Sunday, February 23, 2014

Cupids Revenge 2

Gretchen and I competed for the second year in a row at the CrossFit Lancaster couples CrossFit competition "Cupids Revenge."  All in all we did very well together and finished strong in 9th place out of 30+ couples. In the one rep max thruster WOD we both were dissapointed in our performance as we had done better in practice, but we really did well in the 6 min AMRAP of kettlebell swings and burpees getting 259 reps in just 6 minutes. This is a brief video I put together of the 4 WODs:

Thursday, February 13, 2014

2013 Worlds Toughest Mudder

I finally finished editing the footage from this past November's Worlds Toughest Mudder. Better late than never! This is a short video featuring my fellow athletes and team members, VPX Team Xtreme, going through some of the obstacles on the 5+ mile course. They did incredible finishing in over 20 hours with 12 laps and over 60 miles. Incredibly impressive!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Want 6 pack abs?

I posted this article on my other site,
apple core

It all starts at the “core!” Eight years ago I was 30lbs heavier and had pretty serious back issues.  I was in my kitchen one day and sneezed and it threw my back out. I had trouble walking for almost two months and spent countless visits at the chiropractor. Sound familiar? It is – so many people have back issues that start at the core. Ever since I lost the weight and began doing regular core exercises, I have not had any back pain.

Your core is much more than your abdominal muscles and your obliques.  Your core also includes the muscles of your lower back, pelvis, hips and diaphragm.  Strengthening your core will not only help with back issues and improve your physical appearance, but you will feel stronger, breathe better, be healthier and your abs will start showing! Plus, core stability will help prevent all sorts of other injuries.

There is no secret to getting a six pack – it does take hard work, but here are some great tips which helped me and can help you get that shredded stomach, chiseled obliques – and build a strong core!

Crunches – yes the age old crunch. It’s a great warm up exercise for the core. Once they get too easy add weight. Holding a 10, 25 or 45lb plate with your arms extended over your chest while crunching will work. I usually do 2 sets of 50 at the beginning of every workout.
ab wheel

Ab-Wheel– I first saw one of these in my dad’s room over 30 years ago and it still works.  Starting on your knees with your arms almost locked out, you extend by rolling the wheel out as far as you can go and then back again. This exercise works your arms, shoulders, back and abs. I almost touch my nose to the floor when fully extended. You may not be able to go that deep until you develop the strength.

Concept 2 Rower

Rowing – If you have access to a rower, use it! The rower or “erg” engages the core while working your arms, back, heart and lungs. Is it easy? No. Does it work? Yes!

Olympic Lifts– Squats, cleans, snatches, jerks, push presses ALL engage the core muscles. Ever hear someone at the gym say that your whole body gets stronger from squatting? It’s true for all of these exercises because they all use your core and are functional exercises.  *These are more advanced exercises that should not be attempted without proper instruction or supervision.

Clean Eating– Yes, what you put into your body is just as important as the exercises you are doing to strengthen it. See my previous article on “Eating Clean.” The best line I've ever seen on eating properly is from Coach Greg Glassman, the creator of CrossFit“Eat meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar. Keep intake to levels that will support exercise but not body fat.” Is it a diet? No. It’s clean eating and if you make it a lifestyle rather than thinking of it as a diet you will lose weight and those abs will show!

Monday, December 30, 2013

Eat Clean and Your Body Will Thank You

I posted this article on eating clean here on my new website "Strength Runner:" Enjoy!

Eating clean is just as important if not more so than your daily workout and running routines. What is eating clean? It’s not eating fast food, pizza, wings, subs and sandwiches that you can buy quickly and eat at your desk or while driving. It’s not the processed foods that sit around in packages waiting to be peeled open and consumed right away.
Eating clean is eating varieties of fresh vegetables, fruits, lean meats, nuts and seeds. I know it’s hard to not eat lots of bread, fried potatoes, pastas and rice – Start slowly – if you normally eat a sub for lunch, make a wrap instead using a whole wheat tortilla. What I do and advise is to replace those unhealthy carbs with fresh veggies or complex carbohydrates. Instead of eating hashbrowns and buttered toast with your eggs, replace them with sliced cucumbers sprinkled with some sea salt and pepper. Use fresh tomatoes, carrot sticks or avocado. These complex carbs not only have the nutrients and vitamins that your body needs for running and working out, but they will fill you up and take the place of those fat inducing foods. Cook at home and stop going out to eat. Not only will you save money, but your meals will be healthier and you will know exactly what went into it. If you know you are going out to a restaurant, eat a large salad before you go – you’ll be less likely to gorge on unhealthy foods if you’ve already filled up somewhat with the good stuff!
Feeding your body the proper fuel to perform its best starts with 3 steps:
1.  Planning
2.  Preparation
3.  Implementation
Planning your meals for the day, the week, or the month is the first step and it starts in the grocery store. Stick to the produce aisle and the meat section and skip the cereals and snack aisles. Think about what you will be eating for breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks for the next 5-7 days and stock up on those things. Eggs, egg whites, lean beef, ground turkey, fish and chicken – all great protein to build muscles. Spinach, romaine lettuce, tomatoes, colored peppers, carrots, cucumbers, red cabbage, radishes, apples, oranges and bananas – all super foods and great fruits and veggies for snacks, salads and sides which will fuel your workouts. Raw almonds, cashews (in moderation) and sunflower seeds are perfect for small snacks in between meals.
Preparing is a time consuming task, but just as essential as buying all that food. Make sure you plan out your lunches and snacks if you work outside the home. If you are gone for 8-10 hours a day, you’ll need at least 2 snacks and 1 full meal. Prepare for the week ahead of time using sealable containers. Hard boil a dozen eggs so that you can bring 3 eggs to work to eat as a snack. Defrost that frozen chicken a day or two in advance so you can cook it for dinner when you get home.
Implementation is actually cooking and eating the things you’ve bought. I like to cook dinner with leftovers in mind. If I cook a whole chicken for dinner, that gives me at least 2 days of leftover chicken for lunches. Making large salads in advance takes some time, but then I have a fresh salad to eat every day. Just don’t add the tomatoes or cucumbers until just before you eat or the salad will get soggy.
This photo is an example of one day of the meals that I typically eat:
For breakfast I had an egg white omelet with spinach and crumbled bacon topped with some hot sauce.  Tomatoes, sliced peppers, guacamole and carrots on the side. For lunch, some seared tuna over red cabbage with edamame on the side – this can be cooked in advance. A giant salad for a late afternoon snack, and some lean beef, quinoa, sautéed broccoli and cinnamon apple sauce for dinner.
Is eating clean easy? No. If it was everyone would be doing it and our society would be a lot healthier. It’s the same with working out and running  - once develop good habits it becomes a lifestyle – and one your body will thank you for by looking and responding better!
-      Dan

Thursday, September 26, 2013


I've had a few of days to look back on one of the most difficult races I've completed to this day - the Reebok World Championship Spartan Beast - a 14+ mile 12,000'+ elevation obstacle race held at Killington Ski Resort in Vermont. This race tested me both mentally and physically - it was a painful, bloody, cold, and cramp filled torturous challenge - but all can think about is that I can't wait to do it again.
Photo Credit Spartan Race

It's really difficult for me to write a full review since running a 14 mile race like this tends to leave my brain slightly scrambled, but I'll do my best to piece it together. First - perfect weather for a race. Not too cold not too hot. Loved it. One of the best times of year to be in Killington and New England (although I do prefer snowboarding down the mountain to running up it).

1 mile 65lb sandbag carry
We started a few minutes later than the normal 8am elite start time due to the NBC Television presence and some introductions of the incredible athletes from around the world. Then it was game time...Aroo! Aroo! Aroo! - and we were off. The first two miles were pretty much completely uphill - as expected and very difficult. There were the normal walls, over unders, etc. There was a tire drag on a chain then a pull - I live for the upper body portions of the race. Around mile 4 or 5 (it's honestly become a blur) we got to the dreaded sandbag carry. This was no ordinary 40lb sandbag carry up a hill and back down.
This was a WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP BEAST sandbag carry and it lived up to it. The sandbag weighed 65lbs and the carry was up one of the steepest slopes Killington had to offer for A FULL MILE - 1/2 mile up and back down.

This was also the part of the race that my better half, Gretchen Krueger, caught up to me - I think (still blurry). We decided to stay together for the remainder of the race - also with my buddy Keith. During the next couple miles there was a spear throw (which I was thrilled to have NAILED - Gretchen made it too) and a few other obstacles including a pretty long barbed wire crawl.

Barbed wire scratches
At mile 7ish we got to the rope climb, inverted walls, another barbed wire section (one of 4 barbed wire crawls). I was wearing my Ultraspire Omega hydration vest and I did not want to shred it on barbed wire, so every time I went through a barbed wire patch I would take it off and roll with it. This is how I got scratched up pretty bad during the race. I was also starting to cramp up in my legs from the cold muddy water.

After the barbed wire we had to cross a pretty cool raised ladder to a cargo net then back down. We also met up with a good friend and great guy, Rob Butler - owner of Shale Hill Adventure Farm. Next was the real water portion of the race and the start of crazy cramps and hypothermia. A brief swim into the late September chilled waters of Killington's runoff led to the second rope climb of the race - the rope is attached to the bottom of a 20' high bridge. That was not too bad. Then we had to run around the lake to the traverse wall. Legs were very cold and slightly cramped but still did it no problem. THEN was the hard part - another swim to the bridge and another rope climb followed by a tarzan swing on very short ropes to a bell ring. Gretchen went first and I cheered her on. I really thought if anyone could make it, she would. She got to the second rope of the swing and fell.
Swim - rope climb - Tarzan swing (mile 7) - Photo Credit Spartan Race

This is also something on a normal day I feel I would be pretty good at - I did not make it either. When I swam across the lake to the other side to meet Gretchen, she was holding her hand and practically in tears. Uh oh...

Her pinky was purple and white and turned to the side. Four different people looked at it and said "yes, that looks broken." We thought it was broken. We were freezing. I felt sick that we would have to stop the race. I could not imagine how Gretchen would continue the race and all obstacles with her finger looking like that and I asked her repeatedly if she wanted to go to the medic. If she did, that was it - race over and she would be DQ'd. If she went to the medic I felt like there was no way I could continue racing while my hurt wife was in the medical tent. I'll be honest - I was so cold and miserable at that point I almost wanted her to say "ok, let's go to the medic." It would not have taken much to twist my arm to drop out at that point. But Gretchen is tougher than anyone I know and she said "no, let's keep going." I was amazed at her fortitude. I'm a baby - if my hand looked like hers I probably would have dropped out. Luckily it was just sprained and freezing cold because once we started moving for another mile or so we all warmed up and her hand was ok.

Photo Credit Spartan Race
After a 1/2 mile bucket carry up the mountain (5 gallon bucket filled with rocks) and some actual fun running (not climbing) for a few miles we were routed back to the water again around mile 9. This time for the tyrolean traverse - a 40-50 yard rope strung over the lake which you have to climb under or over to ring a bell. I went first this time and made it no problem. I go underneath and rest my calves crossed and pull using all upper body.

Gretchen went next with the more conservative technique of staying on top of the rope. That way takes longer but uses less energy. She made it and so did our friends. The rest of the race was pretty straight forward with more running up hills, down hills, a few walls to scramble over and some other obstacles...More barbed wire...this time uphill.

After race pose with Beast & Trifecta medals
The last major obstacle was another sandbag carry for about 3/4 of a mile. The slope was much less steep and the sandbag was only 40lbs, so it seemed easy after what we had just been through. Last was the fire jump and gladiators - Gretchen and I held hands over the fire and rushed the gladiators together. It was a great feeling to get that medal with my wife. It's funny - I still don't really like to run, but I LOVE to finish a run or a race. This race was really satisfying to finish especially after the debacle from last year with the "lost tribe."

The other incredible highlight from the weekend was seeing my Spartan Family and VPX Team Xtreme family. I have made lifetime friendships with people from literally all over the world and it is such a great feeling to get together with friends who share the same passions.