Catching up

I’ve been really giving this class my best and I haven’t blogged like I wanted to. It’s funny how just a few minute changes make teaching so much different.

wpid-20151002_111731.jpgOne of my babies thought they’d bribe me by putting my name in their noun search. Well, it worked. Here’s a cookie! I love this group.

We have a SUPER transient population. I knew this going in, but I didn’t realize just how much. I’ve already had 7 new kids come in post Day 1. I’ve already had 3 kids move and I have 4 more about to leave in the next few weeks. I had a student come in on 9/15 and withdraw 9/28. Since we had 2 work days that means she was only in my class for 7 days! This is pretty interesting.


My absolute favorite student (yes, I have a favorite student and I tell him all the time) is about to leave due to immigration issues. The day he found out he was on his way to school. He literally hugged me and cried for most of the morning. I will also say I cried, too. He’s a fantastic ESOL kid. He’s making strides. He’s putting in effort and his family is very supportive. Needless to say whenever he wants to laugh or wants to talk to me I stop what I’m doing and listen.

I even asked his mom if I could adopt him so he could stay.


He knew very little if any English when he got to room D44. Now he can speak in some very well thought out sentences. This page right here is the page we were working on when he said “Mr.Whitaker, that says red”. #Ialmostfainted

I don’t need to say how much I adore my team. This is a special group of professionals. We all understand our craft differently, but we all want the exact same thing…longer Summers and more money!  Oh and we want to produce the best students MCS has ever seen, too. I need to do a collaborative lesson with Ms. Mills’ class and Ms. Butler’s class. Since Whitaker’s book worms have been in just about everyone else’s room it’s only fair to corrupt these classes as well. See, you soon Mills and Butler!

Not sure why, but I have 4 Kennesaw State University students observing me. Talk about a fun adventure. They’re getting a full dose of what it’s like and I think they’re going to do great.  I have the best job!

I’m going to be competing in two lifting comps in the next 60 days. I’m very amped. Two  lifts. One I’m going to crush and one is going to be there to keep me humble. Thanks to my coaches I think I have a great chance of making a run at doing this for a while. I’ve also returned to running to keep my cardio strong. I had given up on running when I became a CrossFitter. Now, I’m looking at balancing the two. I’ve been coaching at yet another box. I think the only thing that would seriously make me consider giving up teaching is coaching. I love these athletes. I’m super humble that Miles, Jake and Cathy trust me with their people. Top that with all that I get from them and it’s like awesome wrapped in bacon sprinkled with a hefty dose of Heck yeah!

You already know that I’ve been meal prepping. Not going to give that up for the world. My little dinner party has been a super success. So many great stories and so much great food. Still seeing the results of my Whole130. It’s been very, very easy to maintain my overall fitness now that I’m eating pretty normal. Let’s see how it translates into my comps and results moving into 2016.

More pictures soon.

My Whole30 adventure

Today I wrapped up my Whole30 adventure. I started on May 4th and concluded today. That makes it not Whole30, but Whole130 days. Here are some of my numbers.

Starting weight May 4, 2015 224

Ending weight September 10, 2015 199

Starting waist size 38

Ending waist size 36

Starting neck size 16 1/2

Ending neck size 15

During the last 6 weeks I went from:

Body Fat 16% to 12.5%

Lean Muscle 169 to 174

Fat lbs 33 to 25

I should have done the full body fat/lean muscle composition test on the top end when I started this so I can see how well I progressed. So let’s talk about what I experienced.

The Good

  • A fellow athlete from CrossFit South Cobb chose to take this venture with me. This was probably the single best decision I made. We were able to do a short book study, keep each other encouraged and find a way to enjoy this journey. So huge props to Dana my CrossFit Angel!
  • I fully understand why Jason eats. I am someone who’s really thirsty most of the time. I fully realize that most of the time when I’m “hungry” I’m really just thirsty. By carrying a jug of water with me I found it much easier to remain hydrated rather than reaching for a sugary, salty, sweet snack.
  • I am well rested. I get to bed at a really good time.  Later I’ll explain why that’s a big deal.
  • I feel strong. My performance in the gym has been on point.  I’d certainly like to do more, but life often gets in the way. I do feel I’m on par with my goals.
  • My mind feel clearer. But…I’ll tell you about that later, too.
  • Meal prep has just become so beneficial to me. I cut down on a lot of prep time, cook time and the such through the week. Adding in that we now have a great meal prep dinner party and it’s just wonderful. It’s been so easy to make Whole30 meal prep that this honestly is going to be a habit that’s hard to break.
  • Because my meal prep has been on point, my  body has gotten on a very nice eating schedule. I know when I’m hungry and I can tell much more clearly when I’m just thirsty.
  • Cravings have been few and far between. If I want something off plan I may or may not, but if I do I’m not destroying an entire pizza.
  • All my clothes fit great. Nothing is snug. I did give away everything that was to big so now I have a well fitted closet.

The Bad

  • I did’t remain on plan every meal for the entire 130 days. Whenever I did eat bad I found out something quickly. I get sick. I didn’t tell anyone, but I found myself sick whenever I scarfed down some of my kids fries or anything greasy or sugary.
  • I’m not sure why, but my sleep pattern has been trashed for a while. It’s a given that every single night I am going to wake up around 2:30-330 am. I don’t have to use the restroom or anything I just wake up. I don’t know what it is and I can’t seem to figure out a remedy. It’s been going on since before my journey and hasn’t cleared up. I still feel rested, but I know that I’m not getting quality 8 hours even though I often make every effort to do so.
  • When I get brain fog, it’s CLOUDY. I have found myself totally lost in thought mid day. I’m usually pretty clear minded, but when I get that brain fog, it’s London Fog like nobody’s business.
  • I don’t think I convinced my family to join me. Oh well.

The Ugly

  • I can’t imagine going back to eating exactly like I did before. I made such progress in understanding WHY I eat that I can’t imagine putting aside that realization for an entire pizza.
  • I don’t want to get off the Whole30. I know it’s not something to live on, but I don’t want to. I’ve more than likely had my last cheap, greasy slice of pizza.
  • I developed dry patches of skin on my legs during the start of Whole30. It lasted about a month. I’m not sure it’s because of Whole30, but it’s cleared up since.

I’d sum it all up with these three things really helped me stay faithful to Whole30 and see results. I would like to hear how you stay committed to your eating plan and what your long term results have been.

Portion control-I used to eat a lot of food good/bad just because. No restraint.

Meal Prep-Knowing exactly what I’m going to eat has been HUGE for me staying on course. I don’t need to say that it’s a budget fixer as well as a time saver.

Water-I’m all about water now. I’ve found it so helpful in the so many ways. Even though I still drink coffee and tea, I get my body weight + 10% of water pretty much everyday without question.

Do you blog? Why not?

I am all about blogging. I may not be the most consistent and I certainly don’t have the most page views. Most of the time I sit down and type out some thoughts and hit post. That being said I think everyone to should blog or get their ideas out in an electronic format.

Here’s a couple of reasons why I feel this way.

  • Blogging allows you to get your ideas out of your head. Most people aren’t going to journal or write in a diary. But if you have a regular way to clear all the clutter out of your mind it can’t be a bad thing at all.

  • You have a story. Even if you think your thoughts are “foolish” or even trivial, someone may find your story interesting. I mean seriously, I write about how great a job I have, CrossFit, meal prep and bowties. If someone reads this blog, someone will read your blog about sea snails. But even it no one reads it, it’s your story and you’ll have somewhere to go back and look at…

  • Your  journey needs to be captured. If you lost a lot of weight. Discovered a new talent. Build something from ground up. Slowly watched something you thought that would last forever dissolve. No matter what it is your journey should be written down. Your story has to be told.

Blogging, CrossFit and Meal Prep came to me because someone else shared their stories and it clicked in my life. Now I can’t imagine how my life would be different without these. So your story is valuable to someone. Even if you want to guess blog here I will gladly post your story until you feel comfortable with your own writing. Let me know and if I can help you start your journey in writing I’ll do all I can.

This isn’t about teaching, but it is about learning

Today I hosted my 1st Epic Meal Prep Swap Dinner Party. (I have NO idea what that is, I just liked the name and the Hashtag.) Every Sunday I do I huge cook to prepare my meals for the week. My wife sometimes gets in on it and gets her lunches made. I make all my meals 3 meals, 2 snacks for 5 days. I sometimes do freezer meals for my family, too.


Over the summer somehow my Sunday cooks evolved into a cookout. On any given Sunday we’d have 5-8 friends over for food, fun and meal prep. Just a house full of love, noise and me getting my meals ready for the week.


The past couple of weeks my weekly cook turned into a time where I’d cook other people’s food, they’d box it up and go home and do their meal prep. Spreading the good news of meal prep I guess. The only thing is some of the food I was cooking looked so yummy and smelled so good. My guests started sharing their meals with one another. No prodding, just good old sharing.


Then I got this idea. What if we all brought a set amount of food (proteins and veggies) and cooked them here? We could set it out like a buffet and everyone just mix and match their meal prep? It would solve a fundamental issue some people have with meal prep, the same meal everyday.  It would also allow like minded people to share ideas, have fun and most of all stay true to their goals of meal prepping. No one loses.

This week we pulled it off. It was mostly people from the gym and a few nearest and dearest. All I can say is WOW. We over did it. So much good food. So many great meals made. I attempted to capture a pic of some of our best, but it wasn’t possible. They all looked so good. The best part of it is knowing that we call have great choices for lunch/dinner this week. Actually, we have so much left over this week that next week we all agreed just to bring some new veggies and we’ll be fine!

The final results were 6 people. Each brought varying amounts of meats and veggies. But we ended up making 64 meals consisting of proteins, veggies, some carbs and salads. It was my intention to weigh and measure all my food, but that good intention was derailed quickly. Not enough counter space. I don’t know how much we spent in all, but I am sure that we made out better than each of us going out to eat everyday this week. We also probably did better than each of trying to make a lunch/dinner everyday from scratch this week. Yeah, we’re going to make this a regular happening.

Do I need to say that I’m starting my school year off with a great plan and fantastic food. Now if I could just get those standards down.

This Summer right here

You all know that I enjoy my Summer break. You know I get a lot in to the 8 weeks we teachers cherish. But this Summer has already proven to be a little much for me.

  • I started Crossfit coaching A LOT. I enjoy it so much that I don’t think about it when I’m doing it, but it’s exhausting. My hat goes off to every owner who runs multiple classes, day after day.
  • Trying to do family Bible Study every week.
  • I’ve been playing trough some mentally challenging stuff. This has really wore my creative mind out.
  • My girls were in a movie shoot this past week. Almost was the complete mental down fall of your favorite bowtie teacher.
  • Dr. Whitaker has a new job and with that a ton of new responsibilities. Do I need to say more?
  • Daddy Day Camp starts Monday! Augh!
  • I want to study/read over the 1st grade learning standards, but I’m so busy I can’t settle my mind enough to digest them.

What came to me today was that I’m not meditating on God’s Word nor replenishing my mind and thoughts. I’ve allowed myself to not think on Him, but more on my surroundings. What’s the use of scripture if I’m not fully utilizing it as 2 Timothy 3:16 says? It’s to common to make light of a prayer less or Bible less life, but it’s very true. Next couple of weeks I think I’m going to unplug more, I can’t promise complete  un tethering, but certainly will make it more deliberate attempt.

Since I’m not talking about ties and lesson plans

I might as well talk about one of my favorites, Meal Prep.

Let me tell you what meal prep isn’t for me. I’m not that guy hoarding a metric ton of food in the basement. I’m also not the huge, superhero sized guy with a bunch of supplements who eats only chicken breasts and broccoli (though, nothing is wrong with that basic easy to prepare meal).

There aren’t a lot of healthy fast food options near my school. Matter of fact that term is an oxymoron, healthy fast food . I can’t eat school lunch. Therefore, I always bring my lunch. Early along in the school year I realized that I wasn’t fixing a lunch a few times a week. I was so busy at night that I would forget to make lunch. Couple that with a missed breakfast a couple of days and I was in bad shape. I’d raid my co-workers snack stashes, hit the kids up for junk food and the such.


Most of you know that I endear cooking on my Big Green Egg. One weekend, while enjoying cooking, I got this crazy idea. Why don’t I cook myself something to eat on Sunday for the week? That started my journey into meal prep. Here’s how my journey started and has grown.

  • I started out meal prepping my own lunch and a few snacks. Whatever I had in the fridge/freeze would do.
  • My wife wanted lunch, too. I started planning out the meals. She doesn’t like eating the same thing so I had to be very intentional.
  • I started looking for sales and coupons to drive my meal prep. If it was on sale, it was going on the grill.
  • This is the time that I started the transition from plastic ware to glassware. wpid-20140830_180811.jpgwpid-20140912_191558.jpg
  • By preparing for the next day the night before, I find that I’m looking forward to work and getting out the door in the morning was much easier.
  • I started weighing and measuring my food, but not serious. I still was overeating, just over eating good foods.
  • Soon I started preparing breakfast as well. Now my favorite is an omelet bowl. Wife and kids still eat cereal for breakfast.
  • I FEEL amazing. I’m not sluggish at work and I have energy to hit the gym after work. Something certainly is happening!
  • Started incorporating slow cooker. It started making less and less sense to NOT prepare dinner this way.
  • I notice that I’m getting pretty good at this whole thing. It’s not work as much as it’s a total release to be creative and express myself outside of the classroom. Besides, I LOVE when my co-workers comment on my lunch.
  • My time spent in the kitchen during the week is cut by 1/2. More time for family and other stuff.
  • It becames obvious to me that I am not eating enough. I started making bigger breakfasts, and more calorie dense snacks. I don’t weigh myself. I’m not sure how much I weigh, but my clothes do fit a little better.
  • Last week I started counting macros, Fats, Carbs and Proteins. I also have started shooting for a daily calorie intake based upon the macros I want to consume. This is a step up from just counting calories. This is certainly more labor intensive, but I like it. I did some fancy math to figure out my resting calorie usage and broke down my usage into Carbs, Fats, and Protein. In order for me to get down to sub 200 lbs AND remain strong I need to take in these amounts per day, Protein 277, Fats 64 and Carbs 84. That looks like a lot, but it really is reasonable. Currently I’m taking in P 200 Fats 125 and Carbs 190. 
  • One meal prep rule I’ve violated from the start is that I’ve never had the same meal all week. Starting next year I’m going to keep the meals super simple. I don’t mind mixing it up, but it should make it easier for me to count and weigh if I keep the meals the same. We’ll see this works out.

So that’s how I got on the Meal Prep train. If nothing else it’s very helpful in keeping me from having to eat bad food. I will also say it’s done a great job keeping me from eating out. I don’t have the desire or get the pleasure from eating out like I used to. If I do it’s 100% because I’m giving myself a break. I’m going into 2015 ready for some great things.

What about you? How did you get started meal prepping? Do you meal prep?

Crossfit and my classroom do mix

You all know that I seriously heart Crossfit. Not interested in debating the merits of your dance class or your video series. If you like it and are seeing results, keep at it.  I've seen so many fantastic results when people are passionate and intense about their task. Whatever kind of pretzel you're contorting your body into, please enjoy. 

There are a few reasons I've tied my wagon to Crossfit as the means to drag my carcass off the couch. I've found that my reasons can be lined up with my teaching experience as well. 

 Nothing is ever the same.  Yeah, there are crossfit benchmarks that roll by every couple of weeks or so, but the scheduled WOD are always different. If your gym is doing good programing you'll se your favorites mixed in with your not so fav and that unknown keeps your growing.

This couldn't reflect the classroom any better. There are children who come to you daily and you expect them to return everyday. But they don't! Their evil doppelganger comes in and takes up shop in your room and all you can do it adapt and respond. Got to deal with the Child of the Day that showed up in your room just like the WOD. 


No matter how tough it is…you're getting better. There are the tough skills that you just don't seem to get, but over all you're getting better. Currently I'm expecting the Crossfit genie to bring me a muscle up. I've been waiting for his cousin Teaching genie to make this job easier everyday as well. But what I've noticed is I'm getting closer to my muscle up and I'm getting better at teaching. The more I use resources like Beyond the Whiteboard and ClassDojo the more I see that I'm getting strong and eventually I'll get that muscle up and I'll probably be a good teacher, too. 

Teamies are the best! I work with some of the best people. I'm very happy with my school. I feel the school has my back just as much as they want th best for the kids. That translated into my gym. There are some great people there. Most of our interaction is spent between near death experiences with barbells and burpees, we've really grown. 

Everything looks crazy until you give it a shot.

One thing about CF I've learned over the years is that it's not for most people. Once you start rattling off the latest WOD description and how excited you are, your co workers/friends/family immediately start calling Dial a Shrink. The same applies to teaching. May people don't see WHY we do it. Most of the time we talk about just how tough it is to get through to Johnny or Sally.  Many times we don't KNOW why we do it, either. We do know that we find fulfillment in this career. We just know that we're supposed to and somewhere in this hay stack is big, shiny needle. And we're going to find it. Kind of like 50 #135 power clean for time. "Why?!"

"Well because that's what was on the board today." 

 Planning leads to success. The more I plan and prepare for class the better lessons get. I feel that "break through" happening with my students. The worse prepared I am the more it shows in my students.  The more I plan and schedule crossfit into my life the more it fits into my life. Especially eating. When I plan my meals to compliment my workout I see great results. When I eat when and whatever I tend to derail my results. When I plan to hit the gym right after work, but before I pick up my girls I just works. That keeps me on track and on pace. 

Every second counts. Imagine a workout that goes on for 12 minutes. You're beat down. You won't want to pick up that weight one more time. You look over to your neighbor and they're feeling the same way, you can tell. You notice him looking over at the clock and he makes a mad dash to the weight and hoists it up. You do the same. You two are in an all out sprint. That weight it flying. TIME! You collapse to the floor in a total exhaustion. Afterwards you find out that you and your neighbor were within a few reps of each out, but you pulled it out. You didn't let the last few seconds fade away. You ended strong.  

Everyday in school is like that. When the 2 pm time comes around I can either lean off the the throttle or keep plugging away. Do I let off cause I've been working with these students for 6 hours already or do I keep pushing on? Whenever I push on and make the kids practice fact familes or spell something hard until the bell rings I have a much better day the next day. The kids will come back having thought about the book we read or have some new insight. Every second counts. 

Crossfit and Teaching need each other. The stress teaching causes me can only releaved through hard vigorus exercise. Throwing the weight equal to my entire class over my head makes it very easy to sit that class down and breath a sigh of relief. The exertion that CF causes on me really helps me to mellow out through the day. I'd be bouncing off the walls by 11:13 am if I didn't blow off a lot of extra steam during my 430 forrays to CFSC


PS. CF convinced me to leave Team Adidas! 

Wouldn't trade my INOV8s for the world! 

 Alright got to get hustling. Group warm up starts in 20 minutes. Here's a little video of a a 47.5 inch box jump