Thursday, December 14, 2017

Sugar should be treated like all other drugs

There is no nutritional value at all to sugar just like a drug.
It aids in cancer.

Everyone should be taking steps to reduce the amount of sugar consumed, especially in their kids.  It is a hard habit to break, if you start off addicted as a kid.

I also find it hard to believe that replacing it with a sugar substitute is better but we may not know the impact of those for another 50 years.

Friday, November 10, 2017

2017 Spartan Trifecta Club - Welcome

Austin Super
Dallas Sprint
Dallas Beast

The Sprint was a blast.  Running through Cowboys Stadium and doing obstacles was a blast.  I think everyone should do this.  I will try to do it every year and maybe even travel to do some other stadium series. 

The Beast, a different story.

The Beast was a cool experience but hurting my back a couple weeks before and the 34 degree starting temperature was brutal.  We finished in about 5:40 minutes.  No one got hurt.  I did all the obstacles except the heavy carry stuff.  We also walked a lot of the course because it just did not make sense to try to run. 

It was a cool experience but I over hydrated.  Because it was so cold, I did not sweat a lot.  I had to pee about every mile, if not more often. 

I wish I had more to say but the Beast just felt like a longer Super. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

CrossFit MedCons - Most people do them wrong

How many times have you seen someone just standing around during a metcon?
How about that guy that does one rep sets?
There is also the RX or RX+ guy that says you have to follow the programming.

The problem is people want to be RX.  I understand that and you might get there.  You have to understand,  RX programming is designed for 25 to 30 year olds who are fit and not broken.  If this is you, then awesome.  The majority of the people I see at CF are not in this club.  Most are older, not fit yet and have some body injury they deal with daily.  RX or even RX + plus is the goal but you need to be realistic about the timeline of your goals.  I would bet a decent amount of money, if you are 35+ and have never done CF, you should not RX in the first 6 months or maybe even a year depending on your life style.

Here are some points to think about the next time you setup for a MetCon.

  • CF named these workouts MetCons for a reason.  They are high intensity energy using workouts that use your fitness.  MetCons just sounds better.  These awesome events are designed with purpose.  If you can only do one round of an AMRAP, you did it wrong.  If you blast through 2 exercises and then spend a long time on another one, you did it wrong.  The weights, the exercises and your conditioning should be chosen so you can keep moving at a moderate pace or fast pace.
  • You should be scaling or RX+ the metcon based on you, not just the programming or your buddy.  Ask a coach for help if you need it.  Some days you will feel great and can push your self but others, you will feel tired due to sleep, life or nutrition.  You should adapt the MetCon to meet the goal of the WOD.
  • MetCons are not strength building events.  They are strength using events.  The goal is never to get your front squat PR during a MetCon.  Use the strength training part of the WOD to get stronger.  As you do MetCons and it gets easier because of the strength work you have put in, then increase as necessary.   
  • MetCons should also not beat you up so bad that you don't want to come back tomorrow.  They definitely should not cause you injury.  MetCons should be a way of using your "fitness". You should leave feeling good about what you did.
  • Pick weights or exercises that allow you to go unbroken if possible.  I would recommend if the reps are 12 or less, you should be able to go unbroken most of the rounds.  Once you get above 12, you probably should break the work up into sets.  My contradiction to this is if you have a plan to break up something like Toes to Bar in sets of 4, then that is fine.  You have a plan of attacking the workout.  This could be for weights too.  BUT, this should be sets where you do the set, rest for 5 to 10 seconds or less and do another set.  You are trying to allow your grip or muscles a short recovery, that is all.
  • Work on skills and technique outside of the MetCon.  If you can't do a Muscle Up and that is one of your goals, then find a progression online and work up to it.  Use the progression exercises in the MetCon, don't spend the whole MetCon getting your first MU.    If you can't snatch, take a class or work on it outside of the MetCon.  This is how you get hurt.  This drove me insane during the Open. I get it but you had time before the Open to get your first MU and you also had the option to scale. 
  • We have all seen that guy that scales everything and does not even break a sweat.  This is not the goal.  You are not working on conditioning if your heart rate is not going up to safe levels.  We all have more ability in us than we know.  Push yourself but be smart.  I am not  saying be this guy, I am saying smartly do your best.
  • Someone is going to say but the Open should be RX so you can compare and enjoy the suffering together.  I would say you should not even do the Open workouts unless you have experience with every movement or lift.  The open is not that time to spend 45 minutes getting 2 rounds of double unders.  I know the scaled workouts had pullups last year.  If you are scaling, you should scale it beyond CF recommendations, if you can't do the workout.  At the end of the day, no one cares and you get a good workout.  If you can do the RX open exercises and weights but just can't rep them out, then have a plan that gets you the most value out of the workout.  This is different than having never done them or just can't do the workout.  The progression workouts are good because you get to see how far you can get in the workout.  That is different than I cant do the first round.

    Last thing is remember fitness is a journey and not a sprint.  If you work hard and take care of your body, you can get to RX but seriously consider this, even if you do get to RX, you are not going to Regionals and you are not going to the Games.  You are going to another CF class.  Most of us should be executing a MetCon with a plan to make the next class and so that we can continue to work our fitness, family, job and life.  

    Just my quick thoughts on MetCons

    Monday, June 19, 2017

    Rest and Recovery Week Fail

    I have to confess. I only made it 5 days.  The WOD on Friday was just too fun.  I did feel much stronger and flexible.  On down note, with the heat and high intensity, I was cardio gassed after.  It almost felt like week 1 again and it felt great.  I did a short work out on Saturday and worked on pull ups.  Sunday was a round of golf and I was sore.  The rest of Sunday was rest and bad nutrition.

    I intended to go to the normal 5:30 class Monday morning but after traveling home and getting ready for bed, it was 10:30.  Instead, I got the extra sleep and worked out in my garage.   I think this was a good choice and one I will try to balance going forward.  I am too old to recover with out enough sleep and perform well.

    Friday, June 16, 2017

    Where is the Rest and Recovery?

    I started this Crossfit, Spartan, Tennis, Nutrition and Sleep journey around the first of February.  I stated all of these because these are the core items to my fitness goals.  The problem is there is a key item that I was missing and as I get older, I need to make sure it is a priority.

    I have been able to do some things with Crossfit I never thought possible.  Doing the Murph two times in two weeks, learning how to snatch and C/J, experiencing the CrossFit Open, rope climbs and many other PRs.  Even with this, I still have many fitness goals left to accomplish.

    I did the Spartan Super and Cowboys Stadium Sprint.  I did all the obstacles except for rings and felt great after each.  Frankly enjoyed using my fitness.

    Several people have noticed my Tennis game is getting back to where it was pre ACL surgery.  Honestly most of that has to do with strength and weight loss.

    Nutrition has been an ongoing experiment and always will be.

    I have actively tried to get more sleep and unrelated but drink less alcohol.

    In someways, I have inspired my friends and family by my results but I have a lot further to go.  Some others would say I have been insane.

    I can say all of this has taken a tole on my body.  My knees have a little more pain than normal.  My elbows are sore and my energy levels the last few weeks have been low.  2 Murphs, an 8+ mile OCR run and a stadium sprint can do that to someone.  All these in 3 weeks.

    I know of multiple WODs where I should have not even got up that morning.  Like the day after doing the Murphy and trying to PR in DL.  I remember doing squats and wondering if my legs were going to explode.  I think I got lucky and could have hurt myself multiple times.

    This week I decided to completely take off from training.  I have not even done a push or burpee.  Has it been hard?  Stressful is the word I would use.  I worry about losing my fitness.  I have not taken off more than 2 days since Feb.  Taking 7 days off is going to make me fat, weak and lose my cardio right.  We will see but I don't think so.  I have spent each day doing extra stretching, foam rolling, working my lacrosse ball and even trying out muscle flossing.  I also did one session of NormaTec and Cryo.  The NormaTec message feels good and Cryo is fun.

    Crossfit likes a 3 days on / 1 day off model and I think that works fine but it does not prescribe how many weeks you should be on, especially for those of us that are using our fitness out side of the daily WODs.

    I am still not sure what kind of rest days or weeks I am going to work in but I am going to come up with a schedule for the next 2 months and make sure it has recovery.  I will post my plan and goals after I build it and document the results.

    Wednesday, June 7, 2017

    Best Simple Nutrition Advice

    Big shout out to Built By Bergeron for simple nutrition advice that everyone can follow.

    Key Points:

    • Eat Real Food, Not a lot, Mostly vegetables
    • Goals for all athletes would be 10% body fat for men and 15% for women
    • Focus on Body fat to see best performance improvements and bio improvements
    • 3 to 4 meals per day.  30% protein, 30% Carbs and rest in vegetables until you are down to the recommended body fat. Then, adjust to optimal levels.

    Monday, May 22, 2017

    Austin Spartan Super 2017

    Despite an hour traffic backup, 30 minute registration line and poor communication on the hail storm that came during our race, I had a blast.

    The course was pretty tough due to the granite and rock everywhere.  The elite guys must have lots of training to run fast through the 8+ mile course.  I was not going to risk a slip, fall or ankle injury to jog through the rocks.  A lot of the super part of the course was a fast walk and jog because of the rocky terrain.

    The most challenging obstacle was the barbed wire crawl.  You are thinking What?  Most are just a roll or army crawl for 50 yards, maybe even up hill but this one was different.  Up a slippery mud hill and all you can see is the wire.  Then, you get to the top and see you have to slide down under the wire and across to another slipper hill.  Many people did not have the strength to pull them self up the hill because there was no footings.  Each time you make it to the top thinking it is over but it was 4 times of up and down and back up.  Tore my legs up in the stickers, mud and some rocks.

    The Twister was cool but I only made it through two of the sections before my grip gave out.  My wife and sister in law took turns and put the other on their shoulders and went across.  That was pretty good thinking.

    The bender was scary but not too bad if you could pull your self up it.

    I hate the high cargo net and walls that require you to step over the top down to a two inch board.  I just hate that transition due to the height.

    The tunnel sucked.  Long, hot and slow going through that.

    After that the I did not last long on the rings, so that was quick burpees

    Coolest of all when you walk up you see the finish line and right there, the last obstacle.  My friend the Rope Climb.  In October, I had no idea how to do it. I got some help at our CF gym and practiced getting up several times.  Burnt my hands multiple times.  The Spartan planners love to place obstacles in locations that will bring doubt and fear.  After 8+ miles, covered in mud and tired, they make me do the rope climb.  I find a long rope, take a few deep breaths, and curse the rope a few times. 3,2,1 go.  Big jump, pull, grab the rope with my feet.  Push up.  Grab the rope with my feet, push up, and finally I feel like I can reach the bell.  I hit it.  I did it but crap, how do I get down without burning my hands.  I let down a few times, then slide and then, just fall to ground and then butt.  Luckily the rope was muddy and no finger prints were burnt off this time.

    Finally with excitement and a smile, I jump the fire and let out an Aroooooo.

    Tuesday, May 9, 2017

    CrossFit Cindy

    5 pullups
    10 push ups
    15 Air Squats

    as many rounds as possible in 20 minutes.

    I had not done Cindy yet.  With Murph coming up I wanted to try it.  I did use a weight assist pull up because I did not want to fry myself on the first try.

    I did 19 rounds plus pullups and pushups.  I was kind of winded and I started feeling the push up but I had more in the tank.

    I don't think I can do the pullups yet but I will try that and do it again next week.

    How to become faster

    After listing to Tim Ferris Pod Case with Ryan Flaherty, I found this arcticle.  Sometimes common sense is the best advice.  To get faster, increase your strength to weight ratio.  This makes total sense right?  If I can dead lift 400 lbs and weight 180, I am going to be faster than a guy who dead lifts 400 lbs but weight 200.  Technic and form has some to do with it but not as much as Force * Mass = Acceleration.

    The hard part is how do you get stronger and not put on weight.  That is the tricky part and where a coach like Ryan Flaherty makes his money.

    Tuesday, May 2, 2017

    How to lose 26 pounds in 3 months

    Short answer, work your butt off.

    Also, start out fatter than you have ever been.

    You have to devote your mind and commit your every day to improving your fitness.  Fitness includes training and nutrition.  It is not exercise and a diet.  Not everyone is the same or doing the same activity.  This means you have to experiment and find what shows a trend of fat loss for you.

    For me it was push my physical fitness to a new levels.  This was primarily CrossFit but running and tennis too.  You have to push your body to want to adapt to using your calories and growing muscle.  

    My first two months were a slow trend down but the last month the weight and inches started falling off.  I went from 238 to 211.   More importantly I lost 3 inches off my waste and got stronger in many areas.

    Some tips for things I did.

    • Lowered my carb intake.  At first it was a few as possible and do CrossFit fasted at 5:30 but soon I found I did not have enough energy to sustain the heavier workouts.  
    • I started eating more carbs in the morning and lunch.  This helped me workout harder and recover.  I would have a big shake for breakfast after my workouts.
    • Then, I added intermittent fasting by not eating very much after lunch until the following morning.  This was not every day but any days I could.  No, I did not not always eat nothing but tried to make sure it was zero carbs for sure.
    • I also started doing bullet proof coffee.  I think this helped with some of the fat burning but honestly, don't know for sure.
    • Sleep as much as possible.  You can only recover to work out more, if you get enough good sleep
    • No sugars at any time. They are a SIN and complete waste to your body.
    • You have to look at food as the fuel for your body.  Would you put crappy gas in your sports car.  No, you would want it to run well.  My Camaro will actually lower its performance when you put non premium gas in it. It knows.   That is what your body does when you put in white carbs, sugars, fried foods or other things that your body can't process when you need it.
    • Run on low carbs or fasted so your body gets used to using fats for fuel.  Early morning runs or spend a few minutes burning some fresh carbs with weights, sprints or even push ups.  
    • Eat lots of salads.  The greens help with inflammation and they usually have healthy items in them.  Yes, I still like Ranch.
    I did get sick and run down the end of month two but I still worked out and kept the calories and carbs down.  I wish I had not got sick because I think I could have gotten more fit in the short time.

    I believe that since God gave us a body and he calls it a temple, we should be making it stronger, healthier and wiser everyday.  It is part of the journey for Christians.  What if Heaven is perfect but we have to live in it with the temples we create on Earth.  Would you be happy with yours for ever?

    Friday, April 21, 2017

    Control your home while away with Alexa

    You can now use Alexa in the Amazon app. You probably don't need this because SmartThings is just an app away but it is kind of cool.  You can ask questions and other stuff just like being in front of your device.

    Alexa Skills and Smart Home

    Skills are voice-driven capabilities that enhance the functionality of your Alexa-enabled device. Set skills and Smart Home capabilities using the Alexa app or on

    Thursday, April 20, 2017

    Hardest workout ever, maybe

    Wednesday morning.  5:00AM Alarm goes off.  Flash back....

    Last week 4 days of crossfit, 3 hours of tennis, 2 weight lifting classes, 9 hours of running.
    Crappy sleep Friday, Worse sleep Saturday, Crappy sleep Sunday, Sleep in Monday but try to work out Monday afternoon but no energy and suffer through coughing and wheezing.
    Tuesday 2 mile jog and 1 mile sprint with burpees ever half mile.  Can't hardly breath for next hour.

    Back to the present:

    Now I wake, feel like crap but what do you do.  Do you go back to sleep?  Do you make up excuses? No, you remember the video from Mat Fraser.  "I am going to do today what other people are not willing to.  So tomorrow, I can do what you can't"

    No energy while doing back squats but I do what I can.
    Then, lucky for me the metcon was just a 30 pushups, 30 air squats, 30 sit ups every 5 minutes with running for distance in between.  I really thought I was going to die for the next 2 hours.  I could hardly stand up.

    Ask your self, what are you doing today that makes you stronger, faster, smarter, fitter or healthier than you competition, tomorrow.

    Sometimes competition is not a person but just life.  Every day we do nothing to get better, we die twice as much.

    Tuesday, April 18, 2017

    Power Lifting vs Weight Lifting

    Most people do not realize that there is a difference in Power Lifting and Weight Lifting.  I believe this is important for new lifters because the approach to both should be different. 

    First you have to have a goal to create a plan.  If you want to improve your snatch, then do you need to do dead lifts two times a week?  No.  If you want to improve your bench press, do you need to work on clean and jerks?  No.  Once you decide your goal then create a plan to accomplish it.

    When you are creating the plan realize that power lifting is about brut strength and not highly technical.  Go pick up that bar off the ground.  When you reach your 1 RM, the impact to your body is very taxing.  This means you can't do this every day.

    Weight lifting is highly technical and should be done very frequently to improve the muscle memory.  You can vary the movements but they all should be working towards repeating the full snatch or clean and jerk. 

    Can you see the difference in how you would approach reaching your goals? 
    Here is a really good video to drill more into the topic.

    Friday, March 31, 2017

    2017 CrossFit Open - Done

    I did survive the Open.  It was a great experience of learning, suffering and humbling.  I learned a lot from each week.  Either how to do something new or how to push my self.  Each workout brought on different amounts or types of suffering.  With out question, the whole experience is humbling from an fitness perspective.

    17.4 was not a difficult scaled workout but pushed your limits of fitness.  By the time I got to the pushups, I was out of gas.  I got several no reps in the Wall Balls because I did not know the ball had to touch above the line first.  I thought it just had to cross the line.  See, learning.  I also think I did not eat enough Carbs to support that kind of workout.  Trying to reduce carbs and calories does not go well with 5:30 AM works outs.

    17.5 was a good ending for me.  I did the workout in the evening.  I was hydrated well and ate more carbs than normal.  I also learned a lot of tips about thrusters during the day.  Breathing was the most important of them all.  If you start out hard and don't breath, you will be wiped at round 6-8.  I also learned that your arms have to lock out at the top and be extended be hind your ears.  I had no idea why people stuck out their head at the top of thrusters.  I had one of the faster times and felt pretty good after doing it.  That was exciting.

    Honestly, I am glad it is over.  It took a lot out of me.  It was stressful because I wanted to do well at something that I was not experienced at.  I ended up top 15% in the South Central region and top 20% in the world for the scaled 40 - 45 group.  That is not too bad for 5 Weeks of CF and for not being in my best shape.

    The word that I think best described my experience and ability to do work outs like this is Fortitude. "Courage in pain and adversity"  You don't have to be the strongest, fastest or fittest but you do have to give it your all, with the tools you have at the time.

    In six months, I am going to redo all the work outs except 17.1.  I am scared of that one.  We will see how far I have come at that time.

    Friday, March 10, 2017

    CrossFit Games Open - 17.3

    17.3 will separate the men from the young men.  RX or scaled this is an advanced workout that requires lots of strength and experience to get to the late rounds.  Our coaches recommend that most people should scale this and I agree.  You can do the RX and get an RX score but if you want to get a workout, you should scale it.

    I knew going in my squat would be awful.  I struggle with going past parallel due to mobility and confidence.  My shoulders are not mobile at all.  I was not able to do 95 lbs with a full correct squat.  I tried 6 times with the time remaining.    With that said, I think my judge was being nice on the 45 and 75 too.  I just have a lot of work to do here.  As soon as I start going down, my shoulders come forward and I lose my positioning quick.

    I also was discussing power lifting shoes with someone. I was making the point that they help you with lifting but most of the Metcon workout in CF would not be good with the PL shoes.  So why would we train with them.   Well, sure enough, 17.3 was an idea event to have power lifting shoes.  I don't know if they would have helped me or not but it was ironic.

    Don't worry, 17.3, I will be back to show you I can do more.

    Update : 3/13
    17.3, I came back and I slightly concurred you.   I felt bad that I was not getting my squats deep enough and did not get enough no reps.  My judge was way too nice.  I told my judge on Sunday to no rep me every time I don't go low enough.
    I ended up doing 92 reps.  I got 95 4 times the second try.  I did get 5 or 6 no reps trying to do 95lbs.  It is mostly a mental thing and just being comfortable going that low.

    Even then, 17.3 I will be back again in a few months to show you I have improved.  I hope to be able to do 115 by then.

    Prior to 8:00, complete:
    3 rounds of:
        6 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        6 squat snatches, 45 lb.
    Then, 3 rounds of:
        7 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        5 squat snatches, 75 lb.
    *Prior to 12:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        4 squat snatches, 95 lb.
    *Prior to 16:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        9 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        3 squat snatches, 115 lb.
    *Prior to 20:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        10 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        2 squat snatches, 135 lb.
    Prior to 24:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        11 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        1 squat snatch, 155 lb.
    *If all reps are completed, time cap extends by 4 minutes.
    Note: Squat snatches or power snatches with overhead squats permitted.

    Prior to 8:00, complete:
    3 rounds of:
        6 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        6 squat snatches, 45 lb.
    Then, 3 rounds of:
        7 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        5 squat snatches, 75 lb.
    *Prior to 12:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        8 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        4 squat snatches, 95 lb.
    *Prior to 16:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        9 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        3 squat snatches, 115 lb.
    *Prior to 20:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        10 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        2 squat snatches, 135 lb.
    Prior to 24:00, complete 3 rounds of:
        11 jumping chin-over-bar pull-ups
        1 squat snatch, 155 lb.
    *If all reps are completed, time cap extends by 4 minutes.
    Note: Squat snatches or power snatches with overhead squats permitted.  

    Crossfit Open 17.2 - Good Workout

    This work out really could be a fun workout except it is a Crossfit Open workout that will kill alot of people.  The RX workout is just a beast.  50lb lunges and MU are hard just doing them once.  Most people have never done a MU but pushed them self to get one in the open games.  They should be super proud and continue to work on it for next year.  O, and TTB are a killer.
    The scaled version is not aweful, except for the two rounds of 16 chest to bar.  That is hard for the average joe.  I got through 2 full rounds and a couple more lunges.  I could have done a few more reps but that would have been about it.

    This is a work out I want to repeat in a few months to see how far I have come in my fitness.  17.1, I do not want to ever do again.

    Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
    2 rounds of:
      50-ft. weighted walking lunge
      16 toes-to-bars
      8 power cleans
    Then, 2 rounds of:
      50-ft. weighted walking lunge
      16 bar muscle-ups
      8 power cleans
    Etc., alternating between toes-to-bars and bar muscle-ups every 2 rounds.
    Men use 50-lb. dumbbells

    Complete as many rounds and reps as possible in 12 minutes of:
    2 rounds of:
      50-ft. weighted walking lunge
      16 hanging knee-raises
      8 power cleans
    Then, 2 rounds of:
      50-ft. weighted walking lunge
      16 chin-over-bar pull-ups
      8 power cleans
    Etc., alternating between hanging knee-raises and chin-over-bar pull-ups every 2 rounds.
    Men use 35-lb. dumbbells

    Friday, February 24, 2017

    CrossFit Open 17.1 - Just Killer

    After 5 weeks of CF, it was time to for the Cross Fit Open.  There is no way I can do RX but I feel like I could do the scaled workouts from last year.  My plan is to just follow the scaled workouts and survive but give it my all.  I already made a mistake and played tennis Wednesday night.  My knees were sore.

    I forget to the check the workout on Thursday night and just checked when I hit the gym parking lot.

    The snatches at 35 is not easy.  Lots of respect to the ladies doing 35lbs.   50 lbs would be borderline unsafe at that many reps.  Burpees over the box with step a step up, is even going to hurt.  2 feet jump is amazing.

    I got through 3 rounds pretty fast but once you finish that, you know the worst is to come.  I got through 40 at 13:28.  50 more snatches and 15 burpees to go.  At this point, I think I can finish but my lungs are burning and I might even be a little dizzy.  I try to really focus on using my legs to pull the 35lbs up and using my legs to set it down.  I did 10, break, 10 break, 15 break, 15 break.  I was at 17:30 ish.    15 Burpees to go.  I started off with a slow pace and the last 5 just went as fast as I could.  19:08.
    Legs shaking, back fried, dizzy and coughing.  2 hours later, I can still feel my lungs burning.  I really wish I had my fitbit working to see my heart rate but stupid thing stops working last week and Fitbit is back ordered until March.

    Cold baths and hot showers and recover.  Haru!!!

    CrossFit Games Open 17.1 (Time)
    For time:
    10 snatches
    15 burpee box jump-overs
    20 snatches
    15 burpee box jump-overs
    30 snatches
    15 burpee box jump-overs
    40 snatches
    15 burpee box jump-overs
    50 snatches
    15 burpee box jump-overs

    M: 50-lb. dumbbell / 24-in. box
    F: 35-lb. dumbbell / 20-in. box

    Time cap: 20 minutes
    Teenagers 14-15:
    Boys use 35-lb. dumbbell and 24-in. box
    Girls use 20-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box

    Masters 55+:
    Men use 35-lb. dumbbell and 24-in. box, step-ups OK
    Women use 20-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box, step-ups OK

    Scaled: (Ages 16-54)
    Men use 35-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box, step-ups OK
    Women use 20-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box, step-ups OK

    Scaled Teenagers 14-15:
    Boys use 20-lb. dumbbell and 24-in. box, step-ups OK
    Girls use 10-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box, step-ups OK

    Scaled Masters 55+:
    Men use 20-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box, step-ups OK
    Women use 10-lb. dumbbell and 20-in. box, step-ups OK

    Monday, February 20, 2017

    Ice Baths for Recovery

    Sometimes you learn things in life that you feel would have made things better, if you had know them when you were younger.  Ice Baths or Contrast Baths are one thing I wish I had known while I was playing tennis tournaments.  Many times I would play 2 matches a day and could not walk after the first match.  I got older and one match a day hurt really bad.  I really do believe if I had done Ice Baths after those matches, I would have felt better and recovered better for the next match.  I know of one tournament specifically, I could have one if I had been able to recover even a little after.

    Everyone is going to cry and complain about how cold the water is or how bad it stings.  That is because they really have not tried it.  Tough Mudders and the Tough Guy courses have lots of cold water.  Some Spartans send you through the cold too.  To not hate these races, you have to get used to cold water.  At some point, you need to look forward to it.

    I only recommend doing a cold bath if it is soon after a workout and not after 7 pm, unless you have no choice due to a long day.  You can research the science yourself but it works.  All you need is about 10 minutes too.  Warm up your bath room with heat.  Run a cold water only bath.  Once it is half full, turn off the water.  Turn on your shower to hot.  Just a little hotter then normal.  Then, slowly put your self in the cold tub while breathing deep.  You will get chills but only when you breath uncontrolled or move around a lot in the water.  Just sit there still.  There is no reason to move around.  If needed, you can add ice to the water.  You should take the easy way and add the ice after you are in the tub.

    Stay in for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then, get out carefully and into the shower for 2 x the number of minutes you were in the cold tub.  Then, get back in the cold tub for 1 to 2 minutes.  Then, back in the shower for a full normal hot shower.  2 rounds of this is good.  Three is great.  After that I don't think you benefit much.

    You can also try a 10 minute cold bath and then, hot shower.  I did not find this as effective as the contrast bath / showers.

    I also recommend watching a show on your phone or ipad while in the bath.  It will help you forget you are in 50 degree water.

    Wednesday, February 15, 2017

    CrossFit update - Week 4

    When I started, I planned to do three days a week.  I did not know enough to have expectations on any physical goals.  The first week I was really sore and was asking myself why I would want to get up at 5 AM and do this.  Then, I finished up week 2 and things started to feel better.  I also added more stretching and foam rolling.  I try to spend 10 minutes every night with my foam roller.
    At the end of week 3, I started to feel more comfortable with the lifts and even some strength increases.

    The OPEN.  I started hearing people talk about this.  I looked into it and there is no way I can do some of the events.  I mean literally, I can't do overhead lunges with 135lbs for 25 feet.  Muscle ups, what ever, pull-ups are hard enough.  I am not even sure I ever want to be able to do some of this.  I kept digging and there is a scaled version of all WODs.  Instead of overhead lunges, you do 95lbs for 25 feet with front rack hold.  I can do that.  Knee lifts instead of Muscle Ups.  I can do that too.  This will be a good way to compare results with the world.  Then, try to do better next year.

    Our Box gets together every Friday and does the WOD together.  I can't make the first night but yes, I signed up to give it a shot.  I think it will be cool and exciting.

    Then, of course, I am hooked.  Changed my membership to unlimited and planning on going at least every weekday.  Use Saturday and Sunday for recovery, Tennis or running.

    This is my CrossFit progression opinion.  I am not coach but I did go to a box this morning.  :)

    1. Show up
    2. Realize everyone started with just a bar or even pipe and take it slow.
    3. Understand the right form. Even some veterans need reminders.
    4. Add a little weight so it gets tougher, and learn better form.
    5. Get comfortable doing physical activities with a high heart rate or high cardio level, with good form.  Your mind tells your body you should not do Thrusters after doing Burpees over Box for 4 rounds.  You want to just sit down.  Sometimes one rep at a time is enough.  Every rep counts.
    6.  Start focusing on improving in areas that you are weak.  My biggest weakness is flexibility.  My squat needs to be lower and my right elbow does not bend well on the front rack position, but it is better.  It is no coincidence that I had knee surgery in the past and injured my elbow last fall.

    Good Article for those interested in learning more.

    17 Bits of Advice for CrossFit Beginners - Don't put if off any longer and don't be scared! Get started today.

    Sunday, January 29, 2017

    Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win book review

    Extreme Ownership: How U.S. Navy SEALs Lead and Win

    If you like learning from awesome leaders and love stories of Navy SEALs, like I do, this book is the one you should buy next.

    Jacko Willink and Leif Babin are the kind of leaders our country and business need.  Their principles are dead on target.  Each principle is described through real life or death scenarios from their missions in Afghanistan.  The stories are inspiring and scary as heck but show situations of leadership that are more intense than should you move to the cloud or not.  They actually have to deal with human lives.

    They also give their business consulting experiences that parallel the missions,  so you can have real business scenarios to learn from for each experience.

    The key principle is that leaders take full ownership in them self, their teams, their bosses and everyone they impact or influence.  Too many people want to point other directions for making true impact in their job or country.  If you are currently demotivated in your leadership, I definitely recommend reading this for a good all around motivating book.

    Roger is G.O.A.T, for now.

    Yes, I think Roger is the greatest of all time or at least as of today.  You can only judge the greatest as of a point in time.  If Rafa wins six more titles, is he then the greatest?  What about Joker?  I think both have a good shot of winning more than 4 more.  Rodger will likely not win another.  It was improbable for him to win this Ausie open.

    More importantly, the awesomeness of today's match was truly a gift.  Over time, most great match-ups either never happen or they turn out to be bad.  Roger has lost most finals to Rafa and even cried after the Ausie open loss last time.  Roger is 5 years older and unlikely to win now, right?

    This one was everything it needed to be.  Here are the reasons why:
    1. It was special that the draw worked out with Rafa and Rodger on opposite sides.  They could have met in the semis and this would have never happened.
    2. Joker and Murry both lost.
    3.  Both players played 15 sets in their last three matches.  Can you image how hard that would be?
    4.  Rodger takes an early lead and then, they trade back and forth.
    5.  If you were a Roger fan, you get the early sadness of going down a break in the first game of 5th set.  NOOOOO  Can Roger actually get two breaks to win it, probably not?
    6.  BUT, he fights back almost breaking two games in a row to finally break.
    7.  Then, we are back even with an easy hold by Rodger.
    8.  Roger goes up love 40 to have 3 break points and of course, Rafa says not so fast.
    9.  After several great points, Roger does finally get another break.
    10.  Then, if that is not enough, you get drama in Roger's hold game with reviews and close calls.

    The only bad thing was the close final call review that did not give us the instant "He has done it" but Roger still cried.

    Thursday, January 26, 2017

    Harmony Hub Integration Alexa and Smart Things

    For smart home TV integration nothing beats Harmony Hub.  It is great from your phone, works in SmartThings and Alexa.

    When adding Harmony Hub to SmartThings, make sure you HUB activities are descriptive to the room because you will see all your Hubs activities.  If the bedroom hub has Watch TV and the living room has Watch TV, you will not be able to tell them apart in ST.  When you add it to ST you can now create routines that change the AV systems and your lights.  Then tell Alexa turn on Movie Time.  The weird part is you have to tell her Turn On Routine Name.  Routines don't really feel like on or off because in ST they are not on or off.  They just execute the commands you setup like, Goodnight.  Good night could turn everything in the house off but the fans, or what ever.

    One you have the routine setup, now you can turn some devices off and some on through Alexa with one command.  A ST routine called Movie Time can turn on your Blue Ray, Receiver and TV and turn off or dim the lights.  Then, Alexa, turn on Movie Time.  Now you really have control.

    I think Alexa, Smart Things and Harmony Hub really make up the trifecta of home automation.  They each have weakness but all together they cover almost anything you want to do.

    Day 3, end of week one

    I am not sure if all cross fits do this or not but Thursday at our box is active recovery day.  Once I found this out, I changed my plan of coming on Fridays to Thursday.  With tennis on Saturday and my body already destroyed, it was a good move.

    We did some smashes where you roll out parts of your body with the 45 pound bar.  It felt AWESOME.  We also did some band stretches, and I am going to buy me a band today.
    Next we did Planks and GHD which is a back extension machine but engaging your glutes and hams development, more than back.  I could not get up as high as the coach wanted me too.  Something else to work on.

    We also did a team event of jump rope and row machine.  It was supposed to be double unders but I don't know how to do those yet.

    It was a good last day of the week.  Next week I need to pick up my intensity some but keep learning.

    The best thing about doing Cross Fit is learning new things you are not good at.  We all know we can't do a 4 minute mile but I never knew I had elbow flexibility issues or did not have a strong enough back.

    "Be humble. Be hungry. And always be the hardest worker in the room." - Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson:

    Cross Fit Day 2

    Day 1 was on Monday.  I was really sore on Tuesday and suffered through Tennis Tuesday night.  I even did ice baths Monday and Tuesday night.  I will comment more on those once I have more to say.
    Today's class was good.  We worked on Split Jerk w/2 sec pause at dip and catch.  The coach worked with me with just using the bar and the guy next to me gave me some tips too.  I had never done those before and was curious how my knee would handle them.  I did add 20 lbs and it all felt pretty good.  I just need to remember to lock out my arms and get them inline with my body for heavier weights.

    Our Metcon was an AMRAP - As many reps as possible.
    10 Power Snatchs
    12 Toes to Bar
    8 Overhead lunges.

    I was only using the bar today and the power snatches was pretty easy but it was weird to not have a natural stopping point because there was no weights to rest on the ground.

    Toes to Bar was tough.  I broken them down into sets of 4 and my hands really hurt.

    Lunges was not bad and even at the end the coach reviewed me and said my form was fine.

    So far so good.  Two days in.  For full disclosure, I can barely get up and down.  My back and legs are good sore.

    andrewnattypro flex2bfamous transformationn8ion motiv8ionteam compete competitor athlete fitness physique motivation motivacion bodybuilding naturalbodybuilding ufe ufenation idfa idfa2015 teamidfa iloveidfa gainz shredz shredded gymlife gymmotivation gymrat flexibledieting:

    Tuesday, January 24, 2017

    Cross Fit Day 1

    I have been intrigued with Cross Fit for a few years and I love the Cross Fit games.  Their athletes are truly amazing.  I need something new to push me to another level this year and decided I would sign up for local Cross Fit box.  I am going to try to not judge the gym but to focus on my exercise experience and results.

    I am doing the 5:30 AM class because there is very little that will prevent me from showing up besides just being lazy.  I am only going to do 3 days a week for the first month.  This is because I want to do tennis and want a day of recovery between workouts, until I get to a better fitness level.

    We started off with stretching.  I would like to be sweating a little bit before stretching.  I will jump on the bike for 5 minutes next time before the class starts.  Then, the fun began.  We did front squats at 2 reps every minute.  For the experienced, this would be a high weight exercise.   I had never done front squats and I only did 95 lbs.  It hurt my wrist due to holding the bar and not having it fully rested on my shoulders.  I discovered this is not due to my wrist but my right elbow is not as flexible as my left due to the injury I had back in October.  I can now visibly see the difference when comparing them.  I would not have noticed this without trying this today. I will add that to my list of things to work on.

    Then, we did a work out of 9 dead lifts, 12 burpee box jumps and 9 power clings for 4 minutes as many as you can, with 2 minute recovery between intervals. We did this for 4 rounds.   I was comfortable with dead lifts but needed to arch my back more and look up.  Burpees are fun but instead of just jumping up an inch, you had to step up to a box and jump up.  My box was only about a foot half tall and honestly, that was enough for the first day.  The coach had to teach me clings because I have seen them but have never done them.   At 95 lbs, they were not too bad by them self.

    A couple people warned me to not go crazy early because it will get harder.  It was good to get confirmation for my plan but also good that people were helpful.  The routine was pretty hard and exactly what I need.  I only did about 5 or 6 rounds but was not counting closely.  According to my Fitbit, my heart rate only got up to 150 bmp.   I probably could have gone harder and should next time.  I was definitely not trying to go too hard the first week.  I will be sore for sure and have a long way to go.  Looking forward to day 2 on Wednesday.

    Tuesday, January 17, 2017

    Rise of the Sufferfest - Movie Review

    Rise of the Sufferfest is a entertaining moving about the history and extremely fast rise of people paying to be put through extended amounts of pain, cold temperatures, dirty environments, electronic shock and scary heights.  Yes, I did say people pay for this.  It is almost a billion dollar market and it is legal.  I have to confess, I have also paid to be put through the agony.  Why would I do that?

    That is the question the movie tries to answer.  Why would any one pay to do an obstacle course race (OCR) like  Spartan Race, Tough Mudder or a Tough Guy?  Even more amazing, most people that do it, do it again or even multiple times.

    The movie is a must watch if you have ever done OCR.  I almost don't want to recommend you watch it, if you haven't done an OCR because you might never do one after watching.  The movie introduces you to the god father of OCR,  Mr. Mouse.  Has interviews with lots of fitness experts, psychologist, human behavioral and others to try to find reason to why someone would do this.

    Here are some of the reasons:
    1. Social media status
    2. Be a kid again.
    3. Experience a world without privileged
    4. Get back to the primal desires we have has men (btw, 35% of the racers are women)
    5.  People are crazy

    My personal experience of doing a Spartan sprint and why I signed up for three more, is the experience of getting out of my safe, soft and easy daily life.   Trading a few hours for an experience of training, pushing my self, not caring that I am dirty, no internet, no electricity(unless it is a Tough Mudder or Tough Guy) and to be an example or inspiration for my family.  I think everyone should do one race.  My wife and girls are going to do one this year.  BTW, you don't have to be fit to do a short race but you do have to get off the couch, find some friends and sign up together.  You will love it.  If you want, you can do a race with us.  We are doing Spartan sprint at Cowboys Stadium in June and the Spartan Beast in October.  There is a Spartan Sprint in October too.  That is the one we did last year and it was awesome!

    Friday, January 13, 2017

    Fitness - Increasing Testosterone Article

    I found this great article from the on  increasing testosterone and wanted to share it. Even if this does not significantly impact testosterone, I think it is a good model for men to follow.

    Being disciplined eaters during the week
    Exercising with weights - Doing large muscle movements. IE Cross Fit
    Fats over carbs - Cholesterol is not bad
    Fish Oil - I started taking fish oil at night and I notice I am less achy in the mornings.
    Getting more sleep - I need to do this one
    More Sex - Tell your wife it is required
    Cold Baths - I have been doing contrast showers for a while and love them.  I may start taking a cold bath after a hard work out.  Maybe throw in some whine and soft music too.

    SmartThings Automation

    First, I added the Harmony Hub smart app lab from the market place.  It allows me to run activities for my living room or bedroom AV through SmartThings(ST)

    I quickly jumped in and added a Watch A Movie On TV routine.  I set it to run my Watch TV activity and turn off my Kitchen lights.  I could have dimmed them but I like the lights all the way off when watching movies.

    Then, I started configuring my Good Night routine.  I set it to turn everything off but the master bed room fan.  I could have done this at a certain time or many different options but manually is fine for now.  

    I have to say, the abilities I was hoping to get from IRIS, are easily built into SmartThings.   More to come I am sure.

    Fitness Past and Fitness 2017

    I played some football growing up but found it boring.  I played a lot of basketball bit I did not have anyone to play against so I was an above average spot up shooter.  Then, I found tennis.  I did not make the team my freshman year and frankly, that pissed me off.  From that day on, I played tennis at least 4 times a week for about 9 years.  I made it to 3 regional tennis tournaments.  I made it state 2 times.  I played D3 college tennis with one conference championship.  Obviously, I started tennis late but I was driven because every time I got better, someone else was always better than me.  College tennis was a blast. We practiced every week day and at night my buddy and I would go back again.  Looking back on it, I have no idea why he did that because he beat me every time we played.

    After college I started working out more and learning about low carb diets, that no one taught me in college.  I was in the best shape of my life.  It is no coincidence this is when I met my wife. I was really in tuned with my spiritual walk, in grad school and really good shape.   Since she still wears the same size clothes as when I met her and I don't (195 lbs), she wonders where that guy went.

    About 6 years ago, I started having a pain in my calf.  No big deal, just push through.  This felt different than normal pain.  I went to the doctor and he said, you are fine.  A week later, I wake up one morning and my back was in pain.  Suck it up.  Mow, edge and clean up the yard.  That night, I could not even sleep due to the pain.  Next day, same thing.  Day three, I wake up and while getting ready for work, cough up some blood.  No big deal, it happens right?  (I had no idea but no, this does not happen and you should immediately go to the doctor.)  I go on to work and start to feel like I have the flue.  Tired, out of breath and not happy.  I call my wife and she said I should go to the doctor. She was out of town and quickly, flew back.   Doctor says, why are you back here.  Well, I don't feel good and coughed up some blood this morning.  He starts to frantically typing on his computer. I am thinking, that is not good.  I drove my self to a hospital to get an Xray.  Then, drove my self to another hospital for an MRI.  Then, they drove me, in a wheel chair,  to the emergency room.  What?

    Long story short, I had significant blood clots in my lungs.  The doctors could not explain why so they put in a filter in above my lungs so clots could not go into my brain and cause a stroke.  Question, doc why does he look and feel normal despite having lungs full of clots.  Answer, If he was unfit, smoked, obese or had any medical conditions, he might be dead.  His body was able to over come and adapt to keep him going but definitely was telling him something is wrong.  Three days later,  I left with some blood thinners and still a filter in my lungs.  Then, I go to a specialist for gallons of blood work.  They discovered I have a few genetic factors that increase the chances of blood clots.   Why suddenly at 35, no one knows.  So the only recommendation is take blood thinners forever.  Blood thinners are not bad but you have to stay away from green vegetables, "yea!"  That means no salads or other healthy vegies.  Last year I changed to a new Blood Thinner that is not affected by greens and I can now eat anything I want.  This has really opened up more doors to healthier eating.   6 weeks after having the filter put in, they went in and took it out because the clots should be gone by then.

    Now many years later my fitness has been up and down.  3 years ago I started doing P90x at home and with some friends at work. Sometimes twice a day.   I felt that motivation again.  I have to do more pull ups.  Why can't I do more push-ups?  35 diamond push ups, no problem.  I started eating better and drinking less.  I was around 215 and in pretty good shape.  I was on my way back.  Until, I went skiing.  I felt if I was ever going to try moguls, it is time.  Since I failed to ask a simple question, how do you do moguls.  I started down the hill and about 3 seconds in, of course, I wiped out.  While not in any significant pain, I did fell something pop in my knee.  I pulled myself together and slowly worked my way down.  I skied the next two days.  Long story short and an MRI later, yes, I torn my ACL.  The doctor asks what activities I do.  Of course I gave him the long list because I am an athlete, right!?  He said, if you want to keep doing that stuff, you need surgery.  CRAAAAAPPPP. The doctor was concerned about my history of clots and made me go get a test to make sure they are all gone.  Thankfully, I was completely in both legs.

    The surgery was not bad.  They took out a part of my patella tendon and recreated a stronger ACL.  That does not sound that bad but it requires recovery from 2 procedures at once.  I will not bore you of the details but after resting,  I drove back to work 5 days after the procedure, without crunches or pain killers. Stupid. I was in so much pain, I thought I was going to pass out.  The next three days I spent every minute Icing, stretching, strengthening and resting, over and over.  By Monday, I was done with pain pills and able to get around without crunches.  Next I started PT.  It was not bad and the doc said I was doing well, probably because I was fit before the tear, worked out before the procedure and worked hard after.  I stopped the PT after about 6 weeks because my insurance changed but keep working on the recovery.

    Almost 2 years later, I still have discomfort but see progression in my knee.  So it sounds like I should be in pretty good shape right?  Playing in tennis leagues, working out and recovery.  Not really.  I dodn't have easy access to a gym due to job changes.  It is hard when you are 40.  I just haven't had anything to push me like tennis because I am still usually better than those around me.  Working out has not been that interesting.  Nothing is pushing me past the point where my athletic background gets me by.

    Turning 40 has been a real eye opener.  I know I am not in great shape and at times weigh more than I ever have.  How can this be?  I am probably more active than the average person.  Well, my diet is not good, I don't push my self enough and break the cycle of normal activities. I haven't really pushed my fitness since the P90x days.  After watching many episodes on TV, I decided to enter a Spartan Race.  I will write an article just with my thoughts on my first Spartan sprint but what I have come to believe is we have to push our selves and continually change our selves to truly get healthy.  Our minds and body adapt very quick to how we treat it.  The longer it adapts to the norm, the longer it takes to break it.  This is why I have committed to push my self, at age 40, beyond anywhere it has been.  I want to be very fit as my girls start to grow into young women.  I want to provide examples for them to be healthy and exercise through out their lives because it has to be such a major part of my life.  I also want to be fit to walk my girls down the isle, so the guy at the end of the isle knows I can still kick his butt if he wrongs my girls.

    Here are some of my goals for 2017 and I plan to share my experiences and ideas through out the year.

    1. Spartan Tri Fecta - a sprint, super and beast completion in the same year.  (if you want to join us in any of these let me know.)
    2. Learn to hand stand walk - why, I don't know.  It is just hard and cross fitters do it.
    3. Run a < 7 minute mile - This might be the hardest
    4. Run a half marathon
    5. Run a 25 minute 5 k
    6. Maybe run a Tough Mudder
    7. Get back into tennis shape and a 5.0 playing level.

    Creating your own Alexa Skill is easy

    I started searching on how to build Alexa skills.  I was pretty sure it was going to be some crazy Node or Java solution that used AWS super geeky services.  While this excited my ex hacker (meaning noob coder) desires but then, made me puke a little too.  Well, I was right.  You have to know Node.js or Java.  You have to use Lamda functions.  To do more advanced stuff you can get into APIs and dynomo db or what ever else you need in AWS.

    Are you ready to give up yet?  DON'T.  The Alexa team is brilliant.  They are doing a great job of making the Alexa solution as easy as possible.  The development team is providing quick start guides that are very well done.

    I followed the guide below and with in an hour I had it working on Alexa.  I have never used Node.js or Lamada but now I can add it to my LinkedIn skills.  Yea!!!

    The hardest part was deciding the Intent name.  You have to decide, and can change it later, what you want to say.  Alex, do this or Alexa, what is or Alexa, how many....

    I recommend deciding your Intent first and just to challenge your self, try to change the code and setup to match your Intent as you follow this guide.  It will force you to figure out how it works.  If you want to just follow it, that is cool too.

    The next morning I had my girls saying "Alexa, Just do it" and some funny personalized phrases coming back.  Alexa did a great job of saying all of our names and even our dogs names.

    I am trying to think of a really good use case to build a real skill for the market place.  Let me know if you have any ideas.

    SmartThings and Alexa Integration

    I removed IRIS from my Alexa account. Bye Bye IRIS, you were a good tool.  I also clicked forgot for each device.  I then added the SmartThings skill.  It was interesting because the skill enable-meant allowed me to decide which items to add from ST. IRIS just added all devices.   This was good because my Harmony Hub is already setup on Alexa.  I wanted it to stay this way so that I can change channels with favorites.  I did not select the Harmony Hub activities in my SmartThings list but only the routines from SmartThings.

    My SmartThings GoodNight routine was not allowed because I had my garage door set to close.  After I removed the garage doors, I told Alexa to "discover devices".  Then, Alexa approved the command.  It is a little weird because you have to say "Alexa, turn on GoodNight".   I will play with this more when the family is awake and not trying to sleep. 

    I just setup my "dream cool factor".  I setup a group in Alexa called "Be Awesome."  I say, "Alex, be awesome."    Alexa then  runs the Smart Things Watch a Movie on TV routine and turns off the all the lights.  This only works with the combination of ST and Harmony Hub routines because Alexa groups can only turn a device or multiple devices all on or all off.  You can't create a group that turns one devices off and another on. I am sure Alexa will improve this feature in the but it works for most use cases today. 

    Thursday, January 12, 2017

    From IRIS to SmartThings

    This is the play by play of me setting up SmartThings (ST) right beside my IRIS Hub.  I added a network hub to my NetGear Extender so they could both be plugged in at the same time.

    Tried to download the app on IPad but there is not one.

    Downloaded and signed up on my iPhone.

    Put in the code and waiting for the setting up hub to complete.  It seemed to take more that 10 minutes.

    When the app came up it said the HUB was off line.  I unplugged the IRIS hub from the network and then, the ST hub showed online in the app, after a few seconds.

    Add a Thing, the auto find did not find any devices.  I had to manually add it but even then it would not find my GE Z-Wave Dimmer.  I am thinking, I have to remove it from IRIS first.

    Confirmed, each Z-Wave device is paired with the IRIS hub.  I have to follow the instructions to disconnect them from the IRIS hub.

    I had some weird issue where it added a second Z-Wave Wall Dimmer when I added my Kitchen Light Dimmer.  I have "Forcefully Removed" it and it is still coming up.  I will figure this out later.

    Well that was funny.  I could not get my GE Fan Controller to pair so I Googled it and found great news.  The fan device shows up as a Z-Wave Wall Dimmer.  It was actually my fan switch that paired, almost without me realizing it.  I renamed it and gave it a fan icon.  The dimmer like control is a little weird but does change it from low, med and high.

    Somewhere in this process I lost connection to my GE ZWave switch at the top of the stairs.  I have tried to switch it off and on and recycled the IRIS hub.  I had to go repair the device.  Then, force remove the original item and then, remove the new one that just paired.

    After about 30 minutes, I now have everything moved over to SmartThings.  I did have to disconnect the ST hub to correctly remove them from IRIS.  I was nervous about my garage controllers but SmartThings found them easily.  They worked right away.

    I did have an issue with the IRIS Smart Plug.  ST found it right away but showed a status of Please Wait.  The solution is to go into the ST IDE and correct the device type to Smart Power Outlet.
    Thanks to Ben -

    I set up my Honeywell Thermostats in about 10 seconds.  I even added my Ring door bell.

    I am really interested in seeing how I can use Jeremy's iPhone status to automate somethings.

    I am going to end this post here because it is getting long.  I will blog about the automation next.