I Feel Kettlebells Returning

I have recently been bothered by my apparent lack of mobility and with the advent of really shitty weather I feel like it may be time to get back into the basement for some kettlebell work. Fact is that I bought some doc boots that require the ability to reach my feet for an extended period and it has exposed a deficiency in my abilities. Also, I am going to try to return to Tony Horton’s Fountain of Youth 1 hour yoga workout too since I can’t stomach the 90 minute nonsense from the P90X series. So what to do? I have in the past done KB work exclusively for a period and didn’t miss the gym or the machines at all. However that was way back when my workouts were haphazard and I was trying to get used to my new body. Being under 240 after being over 300 for years is an eye opener let me tell you.

So what to do now? Now I have a standard routine and no time spare to bring in the KB work? Add to that the fact that I cannot work out 3 days a week because I coach right from work and I have a real time issue to deal with. Of course, the answer would be to do a 15 minute KB workout during the 30 minutes of mostly unsupervised conditioning that the kids do those 3 days. That may be the solution that I don’t want to accept but in light of my workouts being shorter now (40 minutes) and skipping days (MWF) I may be facing an uncomfortable reality. The fact is that the workouts I am doing are not making be more capable. They may be making me stronger in certain areas and better looking but if I don’t actually feel better then it’s really not the result I am looking for. The last time I really felt like I had become “more durable in the real world” was after my KB intro back in 2011. Back then I had kind of a hybrid workout with RKC (Russian Kettlebell Challenge) and regular gym movements together. Once I was finished with that program I was a convert. I remember being amazed at my core strength and cardio by the time I was done and this on the back of what I thought were very short workouts. Truth is that most KB work is whole body especially when you end up doing lots of swings and can develop amazing back and core strength. Add some turkish get ups and you have a wonderful system.

So I think I will do a hybrid of the hybrid…

This was the workout that was:

Day 1 – RKC Minimum Swings (The RKC Minimum is 4 weeks, then transition into Rite Of Passage)
Day 2 – RKC TGU and WOD
Day 3 – Bench and dips (Chest, shoulder, tri)
Day 4 – Cardio or stretch or Yoga

Day 5 – RKC Minimum Swings
Day 6 – RKC TGU and WOD
Day 7 – Deadlifts and Squat (Legs and Back)
Day 8 – Cardio or stretch or Yoga



Summer Wind Down (my rest month)

restIts the time of year where I take a bit of time to heal, to let my heavy lifting of the summer get behind me and take some time to do some ancillary work and cardio. I tend to lift pretty heavily during the summer, and almost exclusively certain exercises that eventually leads me to lacking in other areas. I don’t really do it on purpose but I can’t remember the last time I did my calves or forearms… or for that matter did any time on my abs or the StairMaster.

So for the next month or so I am going to be taking 15 minutes out of my 45 min workout to do cardio and I am going to build in some ancillary work. Specifically I need to do some lower back work on the GHD and some hamstring work. I tend to do less hamstrings when I squat and leg press and I feel like that’s a problem. The last time I was at the doctor he commented on my marginally elevated blood pressure so I am hoping that some cardio (and some kettlebell HIIT) will help to bring that BP down. Speaking of KB work I think I am going to get back into doing some of that. I think that since I coach on 3 weekdays and have no time for workouts on those days that a light KB workout when I get home or even in the morning before we go to work would do wonders. I only need about 15 minutes to get some swings in and get my heart going so it’s not a big ask really. It will also help with my abs which have had ZERO work all summer with the exception of the twisting rows that I do for my back. I have been particularly tired the last week or so and I think my body is crying out for a break. It may also be time to think about moving towards mobility and gymnastics skills for the winter rather than heavy lifts. A couple of years ago I pushed really hard towards Christmas to get some of my heaviest lifts in years, but I think I would be just as proud of a 10 second handstand as I was of my 415lb bench.

So for the time being it’s increase the cardio, reduce the weights and find some variety in my workouts to give myself a break.

I would say get more sleep too but I think we all know that’s not going to happen…

Hitting My Stride – Finally

burpees0likes1I think I am finally finding a way to satisfy my cravings for certain workout types and managing to put to bed my fear that my intensity and time are lacking. So far I have managed to integrate HIIT rope work with each workout, I have started to get back into kettlebell workouts and I am testing my bootcamp type workouts before coaching. This means I am generally doing the following:

3 bootcamp style workouts – bodyweight, jumps, abs and functional movement
2 barbell workouts, maintaining my bench press workout and a multiple movement Olympic lift session or two
1 cardio or true HIIT workout with chinups, med ball cleans wallball etc and a bit of sprint or running work.

The schedule is still a bit random but it is tied down by the days that I do the bootcamp workouts. I have to say that adding back the functional movements like chin ups, burpees, vsnaps etc has brought back that feeling of mobility and fitness that I was missing after slipping down the Gym Rat slope after starting Body Beast in the Spring. I have gained quite a lot of size and strength but also I admit a few pounds of fat. So in turning back towards bodyweight workouts and HIIT I am going to start whittling away at that extra stored energy and hopefully be left with additional strength as protection for my ever present back aches. I do need to get a few pounds off and the sooner the better.

I did toy with the idea of getting back into a P90X or P90X2 schedule as a base for my workouts but until the extra crap is out of the basement I don’t really have space in front of the TV in order to do that. Next move then, get rid of the extra treadmill (I think my wife may have already sold it) and clear some space in the gym to enable the winter workouts to start. It’s premature I know but I think it’s going to take a little more planning than I think, and maybe a flat screen on the wall…

In addition, I did make some more purchases for the gym last week from Fitness Avenue (who have moved down the street from where they were), including:

40LB Kettlebell
Adjustable plyo box – heavy and sturdy as hell, full metal construction 16″ to 28″ height
55lb 5o ft sleeved undulation rope
45lb dumbbell
55lb dumbbell

The rope is fantastic, I have been donig undulations with it but even better is hanging it over my chin up bar and pulling it through like you would pull a heavy sled. If you wrap it twice it’s incredibly hard to pull through, great for grip strength and full back pumps!

R12 – Summer 2014 Outline

summer-bodies-500x315So I wanted to see if I could make something based around what I already do, working in all the equipment I have, being able to make it as short or long as I want. Also, letting me involve Crossfit either at the gym or use the WOD for the day. The other thing is I wanted to be able to do a bootcamp any day, that would mean not doing anything so heavy or specific that it would preclude me from doing a whole body workout the next day or two. I wanted to add in a little cardio where possible, and to that end I am going to mix my deadlifting days with either 600m runs (that’s round the block) or shorter sprint / hill work. It’s a big departure for me but here is what I have so far. I have included any Yoga days and off day, I will take those when I have to and when I need to. I have designated the Heavy and Light days and the HIIT specific day although most of what I am doing this summer will qualify as HIIT rather than heavier muscle building workouts. Here is what I have come up with for the time being and I am sure it will change once I have run through it a couple of times. There are additional rules to adhere to:

1. No more than one day off in a row
2. No less than 80% work ratio (days on vs days off)
3. Improve my sleep pattern to assist in my recovery to at least 7.5 hours a  night.

Here is the plan as I see it.

Bench and ring dips (HEAVY)
Deadlifts and sprints / laps (LIGHT)
Cleans and Squats (HEAVY)
Press and KB swings (LIGHT)
Pullups and 95lb Deadlifts / cleans / clean and press
Cardio / Yoga / MMA workout

R11D489 – What is an HIIT schedule

don't kid yourselfI should start by saying it’s not strictly HIIT at all, in fact calling it Crossfit would be more accurate and while there are people who would call Crossfit HIIT it only occasionally fills the description. You can google Crossfit and HIIT and see what I mean.

HIIT is short for High Intensity Interval Training. The fact that it is in interval based system should indicate that it will only occasionally cross paths with Crossfit. In fact, the Tabata system of training is the very definition of HIIT and it’s rarely used in Crossfit. However, it would be easy to convert any Crossfit workout into an HIIT workout, instead of doing AMRAP for 16 minutes let’s say, you would simply break it down into X rounds with Y break in between.

For my purposes I like the HIIT method because it brings the short break that I have been accustomed to from my gym days and it causes a variation in heart rate that is said to be the most beneficial. Before we can jump into the timing we first need to see what ingredients we have to work with for our schedule. This will include any movements you like, any equipment you can use and of course both full body involvement and cardio and abs and yoga during the cycle which is typically 5-8 days. The traditional weight training would have you believe that a full body 4 day split is what you need, giving you a day off for rest so that you work the same body part once every 5 days. If you are doing compound movements with multiple pivot points and cross training specific body parts with others (pullups and pushups for example) then this notion is not much use to you. Instead, you should be looking for something that will keep you interested but be varied enough and predictable enough that you can get used to it but not bored with it. You can dress a skeleton in a lot of ways, just look around you, and we will do the same with a framework in which to work and the ability to switch exercises if necessary (injury or otherwise).

Keep in mind that you will also be progressing, the following is a good example of an HIIT progressive schedule:

  • Week 1 — 10/20 x6 (10s work, 20s rest, 6 sets)
  • Week 2 — 15/15 x4
  • Week 3 — 10/20 x8
  • Week 4 — 15/15 x6
  • Week 5 — 20/10 x4
  • Week 6 — 15/15 x8
  • Week 7 — 20/10 x6
  • Week 8 — 20/10 x8

I know it doesn’t look like much but with a ten minute warm up and the adherence to the HIGH part of HIIT then you will find this plenty. Now you don’t have to stick to these timing lengths, you can go longer as long as you rest and can repeat.

So what do I want do to with this schedule of mine? Well there are things I want to include and I think a 5 day split is plenty.

Clean (Power or squat or hang in a pinch)
Push Press (or clean and press)
Kettlebell swings (KBs are great for warmups BTW)
Bench Press
Wallball / Heavy Ball / Heavy Log
Block Jumps
Weighted lunges / lunge walk

Also, I want to make sure that I cover off the basic types of movement, that is to say:

That’s all for now, I am actually working on the final schedule as you read this, I should have it up in a couple of days. Until then it’s the last of the DB Isolations with The Beast.


R11D90-98 – Cruising

Australian-Cruise-SydneyI didn’t actually quit after day 90 a week ago, I have been busy with work and gymnastics and unable to get my activities down. I have also been field testing a Garmin Vivofit which I am using to see what I can deduce from my daily activities and sleep that will help to get me back down to my working weight of around 230lbs. I know I have lots of data about my workouts, I know when I am working hard enough and I know how many calories I am burning etc. The problem is that I don’t really know what I am doing the rest of the time. Am I sitting too much, inactive too long am I getting enough sleep and what is the quality of that sleep. These are all metrics that I can measure with the Vivofit. Now I should be able to tell what I suspect, that my activity during the day is holding me back. I have been sitting more than I would like since my second surgery mostly because they got me a really nice chair to sit in and that, I suspect may be part of the problem. I have prattled on about the benefits of standing to work but not only that, the fact that it made me feel more mobile and willing to take walks to do things I would otherwise do over email. I have a feeling that the simple fact I am sitting more is contributing to my plateau.

I spent part of the weekend cleaning the garage floor in preparation for the triumphant return of the barbell and bumper plates to the garage which signifies the return of clean and press and squats into my regimen. I am timing it for the big switch over to HIIT again on May 1 at which time I shall get back with my polar RS800CX HR monitor and see exactly how out of shape I have become doing exclusively weight training over the last few weeks. I feel a little more slovenly I have to admit, there were times before the surgery where I actually felt like I was in shape, mobile, capable of anything. Not so much right now. I mean I feel like I could crush a car in my giant hands but I don’t really feel, well, fit. I did a kettlebell workout on Sunday morning to try and work out the kinks in my back and although it was tough I actually do feel better today than I have in a few days. It wasn’t like my old KB workouts, it was mostly squats and swings, but enough to send my HR through the roof and satisfy my urge to sweat a little.

So I guess you could say that I am in my last 2 weeks of Body Beast. I do feel beasty but after all that I am not so sure that is the feeling I was going for. If you want to try it out, le me know, I can get you great pricing on any Beachbody products.

R11D37 – Weekend Away

niagara snowWe had a night away on Friday in Niagara Falls at the Marriott Fallsview. It was a nice hotel but because it was 700 below with the wind and blowing a gale the fact that it wasn’t actually attached to the casino was a little inconvenient. We did take a cab one way but my decision to walk home via the front of the casino meant I was in the wind the whole way, I seriously thought I was going to get hypothermia or frost bite since I had no hat. Anyway, the rooms are very nice, we had a falls view with 2 queens which was perfect. The bathroom was nice, a single function rain type shower head into a tub. The TV was a big flat screen which is expected nowadays I suppose and the place was overall very clean. We got $25 coupons for Milestones so we went there and had dinner (Steak and yam fries) which was pretty good, it is also noteworthy that we had another coupon for a free breakfast buffet and $25 casino play cash. Not a bad value at all since we only paid $149 for the room.

Before we went to dinner I went to the gym which was small but nice, some dumbbells and a large rack type pulley gym. Also, several treadmills and ellipticals. My workout was largely dumbbells something like this:

25 lb db 10 press 10 pullups
30 lb db 10 press 10 pullups
35 lb db 10 press 10 pullups
40 lb db 10 press 10 pullups
45 lb db 10 press 10 pullups
50 lb db 10 press 10 pullups

25 lb 10 fly 10 cable lat straight arm pulldown
30 lb 10 fly 10 cable lat straight arm pulldown
35 lb 10 fly 10 cable lat straight arm pulldown
40 lb 10 fly 10 cable lat straight arm pulldown

Finish with some low cable chest fly pulling up to head height

Saturday after we got home I decided to do an RKC workout with my 55lb KB as follows:

Clean and press, alternating arms

Doesn’t seem like much, but it killed me to do the cleans from the floor and I think I was not smart not to use shoes, it’s been a long time since I did RKC with no shoes and it’s different than barbell cleans for your feet.

Monday I took off since today I am supposed to be going back to my old gym (Super Secret Hideout Gym) on a guest pass with my cat.

Saw the La Rocca Cake van again today and I was reminded how much their logo reminds me of something…

larocca closeenough


Update and detail on my “bootcamp” days

20131104_174003Friday I did a short bootcamp with the kids, if only to get them to do 45 seconds on non stop work. It was a bit of a farce but at least I had my CIT to keep an eye on them.
Saturday I busted out the Kettlebells and did a shoulder workout, so not a lot of swings but sets of:
High pulls
Front raise
Strict press – From unrotated position
Rack press – from rack position

Sunday I was planning to do something but time got the best of me and I decided to take the day off. That motivated me to do a heavier Olympic lift workout on Monday with 7 sets of each deadlifts and clean with deadlift alternating. I am working up to 135 still but it’s looking good for this week. At least I know I can go up to 200 for deadlift without much effort so that’s one thing. Tuesday I did Body Beast Bulk Chest which I am really enjoying. So much that I might actually dive in and do the whole thing with Oly lifting as a sub for back days.

What exactly is a “short bootcamp” that I keep referring to? Well, it’s a 20-30 minute workout that is bodyweight oriented and comprised of legs, abs, chest, arms and shoulders.

Here’s an example of what it would look like on a typical day:

Sets of 10, each section is non stop.

front lunge

step out pushup
diamond pushup
power crunch
Pop squats
back lunge front kick

frog jump
clapping pushup
V pushup (shoulders)
bicycle switch
roll to boat hold

2-4-6-8-10-8-6-4-2 (50 reps)

lunge switch (MK)





Expanding and Increasing

350-780888-894__1I thought it was time to increase the weights and add a little variety. I am not bored, but I am definitely knee deep in a rut of Olympic lifts. I really need to start doing bootcamp workouts with the kids to get us all back into the habit.

Thursday – Off. Swimming seems to put paid to my workout efforts on Thursdays, it’s just at a really awkward time for me.
Friday – Pre-Coaching:
5×5 deadlift @95
5×5 Clean @95
5×5 deadlift @135
3×5 deadlift @185

Saturday – Painful back so rested.
Sunday – working but I will try to get the Kettlebell workout in that I have been craving:
@45lb KB
5×10 sumo deadlift high pull
5×5 Clean each arm
20 swings, 10 pullups
5×5 clean and press each arm
30 swings, 20 pullups
5×5 snatch each arm
40 swings, 30 pullups

5×5 Clean, Clean and Press, Snatch
50 swings, 15 pullups

My shoulder seems to be a little better this week and the painful kneecap issue seems to have gone away. I am taking Webber Naturals Joint Ease Glucosamine and Chondroitin that I picked up on sale at Costco a couple of weeks ago and I think that is helping a little. 3 caps a day for 1500mg Gluc and 1200mg Chon.


Still booting

With March Break and so on we had a disruption in service, however all is back to normal now and I am going to commit to keep more up to date. The problem with not keeping up is not only do I lose the record of what I have done and what I need to do but I get a bit aimless in my workouts away from bootcamp and start to slack off.

Last week we did a bodyweight class with bosu that looked like the list below. After that I alternated with Olympic lifts (deadlift and clean) and a bench day, also a MMA day where I hung the bag in the garage away from everything breakable and did about 40 minutes of kicking and punching along with a little kettlebell swinging. However it all feels a little haphazard and unfocused. So I am going to try and put together a couple of weeks plan here and stick to it. I have to say I have been keeping up with the 5-6 days a week which I am happy with but I have also not been keeping good enough tabs on my dairy intake which I think is keeping me a little bloated.

Anyway, here is last week, I will post tonight tomorrow if that makes sense!

Balance Of Death

x2 in a row 1 off bosu 1 on bosu
10 regular pushups
10 military pushups
10 sphinx to plank step or drop
10 pushup side raise
10 pullups

Sit on bosu

20 in and out
20 crucnhy frog
20 knees to elbow alternate
20 in and out abs hands on upside down bosu
20 side crunch per side

x2 1 on BOSU 1 on SB
10 SB pushup boing
10 SB Burpee lift ball
10 SB Plank to sphinx
10 per SB elbow plank side raise

Feet on SB

10 regular pushups
10 military pushups
10 sphinx to plank step or drop
10 pushup side raise
10 pullups

20 Crunchy Frog
20 vsnap
20 laying triple bicycles
20 full situps

Arms on SB 20 360’s
Arms on SB plank to sphinx
10x feet on SB walk out and back
20x feet on ball face down roll ball in to chest
20x laying hamstring pull

20 laying leg lifts
10 per rainbow leg lifts
10 per scissor hold on count
25 per side to side scissor rapid


Burpee ladder – 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1
on the minute every minute (10 min burpees)
rest in plank position.