R7D38-42 – Pure Cardio. Pure Hell Part 3 (and the worlds worst excuse).

I just realized that through the evolution of my workouts from my first days with Tony to my divorcing ShaunT, albeit temporarily, I have stuck to one notion when it comes to the Pure Cardio workout. After typing the entry heading I thought it looked familiar so I went back and checked. I already have 2 entries entitled Pure Cardio, Pure Hell. I guess that speaks volumes about how I feel about this particular workout. You want to know what the problem is? It’s the fact that you get so used to doing 30 second stints that when you are confronted with the notion of doing 15 full minutes it is a touch overwhelming. Possibly also because you forget (at least I do) that it’s 60 second intervals until the workout is already started and there is no getting out of it. I hate the bait and switch!

Getting through the workout however is a great feeling of accomplishment and leaves you knowing for sure that your choice to get to work that day was the right one!

To end the week, I managed to finish back and biceps for the first time, yet again confirming that once you take some time away from P90X it can be just as good as it was the first time around! I thoroughly enjoyed the workout even though I voluntarily cut it short, realizing that there really isn’t enough you can do to your biceps in an hour that you can’t get done in about half that time. I do still enjoy the workout, regardless of whether I choose to modify it a little or not. The weekend was not good to me, I was supposed to do something, anything, but didn’t quite make it. I am thrown off my game by not having a heart rate monitor at the moment and I used that as possibly the worst excuse in the world not to work out.

Speaking of which, I am hoping to get my hands on a Suunto T6D for the price of a T3D tomorrow. If not, I will have to order the T3D online and pay the ridiculous shipping. Too bad my local MEC store doesn’t have stock, as I found on the weekend after driving to Barrie. If anyone has experience with the Suunto T6D please let me know your feelings. My plan is to use it in conjunction with the Firstbeat software to give me a much better idea of my fitness and if I am working hard enough to meet my fitness goals.

R7D28-29 – I’m Still Standing.

It’s my 9th day of standing at work. I sometimes feel like I am doing a charity event or something, seeing how long I can go and letting people bet on the outcome. Most people think it’s a bit odd but given my history of having had back surgery I use the “sitting is uncomfortable” line as a standard reply to “why?”. It’s not about my back though, it’s about my health.

I have been more tired due to spending days on my feet but I remember well the days of working summers in a chocolate factory, even the night shift polishing smarties and the fact that most of my school career my summer jobs were active or at the very least upright. Those days taught me the value of hard physical days and the rewards they brought. In fact, I remember the first summer job I got that wasn’t active, it was an auditing job at an investment firm and I hated it. I went out for lunches every day, gained a ton of weight and was the fattest I had been since moving to Canada. It was over about 2 months later and I was glad to see the back of it. Ever since then, I worked construction jobs, chocolate packing, shipping and receiving and other physically active occupations. It makes sense then that I should try to find a way to remain out of my chair since even the most ardent sloth would have to agree that 8 hours in one sitting position just can’t be good.

It’s hard to know what makes a big difference to me nowadays, I am on a constantly changing workout schedule, a couple of extremely long days coaching and of course I am always changing my food to stay interesting. However, I expected my feet to be very sore, my back to ache and my shoulders to cry out for nightly massage but it seems that those things are only part of the initial learning curve. By now my feet are OK, I am used to moving while I work, and standing up makes it far more easy for me to wander off to do other things. It sounds crazy but when you are sitting for a while, the idea of getting up just seems like too much work!

My legs don’t ache any more, and if they do it’s more likely due to the hills and sprints or the WODs I am doing with the girls at gym. Speaking of which, I am trying to get some working out done with them during conditioning. I am expecting high standards of work from them and it makes sense that my participation, even partial would serve as motivation for them. On Monday I did 5 rounds of Chelsea during their workout, it helped me since something beats nothing every time but I think it also helped them to see me sharing their pain.


DIY Equipment Update

Since I am committed to saving money as much as I am to getting fit I decided to make as much crossfit equipment as I could. It all started with the original chin up bar in my basement. It was for P90X when I first started out and was just a cheap metal round bar drilled through the door jamb.

The Original
The Original

It did the job but the door wasn’t ever really wide enough but the convenience couldn’t be beat. When the weather got warmer I decided I may do some of the workouts in the garage so I made a chin up bar out there too. It was made of the same type of metal bar, strung to the rafters high enough so that the garage door would open. That also meant it was high enough that I have to jump to get to it and can’t cheat at all!

As I completed the deck, I managed to work 2 chin up bars into the upper deck meaning the walkout from the basement where my gym is now had 2 built in bars. One was made from a plumbing fixture from Rona, the other was made from a fence railing which is bigger than ideal but means I get a great grip workout at the same time.

Fast forward to the late summer when I started to get into the Crossfit stuff and did some searching online for other DIY equipment. I found a great article on how to build a dip station and rather than build a single unit I built 2 separate stands that I can also use to jump over and do other movements with. In retrospect, they are slightly too tall and wobble a little too much but it’s also my weight that is the issue. Still, dip bars that can handle a 280lb man are pretty good!

2 outdoor chin up bars
2 outdoor chin up bars

Forward again to the latest development and I eventually grew tired of reading WODs with wallball so I decided to get hold of a basketball ($9 from walmart) and a bag of sand ($3 open bag special at Rona) and after fighting with a funnel for an hour ended up with a 26lb wallball. My plan is to buy some gymnastics rings to round out the collection and I should be good to go. Then a second olympic bar for the garage and I should be all set.

The last thing is a whiteboard. I do document everything I do but in the middle of a workout the last thing I want to do is thumb through papers to find what I need.

As a quick update (Dec 2011) I also have another rafter mounted chin up bar again mounted on the deck to the left in the picture. The benefit is that it is more solid, doesn’t move at all and has 3 hand positions so I can do all the hand switching I want without fear.

9 feet high
9 feet high
Holds 300+lbs
Holds 300+lbs
26lb wall ball
26lb wall ball
Essential whiteboard
Essential whiteboard

Vibram Five Fingers KSO – My Experience So Far

VFF KSOI have been doing my P90X workouts in bare feet for as long as I can remember. The only reason I don’t do my Insanity workouts barefoot is because I was afraid of slipping on the ugly grey foam tiles we have on the floor. That is, until now. As you have probably noticed I am an avid reader of Fitbomb and his experience with the P90X program, the Insanity mix and his transition into Crossfit are similar to my own not by chance. I have always said that if you want to see the results other people have, a good place to start is by doing what they are doing. I am not trying to change myself into a small American-Asian man but I am interested in the fact that a lot of the mental arithmetic that you go through when subscribing to a “system” is similar inside his head and mine. So our paths have taken similar routes. He has long been an enthusiast of the Vibram Five Fingers KSO (among others) and the notion that barefoot running is the wave of the future. Yes, I know, roll your eyes now and then go and try it. For years I have professed that I am “not built” for running and a large part of that was because I got terrible calf cramps and shin splints from running. I have now discovered it was not my fault, I wasn’t running right. Ever since I have been forefoot running (both barefoot and in shoes) I have been relatively injury free. Now I don’t run a lot, in fact I rarely run at all however I find that everything that I do without shoes is better. What better way then to feed my desire for shoelessness than by getting a pair of the VFF KSO for myself.

This past weekend we went to Penetang and on the way passed by Soujourn in Barrie. For under $100 I walked out with a pair of KSO’s and, little did I know at the time, the stigma of having black gorilla feet. I wore them most of the day, went outside in them, walked around in them, even ran around the parking lot in them. The moment you put them on, you realize that this was a great idea. You can feel the floor beneath your feet (something of which I am a huge fan) however it’s like you have super tough bulletproof feet that can’t be hurt. If you are a fan of not wearing shoes, and I have noticed that you either are or are not, it’s not really a grey area for people I have spoken to, then these are the things you have been looking for. Forget the Nike Free, like most things Nike it is shit. It’s not a barefoot shoe, it’s sure as hell not a VFF competitor, it is the usual corporate response to the latest shift in the market from a company that pushes it’s image harder than it’s R and D. It’s a cop out. If you really want some comfy shoes for the office that is something else but if you are looking to lose the shoes for running or for your sport of choice for gods sake get off the Nike teat already. It is fair to say that the Crossfit rage now is pushing the sales of the KSO. Everywhere you go and talk about them people either assume you are or are becoming a Crossfitter. That is not a bad thing, there are worse things than following a trend that makes sense.

I have so far worn them for over 20 hours. I have done P90X in them, done an Insanity workout in them and did Chelsea in them today. I am currently wearing them at work and I have to say they are the most comfortable things I have ever put my feet into. I can tell that they change my posture when I walk. I can tell that my calves and arches are getting more work than they are used to but I can also feel that my legs just don’t feel as fatigued as they usually do. I am not walking with that weird “tipping” feeling like my shoes are trying to throw me out. Overall I just feel better. And what’s more, I am down to a few seconds for putting them on… Foot powder helps.

Round 3 – Day 78 – The Half Hour From Hell Crossfit Style

I was supposed to be doing Chest, Shoulders and Triceps today, don’t ask me why I thought I was on Legs and Back but I guess in the confusion of the last few days I got mixed up. I decided that having read about Crossfit for a while that I would try a Crossfit approach to my Legs and Back day. So I went outside onto the lower deck and found 3 places I could do step up or jump up. Couple that with the two chin up bars I have out there and it was all I needed to get the job done. I thought that I would be able to do 100 jumps and 100 chinups and see how that was. Ultimately, I got to about 70 and called it quits, it was about 35 degrees with the humidity and after half an hour of this circuit I was completely beat. The session went something like this

Warmup: Jog up the hill at the side of the house 10x
Set 1: 10 14″ Jump ups 10 wide front pull ups
Set 2: 10  18″ Step ups with knee raise, 10 narrow front pull ups
Set 3: 10 14″ Jump ups , 10 reverse grip pull ups
Set 4: 10 18″ Step ups with foot tap not step down, 10 wide front pull ups
Set 5:  10 24″ Jump ups, 10 narrow front pull ups
Set 6: 10 24″ Jump ups, 10 reverse grip pull ups
Set 7: 10 24″ Jump ups, 10 wide front pull ups

Unfortunately the highest point of the deck is 24″ off the ground which, for a person my size is probably high enough! The circuit only took about 28 minutes to complete but my heart rate was alarmingly high after doing the jump ups. I was really surprised just how difficult it was even with all the Insanity stuff I have been doing. I think I will keep doing this though, at least trying to incorporate the outside world, we live on a private circle which is 600m around, so maybe I will start incorporating 600m runs into the program now that the oppressive heat seems to have broken.

Since I am writing this the day after and  I am able to walk, I can speak to the success of this program. I did have thoughts of not being able to move this morning, unsure how my back would have reacted to the workload.

Round 3 – Work outside! Day 23 – 26.

I got tired of waiting for the garage to be cleaned so I could work out so I decided that as I built the new decks outside I would throw up a chin up bar. I also thought that using a piece of fencing railing which is quite thick (2″) would give me some grip strength benefit too. I also finally got around to making the dip / push up stands which seem wobbly so I may have to do some stability work on them to get them to be safe for use. I will be posting pics as soon as my hosting company gets their stuff sorted out. I also want to get a small stand made for some of my dumbbells to get them off the floor and some other smaller fitness related stuff.

Wow, talk about customer service… Dreamhost fixed my issue already.

New 2" chin up bar

Day 23 – 26

Cardio Power and Resistance
Shoulders and Arms + ARX
Pure Cardio
Legs and Back

Unfortunately I got caught out with having to take 2 days off this week due to unforseen baby issues. However, so far so good, the mix of insanity and P90X is keeping me entertained and challenged and in fact this week I start the Max Insanity sessions so that will be, well, painful I am sure.

Round 2, Day 37 – Plyometric Cardio and DIY

I was cruising the internet last evening looking for DIY stuff for my garage. Now I have a chin up bar out there I was looking for ideas for other home made items and came across this little gem of a dip station and also this video of a similar but even more creative solution.

Either way, they both motivated me to try and build something this weekend if Ihave the time. I will post my results here, of course. If you have any suggestions for other home made items, let me know, I am always open to suggestion.

So last night I was doing the Plyo workout by Shaun T and thinking that although it is better than the P90X version in some ways, I have a hard time getting up to speed with the intensity right away. I actually wish some of the Insanity DVDs were about 10 minutes longer with a more graduated warmup. I seem to have calf issues with the warmup for insanity and when I do it causes the whole workout to be far more difficult because I have to keep resting to stretch my calf. I am also concerned over getting shin splints so I end up being (probably) overly cautious.

The most famous "sports bra" incident. Until now...

I also noticed that Tony hasn’t cornered the market on creepy comments as I heard Shaun T say to one of his participants “You hadn’t ever worn a sports bra before this”, a comment which could be interpreted one of several ways but just seems a little ewww.

On an unrelated note, I found out how to display each post in full on the blog front page rather than just an excerpt of each one. I prefer this to be honest. All I did was to change the <?php the_content(”); ?> from <?php the_excerpt(”); ?>. I used to know this stuff, it’s just all changing so quickly now it’s hard to keep up.

As a final note to get you back on the fitness track, someone sent me this short piece this morning which basically reinforces the notion of eating smaller more frequent meals:

The Dreaded 4:00PM Hungries

Neil Peace, MD, General Practice, 02:17AM Mar 17, 2010

Every one of my overweight patients describes intense hunger (or at least food seeking) at about 4 PM. Why? Mothers blame it on stress – kids come home – time to prepare dinner – and they eat. Executives say it’s the pressure – deadlines looming – and they eat. The builder says they finish work and suddenly hunger – and they eat. Many reasons are given. The 4 PM phenomenon is universal.Is it Ghrelin? This hormone from the stomach correlates with food seeking. Cummings1 showed a rapid rise in Ghrelin between 2 PM and 6 PM. But this 2-6 PM rise in Ghrelin is similar to the 8 AM to 12 noon rise in Ghrelin, before lunch, and yet people do not report the same intensity of food seeking before lunch. Frecka2 concludes that Ghrelin is more a follower than a leader – of eating patterns. The evolutionists say the 4 PM food seeking drive dates from 100,000 years ago. Then, you needed food before the sun goes down (a strong drive at 4 PM enhanced survival).

Ghrelin or not, I know that to ignore the 4 PM “hungries” invites weight loss disaster.

It seems most overweight patients try to “get through from lunch to dinner” without a snack. In my experience, this long gap is followed by over indulgence at dinner and a tendency to keep eating after dinner. “I had a full dinner but I didn’t feel satisfied, and I kept nibbling.”

Research is moving towards the “small and often” eating pattern. I urge patients to eat at about 4 PM. If the snack is ready beforehand, then there’s a chance it will be the correct energy intake. If the snack at 4 PM is a spontaneous purchase, then, in my experience, there is a high risk of excess energy intake.

I think the three-meals-a-day gorging-style of eating is out of date in 2010, but that debate can wait.

It is not easy to convince patients to stop at 4 PM and eat. I wish employers understood this phenomenon and catered to a short break at 4 PM.

Many Family Physicians are employers.

As a Family Physician what do you do for your own 4 PM “hungries”? What does your staff do at this time?