Tag Archives: Health

CrossFit Photos – Gabriel Grobben at CrossFit Long Beach (Round 2)

Around this time last year I shot some photos of my good friend, training partner, and coach Gabe Grobben at our gym. By pure coincidence we ended up playing around with a few shots and movements almost exactly a year later. Here’s the second round of studio style photos of Coach G at CrossFit Long Beach

Click here to see the photos from our last shoot

**Photos posted on the site are copyrighted and not to be used without proper licensing.

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Grid League Photos – DC Brawlers

Photos of the NPGL’s DC Brawlers shot in Long Beach, California on September 14, 2014 during a double header where they defeated the New York Rhinos.

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For more information about the National Pro Grid League check out NPGL.com. While you’re at it, follow NPGL on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

If you want to see more of my photos from NPGL events, check out my Grid League tag page!

All photos shot by Fat Tony and are copyrighted by NPGL. If you choose to repost any of these images, please be respectful and give credit to and tag @FatTonyBMX and @GridLeague.

 

Grid League Photos – San Francisco Fire

Photos of the NPGL’s San Francisco Fire shot in Long Beach, California on September 14, 2014 during a double header where they defeated the LA Reign.

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For more information about the National Pro Grid League check out NPGL.com. While you’re at it, follow NPGL on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

If you want to see more of my photos from NPGL events, check out my Grid League tag page!

All photos shot by Fat Tony and are copyrighted by NPGL. If you choose to repost any of these images, please be respectful and give credit to and tag @FatTonyBMX and @GridLeague.

 

Vegan Confessions – Why I Started Eating Eggs

About a week ago I started eating eggs again after being on a whole foods, plant-based diet for more than a year and a half. The decision weighed heavily on me for several months, and I’d like to use this platform to explain myself…

 

The Back Story
When I transitioned from a fully carnivorous diet to “being vegan” in January 2013 there were a lot of factors that came into play including health reasons and compassion for animals. The documentary Forks Over Knives had a huge impact on me. I really identified with the film’s approach to eating, and I like the fact that they refer to a “whole foods, plant-based diet” as opposed to throwing around the term “vegan” everywhere. With this said, I do typically refer to myself as “vegan”, but only because makes it a lot easier and quicker to explain my lifestyle to other people.

 

Vegan-Friendly-Eggs
*Disregard the writing on the egg cartons. Farmstand 59 uses recycled cartons, so they all have different markings on them.

 

What’s Wrong With Eggs?
When considering compassion for animals or “animal rights”, eating eggs has a little bit of grey area. The eggs you buy at the grocery store were never fertile and would never produce baby chicks, so it’s not like you are aborting an unborn chicken. In that case, no harm done, right? Wrong…

Most of the eggs available for mass-consumption in the US come from factory farms, and even those labeled “organic” or “cage-free” come from places that I don’t think hatch, raise, and treat the birds ethically. There are many issues that go into this such as cutting off the beaks of baby chicks along with housing and transporting the chickens, but another huge issue with egg-laying hens is their male counterparts. When factory farms hatch baby chickens, if the chicks are male (meaning they won’t produce eggs for the farm), they often get thrown into grinders and are killed just after hatching. You can learn more about this the videos below…

(*For this first video, fast forward to the 3:00 mark to learn specifically about chickens and eggs…)

 

 

 

My Situation
When I got on a vegan diet I had my blood checked by my primary care physician to make sure my biomarkers were where they should be. I wanted to make sure I was as healthy as I felt…and I was for the most part. However, my HDL (the “good cholesterol”) was low, which I later found out runs in my family as my father also has low HDL. About a year later I went back to have my levels checked again, and my HDL was still low. Both times my doctor recommended I eat eggs or other animal products to help raise my cholesterol.

Shortly after I transitioned to the whole foods, plant-based diet I also began working out and doing CrossFit. Since beginning my fitness journey I’ve gotten to the point where I work out five to six times per week, and sometimes multiple times per day. I have personal goals with my strength and fitness that have been proving difficult to reach on a strictly plant-based diet, mainly when it comes to putting on healthy weight from lean muscle mass.

After giving this a lot of thought over several months I found a small, local farm just four miles from my house that sells fresh eggs one day a week. I visited the farm to see the chickens and their environment and to talk to the farmers. After my visit to the farm I was convinced as much as I could be that the eggs were as ethical as I could possibly get, so I decided to buy some (For $8 a dozen—eating healthy and ethically is expensive!). I’m currently eating two to four eggs per day (strictly those eggs I personally get from my local farm) and will monitor how things go, then in a few months I will go back to the doctor to get my levels checked again to see if the eggs have affected my cholesterol in any way, and of course I’ll be paying close attention to my muscle and weight gain during this time.

 

Now What?
For now I’ll continue to refer to myself and my diet as “vegan”, but again, that’s only out of convenience. I don’t really care what label I’m stuck with or what other people call me. The important thing to me is that I’m doing everything I can to ensure my body is healthy, my personal goals are being met, and my mind is at ease knowing that I’m doing what I feel is morally right when it comes to the food I put into my body.

 

NPGL Miami Pre Season Tournament Photo Gallery

After shooting the Las Vegas Combine for the National Pro Grid League I had the opportunity to travel to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida, to shoot the NPGL’s inaugural draft pick and the League’s first ever pre season tournament. It was really cool to see the teams transform and morph over the few short weeks between the Combine and the Draft, and the racing that took place was absolutely incredible. I see a ton of potential in Grid, and I’m really looking forward to seeing where this new sport goes!

Here are 30 of my favorite photos from the week…

NPGL - Grid League Photos - Miami Draft 2014

For more information about the National Pro Grid League check out NPGL.com. While you’re at it, follow NPGL on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

If you want to see more of my photos from NPGL events, check out my Grid League tag page!

All photos shot by Fat Tony and are copyrighted by NPGL. If you choose to repost any of these images, please be respectful and give credit to and tag @FatTonyBMX and @GridLeague.

 

Girls of Grid – 30 Hot Fit Chicks from the 2014 NPGL Las Vegas Combine

Last week I posted 50 photos from the NPGL Las Vegas Combine, and this week I have another 30 images… The difference this week is that all of these shots feature the hottest girls on the Grid. Make no mistake though, each of these beauties are absolute beasts! Top-notch athleticism with great looks…how can you go wrong?

All photos shot by Fat Tony and are copyrighted by NPGL. If you choose to repost any of these images, please be respectful and give credit to and tag @FatTonyBMX and @GridLeague.

For more information about the National Pro Grid League check out NPGL.com. While you’re at it, follow NPGL on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

If you want to see more photos from NPGL events, check out the league’s Facebook galleries!

 

2014 NPGL Las Vegas Combine Photo Gallery

Earlier this year I decided to branch out from my BMX roots and start shooting photos of other things I enjoy and that I am passionate about, and one of those things was fitness. After exploring a few angles and doing a little grunt work here and there I landed an incredible gig shooting for a brand new professional sports origination called National Pro Grid League, or NPGL. (Note: At the time I got connected with them it was still National Pro Fitness League, or NPFL.)

In their words, “Grid is the world’s first professional spectator sport with co­ed teams that compete in athletics racing. It’s a mainstream sporting league that is fan, TV, and sponsor friendly. Each two­-hour match features two 10­-person teams (5 men, 5 women, one of each being over 40 years old) going head to head in 11 fast races. Grid races are easy to follow and are played with preset rules and unlimited substitutions designed to force teams to strategize. Grid has eight teams operating in Los Angeles, New York, Boston, Washington DC, Philadelphia, Phoenix, Miami and San Francisco.”

I shot Grid League’s Las Vegas combine a few weeks ago where 200 hopefuls were competing in several matches throughout the week with their sights set on becoming a professional athlete. It was an extremely compelling event, and it was truly an honor to shoot so many top competitors.

I had been following The League online and through podcasts for a while, and I see big things in the future for the sport. To me it is one of those things that I look at and feel like it just makes sense on so many levels, so I’m incredibly thankful to be a small part of the it all so early on in its inception, and I hope to continue to work with them in their inaugural season.

After sifting through more than 15,000 photos that I shot over the course of three days I managed to pick 50 of my favorites to share here including Lindsey Valenzuela, Kenny Leverich, Andrea Ager, Noah Ohlsen, Rita Benavidez, Kristan Clever, Alessandra Pichelli, Jeremy Kinnick, Matt Aikin, and more…

All photos shot by Fat Tony and are copyrighted by NPGL. If you choose to repost any of these images, please be respectful and give credit to and tag @FatTonyBMX and @GridLeague.

For more information about the National Pro Grid League check out NPGL.com. While you’re at it, follow NPGL on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook!

If you want to see more photos from NPGL events, check out the league’s Facebook galleries!

I’ll post a few more photos from the Las Vegas event next week, then be on the lookout for shots from the Miami preseason tournament soon after!

 

Tough Mudder San Bernardino Photos

A few weekends ago I had the opportunity to shoot photos for MET-Rx at a Tough Mudder in San Bernardino. It was my first time attending a Tough Mudder, and my first time shooting fitness photos for a professional client. While it was a refreshing challenge to shoot in a new world (the world of health and fitness) that I’m getting more and more passionate about, the best part about the weekend was seeing all the positive and happy people overcoming self-imposed physical and mental challenges. With insane hills and 18 obstacles over a distance of 10.3 miles, the day was grueling for every athlete that set out to complete the course. Watching the camaraderie and the determination, strength, and perseverance of everyone was incredibly inspiring…

Tough Mudder Photo

 

CrossFit Photos – Gabriel Grobben at CrossFit Long Beach

Gabriel Grobben is an incredible athlete, an inspiration, a friend, and an all around great dude… One day while he was doing his own WOD in our local box (CrossFit Long Beach) I grabbed the gym’s camera and snapped a few quick pictures. The photos got uploaded to the box’s Flikr page with all the others on the memory card, and a few weeks later one of my photos popped up on the CrossFit headquarters Facebook page. Seeing one of my random snapshots on there made me motivated to take some better CrossFit photos, so I met up with Gabe for a proper photo shoot, and this is what we came up with!

**Photos posted on the site are copyrighted and not to be used without proper licensing.

Check out some more CrossFit photos I shot at the 2014 Winter Shakedown competition!

CrossFit Photos – 2014 Winter Shakedown

Yesterday I went to the 2014 Winter Shakedown CrossFit competition at CrossFit Rep Scheme in Northridge, California. I was there to cheer on a few friends from my local box and got to watch some insanely fit athletes push their limits, including last year’s CrossFit Games second place winner Lindsey Valenzuela. Breaking away from BMX and travel photography for an afternoon, I brought along my camera to try out something a little different and snapped a few photos throughout the day. Here are the results…

Be sure to check out other photo galleries on my blog while you’re here!

Advice For People Thinking About Trying CrossFit

Since I’ve gotten so into CrossFit (and post about it all the time) a bunch of people have told me they are interested in trying it out. After telling people the same thing again and again I decided to write out some basic stuff that I tell everyone before they try CrossFit for the first time. I know you can Google stuff about CrossFit, but I think it helps people to hear things from someone they know. I’m not a coach or trainer, and I’m not even that good at CrossFit, but this is my personal experience and advice after doing CrossFit for about nine months and traveling to a dozen or so different gyms all around the world.

Fat-Tony-CrossFit

This is me hanging mid-pull up at Muscle Beach in Santa Monica, CA. (September 2013 – Photo by Gabe Grobben.)

Basics:
The idea behind CrossFit is to combine strength and cardio workouts that include functional movements that change all the time, and to do them at high intensity.

A good way to think about this is to picture bicep curls like you see people do in a traditional gym. You’ll pretty much never replicate that movement in your everyday life. On the flip side, in a CrossFit gym you’ll do a barbell lift called a thruster where you squat, pick up a barbell, raise it to your chest, then thrust it over your head. This is the same kind of movement you’d do if you were lifting a heavy box and putting it on a high shelf, or putting your suitcase into the overhead compartment on an airplane. That’s functional movement. While some of the CrossFit workouts will be repeated every so often, this is only to track and measure your progress. For the most part the workouts will be different every day. The high intensity part is pretty-self explanatory, but keep in mind that you regulate yourself, so it’ll only be as intense as you make it.

Find the Right Gym:
This is probably the most important thing to keep in mind when you start out…finding the right gym for you can make you or break you! Every CrossFit gym will let you try a class for free, so find all the CrossFit gyms in your area by going to www.map.crossfit.com and visit every one that is a convenient drive for you. Each gym is different in terms of size, equipment, the coaches/trainers, how they program workouts, how they run the classes, and of course the community and vibe of the place.

I’ve been to some gyms that I absolutely hated and some that I absolutely loved. The longer you do CrossFit, the more you’ll understand what you like and don’t like based on your goals and personality, but in the beginning you are looking for a gym that you feel comfortable at and somewhere that makes you feel confident the coaches will help you safely reach your goals.

The first gym I ever went to had me lifting insanely heavy weights. I didn’t know what I was doing and wasn’t strong enough to do what they were trying to get me to do, but I didn’t know any better. If I had never gone to another gym, I would have signed up for a membership at that place and would have probably gotten hurt or burnt out pretty quickly and never went back.

Don’t Be Intimidated:
I can see where people may be intimidated to try out CrossFit for the first time, but if you know what you are getting into ahead of time and a little of what to expect at the gym it will help keep you calm. I suggest looking at the gym’s Web site to get a feel for the place as much as possible, but in general each gym will be fairly similar, so here’s what you can expect:

Every class is run by a coach, so everyone does the same thing together. Normally the class will start out with some kind of stretching and/or a warm up to get your blood flowing and get you loosened up. Many gyms will do some kind of weight lifting before the workout. For example, you might do a few sets of squats with a barbell on your back and a few sets of bench presses after your warm up. Then the class will do the WOD (workout of the day) together. This is the intense part that is the heart of CrossFit. The workouts always change and are always scored in some way or another. The coaches will go over the workouts and explain everything to show you exactly how it is done so you can do it safely. If something is too difficult for you, there will always be a way to scale it back so you can still do the workout. And that brings me to my next point…

CrossFit is for All Skill and Fitness Levels:
Everything in CrossFit is scaleable, and the coaches are there to make sure you are challenging yourself, getting a good workout, and most importantly, staying safe. Don’t ever be afraid of not being able to do something. Everyone starts off with their own strengths and weaknesses, and there are people of all ages, shapes, and sizes at every CrossFit gym. If a workout calls for a bunch of pull ups and you can’t do a single one, then there are rubber bands you can use to help you do pull ups. If that’s still too difficult for you, then no worries, you can do something called ring rows. Don’t let your own preconceived notions of what your skill level is get in the way of trying CrossFit.

A Personal Trainer Every Day:
One of the great things about CrossFit is that you have a coach leading the class every day, so not only do you have the gym programming your workouts for you, you have a trainer with you at all times to make sure you are getting the most out of your workout and staying safe.

You Will Not Get Bored:
For me, the thought of lifting weights in a traditional gym by myself just seemed boring. With CrossFit, the workout changes all the time, so it’s impossible to get bored. I used to mix in running and road bike riding with my CrossFit workouts, but now even those activities seem boring to me because CrossFit is so exciting and stimulating. The bottom line is that it is impossible to get bored with CrossFit.

Competitive and Goal Oriented:
I’m a goal-oriented person who loves to see progress, and everything in CrossFit is measurable. Whether it’s learning a new skill like rope climbs or kipping pull ups, adding five or 10 pounds to a specific lift, improving my time on a repeated workout, or just learning how to pace myself better, I can always set small goals and track my progress in the gym. I’ve been training for about nine months now, and I hit a new milestone almost every time I walk into the gym. Even small advances are enough to keep me excited and motivated, and once I reach a goal it opens the doors for more.

Also, being a competitive person by nature, I can compete against myself and other people in the gym every day. If there isn’t anyone around my skill level in the class I’m working out with to compare myself to, then I set goals for myself for that day and compete against myself. All CrossFit workouts are ranked, timed, or scored in some way or another, so every day is like a friendly mini competition that keeps things exciting and fun.

A Supportive Community:
The community that is built in a CrossFit gym is priceless. There’s a good chance you’ll meet new friends by going to CrossFit, but even if you never hang out with anyone outside of the gym, at least you’ll always have supportive, like-minded people working out with you. This helps keep you motivated and helps you reach your goals faster.

This is an extreme example, but remember the movie “Speed”? Sandra Bullock and Keanu Reeves shared an intense experience together that gave them a strong bond. CrossFit does the same kind of thing on a daily basis. Once you’ve done an intense WOD with a group of people, it somehow manages to bring you all together in a weird way, and it’s a really cool experience. As an adult who is self-employed, going to a CrossFit gym is a key component to my social life, which I think is an important part of an overall healthy lifestyle.

It Is Addictive:
I’ve heard CrossFit referred to as a cult, and I’ve heard many people say that it is addictive. Are these things true? Probably so, but don’t view that as a bad thing. I’ve also heard people say that CrossFit is one of the fastest ways to reach a “runner’s high”. Maybe that’s part of the reason why it’s so addictive. There’s probably some science behind that, but I ain’t no scientist. All I know is that I really love CrossFit and think it’s doing great things for my body and mind.

Feel free to hit me up with any specific questions you have. Good luck, and have fun!

10 Tips for Learning Double Unders

After training CrossFit for several months I was struggling with double unders, and after they finally clicked for me I found myself trying to give other people tips. I see and hear a lot of people having trouble with these, and for me it was just a few small key ideas that made them go from impossible to (relatively) easy within seconds.

These 10 tips for learning double unders begin with the assumption that you already have the right sized rope for you. If you aren’t that far along in the process yet, do some more Google searching before moving onto my personal tips.

crossfit-speed-rope

1. Hold the handles lightly in your fingers. Like massaging them with with your fingertips and thumbs. You don’t need a tight grip.

2. Don’t use headphones or loud music. Being able to hear the speed of the rope really helps out. You don’t need to consciously focus on the sound, but I noticed when I put in headphones after learning them, they became very difficult again because I wasn’t used to not being able to hear the rope come around.

3. Master single unders in every way possible. Jump regular with two feet. Jump with alternating feet. Jump really fast with both feet. Jump really slow. Jump really slow and really high. Mix all of those ways together with someone calling out the changes to you (or calling out the changes in your head).

4. Work on alternating singles and double unders. I could do these very consistently long before I could link consecutive double unders together. I’m not sure if this will actually help string them together or not…when I was doing these I was using a ton of energy and getting very exhausted! However, at least I understood what it felt like to swing the rope fast.

5. Pick a spot on the wall to look at and focus on. I personally feel like looking at something about 10 feet away and slightly below eye level puts my head in a good position to focus good.

6. Before actually trying to swing a double around, jump slow and high and quickly count to two in your head when you jump as if you were swinging the rope on those two counts. My hardest part was figuring out a rhythm and finding the coordination to jump once and swing twice. I felt like I’d have to be a drummer to understand how to make my arms and legs do different things. This was my biggest breakthrough. Once I could jump and count together, the actually swinging of the rope came around very easily. For me, after I got two connective double unders, three came really quickly, and within a few seconds I hit 11 in a row. The next day when I went back for more practice I got 25, and a day or two later I got 50. And it wasn’t too much longer before I was getting 100 in a row on a regular basis pretty easily. I think after you find your “clicking point”, they will become pretty natural.

7. After getting several consecutive double unders on a consistent basis, then you can work on your form more. You can obviously work on your form while learning them, but for me it was just too much to think about, so I didn’t work on these things until after I was comfortable with everything else. These things will allow you to do more with less effort and fatigue.

8. Keep a good upright, hollow posture while jumping, Don’t hunch over!

9. Keep your arms close to your side. The more you have your arms stretched away from you, the more quickly you’ll become tired. Remember, it’s in your wrists, not in your arms!

10. Instead of staying high up on your toes the whole time, work on your foot form while jumping. Land flat footed, and pull your toes up towards your body in a small pike when you jump. This will allow you to jump longer without getting fatigued in your lower legs. I noticed when I was just jumping on my toes I would get shin splints after a while. Working on my foot form fixed this immediately.

My Current Health and Fitness Plan – 8 Things I Do To Stay In Shape

I feel the need to start this by stating the obvious…this is my personal health and fitness plan, and I’m not necessarily recommending it to anyone else. The purpose of sharing it is to inspire you, motivate you, and give you some ideas. This is not meant to be a guide of how I think you should structure you own personal fitness plans.

With that out of the way, here goes…

Over the past two years I traveled more than I was at home and never had any sort of structure to my life. My “routine” or sense of normalcy was to be on the road constantly traveling. The idea of a schedule and a fitness plan always sounded like something I would like, but just wasn’t possible with the amount of time and energy I was putting into my travels. However, I recently found myself a little burnt out on traveling and I’m staying at home a lot more often, so I’ve been able to shift my focus towards my health and fitness…and I love it!

Since switching to a very clean and natural vegan diet in January 2013 I’ve also started a pretty solid workout routine that I truly feel is doing great things for my body and mind. Here’s what all I have going on in the kitchen, in the gym, on the road, and more…

Fat-Tony-Full-Pipe

This photo of me carving a fullpipe was taken in Gold Coast, Australia at the Elenora skatepark this January. Photo by Danny Josa.

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Homemade Raw Vegan Fruit Granola Bar Recipe

Since transitioning to a vegan diet a few months ago I’ve gotten really into trying new foods, especially ones that I make myself. I really liked a recipe I found online for raw vegan granola bars, but through several attempts I’ve altered the recipe and found a perfect mix that is high in protein, doesn’t contain any added sugar, and taste amazing! Here’s what I came up with!

Raw Vegan Granola Bar Recipe

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How-To Go Vegan – 10 Common Questions Answered

I got a great response from a previous blog post I made about switching to a vegan diet a few months ago. (For the record I began my transition on January 20, 2013.) Since the post went live, people have hit me up through email, Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram asking questions about veganism, so I figured I’d break down some of the basics. This will not only help explain my personal choices, but more importantly it will help educate, motivate, and inspire others so they can make their own choices too.

Fat-Tony-and-Kangaroo

Hanging  out with a kangaroo in Australia.

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