First Run of the Season

  buttonrun              facerun

In case the glare is too great, the button says Lover / Fighter … une grande merci a ma petite fille pour m’avoir montrer ce button en Katimavik des annees passes. I wear it almost everywhere I go in the winter, and it helps to remind me what’s important in life.

Loving. Fighting. Writing about it. I think I’ve been a little too caught up in the third part of late. Between Elance and Althanas and this I’ve been writing a lot, and maybe letting my social life and fitness slide. Certainly haven’t been keeping my attendance up at the gym. So yesterday I did a short boxing circuit at home, and today I went for a run in the snow and sun.

Running is about so much more than just aerobic fitness. It requires a certain state of mind to go outside and run in a big circle just because. It’s similar to the kind of will required to train at a combat gym. I like to settle into a meditative rhythm when I run, but I couldn’t quite do that today. There was water and ice everywhere, deceptively deep and surprisingly slippery. I did a short loop with three large hills in it, which is another reason I say running isn’t just about aerobic fitness. Do a few hills in a row and you kick into anaerobic gear, burning carbs for energy and activating Human Growth Hormone as surely as if you were in the gym pumping iron.

When I got home I cooked up some Rice and Lentils and logged my run on MapMyRun. And then I used the site’s social media tools to post my workout to Facebook, and challenged some of my further-away friends to see who could run the furthest by June 1st. One of them already responded, and I’m sure we’ll be keeping each other motivated and fleet-footed. And of course, whoever wins the spring sectional will have to defend their reputation into the summer…

Today’s run eased a lot of tense muscles that had been bugging me, and I’m looking forward to getting back out tomorrow. As a closing note, thanks to everyone who’s been liking and following the short stories I post on here – I’m hoping to have more of the same soon!


Perfect Homemade Pancakes

Just today I was thinking I need to start photographing the things I cook so I can post pictures on here. Of course, I still forgot to do that when I made gluten-free coconut pancakes tonight. I’ll have to commit to posting some pics the next time I make these.

Pancakes are enough of a staple around here to be a stereotype, and I’ve always enjoyed them but had issues with their lack of nutrition even before I went gluten/dairy/sugar free. I once referred to them as “fluff and syrup”… but the recipe I offer you today is much heartier, and still full of fluffy deliciousness.

Warm a large frying pan on a medium-low heat setting.

Combine in a medium bowl…
3/4 cup gluten free flour (use a store-bought mix or your own, this should be a low fiber mixture)
1/4 cup coconut flour (naturally gluten free an high in fiber)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp xanthan gum
(not necessary if using a flour mix that contains it)
3 tsp cinnamon (adjust to your taste buds)

Beat in a small bowl or measuring cup…
2 tbsp canola oil (or sub your preferred oil)
1 tbsp maple syrup (or honey)
1 tbsp vanilla (extract works)
1 egg
3/4 cup unsweetened almond milk (or your preference)

Pour wet mixture into dry and mix thoroughly. It will undoubtedly be a thick mixture, and you should add water or an equal parts solution of almond milk and water to thin it from here on out. I like to get the batter to a consistency where it almost folds out of the bowl when poured, rather than running like a liquid.

Beat batter until well mixed and then fry up your pancakes. Unlike regular pancakes, these are usually ready to flip when the first few bubbles burst through. Press in blueberries while the first side cooks if desired. I like to top these with earth balance or almond butter and a small flood of maple syrup.

Serves 1-4 people depending on if you’re a middle school barbershop quartette or an adult athlete with a firestorm for a metabolism.

Pictures to come soon, hopefully. Time for bed now. Delicious pancakes make me sleepy.

A little smut-update

Recently I’ve been distracted by my first ghostwriting job on and haven’t had much time to blog. In the interest of keeping this thing from stagnating, I decided to repost something I wrote for another site today. It’s from a fantasy roleplaying forum which I haven’t visited in awhile, It just so happens to be a sexual scene, so DO NOT READ ON unless you’re interested in reading a little smut. Might take it down if it’s not well received.

Josh felt Kyla’s soft skin yield to his muscle. She was beneath him, tantalizing, inviting him in. Each instant of contact sent waves of need throbbing through his body. Like the gears of an internal machine urging him to take her.

Her ice blue eyes stopped pleading and melted as he accepted the invitation. She arched and swooned in response to his strokes, as if she had not been touched so deeply in years. Her fingernails clung and dragged, leaving long marks on his back that stung in the sweat that soon slathered them both. Kyla moaned in time with the music from the club below. Josh hummed to the tune and kissed her neck, vibrating lips eliciting a giggle.

“Oh yes,” she gasped, “please touch me,” her eyes rolled back as she all but shrieked, “there!”

Josh speared a thick forearm beneath her shoulders and passed one of her lithe legs in front of his sturdy frame, pulling the Mystic into his lap. Still inside her, feeling the quiver of her climax. She leaned back against his abdomen, delighting in their combined heat, stretching out her throat to kiss him behind the ear. She lost track of the kissing and gasped against his neck as his free hand worked its way between her legs.

“Oh take me,” she repeated incessantly in time with the roll of her hips, “take me away, take me forever, by the Thayne just take me!”

She had her legs out almost straight as she gyrated on top of him. Josh was losing himself to her scent, the ticklish feel of her damp hair on his neck and the building waves of pressure between them. His heavy hands descended on her creamy thighs and slid along the slick skin, finding knots and tension she might not even have noticed. Some forgotten soreness leftover from the combat in the Cell most likely. Kyla caught her breath at the new source of sensation, a little pain mixed in the pleasure.

Josh exalted in her suppleness, feeling as though the tension his fingers eradicated was his own. He let go of all control as the tension popped and released.

He had an instant of bliss as Kyla cried out and he sewed seed deep inside her. An instant of nothing but loving Her. And then he was back in reality. Kyla’s head lolled limply and she slumped toward the hardwood floor, unconscious from enduring such ecstasy.

Josh caught her easily and rolled so she ended up laying in the middle of the bed, as if slumbering peacefully. He had been expecting her to faint, or perhaps hoping she would. It had happened before, with similarly young and tactile women. But none had ever reflected the pleasure back on him to such depths… the Mystic had shown Cronen something new.

Kyla awoke with a start and pounced on him immediately, as if she had been dreaming he would be laying beside her, or merely pretending to have passed out. She wrapped her arms around his neck and threatened to knock his head off with kisses. Josh returned the affection, letting his eyes fall shut. It had been some time since he had lain in bed with a woman just for the sake of being with her. And she felt so good…
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The Nutritional Unicorn: Chocolate Superfood

Anyone who has ever made an effort to control their diet has probably had the same fantasy: healthy dessert. Foods that satisfy all the cravings accrued over days or weeks of careful self control, but won’t bitch-slap your GI tract like an iron gauntlet.

For me, it’s almost not dessert if it’s not chocolate. Chocolate was my favorite flavor of everything growing up, and still holds the championship in most cases. Off the hop, it seemed like I was screwed. How do you get a rich, genuinely creamy chocolate taste without milk products? The answer is surprising. I’ve had a lot of success with blackbean brownies and stovetop donuts, but there’s no recipe I’ve found that can match Chocolate Avocado Pudding for richness and ease of preparation, as well as a simple option to change it from dessert to meal supplement. It is vegan, dairy free, gluten free, and (cane) sugar free.

Ingredients – all items with brackets beside them are optional

2-3 ripe avocados, depending on size
1/4-3/4 cup honey or maple syrup, depending on desired sweetness
1/4-1/3 cup cocoa powder, depending on desired darkness
A Dash of salt

2 tsp coconut oil (extra richness and a faint coconut taste)
1 tsp cinnamon powder (for a little zing)
A Dash of cayenne powder (for extra zing)
1-2 tsp vanilla extract (for a more robust flavor)
Unsweetened Almond Milk (preferably chocolate, used to thin if needed)
A scoop of vegan protein powder (again preferably chocolate, if added the protein makes it a complete meal replacement.)

Simply combine all the ingredients in a food processor or blender. If this seems difficult due to the model or power of the machine, blend only the avocados and liquid ingredients, then transfer the mush to a bowl and beat in the remaining ingredients.

I used all of the bracketed options, and my pudding turned out fantastic. I didn’t really taste the coconut, cinnamon, cayenne or vanilla. These things help replace that full flavor that is usually unobtainable without dairy. It seems like an odd substitution, but it works.

Having a good quality vegan protein powder was the key to turning this recipe from a decadent dessert into a functional (if scandalous) meal. This is not only healthier than say, take-out or boxed mac-and-cheese, it’s also tastier and actually fulfilling. The first time I made this it ended up replacing my usual dinner and late night snack. I used small bowls of pudding to turn myself into a Pavlovian dog, performing all sorts of tasks I usually put off in order to get to my next dose of energy enhancing superfood.

Please note, I’m not encouraging you to make an entire batch of this and eat it in one day. But I’m not exactly discouraging the action, either.

The Human Engine that Could


The gym was busy enough tonight that I had to park at a dollar store next door, and Jay actually had to think before designing the circuit. We usually have three groups; one for the newer athletes, one for the advanced athletes, and one for the big guys who can lift more weight, but have more trouble with the box jumps and such. This time, Jay put me on the advanced circuit.

I felt honored, and intimidated, and proud, and like I might pass out. The last time I did the advanced circuit was my first night back at Loyalist MMA, a whole month ago. It’s a sizable step up… we lift heavier, run faster, and jump higher.

We did five 4-minute rounds at 30 seconds on, 10 seconds off, with 1 minute rests between rounds. I started on burpies and progressed to squat thrusters, pullups on the high bar, 30-inch box jumps, and finally the steeply inclined treadmill. Unlike last month I moved through the first four rounds without completely gassing. The treadmill still killed me, but then again that’s what it’s meant to do… especially when you get it for the last round.

Afterwards I had some water and small sip of my recovery smoothie, and then wrapped up. As usual we started with several rounds of shadow-boxing and bagwork while Jay showed some newer guys their stance and footwork. I hit the speed bag for awhile, practicing getting my jab fluid and regular and bringing the right cross through as often as I could.

When we moved to mittwork I ended up paired with the same guy as last week. I’m getting comfortable with correcting other people’s errors when they’re glaring enough. You need to stay in sideways boxing stance, avoid the temptation to square up. Bend your knees more, so when you go to slip you don’t bend from the waist and duck forward. Above all, stay on the balls of the feet and keep the hands up.

We worked counter-punching combinations most of the night, and finished with a hellish punchout. Double jabs for a round, then punches in bunches, then triple jabs (high-low-high) and then endless hooks. Down on the ground for crunches, super crunches, leg raises, and situps.

I asked Jay to show me the finer points of slipping and weaving punches, and he was very happy to do so. While the other guys started getting packed up I worked on pivoting properly to flow into the counter hook. Having done a lot of karate, kung fu, and free-form sparring in my life some of the footwork is very counter-intuitive for me, but a few minutes with the master set me straight. Jay also showed me how to work the pivoting motion into shadowboxing, so I can work this on my own.

Aaaand my abs hurt. I have pretty good core strength, but now that the rest of my body has caught up to my core, I’m starting to feel it there. The treadmill is at least partially to blame. Ah well… ’tis the price of moving forward, ever onward and upward.

Almost finished my smoothie, and when that’s done I’ll be making something else… planning to try chocolate-avocado pudding tonight. If it works amazing, I might just post my recipe.

Thanks for reading! Be well and stay safe, and share this blog with a friend if you like what you’re reading. Ciao!


Off-Day Training and Blog Updates

Last night I hit ten posts, and ten followers a few hours later. Thanks to everyone who’s been reading, liking, sharing, and being yourself! I decided to celebrate this early milestone by switching to a new theme – let me know what you think of the layout! I also created a twitter account to try to bring in more readers, though I’m not sure if I’m using it correctly.

To business. I did some light exercise yesterday, just to say I did something, but it was mostly just to break up the monotony of the online courses I’m taking. Today I wanted to do something real – something that would push my body the same way workouts at Loyalist MMA do, if not quite so hard. My overall fitness level has improved to the point that any time I take two days off from serious exercise, I feel a backslide. It’s the lungs that I really feel it in – they’re still getting used to fueling my growing muscles with so much oxygen at such a fast rate. Going 48 hours without rigorous stimulation makes my respiratory system think it can afford to rest.

Here’s what my workout looked like:

7mins mixed cardio (jumping jacks, shadow boxing and the like)
1min rest
5 handstand pushups, 5 doorway pullups
10 cocorinha squats, 10 strict burpies
45s rest
10 handstand pushups, 10 doorway pullups
20 cocorinha squats, 10 strict burpies, 10 pushups, 10 tuck jumps

This workout is functionally different than what we do at the gym. Obviously it’s shorter, but that doesn’t necessarily make it easier. It employs principals of progressive overload to ensure that I’m encouraging my muscles to grow stronger, and my lungs to recover faster, rather than simply breaking everything down. There are merits to training to exhaustion, but even the most hardcore trainers tend to agree that pushing the absolute limit seven days a week is probably not ideal, especially for someone who’s still getting their lungs and legs back (me).

I loosened and stretched with some basic Muay Thai and Karate exercises, then grabbed some leftover lentils and rice with chicken I made for lunch. Once my muscles relax a bit I’ll do some foam rolling and yoga. These “yin” or “soft” practices are essential to counter-balancing the hard “yang” workouts I’ve been doing 2-3 days a week. I never forget flexibility and maneuverability as essential components of my regimen. Focusing purely on strength and endurance is a trap a lot of guys fall into at a young age. When it doesn’t lead to injury, it results in an incomplete athlete.

Off days are not just rest days – they’re for recuperation, and the body needs help to recuperate fully and quickly. If you’re an athlete who lacks a “yin” component to your training, I’d highly recommend buying a foam roller and checking out some of the instructional videos for that on youtube, where you can also find a lot of great free yoga lessons.

That’s it for now… train hard, drive safe, recover and repeat. There’s still five hours left in the day – share this post on your favorite social media, and we’ll see how many views I can get!

A Match for the People

“The Bad Boys of Toronto,” Roger Greene mused as he clicked off his sixty-inch panasonic-plasma flat screen and tossed the remote down the short plush couch. He’d been watching the Daily Show and John Stewart had raised an interesting image on the screen. Mayor Rob Ford and Justin Bieber back to back. He let his gaze drift the well hung modern art, all hard lines and soft curves. The walls hummed with the force of the furnace. He listened to the white noise as his eyes fell to the remote, where it rested on the far side of the loveseat’s cushion. There his first wife had sat, and his second after the first divorce, and a dwindling stream of steamy-eyed kits he met at the uptown clubs. Greene massaged his temples then lifted the short crystal tumbler off its limited-edition coaster. He sucked back two fingers of rye, a little watered now the ice had melted, leaving the glass half empty. Liquid slooped to the rim but not over as he set the drink down heavily.

“What do you suppose happened to me?” Roger asked Xerxes, his purebred Persian long-hair. The cat looked up shortly then nuzzled back down atop the room’s central heating vent. “I’m a television producer, for crying out loud. That’s the job I used to tell girls I had when I was in college…” he looked back to the remote. “Maybe it’s the cat,” he murmured, eliciting an exalted mrowf from Xerxes.

The bad boys of Toronto. Greene rubbed his eyes as the walls hummed on. The room grew warmer as the well-fed feline rolled halfway off the vent, settling into slumber.

It didn’t take long for the gears to start clicking. Greene had been dabbling for a new reality series to back, and hadn’t heard many concepts he liked. There were a couple guys from Montreal who wanted to do a celebrity spin off White Collar Brawlers who had the right work ethic, but their idea had lacked flair and depth. They hadn’t considered how to convince celebrities to participate, for example.

It took some doing. Greene called in more favors than he remembered accruing to set up a special tribunal ruling. No one could deny that J-Beebs and Ford had broken city bylaws, and both were pulling strings of their own to try to wriggle out without so much as a slap on the wrist. There were several hearings, more than one tirade from the mayor, and permission forms faxed to Bieba Baby’s parents. Before long Greene found himself living out of an internet cafe on Princess, writing emails to the local gaming commissioners assuaging their concerns while hyping up JB on his razor-thin bluetooth earpiece. He even developed a system of calling for a refill via sign language with the long lashed, brunette-maned barista.

Roger had boxed in college, and made the mistake of mentioning it to Bieber during their first conference call with the kid’s lawyers. Ever since then the teen icon had been calling him for advice on how to bring down the larger Mayor Ford.

“Justin, B-Baby, relax, you got the footwork of a god!” Greene chattered as he signaled the waitress for more mocha. Damn if her apron wasn’t so tight the nameplate almost popped off when she breathed. “Just keep workin’ that jab with Freddie Roach and the combinations will come. You’re gonna be a speed demon kid!” The cafe was closing, the waitress using some wavering sign language of her own. “B-Baby, I’ve got another call on the line,” he lied, “I’ll call you right back!” As if.

“Get home safe,” Greene told the bosomy barista, one of the few sentences he shared with her.

“Sounds like you’re excited about the big fight,” she replied, “have you got a pool going at work or something?” Roger paused and turned, laptop case slack in his arm, Jag keys jingling in his pocket. He’d sort of been hoping this moment would come, and sort of dreading it.

“No, I’m producing the fight. It’s my show.” Her eyes widened in disbelief but then took in his freshly pressed two-button Tiger of Sweden suit and glistening Rolex.

“Wow, that’s awesome!” She exclaimed, “what’s it like?”

Where to start? Putting the whole thing together had been an incredible challenge, with each hurdle rising higher than the last. Greene’s job was ordinarily boring, all the conflict was on the screen. But setting up the great amateur bout between Crack-Mayor Rob Ford and Drunken-Punk JBieber had brought back his fighting spirit. As if he himself would be stepping into the ring that Saturday night.

“… and we all know Ford’s got rage, and rage means power… and he’ll have been cutting weight to get within eight pounds of Bieber, that’s the amateur regulation. But JB’s been bulking to weight up and meet him, and the kid dances like a praying mantis. I don’t think Ford can catch him, I really don’t…” Green coughed. His throat was dry. With a shock he realized he’d been talking rapid fire for five minutes. The barista had a funny grin on that pointed her chin out at an angle. “Sorry,” he stammered, “I should go…”

The night came, and both the Drug-Addled Mayor and the Star-Spangled Youth showed up. The wrapped up and laced up and warmed up in the locker rooms as the arena filled to the rafters. The crowd’s war was crazed, an animal starved and expecting a feast.

Greene sat up front, close enough to the media table to hear the occasional comment.

“Well, Rob Ford is looking slim,” a salt-and-pepper joe was slurring into the microphone, “but the real question will be… how did he lose that weight? Cardio or crack? Only time will tell I suppose…” In the ring the mic dropped, and the announcer brought the competitors down. Bieber bopped about like a jackrabbit, while Ford lumbered like a muskox.

The first two rounds flew by with Bieber looking like he had wings on his shoes. Ford’s wind-breaking roundhouses only grazed the kids shoulders on rare occasion. The teen was slippin’ and rippin’ and weaving in and out and side to side, just like old Roachie taught him.

The bell rang for the third round and Ford came out desperate. His shoulders showered referee and opponent alike with sweat as he threw a wayward combination. In a moment of freak luck, both Bieber and the officiator were momentarily blinded by toxin-rich saline.

Ford hit Bieber with a one-two to the body that had the color commentator claiming he’d taken a hit between rounds.

JB was on roller skates, barely dodging the followup uppercut. He was on the ropes and Ford was bearing down, and then he was ducking past and reeling away. The bell sounded the end of the round.

Roger Greene couldn’t sit down. He was jumping around in front of his seat like one of the thousand or so teen girls who were straining against the security barrier ringside, calling encouragement to JB. In the minute before the bell sounded again Greene felt he might have sweated through his Egyptian-silk undershirt.

Bieber was on his bike from the beginning, focusing purely on defense for the first half of the round. Ford swung both meathooks as his face reddened, from rage and Bieber’s peppering jab. But the Mountainous Mayor seemed to get stronger as the round wore on. He couldn’t catch JB though, the kid kept circling and sticking and moving off the middle. The bell clanged and the judges looked to their cards as the crowd roared.

Greene got a good look at the cards but couldn’t quite read them. The screams from JB’s fans drowned out the ring announcer, who stood beneath the dangling mic shrugging mutely. The security barrier surged and broke…

“What happened then?” The barista was asking. He was in the coffee shop after the fight – they stayed open late on Saturdays – and she was leaning over him. His gaze dipped, and not for the normal reason… he looked to the nameplate but couldn’t put the letters together. But he wanted to know her. Greene wiped his mouth and set his half-full mug aside. He’d been an absolute dick to the brunette waitress, and yet her kindness had never wavered.

I wanted to ask for your phone number, Roger tried to say, but his mouth could barely open. As if he’d put on a set of boxing headgear backwards, sealing his lips. Only instead of sweat he tasted…

The long Persian hair of a fat purebred cat.

Death by Cardio

Friday night at Loyalist MMA one of the senior fighters runs class. I showed up early and put in some quality time with the skipping rope and speed bag. I had two days off in a row due to some real life complications, and my feet almost forgot how to skip. Good thing I put in the extra practice. I even had time to stretch out before the workout began.

Two minute rounds with one minute rest. Mountain climbers, squat thrusters, pullups, situps. Steep incline treadmill, squat thrusters, pullups, situps. Sprint treadmill, squat thrusters, pullups, situps. Perish.
The thrusters and pullups left my arms and shoulders aching, but without having box jumps in the circuit my legs felt good. We grabbed focus mitts, body armor, and boxing gloves and set to work on fast-paced combinations. Two minutes on, one minute off.

If that sounds easy, I invite you to try punching something repeatedly for two minutes without stopping.

We worked basic boxing combos with sprawls in between. Nothing complex, nothing new… just lots and lots of work. My partner was a nice guy but had an unfortunate attitude – rather than working his speed and technique in the spirit of the drill, he went slow and easy through everything – except – when throwing hooks to the body. He’d paw at the mitts with little pitter-patter jabs and then pause, take a deep breath, bury his head and slam into the belly pad with all of his force, and then sprawl in a way that was more resting than working. I could feel the power shots through the shield, but they didn’t bother me much – I used to do drills like this without the armor. Really he’s only cheating himself. If you try to load up a hook like that in a fight, your opponent will either jab a hole in your face or circle ’till you’re swinging at air.

I showed my training buddy how to sprawl a bit better – he needed to keep his torso off the ground. Because of the way sprawls look in MMA fights, people tend to think that the idea is to flatten and slam your entire body into the ground. I made this mistake myself, years ago. The correct method is to just sprawl the legs back, focusing on touching the ground with the hips and springing right back up. Ideally the torso should remain perpendicular to the ground, as if your legs simply disapear and reappear. He was also having the same problem I initially had when slipping, but I told him what Jay told me – to pivot on the back foot like throwing a cross – and he improved immediately. I learned later on that this guy is planning on getting his first boxing match as soon as he can… personally, I want to be much more prepared when I enter the ring.

We finished the workout with a punchout on the heavy bag. No combos, no technique, just throwing as fast and as hard as you can like your life depends on it. Everyone finished strong and there was a different attitude than normal – much more glove-tapping and congratulations. Maybe everyone was just happier because it’s the weekend.

I stretched out and hit the road just in time to pick up a burger from my favourite restaurant before it closed. I hadn’t been to Burger Revolution in months, and much to my surprise, the beautiful pixie who I’ve enjoyed flirting with in the past took my order. Such a coincidence… I hadn’t visited the place in months, and it just so happened my first time back was her first night back on the job after experimenting with alternative employment. You know the feeling when everything about someone seems utterly appealing, when you can’t help but get lost in their eyes even though it’s probably innapropriate in the setting…

Ah well. That’s a story for a different post, in a different category. Maybe I’ll write it, maybe I won’t. For now… I’m tired, and about to eat a delicious burger.