Do I Have to Poop?

“He called the shit poop!”

Poop is funny. To deny that, is to deny your humanity.

I saw what could be the dumbest thing I have ever seen yesterday. Mashable

From Mashable. What a load of crap.

reported that someone has created a wearable tech device–which is an early-warning system for having to take a shit. All stop, captain! There’s one on deck! Apparently it detects “activity in your intestines,” and, I shit you not, sends you push-notifications.

Let that sink in for a moment. It tells you it’s time to poop before it’s time to poop. I’m pretty sure I already have one of those. It’s called “feeling like I have to poop.” I could be mistaken, but this is a familiar feeling to everyone who has colon, no?

In the unlikely event you cannot manually detect a little rumbly in the tumbly, I’ve created a very low-tech, hand-dandy flowchart (hehe) to help you manage this incredibly anxiety inducing process.

©2015 DaigleBreathesFire Gastroenterology

©2015 DaigleBreathesFire Gastroenterology

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Control is an Illusion

Fucks given: 0.00

Fucks given: 0.00

Each decade I’ve persisted on this flying rock, more truths have become obvious. I’m a dumb-ass, so maybe other people pick all of these up quickly. Nonetheless I got a set in my teens, another in my 20’s and now a new group in my 30’s.

Almost nothing is a fucking crisis.

The population of people my age who are single and want (or are allowed) to hang out is shrinking rapidly. 

At this age, even in our pathologically individualist generation, most people have paired up, for better or worse. Married/partnered people spend time with other married/partnered people. You’ll get invited to a few things with these people. Mostly, you won’t.

You’ll realize you don’t give a fuck.

There are very, very few real emergencies.

By now I’ve seen some shit. I have come to realize there aren’t many things worth really getting twisted over. It’s powerful knowledge that whether your brain is set on “freak-the-fuck-out,” or “Whatever-Parks-and-Rec-is-on-Netflix,” the outcome will generally be the same. Stress and anxiety exert no influence on the world outside your skull. Shit will either get done, or it won’t. Tomorrow you’ll wake up, you’ll be breathing, and you’ll do what you were going to do anyway.

Stress is just masochistic mental masturbation.

Before my thirties I tried to control my entire universe. People, work, possessions, everything. I thought when I gained control over these things, I would feel how I wanted. I had it backwards.

You mostly feel how you want to feel, and all the things unfold as they will. 

It’s really never about you. The only things that are about “you,” are within you. Stuff other people do which harms you, isn’t about you at all. It’s about them. When you’re younger you can’t see past that, so you take everything deeply personally.

You find that you didn’t realize this, because you we’re all about you too. 

In my thirties I realized it’s bullshit. I have almost no control over people and things. The only thing I do have some control over is how I feel about them. Now I can mostly operate without a middleman, and cut to the chase.

Feel good in spite of, not because of, what the world dumps in your lap.

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Focus on shit like this.

The same principles apply to workouts. Young, baby CrossFitters are always trying to control things way above their pay grade. Supplements stacked to the moon. Figuring out which shoe gives you the most advantage. Ten different kinds of tape. Different barbells for different workouts. All kinds of silly shit I stopped doing when I learned to see the bigger picture. Except chalk; that shit is real. Don’t fucking touch my chalk

The only stack you should worry about, is made of pancakes. The only advantage you need to concern yourself with is between your ears. “Work fucking harder.”

Eating well, moving with virtuosity and training hard; these are things we do have control over. Everything else is a waste of fucking time. When I was a new CrossFitter I was looking for the answers outside myself–just as I was with happiness in my twenties–I was focused on shitty, inconsequential, external details.

Almost nothing is a fucking crisis. It’s not about you. Really. Love and appreciate people for the good they bring; don’t dwell on their transgressions and shortcomings. Unless, of course they’re really bad; then pimp-slap those fuckers and go do some goddamn back squats.

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Begin Again

IMG_3071

They didn’t even draw a dick on there while I was knocked out. Rookies.

Having my shoulder assimilated into the Borg collective was like being yanked off ground level, and put in a 737 at 38,000 feet looking down on the whole thing. There was no choice any more. I had to choose to find a reason to be happy about what was happening. Most times it wasn’t hard, because I had to modify almost everything, so none of the times, reps, or loads were comparable to past performances. Everything was a new experience. And hey, it didn’t hurt.

It’s important to remember where you’re standing, because it always changes what you’re seeing.

In recent months I’ve trained at a reduced capacity due to the ongoing reprogramming of the bionic shoulder. I’ve still managed to tear myself up in workouts, though. I’ve also managed to enjoy the vast majority of it a great deal. Previously, just prior to surgery when I was still putting out at a pretty high level, even small deviations would upset me because of the skewed scale I was measuring against. I had to re-learn to love the process and being better than yesterday; not hating that I wasn’t better than better.

BS7R3049

These are more fun than Nutella covered churros. Image courtesy of CrossFit® and Dave Re.

Everything was a PR after surgery, because I’d never done it before. Cool circus tricks like the 1-arm barbell snatch and 1-arm deadlift, modified workouts with single-arm burpees, or ring rows instead of pull-ups, etc. It’s easy to just relax and have fun when there’s no comparison. Sure, the clock was always running, but there were no benchmarks to compare the times to. But, that ability to compare is a tenet of what we do in CrossFit, so at some point it has to come back.

Comparing my lifetime snatch PR to my 6-months-post-op snatch PR is like comparing your sex life to porn hub; not going to make you feel better. The point of the comparison over long time scales, is data that’s relevant to more than yourself. It applies to the big picture. For us as individual athletes, especially as we age, we need only compare ourselves to yesterday. Not comparing this snatch to my best snatch ever, but this snatch to the previous snatch. Is it better? Great. If it’s not, let’s fix it.

Being as limited as a Ferrari on valet mode, I’ve found great joy in simple things like clean and jerks. Some days they’ve gone great, some days they haven’t. In times gone by, the latter would piss me off like I was the state of NY this Super Bowl Sunday. But now, I can take joy in the fact that I can do a clean and jerk with two arms.

I got my fucking ass kicked so hard it’s still resting on my shoulders at the end of January.

If you walk into CrossFit New England with an ego, you’re gonna have a bad time. I got a chance at some solid self-reflection the past few weeks while I was at home for the holidays, partly by necessity–I still have to scale and modify lots of things, which as a competitor and formerly one of those athletes who were trying to get a ticket to the dance, that can be hard.

It wasn’t intimidating, emasculating, or frustrating, it was fun. I trained with a lot of the old crew, who surgery or not, would’ve been a step ahead. It wasn’t uncomfortable, though–except for the wall balls. Fuck wall balls. I simply enjoyed being able to suffer with my friends. I even got invited to one of the infamous Saturday afternoon CFNE team training sessions. I got my fucking ass kicked so hard it’s still resting on my shoulders at the end of January. Those guys and girls are on a different plane these days. I had to modify/scale just about everything we did. But just like in a CrossFit class, we all did it together.

It felt like the early days at CFNE when I was first started training with that crew. It looked similar, too; me finishing all the workouts last. But I was there, and I got to do the work with my friends. That’s what matters. I’ll get back there, eventually. Maybe.

We need only compare ourselves to yesterday. Not comparing this snatch to my best snatch ever, but this snatch to the previous snatch.

Look outwards from fitness in the gym to life, instead of deeper into the gym and other people’s fitness.

I’m re-learning to love the process. Enjoying the ability to do, is powerful. Stop and appreciate your gym-mates and the support you draw from them (I’ve had a LOT of it) Try limiting how far backwards you can look at your training for awhile, and see just how great you feel.

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F*%# You, Pancreas: Christmas 2014

IMG_4224Christmas. That wonderful morning when I wake up and think, “Sweet merciful raptor-Jesus! It’s the day of eating all the things!”

Bud Light: The water of Christmas in New England

Once each year, beginning on the day the fat man in red comes, I decide to eschew all nutritional prudence, and to actively try and eat at least one of every single item which is available at the holiday events where I find myself in attendance.

For history’s sake, here are links to previous years posts:

Christmas List: Inflammation and Insulin Resistance 2013
Holiday Excess 2012

Fuck Paleo 2011
Holiday Excess 2010
It Begins 2009

I keep track of these items by listing them in photos and hashtagging them on instagram, then compiling the list you’ll find below later one. I think the next step in the force escalation of “DiabetesForXmas” is a real-time blood glucose monitor, which can automatically live-tweet how far into the ‘beetus I have slipped at any one time.

Indeed.

The variety this year was robust. If you’d like to follow the live progress from the last 48 hours, go to my Instagram (http://instagram.com/daiglebrthsfire/) or just search for the hashtag: #diabetesforxmas2014.

This is not for the squeamish and certainly not for the orthorexic fools who continue to eat kale and bean sprouts on holidays while sneering down their bony, emaciated noses at their gleeful, rotund relatives. I managed to top last years list by a slim margin. Next year, I’ll have to wake up earlier than 10 a.m. if I’m to have a chance at a PR. Without further ado, here is the extent of the metabolic derangement for 2014, in chronological order:

December 24
Reese’s peanut butter cup hot chocolate, made with heavy cream
Reese’s peanut butter cup cookie
Bud light
Steak tips
Peppers and onions
Rice
Chicken parm
Deviled eggs
Pepperoni garlic bread
Apples with Heath Bar cream cheese dip
Bud light
Stuffed jalapeño
Apples with Heath Bar cream cheese dip
Pretzels
Chips
Bud light, more
Chicken parm
Ziti
Chocolate cake with coconut icing,
Raspberry cookie
Chips and dip
Apples with Heath Bar cream cheese dip
Egg nog with salted caramel Baileys

December 25
Chocolate glazed donut
Maple frosted donut
Coffee with Baileys
Cheese and crackers
Coffee with bourbon
Mauna Loa chocolate covered macadamia nuts
Old fashioned donut
Bacon soda (You fucking heard me)
Homemade ravioli
Meatballs
Italian sausage
Prime rib
Baked potato
Gravy
Biscuits
Cheese crackers
Bud Light
Chocolates peanut butter balls
Mini Eclair
Cream Puff
Russian tea cookies
Sugar cookies
Chocolate chip cookies
Chips
Onion dip
Bud light
Kielbasa
Gingerbread cookies
Cheese
Pepperoni
Russian tea cookies
Mini eclairs
Cream puffs
Sprinkle cookies
Chips
Salsa
Swedish meatballs
chocolate cake with egg nog frosting
Ravioli
Chocolate frosted donut
Whipped cream

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Patience

Chocolate chip cookies are one of life’s simple, sugary, Maillard-reaction delivering pleasures. There’s a thorough treatise by J. Kenji López-Alt on the scientific manipulation of the ingredients and processes to create the ultimate chocolate chip cookie. It’s dense (oooooh), but worth the read. The lesson, though, is in the very last section–should you ironically decide to skip ahead. The single most influential part of the cookie making process is–you guessed it–patience. Letting the dough rest in the fridge over night or longer deepens and enriches the flavor and texture of the finished product more than any other adjustment.

“If there’s one single thing you can do improve the flavor of your cookies, it’s to let the dough rest. They bake up darker and more flavorful. That butterscotch note that was barely hinted at when you baked the dough right after mixing? It’ll blow you away with its intensity and complexity by the second day.”

-J. Kenji López-Alt

We’ve been told our whole lives that patience is a virtue, and we should have it. Lots of it. I could speculate forever as to why, but with only a little introspection it becomes clear just how powerful patience really is.

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You must wait. The pay-off will be worth it.

 

You just have to wait. If you want instant gratification, you can’t have the best. You must develop a sense of satisfaction in the waiting. The anticipation can be a pleasurable part of the experience.

We learn this lesson through fitness all the time. Counter-intuitively, you can’t get to a two-minute Fran in a hurry. One of the worst things you can do with a barbell is rush it–like you’re pulling a baby our of a pool of acid. You know goddamn well what happens when you slow down the pull off the floor. When you just keep waiting; until that bar is right in the pocket. Then you jump. When you exercise that patience the lift feels like you know what the fuck you’re doing.

Patience in everything. Training, cookies, barbells, relationships. Approach all things like a lovingly crafted cookie dough. When you’ve finished making it, it’s not to time to unceremoniously devour it. Let that barbell rest, like the dough in the fridge. Much like playing the lottery, half the fun is the anticipation. The 24-48 hours of “what if” and imagining just how good those cookies are going to be when you finally make them.

Whether it be a cookie or a clean, not only will you appreciate it more for the patience, it actually will be better. Better, and more appreciated–with patience.

Happy Thanksgiving.

-DBF

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The Zen Buddhism of Jump Ropes

The Rogue SR-2 speed rope is a thing of mechanical beauty. To be lusted after, attachment be damned.

The trouble with attachment is that it’s much harder to undo than it is to avoid. This is clear in even the smallest of things. I learned this, quite innocently from a speed rope.

It was quite possible to live with nothing more than the badass monkly robes on their backs. Boom. Freedom from attachment to anything but your zenned out monk-piece.

Buddhism teaches that attachment leads to suffering. Anyone who’s been around other humans knows that. It’s not interpersonal, per se, but attachment to anything which is the source of suffering; people, stuff, ideas, etc.

There’s a CrossFit parallel with buddhism. As there is with everything. I’ll make one if I have to. I could probably find a way to relate Dr. Loren Cordain to bran muffins.

This was an easy concept for early buddhists. It was expected people would welcome traveling holy men and offer them hospitality. So then and there, it was quite possible to live with nothing more than the badass monkly robes on their backs. Boom. Freedom from attachment to anything but your zenned out monk-piece.

Things aren’t so simple these days, here in Santa Cruz. Despite their earnest claims otherwise, the unkempt, attachment-less gentlemen downtown are not holy men.

This thing was a gleaming, anodized beacon of machined, aircraft aluminum and precision ball bearings.

My first 4.5 or so years in CrossFit, I never owned a jumprope. I just used what was available wherever I was working out. It was an easy, attachment-free existence. There was no (jumprope related) suffering of any kind. Well, except for that time I did that last chance qualifier workout with the Berg in 2009. It was very free; I didn’t need any specific rope. I was even somewhat flexible on the length (that’s what she said).

Then I caved in. I ordered a Rogue SR-2 speed rope

I’m a gear head. What can I say? This thing was a gleaming, anodized beacon of machined, aircraft aluminum and precision ball bearings. Being a speed junky and builder of race cars I’m about as able to resist that as I am a Nutella and peanut butter waffle (you fucking heard me).

So it was pretty good. And by pretty good I mean it was absolutely fucking amazing. I loved it so hard. Then, I lost it while traveling. I found myself sneering at those plastic handled (yet perfectly capable) ropes you find everywhere. I avoided jumping rope–because I didn’t have my precious. I was attached to it. To it’s beauty, it’s quality. That attachment–not appreciation–became a hinderance instead of an advantage.

The path is to accept, not need. Welcome and enjoy conferred advantage, when it comes to you. But do not become dependent on it. Appreciate but don’t become attached. Or, as my spiritual advisor, Tyler Durden said, “The things you own end up owning you.”

You can also read this on Medium, here: https://medium.com/@DaigleBrthsFire/the-zen-buddhism-of-jump-ropes-c2641d01b5e9

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Reaffirmation of Faith

What matters: CrossFit affilites.

What matters: CrossFit affiliates.

Every once in awhile you need a reaffirmation that you’re walking the right path. Every so often the universe lobs one over the plate–funny how that works. Not just by showing the fruits of our labor and our successes, but by seeing just how much work is left to do.

“CrossFit makes people better.” That will never change. However, the ways in which we get there are always being honed like the edge on the business end of a razor sharp knife of fitness.

They wouldn’t be sent to bottom of the pit with the inventor of the Shake Weight and the big soda companies. They’d be in the very top ring of CrossFit Hell, the “Virtuous Non-Level-One.”

In recent months this has happened for me in a few different but equally important and telling ways.

In July we had the most amazing CrossFit Games yet. The very best parts of CrossFit methodology, the very best athletes who live it, and the the ultimate expression of our community–all happening in once place. Each year it’s grown like Mark McGwire kept in a petri dish with plenty of sunlight. You can’t help but know in your heart that it’s working. But there’s more.

When the aforementioned Virtuous-Non-Level-Ones come around they’ll bring people with them. Lots of people.

I’ve had the good fortune of meeting and talking to lots of fitness-oriented people–some from outside the CrossFit community (I know, right?). Not everyone gets it. Yet. Most of us are so involved in CrossFit, if we don’t peer far enough down range it can seem like the whole world gets it. It looks that way because our whole world gets it. We’ve grown magnificently, for sure. But we have to be careful not to become victims of our own success.

It seems, “hey, we’ve got this thing nailed down.” And we do, to an extent. But, when you see what the rest of the world (as in most people) believe fitness is, you realize that we still have lots of work to do. This is something that the CrossFit Seminar staff–the SEAL Team Six of fitness–never forgets, because they work on the front line all the time. For those of us who don’t do that, and spend most of our time around CrossFit gyms and other CrossFitters, it’s important to remind yourself that not everyone has seen the light yet. We need to keep spreading the word.

It’s grown like Mark McGwire kept in a petri dish with plenty of sunlight.

Mostly, these people aren’t subversive to our cause. If this were the “CrossFit Divine Comedy” They wouldn’t be sent to bottom of the pit with the inventor of the Shake Weight and the big soda companies. They’d be in the very top ring of CrossFit Hell, the “Virtuous Non-Level-One.” They’re not to be punished. Maybe they just don’t become a sweat angel or get to party with Pukie until the end of time. Despite their ab-crunching and booty-lift classes, they mean well; They just haven’t seen the CVFMHI light yet. We have to show it to them, and when they’re ready they will join us.

It’s helped by those who’ve left behind their CrossFit adolescence and the hubris which leads to dumping on other methodologies, instead of simply elevating CrossFit. Once there, they can show people the way without shoving them down the path. It’s really fucking zen and shit.

The CrossFit affiliates are the key to this whole thing; that’s where the magic happens. Everything we do is to support the 11,000+ affiliates around the world. Because, when the aforementioned Virtuous-Non-Level-Ones come around they’ll bring people with them. Lots of people. Those people will end up walking through the door of a CrossFit affiliate and find themselves in the most capable hands we have.

They’ll be baptized in sweat and born again hard–and happy. We are most certainly on the right path. All we have to do is keep moving, and to paraphrase The Matrix, take care of that which matters most; The CrossFit affiliates.

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