Range: generalists triumph!

A vacation is always a good way to read a few books from your to-read list in a short period. I managed to read 5 the past 2 weeks, 2 of which i wanted to write a blog about. This blog is about: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World by David Epstein:

Amazon.com: Range: Why Generalists Triumph in a Specialized World eBook:  Epstein, David J. : Kindle Store

The idea is basically about having broad experience, even of several (different) domains/crafts, is just as relevant and even more important than (hyper) specialization which seems to be the focus of todays education & work.

Learning, sometimes it involves putting experience aside entirely

He mentions people like Roger Federer, Charles Darwin, Elon Must and a bunch more as an example that you don’t need to start (at a very young age) focussing on 1 thing but that the experience of other domains and crafts help you further along and to come up with ideas you otherwise wouldn’t come up with.

Part of the book is about education which focusses on short term succes, mostly by assisting students with procedural tricks (just do it this way, than it will work out). But research suggest that it does not really help them in the long run. Students don’t have to try really hard to figure things out. While research indicates that this is wat would help students later on, they can make connections themselves because they have been forced to think harder. This however would result in lower grades and frustration in the short term and that would result in angry parents and frustrated kids.

Also, we expect kids to know what they want to do when they are 18/19 and have to choose the next educational step, when often they don’t even know who they are and what’s important for them. It might be better to allow kids maybe 6 years in college with more options to choose different topics like economics, social studies and sports academy as to experience more things. A great quote from the book i take to heart about choosing what to do next:

Here’s who i am at the moment, here are my motivations, here’s what i’ve found i like to do, here’s what i’d like to learn, and here are the opportunities. Which of these is the best match right now? And maybe a yearw from now i’ll switch because i’ll find something better

Equally with sports (and music), parents tend to want to focus too early on 1 thing ( or too much in my experience). However, the book remarks that having a broader experience in sports (and music) helps kids later on much more because these experiences come together at a certain point and they often come up with different and better solutions.

The difficulty is getting a broad experience and even more so, the time to get that experience.

The idea of the book is that with ‘range’ comes connectivity of ideas across domains and thus solutions to problems that a hyper(specialist) wouldn’t come up with. A striking study was regarding the idea when it’s best to get a heartattack. The common idea is at a cardialogist-convention. However, the study showed that it is best to get a heartattack at that moment but not at that place, you have a higher suvival rate at the hospital because you get treated by people with other experiences and they solves things differently. This is something called:

Overlearned behaviour, that is, they have done the same things in response to the same challenges over and over until the behaviour has become so automated that they no longer even recognize it as a situation-specific tool

The book also challenges the assumption that you have to be young to come up with your best ideas. It’s shows that it’s just as likely that with experience in more domains/functions you’ll come up with ideas at a much later age.

The books provides great and amazing examples where a different perspective solved a problem and was thought of by people who had ‘range’. It gave me new perspective on my own career and choices i can make. So try something different, work, hobby, sport, music, read a book about something you never thought of and get inspired and to end with a quote from the book:

Trying things is the answer to find your talent

My Battle With Graves Disease, part 6

How i feel

Since my last blog about graves disease i kept check on how i feel and how much i weigh. Feeling agitated and losing weight (and not sleeping well) are primary indicators something is up.

So far so good, despite COVID-19 being around. My weight has been rather stable, between 96 and 98 kg. Most of the time i felt fine, no trembling hands or feeling rushed all the time, no fast or pounding heartbeat.

I did however have a short period of stress, mostly due to work. And the way i feel when i have stress is similair to graves symptoms. Sleeping less well, chest a bit tight, not able to relax. And because i can’t always tell the difference, it adds a bit to the stress. But i always fall back to my weight as an indicator and trembling hands. So if they are stable, so am i….sort of. If i’m not sure i can always get tested but then you’re too late of the test is ‘positive’.

The other positive thing is that i’m now medicine free for 1 year. I’m however a bit sceptical, the last time i went without medicine was almost 2 years and the disease came back. I try not to think about it but i have to be aware of it.


I wanted to share the last 2 rounds of results (sorry, it’s Dutch but you get the gist of it) from the past half year.


Free T4

As you can see (and if you know what you see), the results, epecially the last two, were very good. Moslty because my TSH value is a bit higher. I have one more test coming up this year and after that i’m ‘fired’ (again) from seeing the endicrinologist. Then it’s just checking bloodwork twice a year.

Intermittent fasting

As you may have guessed from my previous related blogs i’m a big proponent of trying to eat as healthy as possible (but still enjoy it) and have a healthy gut. I cut out gluten and dairy (cow) products. All because that is most likely causing the disease, triggering the immune-system due to a leaky gut as a result of gluten and traces of food entering your body.

So when i read about intermittent fasting my curiosity was peaked. I won’t go into what it is and all the benefits (both alleged and backed by science and research). There’s tons of sites and youtube video’s covering this topic. The main reason i wanted to try is to give my gut more time to rest and heal. We have adopted a certain eating pattern that, as hypothesized, is not fitting our biology. And because we eat a lot and can eat at any time we don’t give our body, especially our gut, time to rest. It is busy digesting and not resting, or healing.

I was also wondering about the link between auto-immune diseases and intermittent fasting, and potential benefits. I’ve found a few resources that cover that topic and all mention that it can help reduce inflammation. So this implies not eating for a longer period, say 16 hours, helps your body heal and can reduce triggers for inflammation.

These are just a few sources so always be critical of them but intermittent fasting seems to have the research on it’s side. I’ve been trying it for a month now, trying to do 3 or 4 days a week 16/8 (16 hour not eating, 8 hours where i can eat). I’m not reducing the amount of food yet to keep up my bodyweight but i might experiment with that a bit, as long as i don’t loose too much weight.

I found the experience quite positive, when i get up i simply don’t eat yet. Just some water and tea. Even when i work out in the morning, i don’t eat and i have to say it seems to work a bit better. I don’t feel more tired working out (crossfit), quite the opposite, i seem to have a bit more energy.

What i do experience, since i’m still eating the same amount that breakfast and lunch are close together so i usually eat a bit less at lunch. The other tough part is to not eat after 18:00. I would like to have a small snack sometimes but i can resist the urge. So far so good and i’ll keep this part of my arsenal.

My suggestion, read about it, try it and see for yourself how it feels for you. Who knows…you might discover something. Never stop learning.

‘Nine Lies About Work’ – challenging assumptions

I love to read books that challenge assumptions and that make me rethink certain topics. Overdiagnosed by G. Welch, Guns Germs & Steel and The Last Chimpanzee by Jared Diamond and more popular, Freakonimics (and it’s succesor, superfreakonimics) by Levitt and Dubner. Especially in my battle against Graves disease i’ve learned to be very critical about what the conventional wisdom is.

The Third Chimpanzee
Guns, Germs, and Steel
Freakonomics (New Edn)

So recently i came across a book with the title ‘Nine lies about work’ by Marcus Buckingham and Ashely Goodall, which immediately caugt my attention. The book is essentially what the title says, 9 ideas that we take for granted about work but are wrong. I just finished reading it and i’m still processing the content and ideas. But i wanted to write a bit about two of the lies that were explained.

Nine Lies About Work

Lie #1: People care which company they work for

This lie is basically about the fact that people might join a company because of the company, but stay at a company because of the team they are in, even if they don’t like where the company is headed. But even more, if the company is still great with lofty goals but the team sucks, people tend to leave.

I sort of knew this one because the people you work with directly influence how you percieve work. So working for a (on the outside) great company, let’s say, Space X, might seem nice but if the people you work with are a*$!es and/or have a different workethic then you, you won’t last very long, even if it’s a long nurished dream.

Working for a large e-commerce company in the Netherlands for almost 10 years on the other hand has also shown me that if the company culture and vibe is great than working on a team that’s not fitting might not be such a problem. Moreover there are quite some opportunities to change teams and to make work more interesting by doing side-projects.

But in the end it’s mostly about the people your working with that influence how you percieve and enjoy work. So working for the best team in the worst company, keeps you at the company more than the other way around.

Lie #6: People can reliably rate other people

This lie is about the fact that people can’t objectively rate other people based on some method or concept. I guess almost everyone has been through some sort of yearly review cycle and based on the outcome got a smaller or larger raise. But the question is always, how do a select bunch of people rate you but don’t really know you and often only see part of what you do.

I guess in my experience that’s only a problem if people have been given a low score. In my company what they do is collect information from lots of people i work with which should give a decent image of how i perform and how people see me. But this does not mean they are correct, in my view of course. Those people usually see only a part of me and is greatly influence by if and how my work affects them. If it affects poorly or we could not get along, then you get ‘poor’ data. Is that bad? Depends what your manager does with the data.

A good measure is how many people give the same input. If everyone says you, for example, are a poor communicator, then there’s something to it. Even if you don’t see it that way. It’s how others percieve you that greatly impacts your effectiveness. Luckily my last ‘review’ people gave feedback that was all over the place (mostly positive).

But being reviewed, although needed to a certain extend, is somehow always a bit weird and looming. I just started seeing it as a way to improve, even if i don’t always agree and try to take the emotion out of the review and look at the facts. But then again, my last (and only) poor review was 7 years ago.

Final thought(s)

There’s one other lie that is interesting, and that’s lie #4: The best people are well rounded, which is more about the idea that you need to be allrounded to be succesfull. Which in my opinion is most certainly not the case. There are very few people who excell on different levels. But i started reading another book called ‘Range‘ by David Epstein and it’s about

Plenty of experts argue that anyone who wants to develop a skill, play an instrument, or lead their field should start early, focus intensely, and rack up as many hours of deliberate practice as possible. If you dabble or delay, you’ll never catch up to the people who got a head start. But a closer look at research on the world’s top performers, from professional athletes to Nobel laureates, shows that early specialization is the exception, not the rule.

So curious to read how lie #4 and this book relate to eachother but my guess it’s about that the best people are often specialists in a certain field but how you can become a good specialists does not mean you have to specialize early (as a kid) but do more ‘allround’ stuff which takes Roger Federer as an example.

The book (Nine Lies About Work) was a good read and these type of books keep me critical about things that seem ‘normal’. That’s all we can do these days with all the traditional and social media avalange of data, information and knowledge that enters our brain on a daily basis. We have to make sense of it and that requires critical thinking and being prepared to change your mind.

(This is a nice blog about the book: https://medium.com/melting-pot/nine-lies-about-work-are-they-really-lies-acdf1354b423 which shortly touches on all lies from the writers perspective)

Teaching Crossfit: making small steps

When i decided to take the crossfit level 1 trainer course, i also had the intention of teaching people. And although i already had my first real time teaching crossfit, it still felt like a trial and not yet real. So now that the corona-rules are reduced to the point where we can start working out again in the box, the classes i was supposed to give also started up again. So i was anxious and excited to start and see how people reacted to me but also about me teaching people the right things.

The good thing is that i got in contact with the people from Exist, who setup their box at the beginning of the year (next to their martial arts training) and were looking for a trainer. This means the box is young and inexperienced when it comes to Crossfit and also the people training there are not well known with Crossfit. So this gives the me opportunity to learn to teach in a relaxed environment.


One of the things i wanted to try is to teach the snatch, or rather, let people give it a try without disastrous results. Because the snatch is one of the hardest things to do well and also to teach well. There are so many things to look for and for me it was about trying to spot and correct basic flaws like stance, grip. Seeing also that my hip-flexibility is limited (and i’m working on it), showing the quick drop in a deep squat position after the pull is hard.

CrossFit | The Snatch

To prepare i looked at dozens of youtube videos. The list below is in my humble opinion the top 3 youtube video’s to study.

But studying and teaching is -unsurprisingly- quite different. The other complicating factor is the fact that the group consists of people who have never heard of the snatch before or have done much work with the barbell. Which is fine, and the burgener warmup works well (although we did each stage 20 times), but handing them the barbell was tricky.

You see people thinking when making the move, hesitating, extremely flawed, sometimes even frustrated. My job is then to make small corrections, just 1 or 2 (mostly don’t pull the arms too soon and stance) and set them at ease. Even so, a lot of them don’t really have good control over their back and are more flexed or extended instead of a neutral spine. But after a while most of them got the general idea and also the appreceation of having learned something new. For myself it was a very good teaching moment in the sense that you have to be patient, you can’t expect people to do even a half proper snatch after only 1 hour training if they’ve never held a barbell before.


The next week we had an EMOM (buddy workout) of 20 minutes, 5 pull-ups and 20 situps. Now teaching a pull-up, again to some people who have never done it, is also hard. You have to have good shoulder and back strength and good muscular control. So i had them start with just a 20 second hang. For some this was already hard, and if so, you know you have to scale way down to, in this case, a box for assistance.

The Kipping Pull-Up - YouTube

For woman it’s often harder since their upperbody strenght is often less then men. Since the group was so diverse, it took more time to get everyone the proper scale and to show the movement. Again a good teaching moment, show all the scaling options beforehand, and then start with hanging, scapula pull-ups, etc…

The nice thing is that when they got going everyone had the proper scale and did the movement ok. One guy who was light and strong, just almost did them strict altough not always extended the arms when coming downwards. I gave two athletes some small tips like try to ‘fall through”when coming down and ‘push away from the bar’ and they got pretty close to kipping pull-ups right away which was cool to see.

Another nice thing happened after practice where i was asked what she could do to get a pull-up done without having a bar at home to work with. Besides the standard answer like practice, (ring)rows, i gave her the advice to come in a bit early and just hang and work a bit on scapula pull-ups. Just a few minutes before every practice. It’s not just about strength it’s also about neurologic training. The other advice i also gave her was to be patient, don’t expect a pull-up really fast, just try to do a bit more every workout.


The good thing is that i can teach every week on tuesdays (2 classes) to get more experiece. The groups consists of mostly the same people with some variations so that also helps because you know peoples capabilities and limits and it helps build a certain bond.

When i’ve got a few months under my belt i’ll write an update on what i’ve experienced so far. I’ll also actively point out some do’s and dont’s to people which i’ve also written a blog about. If you have to learning moments from your first period as a (crossfit) teacher/instructor and things you would have liked to tell yourself when you started, let me know. Always interested to learn.

The Value of Friendship

My wife and i had a discussion about our friends, or lack of and how this evolved over time and what we expect from friendship.

When you are a young kid, making friends is somehow easy (although not for every kid), you just walk up and ask if they want to play, and most of the time you’ve got a playfriend. At a young age your friend-circle is based on neighbourhood, school and sports, and somehow kids attract eachother in this context and thus make up their friends circle. And you just take if for granted.

Once you get older and move to high-school and beyond, different sport, different ‘something’, you meet new people and make new friends. You most likely will loose your earlier friends, not on purpose but it just happens. You also might meet someone who becomes a real friend for life.

At some point in your life your social circle is rather fixed and comfortable and with all that todays’ world asks of you (or you think it does) you’re not usually open to extending your ‘close friend’ social circle. Maybe now and then introduce a new ‘mate’ but not a real friend.

Then you get kids and/or get married, proper jobs, sports, etc.. and then life gets even more hectic making it harder to make new friends. Because it sometimes feels that most people in the same situation are not really open to making new friends because they are too busy and already have a certain circle of friends.

We are in the situation where our friends-circle is rather small, not because of choice or lack of trying. One close friend, for some reason, simply broke off all contact and i haven’t seen of spoken to him in 3 years. Another friend moved to another town an hours drive away. In the beginning we tried to meet and our relation was rather good. But the thing was that the initation of a meeting was one-sided, i was always the one setting it up. So i thought i’d wait for them to go first…..in never came and another friendship gone.

I recently came across and old friend and when we met it was good to meet with deep discussions. We went to movies, came over to eat, etc… but again, i was the one initiation the meeting. So i’m waiting for him to go first.

My wife has the same issue, she used to have good friends from sport and work but at some point they got into relationships, moved to other work, etc..and she was the one initiation the contact and trying to meetup. But when she waited for others to call her…..well, she feels lonely sometimes. Luckily she has met a real good friend with which she has great contact. But it’s franky only 1 real friend.

Now she can call a bunch of people for a meet and they would happily go for dinner or something. But she is the one who has to call, she almost never gets called. Which makes her wonder if there is something wrong with her. Of course nothings wrong with her but why don’t these people just call or whatsapp to ask how things are? Laziness? Do they expect to get called? Too busy?

Then we started to look around a bit in our street and it appears that more people have this situation. 1 neighbour seems to only have 1 couple as real friends, another mostly goes to mom/dad or 2 friends somewhere else. Other neighbours don’t seem to get any visits at all from friends.

In todays social media context it seems that everyone has a bunch of friends, and when you don’t you get an uncomfortable feelinf, but that’s a mirage if you look closely. Now there are certainly people who seem to have a large group of friends which is good for them. But i would guess that most people do not have a very large group of friends. I would also guess that a lot of people, especially my age-group and with kids needing less care, would like to extend their social circle with some proper friends with which you can talk about more than the latest movie. But other people have to be open for it.

I hope that my wife finds a new friend with which she can meet and do things with. I guess it also depends on your expectation of friendship and what you value. We both value a but of reciprocity, genuin mutual interest in eachothers life and well-being. Certainly not someone who knocks down the door every other day, but someone with whom you can regularly meet, do fun things with but also have a good in-depth conversation with.

Myself, i’ve got a nice small set of friends and they also call me (sometimes) and even with a small set i also am quite busy with work, kids, sports, family. So i can image that other people are too, which would explain the difficulty of making new friends. And maybe i also give off a vibe which makes other people hesitate to even attempt to start a friendship. More over i like a piece of quit as a part-time introvert. So i will make an attempt to be more open to these kinds of relationships. There’s no shame in asking someone to grab a coffee, and don’t confuse this with asking someone on a date.

I’m curious how you experience friendship and what you value. And always open for advice….

Life is better with friends! #friendship #life #friendsarefamily ...

Crossfit Level 1 Trainer, what happened next?

Since my last crossfit post quite a few things happened, some even unexpected so let me give you an update.

Online Courses

One of the things i closed my last related post with was with the fact i wanted to do some online course to supplement my CF-L1. So i took the following courses:

I liked the last one best because it gave me some new insghts on how to approach scaling. I’m still looking for a ‘cheatsheet’ which includes all scaling options for most of the common movements though. They are relatively cheap and not really difficult but i recommend not to do too many in a row and apply your newly learned knowledge first before moving on.


After i posted my CF-L1 certificate including a link to my blog i got a lot of great responses. From work a few people actually asked me for tips and tricks.

But an unexpected but fun thing was that someone from work asked me (and a collegue who also does crossfit) to share my experience through a podcast. You can listen to it here. This also got quite some positive response all around.

How to get started as a trainer

I got some great reactions from my crossfit box and people working out there. Many asked me if and when i would start teaching crossift there. But at my box there currently isn’t any spot left. But the owner knew some people who just started a box so he got me in contact with them. And after i had a chat with them we quickly came to an agreement that i could start there on tuesdays from 18:00 till 20:00 (2 classes).

Although this is great, i have to be aware that this is something i do (for now) next to work and family. I was very open about this and told them that i have to see how this works out and we should evaluate after half a year. Because it’s not just something you can take a break from, once you start you have to be there every week the whole year. Of course vacations is something we can plan but it’s still a commitment.

Moreover, at home this wasn’t an easy conversation because it means that they are affected by this, even if it’s just a tuesday evening. Which means my wife has to cook, take care to the kids, etc… Fortunatly the kids are more selfsufficient now so it becomes easier. If they were younger i don’t know if i would have done it. But for now i get a chance to experience being a crossfit trainer.

My First Class

Thursday evening 18:00, 12 march, my first class. I was a bit anxious but the first of the two classes was cancelled. The second one had only 3 people coming in. The first thing you try do to is size people up and try to match the workout to what you think they are capable of. And if you don’t know the people that’s damn hard. The other difficult part is timemanagement, especially if there is no seperate clock in the room.

The environment also takes getting used to, the box is a bit small and shares the room with a brazilian ji-jitsu class which is very noisy. It also lacks machines like rowing, skiing or airbikes, understandable, since they just started and had to invest a lot. So basically everything is new…. i guess i won’t stand out as much 🙂

All in all the workout was good, i got complimented on the clear instructions and positive support. For myself i think time-management and spending a bit more time on the flow of the hour needs work. I thought i would get enough practice under my belt but then…..corona happened.

So hopefully i can can pick this up on the first of september and even sooner. I hope to write another blog on my experience on learning to coach crossfit not long after. For now, stay healthy and safe!

Overload on the (large & small) screen

Last week i read an article regarding an opinion about the just released image stills from the upcoming movie Dune. The title contained the word ‘underwhelming’. I felt irritated and it was mindboggling that someone formed an opinion based on a few images. Also because i just watched a vlog from Quinn’s Ideas with his opinion about the costumes and he, as i, was positively impressed.

But it got me wondering about how it is that certain people who either have a job reviewing movies and tv-shows or do it as a hobby seem to be so harsh or critical in their reviews.

Another exampe about the movie Underwater:

“The Abyss meets Aliens with a bit of The Poseidon Adventure, a lot of Pacific Rim and a dash of The Meg in this subaquatic sci-fi that offers nothing more than the sum of its references.”


I’ve seen this movie and i thought it was quite a good movie, but it also gave me a sense of deja vu. And i have that with other movies or tv-shows sometimes as well. Have you ever noticed sometimes that a certain storyline keeps popping up in movies or shows, or certain monologues or jokes. Why is that? And then it sort of (obviously) hit me. I’ve watched so many movies and tv-shows in my life that it’s very hard to surprise me with originality, even with original shows.

Basics of any story

Any story has a few basic elements:

  • Characters
  • Setting
  • Plot
  • Conflict
  • Resolution

The ‘hero’ always has to conquer something somewhere to get to the prize. It’s as simple as that, so any tv-show or movie in essence is composed of the same elements. So it’s only normal that if you watch enough they can seem similair.

Growing up in the eigthees

When growing up we had 1 tv and i remember wanting to watch the A-team which my parents wouldn’t allow because at that time it was percieved as violent. Later i got to watch it. And together with Knight Rider, cartoons on sunday morning, the Bill Cosby show, etc. i started my tv journey. But there weren’t a whole lot of tv-shows and the availability of screen-time was very limited to a few shows. We played more outside then.

Only in the ninetees when we got a second (small) tv i started watching some more tv-shows. And when i moved to live on my own it increased some more. Not so much in hours a day but more in accumulated tv/movie time. It was where i think in retrospective i already started noticing some similarities.

Golden age of tv

Now with the dominance of companies such as Netflix and Disney+ and the quality shows that they produce it’s very easy to spend an entire evening watching 4 or 5 episodes. Thus racking up more accumulative hours of tv-experience which means it gets harder to find shows that are worthwhile. Especially if you’re getting older.


I started looking up some statistics and found the following sources

Infographic: The Golden Age of TV Fiction | Statista

The above graph shows that from 2010 untill 2017 over 2000 shows were made. That has not decreased the past few years, i can assure you.

Above is a screenshot of IMDB and shows that it has information of over 1.2mln titles which most likely is not complete by a long shot.

There have been made so many shows (incl. cartoons) and movies that anyone with a few years of screen-exposure will at some point get a deja-vu.

My trackrecord

So thinking about my own screen-time exposure i can only guess. I wrote two previous blogs [1][2] which already contain for over 60 to 70k minutes of screentime. I would not be surprised that with all the movies and shows i’ve watched i’ve racked up more than a few million minutes (which is about very roughly 80-90k hours).

So it is inevitable that you would come across dialogue, scenes, characters, plot, etc…, that sounds and looks familair. But this also means that your standard of being surprised becomes higher and higher.

Critics Beware

And this goes for move/tv critics as well, whom, i pressume, have watched way more tv-shows and movies than i have (and many of us). Of course they are often quite right in their critique. I follow rottentomaties.com and most of the critique is valid up to a point. The very bad movies are often bad, the good are mostly good.

But they have to understand that when they watch a movie or episode they will always compare them with others, even subconsiously. This is not always fare, because in their eyes it might be repetitive or boring or ‘been-there-done-that’. And for people with (much less) screentime it might be a new experience that they will miss just because someone wrote a not-so positive review.

So my advice is to not be put off my bad critics for something that you think is good. See for yourself and make up your own mind.

Crossfit do’s and don’ts

I’ve been practicing Crossfit for over 2 years now and i wanted to share some of my experience and things i would have liked to have known prior to starting Crossfit. So here goes:

Value technique over intensity

During a wod and in the box it’s very easy to go into the redzone and try to lift or do more than what you’re are used to or capable of. Especially in the beginning when you see a lot of athletes going at it.

My advice: start slow, scale everything (even if you think you don’t need it), feel the exercises, give your brain and neurological system enough time to adapt and focus on training rather than exercise. Go lighter with most of the drills and when you feel good try to do a bit more. But the first half year (depending on how much you practice) don’t worry about RX or going all out, focus more on technique, it will help you in the long run.

Value 80/90% workout over 110% workout

I recently saw a documentary about marathon athletes in kenia and they mentioned that they usually don’t train at 100%, just between 70-80% because there is no point in doing so. You just wear out your body . In Crossfit you always see people going all in and over, redlining their body. And although that’s good at times, what you usually see (youtube, tv, netflix) are athletes that workout 6 times a week 2 to 3 times a day. And when they train they also don’t go over 100% all the time.

For myself, especially the first year i loved going all in and getting exhausted but i was also just workout twice a week and wanted to get the most out of it. But focussing less on RX and more on technique, rythm, more quality reps than weight, breathing etc.. helps a lot.

And luckily not all WOD’s are Hero’s WODs, at least at my box, but also focus on pure technique, endurance, etc… thus not having to go all out all the time. It’s also better for your body, especially when you are a bit older, which needs to recover less which means you’ll be fitter the next workout.

Value mobility over weight

I’m not very mobile in Crossfit terms, my hip-flexors, shoulders and especially my ankle’s are tight so overhead squating, pistol squats, front squats, snatches are all movements i can’t really do well or with a lot of weight. My deskjob doesn’t help either.

Mobility in itself is, in my view, a very underrated part of the Crossfit level 1 course. And when coaching it’s something to be very aware of because people tend to put too much weight on the bar when not having proper technique and mobility which causes injury.

I’m trying to improve my mobility which takes time and effort (and i could be doing more) and it has helped to a certain extent. My front squat max was 90kg but recently i did 5 paused front squats with 90kg, mainly because i stayed upright more so less strain on my back. Also my overhead squat improved a little (with weight).

So being more mobile helps with a lot of things and i think i would have liked to have gotten more pointers on this subject from the start. There’s tons of youtube video’s and resources about mobility but remember, a lot of the people in those video’s assume you have the room, asseccories and time to do this quite often and/or are very mobile themselves which they sometimes forget and make things sound easy.

So when your start to do Crossfit start working on your mobility to get more out of the workouts. Or just start working on your mobility anyways.

Value a foamroaller over a couch (when watching tv)

Foamroallers are great, painfull, but great. After a workout it’s a great idea to give your muscles and surrounding tissue a massage. Foam rollers are perfect for that and will help recovery. It’s not as easy as it sometimes look but also not so difficult as some might tell you.

For me the calves, lats (side of your body under the should joint) and the front of my quadriceps are the places to hit. But my advice is to buy one to use at home, they are not expensive, and use them from the start. Maybe not after every workout and also simply on an off ‘workout’ day.

ps: a tennisball is also a great accessory to have (or a lacrossball) for really deep tissue massage

Value and extra resting day over an extra workout

It’s very temping to do another great WOD and to put your body to the test but when you just start and/or are a older it’s better to have an extra day of (active) recovery. It doesn’t mean you can’t do something but keep it light and combine it with stretching/mobility. Running (slowly) a few km’s, riding a bike, doing a 20 minute mobily routine works wonders.

You have to live with your body the rest of your life and our body needs rest and time to recover as well. Beginning with Crossfit you will feel all kinds of aches and musclepain so don’t start of with working out 5 to 6 times a week but give your body (and mind) time to increase the amount of workouts over a period.

Value the voice of your own body over the voice of others

Basically all my points above have to do with the ‘intensity’ part of Crossfit. You have to remember that it’s not about the Rich Froning or Matt Frasier intensity (which is what we usually see) but about your relative intensity. Meaning what’s appropriate and challenging for you.

When working out it easy to get caught up in the hype of the workout nd the other athletes trying to outdo eachother. And it’s good to have those ‘voices’ challenging you, they might take you to places you never thought possible and break your own PR. But remember, especially when you start, listen to your own body more. Because when you start you don’t know what your capabilities are yet, take time to get to know them and go a bit harder every workout.

People have a tendency to, even when they are not feeling well or are just recovering from a flew or injury, wave things off. “I’ll j ust have to get through it and i’ll be okay” is what you often hear. But as a coach i would say:

  • If you’ve just been sick, stay at home for at least an extra day after you tell yourself that you are ok, and do a mobility workout. Often the joints are stiff from mying still or not moving as much as you are used to.
  • If you’ve just recovered from an injury, do at least a few weeks of very light weight and slow down the reps. See the aftereffect and if there are no negative effects, add just a little more.

To summarize

  • Value technique over intensity
  • Value 80/90% workout over 110% workout
  • Value a foamroaller over a couch (when watching tv)
  • Value mobility over weight
  • Value and extra resting day over an extra workout
  • Value the voice of your own body over the voice of others

Final thoughts

I love Crossfit, but i also need my body for at least 50 years to come. Doing crossfit, or doing cross functional workouts helps with that. But the other half of the coin is being able to manager your body, and the mantra ‘less is more’ is very appropriate. With the above tips you’ll have a better chance of succes. Ultimatly it’s up to you to balance yourself with all things you do in life.

My Battle With Graves Disease, Part 5

Here’s an update since my last blog and i want to tell you about stuff that has happened and about the some symptoms which i wasn’t sure about.


Sleeping was/is still a bit of a problem, which is often a precursor to poor health, and i often wake up somewhere between 2 and 3 in the night. Then it often takes a while before i fall asleep. Recently i even slept very poorly three days in a row, only about 3 to 4 hours. After which i got a bad cold which luckily only last for 2 days.

And because of that i went to see the doctor and asked for some bloodwork including B12 and iron. I knew from previous bloodwork that my body doesn’t really absorb B12 well so i’m taking B12 shots every other month. The results were a bit disappointing:

  • B12 was >160 pmol/L. The normal reference value is somewhere between 146-582 pmol/ for my age. So it’s on the low end
  • TSH: 0.45, also on the low end since the reference value is 0,4 and 2,0 mU/l
  • FT4: 18.4, this was a bit scary because this means that the value has gone up a bit every time i tested this.

It could also be stress related but the last week i slept much better. Can’t really pinpoint as to why but maybe because i started eating a bit more and/or because my wife gave a mist diffusor which sits next to my bed. For now i’ll take it!

Appointment with endicronologist

Last week i also had to take my 3 months bloodwork for the endicronologist and the results were good to my surprise.

  • TSH was 0.54 which is up quite a bit from a few weeks ago
  • FT4 was 16.8 which was down from a few weeks ago

So these results were uplifting and the endicronologist was happy as well and mentioned that the results can vary depending on the time of day the test was taken. But still, the last time lasted 2 years without a problem so i’m cautiously optimistic.


As i told earlier my weight (or fast loss of) is often a first symptom of trouble so i weigh myself almost daily. The good news it’s sort of stable around 95 kg. In the morning it’s 94 and at night it’s about 95.5 – 96. The thing that worries me is that i can’t seem to gain weight so i started looking at my diet and i think i simply eat too little during the workweek.

The food that i eat is healthy and i need around 2500-2800 cal but i think i only get something between 2200-2300. What i started doing the past 2 weeks going is simply eat more and i added:

  • 1 avocado with a few crackers for breakfast befor my normal breakfast (nuts/seeds/glutenfree oatmeal/linesead/banana/soja yoghurt)
  • 3/4 glutenfree sandwhiches for around 10:00
  • a piece of fruit at around 15:00

It’s always tricky to attribute better sleeping and good results to this change but my weight has gone up slightly (+1 kg)

The other thing i’m trying is a proteinshake for after workouts to see if i can recuperate faster. Don’t know if it helps but it seems that i have less muscle strain.

Creatine (vs Goatcheese)

Another thing i wanted to try is creatine to see if it would give me a bit more energy and better results when working out. Now as i wrote in an earlier blog i skip all dairy, but sometimes i try a bit of hard goatcheese and i took some during the same time i started using creatine. I got a stomach-ache which kept me awake 1 night (and had to skip the Lowlands Throwdown Crossfit qualifier :-().

Now, i can remember that i had this type of stomach-ache 1 or 2 times around the same time i ate some goatcheese. But it could also be the creatine, however literature states that you get stomach-ache from creatine immediatly and this one only started a week after. So my money is on goatcheese, which is weird because an allergy test didn’t show this.

Final note

So as always i’m continuously experimenting with all sorts of stuff. I think that’s the only sound thing you can do because everyone is different and reacts differently to different things. But getting a clear relation between cause and effect is difficult. I’ll try this for a few months and i will write a blog to tell you about my experiences untill then.

My Favorite Sci-Fi series, Part II

Here is a follow up of my previous blog about sci-fi series that influenced me and/or made me think about certain topics differently. Below is the list from when i was around 18 untill now.

Star Trek: The Next Generation

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For me this show was magic, it had great characters, for that time pretty good special effects (certainly the last season) and some of the best and original stories i’ve seen. One that springs to mind is where Picard is trapped in a mind-prison where he experiences a whole lifetime without aging in the realword, that was a mindf*#k. Also the positive attitude towards society was hopefull and it often touched upon social issues like age, race and gender.

It also for me was the show when one of the leading characters was killed (Tasha), don’t know if that was unique at that time but it was for me. And who can forget the Borg who set the stage for the first STNG movie. The story-arc of the Borg was intense and had a big space battle at the end. So many things pop to mind but i don’t think when you watch it now that a lot of episodes are worthwhile. But in my mind it’s still one of the great sci-fi shows of all time.

Star Trek: Deep Space 9

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In the beginning this show was quite hard to get used to, not the enterprise, a wormhole, no ‘engage’. And i think the first few seasons had its ups and downs but also contained some of the best episodes of any show i can remember.

This show really took of when they encountered an alien race on the other side of the wormhole called the Dominion and set of the rest of the seasons which ended in a huge space battle which still looks great today. And the characters like Odo, O’Brian and Dax really grew on me.

Babylon 5

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This is a bit of a strange show in the beginning with characters overacting a bit and similair to the premise of Star Trek Deep Space 9. But what was great about it was the continues implicit threat of the ‘Shadows’, the complex storytelling and the use of religion, prophecies, politics, social and racials issues in relation to choices the characters make.

It also contained sort of good special effects as most of it was CGI (space scenes) which was new for that time. But it was very addictive.

Space: Above and Beyond

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This show only ran for 1 season and stayed with me because of its grityness (if that’s a word) and the constant threat and pressure the main characters were under.

The ending was sudden due to poor ratings and left the main characters, dead, injured or missing in action. It reminds me a bit of Starship Trookers without the Paul Verhoeven touch.


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By far the weirdest show in this list and maybe in all sci-fi but once you got hooked it is a great ride. It starts of in a Buck Rogers-way with the main character getting stranded on the other side of the universe. Then it’s, sort of, all about getting back home with the help of the (living) Leviathan ship called Moya and it’s crew.

The quirky characters with their deep and rich backgrounds (and i had a small crush on Claudia Black) and the influence of the Jim Henson Company with the (large)puppets, made this a fantastic show and thanks to the fanbase this is one of the first shows that got a finale season after it got cancelled, in the form of a mini-series (Peacekeeper wars).

Stargate SG-1

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Stargate originally started as a movie with Kurt Russel and this show followed the story from the movie. It lasted 10 seasons (to many people’s surprise) i don’t think i watched every episode but the combination of Egyptian history/culture and the stargate which can take you all over the universe allows for fascinating storytelling.

Also Richard (McGyver) Dean Anderson as the main character was fantastic with his sense of humor, wit and leadership-vibe. The last few season saw two characters from Farscape make their introduction. Ben Browder and Claudia Black (still a small crush). Newer spin-offs never reached this level.

Battlestar Galactica

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When i first saw the announcement of this show i was hopefull of something good. When i saw the premier (of the miniseries) i was blown away. This reincarnation puts way more focus on social and political issues. The characters evolve during the seasons from likeable to hatable and back. I think a lot of people were critical because Starback was portrayed by Katee Sackhoff, but in my opinion she was perfectly cast. Edward James Olmos (for me stil the captain from Miami Vice) was a fantastic Adama.

With the threat of the cyclons (new style) looming around every corner the show created an intense atmosphere and focussed on the effect that it had on the survivors which form a society with upper, middle and lowerclass citizens.

The style of filming the space scenes, with the shaking camera view (which they got from Babylon 5) made it more realistic and the design of the ships was very well thought out without loosing too much of the original designs. Most critizism came with the ending of the show, i won’t say what but if you like the Lost ending, you’ll like it.

The Expanse

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I picked up the first Expanse book and i was hooked right away and read all of them as soon as they came out. So i was excited when the ScyFy channels made this into a show and it hasn’t disappointed yet. This show was also saved by fans and Amazon picked it up which is great because they can spend a good amount of money to make a descent show with great special FX.

It’s a bit getting used to when you’ve read the books but the cast is great and Thomas Jane as detective Miller is a perfect fit. The space scene’s are filmed in the same style as Battlestar Galactica with the shaky camera and the show is praised for it’s realistic use of physics. I just finished watching season 4 and is seems that each season it gets better with the cast really finding their groove. If you are a scifi lover, don’t miss this one!

Honerable Mention

  • Firefly: didn’t really know it after i saw the movie adaptation called Serenity but a fun, western, cowboy style series.
  • Falling Skies: an apocalyptic ‘after-invasion’ series following a band of survivors, it had it’s ups and downs but overall worth it.
  • 100: started out as a teen sci-fi show but has grown tremendously the last seasons. Hope they don’t prolong the show too much but end on a high note.

Writing this blog almost makes me want to get all the Blu ray boxes of the shows mentioned above and in my previous blog. But that is very expensive and unfortunatly they are not on any streaming service (yet). Furthermore three news items regarding this topic:

  1. I hear Amazon is making Larry Nivens’ Ringworld novels into a series but that’s been two years ago. The books are great and full of ideas so it’s a hard thing to do right.
  2. Battlestar Galactica is getting a reboot, which they say is not a remake but what it will be….we’ll see
  3. I am an avid Dune fan (just reread all novels last year and amazing how relevant it still is today with regards to environment and politics) so i’m hoping for a great Dune movie out later this year. In additional they are making a Bene Gesserit series that ties directly into the movie. There is a lot of material to draw from, hopefully they

It was fun to write this (and previous) blog, sort of a trip down (long and short term) memory lane. Let’s see if my kids will enjoy some of the shows when they get a bit older.