2015R1D62 – I’m Down. Not So Basic. Intermediate Reintroduction.

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts, Gym / Weighlifting Workouts, Planning

I’m down about 10lbs total. I am sitting right at 252 but should be down in the 240s by the weekend. It’s not easy but not really that hard either thanks to my complete lack of appetite. I am planning on another 10 this month to get me sub-240 and I should start to look like that picture over there —> again. Nothing much to report regarding the workouts other than I have snuck kettlebells back into the system to replace some of the cardio. I feel the KB workouts are so much more beneficial as HIIT and as cardio workouts than what I do the other days and while the other workouts are good coordination and agility based, KB work is grinding out high HR work.

What happens to the person who did lift, now doesn’t but wants to start again? The process here is not like the new person who can be scared off by technical approaches or too much work. This person generally knows what it takes to succeed physically but may not have the knowledge to produce a workout system designed to orient them towards their goal whatever that may be. Let’s assume someone has 4 days to work out plus one extra day that will be a choice of either cardio or yoga. For those 4 days you will need to hit every body part, which naturally lends itself to bodyweight and compound movements. There needs to be an orientation towards what the final goal will be which is olympic / barbell lifting, kettlebell work, HIIT WOD type workouts and agility/speed workouts (depending on the focus). For arguments sake let’s take an athlete who wants to be able to perform specific tumbling moves, let’s say from back layout full to standing back tuck full or front 1 1/2 (Rudi) or in fact anything from Barani to Rudi Randi and Adolph. Any of these things require not just great technical skill but also a good strength foundation with lots of core strength and explosive strength through the hips.

So what kind of moves are we familiar with that require fast explosive hip movements? Well, clean and snatch come to mind. Also kettlebell swings and one arm kettlebell movements of any kind are well suited to this kind of development. Add some explosive sprint / weighted sprints / sled push type work and you have a recipe for successful support of the skill training.

Specifically let’s address the 5 day rotation which will give us 2 rest days in a week. I am not a fan of using the 7 day model but since most people have jobs that solidify their availability then we have to work around that.  Here are the 4 days.

Each day is split into 2 parts Crossfit style with a Strength portion and a conditioning or HIIT portion. We want to keep in mind the individual probably doesn’t want to spend an hour a day on this.

Day 1 – Strength – Legs, HIIT – Varied Jumps and wallballs (leg centric)
Day 2 – Strength – Shoulders, HIIT – Cleans and presses (shoulder / trap centric)
Day 3 – Strength – Back (Deads), HIIT – Pullups, Kettlebell swings, Turkish Get Ups
Day 4 – Strength – Chest (Bench), HIIT – Plyo / agility / sprints
Day 5 – Yoga / Cardio / Core specific work

2 rounds to load up to the final benchmarks and use the load up weeks as deload weeks where necessary.

Day 1 – Strength – Legs, HIIT – Varied Jumps and wallballs (leg centric)

Warmup 5×10 air squats plus 5×10 walking lunges

Air squats with 20lb collar 5×10 (20 calf raise for rest) – Will transition to barbell squats front and back
Front lunge 5×10 with 20lb collar (60s calf raise hold for rest) – Will transition to static barbell split squat
Back Lunge 5×10 with 20lb collar (Rest in 90 degree horse stance or half mid splits) – Replaced by hamstring curls or stiff leg DL

HIIT

Max effort long jumps tabata timed (4 minutes)
24″ box jumps tabata timed (4 minutes)
Full depth wallball 20lb 7×7

or

5 rounds of:

10x max effort long jumps
10x 24″ box jump
10 wallball @20lb

More to come…

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Back To Basics? No Problem.

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

keep-calm-and-get-back-to-basics-5What is the most basic workout you can do to “survive” as an athlete? Injured, out of focus, surgery, distractions, University we all come up against times in our life when we need to get back on the wagon and maybe going straight to the gym isn’t the preferred method. Maybe a gym isn’t available, maybe at home is where the work needs to happen. If that’s the case then we need to take a quick look at what components we need to succeed. First let me say that anyone can afford the bare minimum of workout equipment which is a 25lb kettlebell for women and a 40lb KB for your average man. This is your health we are talking about and since you won’t be spending $8 a pop at Starbucks any more, the KB will be yours in a week. There are a MILLION youtube videos about kettlebell workouts, I don’t need to cover them here. Let me just say that the greatest full body movements there are involve kettlebells.

You can read this for a start!

The basic components of a successful eating plan are:
No sugar. Period.
No grains if possible.
Plenty of protein and quality fat.

The basic components of an at home workout of the most basic type are:
Bodyweight
Determination

Here’s a basic starter workout that can be done every other day:

30 Jumping Jacks
20 body weight squats
10 push ups (on stairs)
20 stair dips
20 walking lunges
10 Burpees
10 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or a cat)
30 second plank
20 body weight squats
30 Jumping Jacks

If you have access to a bar:

5×5 chinups
5×10 leg lifts

Here’s the kicker for the pushups and the bar work.

Start your pushups on the stairs, hands on the 3rd or 4th step up, nice easy incline. Each 2nd workout move down one step until you are doing them on the floor. Then, every week, progress up the stairs with your feet until you are basically doing 45 degree incline pushups like a boss.

For the bar, if you can’t do a strict chinup yet, start with kipping or beat chin-ups to help. Eventually you will be able to do 5 without stopping. Every other workout try to do one or two sets with maximum reps just to see how many you can do.

Leg lifts can be done as tuck ups at first and then bent leg lifts then straight leg.

This is a beginner workout and should be done for 4 weeks MAX. After that amount of time (or before) your body will be requesting more activity. As you go, you can increase the rep count as you see fit. FOR EVERYTHING not just the stuff you like.

By week 4 you should be doing something like this (it should be noted that these totals will be broken down into sets of 10 or so NOT INCLUDING THE JACKS)

50 Jumping Jacks
40 body weight squats
25 push ups (on stairs)
40 stair dips
60 walking lunges
25 Burpees
40 dumbbell rows (using a gallon milk jug or a cat)
60 second plank
40 body weight squats
50 Jumping Jacks

If you have access to a bar:

10×5 chinups
10×10 leg lifts

After 4 weeks it’s about time to step up the intensity and you should start to look at interval training and weight training. If you still don’t have access to weights you can still get a kick ass workout with bodyweight (or buy a kettlebell for $20):

Handstands
Tuck Jumps
Military Pushups
Pistol squats (One leg)
Hindu pushups
Feet on stairs shoulder press
Vsnaps with power crunch
Plank hold with hip touch
Pushup tuck jump pancake burpees

There is plenty that you can do in “Bootcamp” format to get into formidable shape. In fact, you can click on the tag cloud on the right and select any of the bootcamp tags or search bootcamp in the search box at the top of the page and find literally dozens of pre-made, pre-approved and successfully tested bootcamp workouts.

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2015R1D49 – Finally Falling

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

xmas fat catLast week I dropped 4lbs without noticing. This week so far I am down another 1.5 and it’s only Wednesday. My workouts have continued to include “cardio” which for me is now xbox insanity or (and I shudder to admit this) Zumba for xbox. I am sticking with the 3 lifts weights days but I have to admit while cutting I tend to veer more towards a cardio day if I have a choice than a weights day. That means I am unlikely  to get any ancillary work done or to stray into clean and press territory. I am cruising at the moment, the only real change is the coconut oil discovery which I am hoping will allow me to dip below 250lbs again really soon. Once I am down below 250 I can start to slow the cut a little and aim for another 10lbs for March to get me ready for another summer of Oly lifting and Crossfit at a weight that I can handle. I don’t have my stats on hand, I will transcribe them on Saturday after I have weighed in for this week.

It’s also my birthday this week so I am taking 2 days off work to get some really heavy cardio in and to ponder whether I should go ahead and have a big mirror installed in the basement. I haven’t really thought of getting myself a birthday present but I could use some more bumper plates if I have $ to spare.

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Coconut Oil Is The Shizzle

Category: Nutrition

coconutoilI know, there are articles everywhere about how wonderful coconut oil is and I for one am a firm believer in everything you read about the benefits but I thought along with a couple of my favourite links I would tell you my top reasons for loving Coconut Oil.

First, I would like to say that I have rediscovered that it’s the only way I can really suppress my appetite. Recently I have started cooking my eggs with coconut oil in the morning, I was previously making sausages and waiting to get to work to buy my scrambled eggs but not wanting to waste more money that I need to I started making breakfast again. You can’t be shy with it, I use a full tablespoon and my eggs are swimming, but that’s OK, it all gets absorbed and no my eggs don’t taste like coconut. I buy the organic stuff from Costco and although they have recently changed brands, it’s pretty good stuff. June 2016 they have started selling a Kirkland version to compete with the Nutiva stuff, personally I think they are pretty much identical but the own brand sells for 20% less.

Last weekend I started the eggs for breakfast thing again. Saturday I made eggs and forgot to eat again until dinner time. For the last few days I have done the same. My indifference to food is once again unnerving and a breath of fresh air.

Now, I have stated before  that for a VERY long time (read: my whole life) I had thought about food 24/7. In my rush to put my workouts first I had forgotten the underpinning of what got me down to the best shape of my life in 2011. It wasn’t the bootcamps, although they did help, it was my use of coconut oil.

My workouts can be brutal, still, even at my age. My diet can be unreasonably restrictive in some people’s estimation but coconut oil is one thing we can all do for ourselves.

So what are my personal top reasons for using it?

1. Top of the list is hunger. It turns it off completely.

2. Use it to make protein bars, in the fridge it goes hard as rock. (Recipe here)

3. Skin softener. For me with my barbells and my gym girls with their bar hands it’s a great way to keep the calluses soft enough so they don’t rip.

Of course there are hundreds of other uses for coconut oil and flour . Here are some interesting reads if you like… Not forgetting the newest fad Bulletproof coffee…(Here’s a well written warning about that idea… )

Update June 2016 – A comprehensive take on the benefits… This time with Science! http://www.well-beingsecrets.com/health-benefits-of-coconut-oil/

Another very comprehensive article, also with scientific evidence. : https://www.jenreviews.com/coconut-oil/

Other resources to check out:

http://wellnessmama.com/5734/101-uses-for-coconut-oil/

http://www.swansonvitamins.com/blog/natural-health-tips/using-coconut-oil

http://whole9life.com/tag/coconut-oil/

http://www.marksdailyapple.com/coconut-oil-health-benefits/

http://healthygeeks.net/uses-of-coconut-oil/

 

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Keto or Paleo or Low Carb or High Fat. Yes.

Category: Nutrition

keto lunch and dinnerThere’s a lot of misinformation out there, that’s why I like articles like this, concise, accurate and with extra bacon bits of references.

10 Benefits of a low carb Keto diet…

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2015R1D36 – Unable To Decide If It’s Working

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

So I have modified the workouts to a 3 movement as outlined last post. I tried to go 5×5 but that was too little work. I am currently doing anything from 10 reps x 5 sets to 7 reps x 7 sets for each exercise. The problem I find is getting to heavy enough weights quickly enough to make it work. I find I prefer to build up to a heavy weight and if I don’t I find I am not effective and just don’t get the work I need. I am finding that for most exercises that 7×7 is working OK which puts me into the 150 rep range plus warmup.

I am sticking with the cardio, I purchased Insanity for Xbox and also Zumba for Nicole, even though I have done 3 of the 5 workouts myself. I am supposed to be losing weight but if I am honest with myself I am really not making enough of an effort. I have to cut out all the evening food, nothing after the workouts and bed early, that should fix it. The problem is that I have a harder time being motivated to lose the weight when I am performing well because I know I will lose strength and that makes me unhappy. But I have to. I can’t go into the summer at this weight, I need to drop about 20lbs ASAP to get ready for the HIIT system that I usually follow for the summer.

It’s weird too because I actually feel better for the cardio and I think I look a bit better, but let’s be honest, unless we are talking about 10lbs it’s just not significant. I think I will stick with the multiple exercise piece for now, I don’t seem to be getting burned out by it, in fact I feel better than I did. The weird thing is that I have been having knee pain for a while now which I think is due to adding muscle to my right leg and it hurts like hell all the time but as soon as I start squatting, the pain disappears. I think it’s the new muscle not being stretched or as flexible as it should be and it’s pulling on my knee. Whatever it is, it hurts. Not only that, I have been having niggling wrist pain too on and off since passing the Millennium. I can still bench but not with my suicide grip any more. Hopefully both these issues will subside once I get some weight off but I am not sure about the wrist.

Gymnastics is going well, we have the levels established now it’s time for routines and practice practice practice… We have a long time it would seem however it’s still the time that passes the quickest during the year. Once the New Year passes it’s like a slippery slide until competition and every year it seems to creep up on you at an alarming pace. Thankfully I only have 2 girls doing compulsory routines, the rest are going level 6 which makes my life a whole lot easier.

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2015R1D26 – Update. Changes Are Coming.

Category: Gym / Weighlifting Workouts, Olympic Lifts, Planning

Changed PrioritiesSo I am thinking about switching the weights up a bit for the time being.
I feel like my rep count is sufficiently high that I can split a 1 day deadlift program into 3 separate movements and still hit around the same rep count (90-150 most days). The point would be to work some accessory movements knowing that I am not going to be producing a 1 or 3 RM performance at all at the moment. What I would aim for is 50-70% max output on the main lift and then probably 5×5 at 80% on the accessory movements. It 2would break down something like this with some changes to the accessory movements over time.

Deadlift day becomes 7×5 DL, Good Mornings, bent rows
Cardio
Chest day becomes 7×5 Bench, flys, triceps
Cardio
Squat day becomes 7×5 Squat, leg extensions, hamstring curls
Cardio
OLY day becomes 7×5 cleans, snatch, OHP or cleans, front squat, DB OHP

That gives me a 4 day weight program and a 3 day cardio program which is fine for cutting. I will need to change the accessory movements, these are off the top of my head. 35 movements on each item for a total of 105 movements total.

Which brings me to my cut. It’s been not too painful but the results are also not too impressive. I am down about 4lbs in 2 weeks but the recomp is much better that it sounds.

There are 2 additional factors here, I gave up the CE stack I was using due to joint dryness which I think was the cause of my pain and also I started creatine which should add around 3-5lbs of water weight.

I also want to note here that I am having some pain since stopping the heavy Millennium cycle. I have found that cardio is aggravating my back and hips and is a great source of pain for me. So I am back with the daily stretching but to be honest I feel a lot more delicate since I started cardio again. My knees are painful when coming downstairs, even when I sit for a few minutes they hurt. I am hoping that in another week or so they will be getting used to it otherwise it’s out with the cardio and back to the HIIT instead. I have been doing a lot of dancing and bootcamp cardio type Xbox workouts including Insanity and P90X, whatever is free basically.
The numbers are far from impressive but here you go. Today was a little off, I think I have some hydration issues. If the creatine has added 3-5lbs then it’s possible I am down up to 9lbs which would be fine.
Weight-Fat-Water-Muscle-Rating-BMR-Age-Bone Mass-Visceral Fat

January-01-15 261 25.5 52 184.8 3 2649 48 9.4 13
January-05-15 257 25.5 51.5 182.2 3 2605 47 9.4 13
January-18-15 257 24.8 51.8 183.6 3 2614 45 9.4 13
January-23-15 258 24.5 52 185.6 3 2654 43 9.4 13
January-26-15 257 25.7 51.4 181.2 3 2690 48 9.2 14

Still a way to go but getting the hang of the workouts and keeping reminding myself to cut the calories a bit means a slow road. But then again slow is how you keep it off #fatlogic…

In reality, I need to focus more and eat less. Next week should show more of an improvement.

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2015R1D12 – No Results Is Progress

Category: Gym / Weighlifting Workouts, Gymnastics / Bootcamp

keep calm move forwardFitness.

It’s been almost a fortnight of my cut and nothing much is happening but I am good with that. I have learned over the years that my body is like an oil tanker in the ocean, you can turn it any way you want just don’t expect it to react very quickly. In the distant past (as with many people I presume) I would get discouraged with my lack of (specifically) weight loss after a couple of weeks and give up only to realize the following week that I was then losing. By that time it was too late and the damage was done. I have learned that a couple of weeks of strict diet and training is what it takes to lay the foundation for change. My weight is about the same but I feel better already. Although I wouldn’t recommend 12 days without a break to very many people, I know that at the moment my body is OK with it. It’s not been very hard training compared to my Millennium project so to me it feels like rest. That said, I managed to fit my DL, cleans, squat and bench into a 7 day rotation with 3 days of cardio. I have been spending time with my old friends Tony (P90X Plyo) and Shaun T (Insanity) and it’s been a lot of fun. And a lot of pain. My cardio was way off optimal but I am managing to struggle through the workouts sweating profusely, swearing like a sailor and once again being faced with my body’s lack of cooperation but it’s working. I am invigorated by the Xbox setup and the built in challenges that have me marginally ahead of my age group which is somewhere between dinosaur and cro-magnon man.

I have been unable to shake the cold I have had for about 2 weeks now too. I had to take off Thursday and Friday from work with fever, coughing, shortness of breath and nausea so I am eagerly awaiting the return of my health that should give me a boost. As for the numbers, the weight has not changed and in the next couple of days I should have my new scale stats to run against what I was. Like I tell my girls at gymnastics, it’s all about moving forwards, sometimes at a sprint sometimes at a crawl but moving…

Speaking of the gym, I wanted to colour this blog a little with some more personal touches. I think the P90X blog has run it’s course and for a general fitness writer (such that I am) maybe some extra depth into my activities and interests is warranted. I am thinking of moving the blog to a new address, but I can’t really think of a catchy subdomain. I will probably just move it to fitness.iamcanadian.org or something else equally vanilla. Suggestions are welcome of course. Maybe I can invest in another domain if a name really grabs me but since I already have fulltimefitness.ca which was for me and sweetphysique.ca which was for Nicole I probably have picked over what was available.

Gymnastics.

The girls are coming along, most have started to reclaim some of the skills that they “lost” before the break but since I don’t believe in “losing” skills lets just say that they are back on track mentally and are able to perform their skills again. It’s time for floor routines, they have to pick music and get to work on both their floor and beam routines soon since we only have 4 months to competition. My athlete with the broken leg should be back training lightly this week or next so the group should be back into the groove. My next job is to make sure that my level 6 athletes stay with their level 6 skills and my 2 level 4s have a shot at moving up if they can do the work in time. Level 6 is pretty easy to get into as long as you have the core skills they require such as kip on bars, handstand on beam, flight element on beam, 3 element tumbling plus a front tuck on floor and a decent vault. Once they have the basics they can add an almost unlimited amount of skills to their routines. It’s an exciting time, but nervy too with some girls still on the edge of having their basics ready.

 

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2015R1D5 – Getting Serious and a Rude Awakening

Category: Planning

srslystopimdriving

Thursday, 01/01/2015 1 Insanity Plyo Cardio 100%
Friday, 01/02/2015 2 30 min cardio Mossa MMA 100%
Saturday, 01/03/2015 3 Bench 160reps 225 10MinTrainer 100%
Sunday, 01/04/2015 4 Insanity Cardio Power Resistance 100%
Monday, 01/05/2015 5 Deadlifts to 185 100 reps 100%

My last few days are a fair representation of what a complete obsessive personality I have. I was supposed to be adding some cardio to my regular (albeit light) lifting program. What happened was 5 days of cardio and only 1 day of weights (plus cardio that day too). This was assisted by the fact that my new XBOX Fitness program has FREE Insanity workouts this month, I mean who can resist that? I also had a rude awakening after I stepped on my body measurement scale only to find out that my “bulk” phase has added an inordinate amount of fat to my body. 3% total which is scary. I know that my strength is way up and I know that does kind of go hand in hand but to be almost 26% is hard to swallow.

In December my stats for weight-fat-water-muscle were:

December-01-13 236.6 22.5 53.5 177
January-05-15 257 25.5 51.5 182.2

As you can see I added 3% body fat, but my muscle mass increased by 5.2lbs or approx. 3%. My bodyweight increased by almost 9%. These are mostly numbers that make me uncomfortable. In the picture over in the sidebar my stats were far worse and I was up over 33%fat. To be honest I haven’t been over about 20% in quite some time so I am not impressed. However, I look at my Millennium success and I have to take the rough with the smooth, I achieved an amazing goal, but obviously went a bit off track at the same time. In the nicer half of that picture I am 232lbs and around 16% fat which is still a bit high but acceptable.

Which brings me to my goals for 90 days from now.

I seriously need to be below 20% as son as possible. Within 90 days is totally possible, I have 65.5lbs of fat right now and so I need to get rid of about 16lbs to take me down to 50lbs fat or below. That fits nicely into my goals so far. 16 lbs of fat can be lost in about 8 weeks so this should be easily achieveable and then I can reset my goals once I am down to either 20% or 50lbs of fat total.

I don’t want to just be held to those two numbers I would like to see my total lifts not drop below 75% of my Millennium Max which would give me the following:

Total lift numbers max (% numbers are approximate according to plate thresholds)

Deadlift 295 – 75% – 225
Squat 315 – 75% – 235
Bench 395 – 70% – 295
Total 1005 – 70% – 750

And so there you have it. 90 days to get back to what I would consider to be pretty good shape and not too skewed towards power lifts. Wish me luck…

 

 

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2015R1 – The Cut

Category: Planning

shrek-and-hulk1I have to admit this is the worst phase for me. I assume it is for most people I mean who likes to be eating in deficit and having to work out just as hard? Anyway, it’s the price to pay for dirty bulking and achieving those strength goals. So to start I need to make sure I am doing all the things that are important before adding the extra cardio. Here is a list of what I need to be doing on a per week  basis this phase.

Deadlifts
Bench
Squat
Clean / Power Clean
Seated OHP
Pullups 100-300 per week
KB Swings
I would also like to not lose grip with
Barbell snatch
Overhead Squat
Front squat
Toes to bar
Add to this 2 days of Cardio and HIIT then you have a full program.

It will probably look something like this:

Bench, Dips, Pulllups
DL and swings
Cardio or HIIT / WOD
Squat and pullups
Cleans and OHP
Cardio or HIIT / WOD

As usual I will take days off when I require them, maintaining a 78% workout ratio.

I am looking to do high volume, lower weights HIIT training as much as possible. The cardio days will include doing Insanity since I now have access to some of the workouts through the XBOX which is great. Most days I will be doing some sort of 10 minute cardio portion but nothing that is worth recording here. If the mood takes me I can do bootcamp on the days that I have cardio since these workouts should not preclude me from doing partial same bodyparts on consecutive days. This is especially true since the bootcamps will be bodyweight only.

I do not expect that I will enjoy this. I do expect to enjoy losing some of the bodyfat I gained during the Millennium.

I actually started on Jan 1 with Insanity Plyo Cardio Circuit. I wanted to see what it was like with the xbox fitness element added. It was just as painful if not worse however I smoked men in my age category so there’s that… I did realize that bulk without cardio is not such a good idea. I should probably have stuck to my plan of doing one cardio workout a week. I am in so much pain right now from hamstrings and mid back ski abs pain…

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