Wednesday, July 30, 2008

7-30-08: Yardsale

Atkins induction Day 7

After increasing the carb a bit due to feeling horrible yesterday, my CFT was a recent PR @ 800, and I am fairly certain I could have DL'd 375#, but I did not feel like pushing it. However: today my performance went right down the toilet. I suspect I must have had more like 40+ g carbs yesterday? Anyway...

WOD was a 15K run, my last timed runs were

- 5K 21:30; 6:55 pace
- 5K (getting over flu) 23:30; 7:33 pace
- 2.5K 9:37; 6:11 pace

Yesterday I finished 5K (of a supposed 15K), legs feeling heavy as lead;

- 5K 34:15; 11:01 Pace

Little kids, little old ladies and emaciated weekend warriors were passing me, and I was, to my chagrin, wearing my Ironworks "Personal Trainer" shirt! Amazingly, most of the "joggers" were going at my pace or slower, pathetic.

Anyway... afterward I went out and bought "Ketostix", which indicated that I was barely in Benign Dietary Ketosis, which is the point of Atkins: so I was totally devoid of glycogen, AND I was not able to burn fat for energy, hence the amazingly bad performance.

I ate NO carbs today, besides half n half in my Coffee (2-3g carb at the very most), perhaps the first time in my life I have done so. Accounting for the glycogen in muscle meat consumed, maybe 5g carbs at the very outside.

Another possible culprit is diet soda. It is possible that just the sweet taste provokes an insulin response. The jury is out on this:

Fact: Sucralose is safe for people with diabetes

Numerous studies show that sucralose is not recognized by the body as a carbohydrate and has no effect on blood glucose control or insulin response. These studies included high-dose prolonged-use studies in normal individuals and in persons with diabetes. The FDA has concluded that the overall data on sucralose supports its safety for the general population, including people with diabetes.

However a few animal studies might suggest this is not so: (Wiki take with grain of salt)

Animal studies suggest that artificial sweeteners cause body weight gain, theoretically because of a faulty insulin response, at least in cows and rats. Rats given sweeteners have steadily increased caloric intake, increased body weight, and increased adiposity (fatness). Swithers SE, Davidson TL. A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats. Behav Neurosci. 2008 Feb;122(1):161-73. Adding saccharin to the food of calves increases their body weight as well.McMeniman JP, Rivera JD, Schlegel P, Rounds W, Galyean ML. Effects of an artificial sweetener on health, performance, and dietary preference of feedlot cattle. J Anim Sci. 2006 Sep;84(9):2491-500.

# ^ Swithers SE, Davidson TL. A role for sweet taste: calorie predictive relations in energy regulation by rats. Behav Neurosci. 2008 Feb;122(1):161-73.
# ^ McMeniman JP, Rivera JD, Schlegel P, Rounds W, Galyean ML. Effects of an artificial sweetener on health, performance, and dietary preference of feedlot cattle. J Anim Sci. 2006 Sep;84(9):2491-500.

I would like to repeat this trial, but my little nagging injuries are acting up, so it might have to be a 15K Row instead (or a 18K row, but that sounds truly frightening)once I am solidly in Ketosis (Aug 1, projected). Also I owe "Helen"...

Also I took my blood pressure at the prharmacy: 117/93, which indicates hypertension, usually, it well below the normal range, perhaps too much salt? I thought a low carb diet was supposed to LOWER your blood pressure. So far I am not incredibly impressed with Atkins (except the weight loss seems to work as advertised). I'm looking forward to eating a zone-like diet of matched carbs (7g protein, 7g carb (not to exceed 130g), whatever g fat, only whole foods, full-fat dairy, coffee and red wine).

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

7-30-08: Recovered

On day six of Atkins induction, I was feeling a bit peaked, I added a tiny bit of carb, perhaps 35 grams total at most. I felt better, and after having a double bacon cheeseburger I did:

CrossFit Total:

squat 275# (failed @ 290#)
Press 160#
Deadlift 365# (easy)

Total: 800#!

Very psyched as this was a goal for September 6! Last time: 790, before that 760, PR = 860

Fairly confident I can put 25# on this next time, AND this was on day six of Atkins Induction, I have lost 5# and 3% of my bodyfat according to my Tanita.

Tomorrow's 15K shall be interesting. I'll fuel up on steak and eggs and let y'all know how it goes.

7-29-08: Wasted

The past two days I have felt AMAZINGLY worn out, but I kept doing Atkins anyway. I'm up at a hot spring type retreat where you cannot cook meat (there is a restraunt that serves meat, but you cannot cook it yourself... fucking hippies!) I think I may not be getting enough food, and my weight is dropping at a frightening pace .5- 1lb a day. That cannot be good. Also this is past the point where is is only water weight. Hopefully this means my "Metabolic Resistence" is low, and I will be able to move to a zone-like 130 grams of carbs in the near future, I think I need it as an athlete.

I finished "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Taub. I think the most amazing fact I got out of it was that on a severe hypocaloric diet of pure fat and protien, one can lose weight, spare lean muscle and not feel hungry. However, and this is the mind-blowing part, if you ADD 400 calories of carbs to this 800 calories of fat and protien, weight loss is arrested, lean tissue is sacrificed and feelings of hunger become unbearable. The implications boggle the mind.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Good Calories, Bad Calories

I'm on about page 300 of "Good Calories, Bad Calories" By Taub;

It is mind-blowing, even shocking, it is hard to believe such a wonky, technical book could be such a page turner. Amongst the revelations:

The link between dietary fat, cholesterol and even saturated fat and heart disease is shall we say, tenuous.

The link between the consumption of proccessed carbohydrate and the "diseases of civilization", such as diabetes, obesity, arteroscrelosis, dementia, Alzhiemer's and cancer is striking, and convincing.

A porterhouse steak may be a much better anti-CHD (heart disease) agent than any amount of any kind of carbohydrate.

An all-meat diet can be enjoyed without any striking negative consequences whatsoever, and does not cause vitamin deficiencies.

This is, by far, the most provocative, convincing and best book I have ever read on nutrition, and I have probably read about 100 such books.

This is day five of the Atkins induction, and I have to say the most striking effect is the lack of effect. I feel fine, I'm fairly sure I'm in ketosis (need to get ketostix)and my performance is OK. Maybe not quite what it is on a strict Zone, but now that I'm in ketosis, perhaps this will change. Also there is a pronounced lack of hunger on what FitDay tells me is at least a 600 calorie negative diet.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Atkins Induction/Fran

I did day two of the Atkins induction yesterday. I suspect I might not be being quite strict enough: I will cut out nuts, half & half, broccoli, and anything vaguely suspect. I'll stick to animal protein, salad and other greens, avocado, olive oil, cheese, cream and butter.

I did Fran yesterday on very few carbs, certainly less than 30 g per day for the first two days. 7:18, a bit off my previous two (6:20,6:39) but not a disaster. It's going to be a struggle to get it down to 5:30 by September, but if this works, better body composition should go a long way to making the pull-ups faster. I could have gone faster, but I had a CrossFit Class to teach and did not want to be an utter mess.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Atkins Induction

I received the following email, which got me thinking:

Hey Max, I emailed you way back a few months ago about some Zone stuff and I've been continuing to follow your blog since then from over here in Washington, DC. Wanted to throw something your way as I see you are trying to hit 14 blocks on the Zone with no additional fat blocks.

I have a fairly similar build as you and was also having the exact same problems of doing really well in the Zone relatively, and still not losing those extra pounds. I just finished reading "Good Calories, Bad Calories" by Taubes, and kind of decided that I was going to give up on the Zone for a little while and see what happened. I was still training hard and regularly both before and after.

I'm now three weeks into doing the Induction Phase of Atkins and I've dropped 9 lbs. I've also set PRs on three different WODs during that time, including a shaving four minutes off of the 4 rounds 400m Run/50 Squats WOD since June 3rd (

I feel good and the food prep and eating is WAY easier than Zone. I'm planning on going to back to a Zone-similar diet once I get down to 205 and see how it goes, but wanted to pass that your way b/c it looks to me that you and I may have a similar carb sensitivity issue that may preclude us from doing the Zone, even if we just ate veggies all the time.

Anyway, thought I'd throw that your way b/c 14 blocks sounds tough and might be a lot more work than you need to do to get the same results.

Let me know what you think.

Co-Owner/Trainer, Potomac CrossFit
Arlington, Virginia

I went out and got "Good Calories, Bad Calories" By Gary Taub, and the "Atkins New Diet Revolution" by Dr. Atkins.

A few days later, the national site ( posted a link to this further vindication of Atkins: Weight Loss on Low Carb Diet Study.

This led me to find a link to a LECTURE BY GARY TAUB

After delving into all this, I am convinced, more than ever, that everything the USDA nutritional guidelines is based on, is to put it kindly, bullshit.

I embarked on day one of the Atkins two-week induction phase yesterday. It will be interesting to see how I do on "Fran" today with almost no carbohydrate in my system: it sort of sucks that the dreaded "Fran" came up today, as day two of Atkins induction is probably the low point: ketosis has not set in, there is barley any glycogen in my system, so I expect this to suck. I would happy to finish in under 10:00, or just finish. Last time was 6:20, PR is 5:20.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

7-22-08: Little more benchmarking

I did a 1:45 row after a workout on a Model D C2. I also did a sub-8 2K right after the Filthy Fifty (31:20): I have high hopes that I will be able to get the L3 standards for these soonish.

I also went to CrossFit Oakland to do the Push-Jerk workout: I hit 186x1 solid, no press-out, which is a PR. I am thinking that I should change my CF games goal of a 225# Clean to a 225# clean & Jerk. I might hire Mike M. to help me with this at some point. There is no standard for the jerk, but if we assume it the same as the clean, I got a bit over BW, so L3. Not bad. I really need to get UNDER the bar, it keeps ending up in front of me, a typical beginner/intermediate mistake.

Relatedly, Paul B. told me he ordered 300# of bumper plates for Berkeley Ironworks!! So psyched!

Sunday, July 13, 2008

7-13-08: Calorie Balance

I got my calories way up the last two days: perhaps 20 blocks, and the WOD was much more acceptable:

For time:
15 Handstand push-ups
1 L Pull-up
13 Handstand push-ups
3 L Pull-ups
11 Handstand push-ups
5 L Pull-ups
9 Handstand push-ups
7 L Pull-ups
7 Handstand push-ups
9 L Pull-ups
5 Handstand push-ups
11 L Pull-ups
3 Handstand push-ups
13 L Pull-ups
1 Handstand push-up
15 L Pull-ups

Time 38:30, all good form full-ROM. Happy with this.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

07-12-08: Retrograde!!

Today's WOD was a total disaster:

Complete as many rounds in 30 minutes as you can of:
Walking Lunge, 12 steps
15 Glute-Ham Sit-ups
15 Hip Extensions
5 Muscle-ups

3 rounds + 1 muscle-up

I should reasonably have been able to do six or more rounds, quite easily.

I also did an hour of Shira's Capoeria class and felt totally wasted thereafter.I seem to be overtrained, or more accurately, underrecoverd, due to a greatly reduced caloric intake.

I'm going to eat around 20 blocks and see if tomorrow yields a more satisfactory result.

Friday, July 11, 2008

7-11-08: TRS Comp

I climbed for the second time in the roped climbing series. My score this time was 2848 up from 2150 last time! The climbing felt good. I have a bit of an elbow injury, which stopped me on the 5.11A, but I got a technical 5.10D solidly, which is the highest grade I have climbed so far (got 5.10C/D at the last comp).

Ate perfectly today, all favorable foods 14 blocks, starting to feel hungry, but so long as my performance is improving, I won't sweat it. It would be great to get to my goal weight of 165 and be able to eat for muscle gain instead of fat loss. clea

Thursday, July 10, 2008

7-10-08: Little More Benchmarking

Since I did the CFT yesterday despite this being a .5 volume week, I went uber-light today.

I tested my 500 Meter row and got 1:41. Not great, not bad. Solid L2, but my all-time PR is 1:26, so a way to go.

Ate well yet again, had one slice of white bread at lunch, couple of small tortillas, some sugar-free ice-cream like product, otherwise all favorable foods. About 15 blocks.

7-09-08: Progress!

I did the CFT yesterday, and I put 45 pounds on it from my previous attempt, right at the beginning of this cycle when I re-committed to CF.

BS 285
PR 155
DL 355

CFT = 795

Very happy with this, as it was one of my three month goals (which I set 3 days ago) to have an 800 CFT! Too bad it cannot always be this easy...

I ate well again, 15 blocks, no junk, no refined carb.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

7-08-08: Brief n Brutal

I did "Angie" at .5 volume yesterday:

50 pull-ups (old standard chin over bar 20/15/10/5)
50 Push-ups (20/10/10/10)
50 Sit-ups (25/25)
100 squats (50/25/25)

Time: 9:56

This is interesting: since the most time is spent on the pull-ups, this one is relatively harder than other workouts at .5 volume: for instance a .5 volume Linda (1/2 weight)I did recently in 6 minutes, and at full weight it took me 22:30, nearly four times as long. This one I would have trouble doing in 20 minutes, if I even could. I think my record is 18:30, and that is when I was in top shape.

I ate well again, about 14 blocks, no junk, no sugar, one whole wheat roti, otherwise no refined carb.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008


Yesterday I did some further testing of benchmarks.

Bench Press is solid Level 3, 1.25x + BW. I did 225 easily and could certainly do more. With reduced bodyweight, this and the overhead press are going to be fairly easy to achieve elite status on. When I reach my ultimate goal for the year of 172# and lean a 258# bench press and 172# overhead will be cake. Luckily, I'm genetically blessed with a naturally large chest and shoulder complex. That would leave one more level four to complete my benchmark goals for the year. Most likely a 430# deadlift would be the next easiest thing, that's only 35# more than my biggest raw lift.

On the dimmer side, I tested my 2K row. A dismal 7:42, not even Level 2. This needs work. Of course as we know stamina is pretty easy to develop, despite it's lack of persistence. It should not take more than six weeks to knock this off. Also the rower at GWPC is old and creaky. I should do some maintenance on it.

I got some V3s yesterday, but my elbow is killing me now: no more climbing 'till the roped comp on Friday at Ironworks.

I ate well yesterday. about 15 blocks, no refined carb at all.

Monday, July 7, 2008

CF Games Countdown, Day 364

I just got back from the CF games, and have been inspired to compete next year. My semi-secret training plan includes getting my bodymass ratio right and working of skill levels. I have reviewed what I am capable of and conservatively can do the following (I'll re-test some of the things I am not sure of over the next few weeks)

CrossFit East Bay

Skill Levels I-IV

Name Maximus Lewin:

Bodyweight 178:

Age 41:

Skill Area

Level I

Well-rounded Beginner

Level II

Intermediate Athlete

Level III

Advanced Athlete

Level IV

Elite Athlete

Hips 1

Squats: 50 free squats

Squats: 100 free squats

Squat: 1 x bodyweight

Tabata Squats: Score = 22

Squat: 1 1/2 x bodyweight

Tabata Squats: Score = 25

Squat: 2 x bodyweight

Hips 2

Deadlift: 3/4 x bodyweight

Deadlift: 1 1/4 x bodyweight

Deadlift: 2 x bodyweight

Deadlift: 2 1/2 x bodyweight

Hips 3

Vertical Jump: 10 inches

Vertical Jump: 18 inches

Vertical Jump: 25 inches

Vertical Jump: 30 inches

Push 1

Push-ups: Men: 10

Women: 1

Push-ups: Men: 30 strict

Women: 10 strict

Bench Press: Men: 1 x bw

Women: 3/4 x bw

Push-ups: Men: 30 on rings

Women: 20 on rings

Bench Press: Men: 1 1/4 x bw

Women: 1 x bw

Push-ups: Men: 50 on rings

Women: 30 on rings

Bench Press: Men: 1 1/2 x bw

Women: 1 1/4 x bw

Push 2

Military Press: 1/4 x bodyweight

Military Press: Men: 0.5 x bw

Women: 0.4 x bw

Handstand Hold: 1 minute

Military Press: Men: 0.75 x bw

Women: 0.60 x bw

Handstand Push-up: Men: 10

Women: 10 to 6” target

Military Press: Men: 1 x bw

Women: 0.80 x bw

Handstand Push-up: Men: 21 full range

Women: 5 full range

Push 3

Dips: Men: 10

Women: 5

Dips: Men: 15 on rings

Women: 1 on rings

Dip: Men: 1 with 1/3 x bw

Women: 10

Dips: Men: 30 on rings

Women: 15 on rings

Dip: Men: 1 with 3/4 x bw

Women: 1 with 1/4 bw

Dips: Men: 50 on rings

Women: 25 on rings

Dip: Men: 1 with 1 x bodyweight

Women: 1 with 1/2 x bodyweight

Pull 1

Static Hang: 30 seconds

Rope Climb: 15-foot climb, 1 trip

Rope Climb: Men: 15-foot climb

2 trips touch and go, no feet

Women: 15-foot climb, 1 trip, no feet

Rope Climb: 20-foot climb

4 trips touch and go, no feet

Pull 2

High Pull: 1/2 x bodyweight

Power Clean: 3/4 x bodyweight

Clean: 1 x bodyweight

Clean: 1 1/2 x bodyweight

Pull 3

Pull-ups: Men: 10

Women: 1

Pull-ups: Men: 20

Women: 10

Pull-up: Men: 1 with 1/3 x bw

Women: 1 with 1/5 x bw

Muscle-up: 1 (Men-only)

Pull-ups: Men: 40

Women: 20

Pull-up: Men: 1 with 1/2 x bw

Women: 1 with 1/4 x bw

Muscle-up: Men: 10

Women: 1

Pull-ups: Men: 40 dead hang

Women: 20 dead hang

Pull-up: Men: 1 with 1 x bw

Women: 1 with 0.60 bw

Muscle-up: Men: 15

Women: 10

Core 1

Sit- ups: 30

V-ups: 30

Overhead Squat: 1 x bodyweight

Overhead Squat: 15 repetitions at 1 x bodyweight

Core 2

Knees to Chest: 10 sitting

Hanging Knees to Elbows: 15

Hanging Straight Leg Raise: 20

Back Lever: 15 seconds

Core 3

L-sit: 10 seconds

L-sit: 30 seconds

L-sit: 1 minute

L-sit: 1:30 minutes

Work 1

Kettlebell Swings: Men: 35

Women: 25 (1 Pood)

Kettlebell Snatch: 30 each arm

Men 24kg Women 16kg

Kettlebell Snatch: 10 minute test

200 reps

Men 24kg Women 16kg

2 db/kb Clean & Jerk: 100 reps in 10 minutes

Men 16kg Women 12kg

Work 2

Wall Ball: Men: 25

Women: 20 (20#)

800-meter Run: 4:20 minutes

Thrusters: 45 reps at

1/2 x bodyweight

800-meter Run: 3:20 minutes

Sandbag Carry: Men: 1 mile with 1/2 x bw

Women: 1 mile with 1/3 x bw

800-meter Run: 2:50 minutes

Sandbag Carry: Men: 1 mile with

3/4 x bw

Women: 1 mile with 1/2 x bw

800-meter Run: 2:20 minutes

Work 3

2000-meter Row: Women 9:50

Men 8:10

2000-meter Row: Women 8:50

Men 7:30

2000-meter Row: Women: 8:00

Men: 7:10

2000-meter Row: Women: 7:10

Men: 6:50

Work 4

Christine: 15 minutes

3 rounds for time -- 500 m row,

12 deadlifts (1/2 bodyweight), 21 box jumps

1-mile run: 9 minutes

Helen: 11:30 minutes (Men), 15:00 (Women)

3 rounds for time -- 400 meter

run, 21 kb swings, 12 pull-ups

1-mile run: 7 minutes

Cindy: 22 rounds in 20 minutes

-- 5 pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats

1-mile run: 6 minutes

Mary: 15 rounds in 20 minutes

5 handstand push-ups, 10 pistols, 15 pull-ups

1-mile run: 5 minutes

Speed 1

400-meter run: 2:04 minutes

400-meter run: 1:34 minutes

400-meter run: 1:19 minutes

400-meter run: 1:04 minutes

Speed 2

500-meter Row: women 2:20

men 1:55

500-meter Row: women 2:00

men 1:45

500-meter Row: women 1:50

men 1:32

500-meter Row: women 1:40

men 1:25

Speed 3

Medicine Ball Cleans: 10

Power Snatch: 1/2 x bodyweight

Snatch: 1 x bodyweight

Snatch: 1 1/4 x bodyweight

Special thanks to CrossFit North for the skill assessment template used here.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

7-3-08 Update

Of my goals from last month, I have met only one:

I have completed 3 weeks on the CF-as-religion schedule and am currently on the first rest week. I cut out all sugar (including alcohol) four days ago, we will see if that does the trick. I'm going to try to eat zone today too.