With lots of new family demands, and a wife that wants me home for dinner, I’ve had to change my Crossfit schedule to the morning WOD at Ute Crossfit East Draper, instead of my normal evening WOD. It’s early on (and so far the results are mixed, but I’m SO hungry after) but I’m curious if anyone else has had definite change in results for the better or worse, because of changing to morning workouts from evening? Comment and let me know what happened and what you did with the results.
We just did another Spartan Race. This time it was the Vegas Spartan Super. Other than a cool cargo net obstacle and an actual swim, there was nothing really new; even the barbed wire crawl was WAY short in this race??? In fact, I’d say the race is getting a little stale. Anyone else out there feeling the same way?
I’m going to go through the line-up for Coachella this year, on Spotify, and see if there are any hidden gems. I’m going to start at A and work through them alphabetically. If you have any favorites in this list, let me know and I’ll give them a listen! If you say something like, Check out Social Distortion or RHCP you’ll be systematically dismissed from my consciousness. Tell me about your favorite Non-mainstream band, artist. OK? Cool.
I started with 2 Chainz. To be 100% fair, this style of rap, hip-hop, whatever does nothing for me. The slow, monotone rhyming about how cool you are and how many ho’s you got is not my bag. So, I listened to 7 songs from “I’m different” and “No Lie” to “Yuck and “Birthday Song”. Not a fan, I would go get a snack somewhere if I was at Coachella and 2 Chainz was on stage. Next!!!
3BallMTY - this is tunes in the Mexican Tribal Guarachero style. I don’t really even want to spend time on this. I don’t drive a low-rider with hyrdaulics, I would never listen to this stuff - ever. I might LEAVE Coachella, or not come until these guys were done. Note: I don’t have a problem with verse I don’t understand because it’s in a foreign language I don’t know, but this style doesn’t speak to me in any way at all. Not even just for dancing. OUT.
Action Bronson - ugh. Better than 2 Chainz, still…I’d never pay to listen to this stuff. 5 songs and I’m good for the rest of my life. I think this arrogant hip hop stuff that is popular right now is the new pop music, it’s just being cranked out of some generic factory in Trenton on the East Coast and El Segundo on the West. Speaking of El Segundo, How about getting Q-Tip and A Tribe Called Quest back and put them on the docket, NOW we’re talking…
Adrian Lux - some pretty standard EDM. I had it on in the office as I worked and it served as some acceptable background noise. This is mainly how I listen to this genre anyway, and this was serviceable. I’m certainly a connoisseur of electronica, but if it doesn’t bug me as I work, I’ll listen to it. This falls in that category, I do like “Teenage Crime” - catchy. Not bad.
Aesop Rock - This is a little more my speed when it comes to hip hop style music. Sounds a bit more old-school and has some depth. I still wouldn’t listen to this much as it’s rare I WANT to listen to Hip Hop. At Crossfit it works, but really I don’t hear the music when I’m WODing anyway, This isn’t bad, I’d hang around and listen while waiting for Pretty Lights or someone…
Alex Clare - Straight up boring.
Allen Stone - Great voice. I could see him winning American Idol. Very easy to listen to. I’d probably listen to this while making out with my girlfriend (soon to be wife) - though she prefers JT. He’s kind of a mix between JT with a bit more legitimate soul and a popster like Jason Mraz - ish.
**So far, I’m unimpressed.** I need some guidance to get some quality music up in here on my journey through Coachella!**
Alt-J - More acceptable background music. Completely uninspiring. When would I listen to this? I don’t know. In an elevator I guess. I may have to skip ahead to some bands I know I like…
Baauer - I’ll be adding this to my wake up in the morning mix! I like it, it’s way catchy and well done. And of course Spotify has about 4 total songs - weak. Maybe he’s just starting out and only has 4 songs. I don’t know but Harlem Shake is pretty sweet. Dum Dum and Yaow! are cool too. I listed through them twice. Go Baauer, get some more tunes on Spotify, pronto. Thanks.
Band of Horses - I bet they were cool on Portlandia for half an episode. No, actually I like them for a chill, slow down type vibe. I like their sound, they’re totally listenable. My leanings aren’t toward much in the slowdown category. I do like some, say like the Shins, but mostly I prefer something a bit more upbeat, whether it’s in the rock, mellow, or hip hop genres. But again, as slow jams go, these guys are good.
Bassnectar - Already a favorite in my wake up in the morning mix, I can listen to this guy all day. VaVa Voom, is one of my fave pump songs. I can let these tunes just auto-play on the iPhone to the Jam Box and not even worry about it being good. For me, I’d put him up with Pretty Lights (a person favorite), Deadmau5, Kaskade and Infected Mushrooms for faves. Play more.
Singer songwriter for the depressed, heart-broken woman, eating a pint of Ben and Jerry’s in her living room under a blanket. I just can’t relate to this type of music at all. It literally makes me want to go do ANYTHING else other than listen to it. That said, I can appreciate her talent and I understand others could enjoy this. Not me. Next.
Beach House - more talented slow jams artists. I like their sound, I just would almost never listen to this. Too slow, too breathy, too feminine for me.
Beadyman - Ummm I’m not even sure how to describe this. I heard funky hip hop, british ska/reggae -ish vibe, dubstep (I don’t have any preconceived notions about dubstep - I treat it like any other genre - each artist measured according to their own output), various remixes, pretty eclectic electronica-driven tunes. Kinda cool, definitely good for work to keep something catchy going in the background. I can see this coming on the iPod in the car and jamming to this for a bit. I’d listen to him at Coachella.
Ben Howard - Acoustic Singer/Songwriter. Pass.
Benny Benassi - Very popular DJ, especially among my European EDM-fan friends. And for good reason - very well mixed tunes that definitely get things going when you’re in the mood for a dance vibe. Lots of mixes to choose from too! Add it to the EDM mix on your portable player!
Biffy Clyro - 3-piece band out of Scotland and I like them. I’m surprised I haven’t heard of them before now. They have a solid sound. They’re kind of Third Eye Blind, Jimmy Eat World - ish and I like it. I found myself listening for a while without getting sick of it. That’s always a good sign for me with new music. I’d say give em a listen.
Bingo Players - some listenable EDM. Had it going in the background for a good hour at work and didn’t get annoyed, that’s good. I like the remixes of songs like “When I dip”.
Birdy Nam Nam - see above. This stuff is kind of starting to sound all the same. I really need the next act to be something different…
Blur - well, I asked for something different and I certainly got it! If you don’t know “Song 2”, you’ve been living under a rock for the last 15 years. I listened to their Parklive album and they have some catchy tunes. I could certainly see listening to this on a road trip. I’d probably replay Song 2 a hundred times, because I love it but I’d listen to the rest too. Give it a listen if the only song of theirs you know is Song 2.
Booka Shade - More EDM, from Germany this time.
C2C - EDM with a little R&B vibe mixed in. I like all the EDM acts so far, but the variation is so slight to me (I DON’T claim to be a connoisseur, we’d need my buddy, Polish, for that) that it could all be the same DJ’s and I wouldn’t really even know.
Cafe Tacvba - No.
Cassy - EDM.
Cloud Nothings - FINALLY the kind of music I would expect at Coachella. Honestly, it really varies song to song whether I like the guy or not, but that means I like his music. It’s raw, it’s garage-rock, it’s got some depth despite the simple composition. I want to say Strokes-like, but not quite so pop. And I know the Strokes vibe varies quite a bit too. I’m with you. Maybe even a little Beck in there without the sideshow aspect. Give it a listen!
Dam Funk - Kinda cool, kinda Roots-like. Definitely worth a listen.
Descendents - YEP, I skipped ahead. I needed to hear some actual punk music, RIGHT NOW. These guys just straight lay it down, no messing around. How they didn’t blow up more than some of the other punk bands coming out of the 80’s punk movement is beyond me. Listen up kids, this is how it’s done. And if you think they sound like pop-punk bands you are familiar with, it’s because these guys influenced MANY current bands. Enjoy.
Dinosaur Jr. - Old school indie rock! This stuff reminds me of being a “skater” (I put it in parentheses because I sucked at skating) and it brings back good late 80’s memories. Reminds me of my younger brother too because he introduced it to me and it kind of seems to fit him for some reason. This and Fugazi. This stuff isn’t for everyone, it’s noisy, it’s loud, the lead singer has an interesting voice, but I’m a fan. I really like raw-sounding rock - Pearl Jam’s 10 album, Sound Garden’s Bad Motor Finger. Any 311 prior to say 2004. Anyway, I digress.
If you like something a little out of the ordinary with some solid guitar work, give this a listen
Sorry I had to give up on this, just too much crappy music. If anyone has a favorite band that played at Coachella and I should take a listen, let me know.
I have been living the Paleo lifestyle for the most part of the last year, and I’ve done the Whole30 challenge twice, with no problem, I might add. Most people think I’m crazy or stupid or both. Most of us, myself included, are wildly addicted to grains and sugar. These are staples of the Western diet that has made America the most obese country in the world! 33.8% of our country is obese. So, how has that Western diet worked out? It’s worked out to the tune of more diabetes and heart disease and cancer that any other country in the world as well! Soooo, at some point you gotta ask yourself - who’s crazy and stupid? Well whatever, eat what you want. As I mentioned, I’m totally addicted to sugar and bread and I crave donuts and pizza like a junkie craves the needle. I don’t eat that stuff much, and I do it rarely enough that I can determine some of the effects of those foods on my body. Sure, these are anecdotal and are my experiences, but they’re real. Try the Whole30 challenge for yourself and then watch how your body responds when you eat some bread, pasta or sugary treats. I don’t have any weight to lose really, when I’m eating clean, but here are some of my “symptoms” from not eating so clean:
My skin breaks out in “acne”. I put it in parentheses because it’s worse than acne, the sores are deep and don’t just easily pop and heal like a whitehead. They hurt and persist for a lot longer than standard acne. A Dr. once told me they were inflammation caused by folliculitis and gave me some antibiotic, which may or may not have contributed to my achilles tear - yeah - antibiotics. Anyway, when I’m 100% Paleo, or very close to it, I don’t get these sores. When I start eating bread or sugar they show up like clockwork. They may be folliculitis, but the inflammation is caused by grains and sugar, not some random condition.
My stomach gets…hmmm…let’s use bloated as the adjective here. It’s worse than that, and I’ll bet my parents wish I’d discovered Paleo when I was a lot younger. The ex-wives certainly do :-D I don’t want to get too graphic here but I’m a lot more comfortable in my GI tract when not dealing with the irritation and inflammation in my tummy.
My energy is a lot more even and consistent. Every one knows grains and sugar give you a quick shot of energy, but it also doesn’t last. Eating more fat and getting my body used to using that as the energy source instead of grains and sugar has evened things out a lot.
When I’m eating grains and sugar, stored fat goes right to my love handles. When I’m 100% Paleo - it disappears. I can usually see my abs, and that isn’t SUCH a big deal to me, but not having love handles is a big deal to me (being sick the last 3 weeks and not having energy to work out has brought them out a little and I’m not a fan at all! :-D).
In reading Mark’s Daily Apple and Bulletproof Executive you can learn what inflammation does to your body. It isn’t always easy to see, but signs like my skin condition flaring up are external indicators of inflammation. You can find articles on how inflammation leads to Heart Disease and other chronic diseases in those places or I’m sure a simple Google search will pull up more good information. Either way, I don’t like the inflammation. It’s challenging because I do like the baked snacks. These little annoyances don’t seem like they’re that problematic, but they’re just indicators of what’s happening inside, and frankly, I don’t want heart disease, diabetes, Arthritis, cancer or any other chronic disease, that’s reason enough for me to continue to eliminate grains and sugar.
Finally, I don’t know if there is a direct correlation, but I got sick when I went off strict Paleo for a little while and it lingered longer than it ever had. I really think once my body got used to eating little to no sugar or grains, it truly rebelled against the grains and sugar in a big way.
So there you have it, some personal evidence that Paleo works for me. Give it a try, track the results. Report back and let me know how it goes.
Yes, eating clean Paleo all the time is challenging, especially for me since I’m not a great cook, but it’s worth it and it’s really helped me “eat to live” instead of “living to eat”. And it’s become a constant challenge that is kind of fun - trying to find grass-fed beef, pastured bacon, organic fruits and veggies, etc. Eating is such a huge part of our societal norms, but it’s gotten a little…er…a lot out of control. All I’d have to do is show you the picture of me passed out after Thanksgiving Dinner looking like a beached whale 6 or 7 years ago, and you’d absolutely believe it. Give the Whole30 a shot, you won’t regret it.
I have been using compression socks ever since I tore my achilles a year ago. I certainly haven’t tried every kind, but I have extensively tested several brands that I will outline here.
First comes the offering from Pro Compression that I acquired from a deal on active.com’s Schwaggle Deals. I got a 2 for 1 deal, so I have two pairs of the Marathon compression socks.
As mentioned, I have a torn achilles and a bad calf on the other side (I believe from over-compensating for the torn side for a year), so I really look for great achilles and lower calf support specifically, in addition to comfort, overall support, fit, and last and probably least - style.
The Pro Compression offering doesn’t really have any specific support zones. They offer the same compression from toe to calf. So, really these are like wearing tight socks. They serve the general purpose of providing overall support, but these socks have pretty much been relegated to mud-run service so I don’t ruin my good compression socks. They just don’t provide the specific support I need for Crossfit and running - especially long-distance running. These socks are also not inexpensive, and still command a premium-ish price at around $50/pair. They do have a lot of cool colors, so if you’re in the market for some standard, no frills compression socks these would work for you. If you’re looking for a sock with specific support, you’d probably want to look elsewhere.
Next up are the SLS3 compression socks/calf sleeves - these are actually my favorite compression socks for running. They are foot specific, and have specific compression sections in the feet, achilles and calves. I’ve run 2 1/2 marathons in these and love them. I also use the calf sleeves for shorter runs and some Crossfit WODs (those with say 400m sprints involved). The calf sleeves also have specifically targeted areas in them for calf support. With my surgically repaired achilles and potentially torn calf, both of the products provide the specific support I need to maintain a reasonable level of activity on endurance runs. I would recommend these products to anyone considering compression as a solution to foot, achilles, and calf soreness/injury in addition to recovery according to the MWOD recommended manner - MCE: Move safely when you can, what you can. Compress lymphatics and soft tissues (use bands, muscle contraction, clothing, normatec, etc.) Elevate when you can.
Rogue Fitness Compression Socks - are more set up for Crossfit activites like rope climbs, box jumps, deadlifts, etc to protect the shins. The compression is nice and tight, but there is nothing specific to the compression zones, so I wouldn’t wear these for running long distances at all. They are my coolest looking compression socks, and honestly that earns some points with me, but only a few. The one thing I discovered with black compression socks is they get REALLY hot. So wearing them in the sun for a long timeframe is not suggested either. In the box for a met/con they’re great and never bothered me, getting too hot. Price-wise, these are the least expensive and still better than the PRO Compression socks, overall.
Next on the list are the 2XU Compression Socks - these are my workhorse compression socks and for good reason. I have put these socks through the paces. Many, many Crossfit workouts (these were my original compression socks for my achilles recovery), a few miles run, recovery, everything and they can take a beating and hold their compression like a champ. These socks have great compartmentalized support sections in the feet and achilles, just where I need it. The level of compression is just right as well. I would and do use these for any sporting activity where you can benefit from the support that compression provides.
None of these socks are particularly stylish, they don’t look bad but knee-high socks, on a guy anyway, look a little goofy and I’ve caught some comments. Nonetheless, they provide a much needed function and I will wear them with pride!
I understand this review is a little incomplete since I don’t have any CEP socks to review. I will get some and review them at some point. For the time being, I hope this review helps with your compression sock buying decision.
UPDATE: I got the CEP compression socks to try out. I see a lot of people wearing these in endurance races, so I figured they must be good. They’re just OK. Not foot-specific, not nearly tight enough for me, but they do have achilles-specific support - again, just not tight enough. I do like the looks of them, so I guess they’ll be rope-climb WOD socks here on out. I’d put these a step above the Pro Compression socks, not nearly so good as the number of users might suggest. I’m thinking these are more readily available at running shops than the other brands. I’ve ordered all my socks online, so I don’t really know what is most available in my area.
I have some Hylete socks coming to test those. I think they’ll be my last brand, as I’m really sold on the 2XU and the SLS3 as the best options, in that order. Maybe when all these wear out, I’ll try some new brands. Although, the new 2XU look amazing, so hopefully the support is still as solid as before.