 17, 2010

How's your health (by County)

County Health rankings have been releaesd over the last few days (and the page then slashdotted, so _if_ it loads, it loads slow).  I was actually suprised to see that Wisconsin, as a whole, is better than most, and La Crosse County is near the top (meaning LOWER BMIs) in the state as far as Obesity (26%).  That being said, that’s still one in four people.

Find your county, look at the stats, figure out what YOU can do to help improve the health of your community.

Posted by Chuck Charbeneau at 11:33 AM | Comments (0)