The Millennium – 855LBS

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts, Olympic Lifts

Bz0hrpOCMAMOoJhSo along with my regular Oly lifting I though I would concentrate on trying to improve my sad numbers on the deadlift. After all, I would think I should be able to do the same deadlifting as I do squatting since mechanically it’s basically a very similar movement with an off centre balance. So if I can squat 245 I should at least be able to match that.

I was at 225, only because that was about my limit for mental tolerance. I couldn’t really imagine putting more than 2 plates up without my spine exploding but taking it slowly, a few lbs at a time and I have been able to increase my deadlift to 275, up 50lbs. I don’t even know if that is my limit but to be completely honest doing that weight scared the crap out of me. I have been doing heavy / light rotation so every 2 weeks I am hoping to go up a little. However, I think I may have hit a plateau, the weight is scary heavy, only because of the implication of what may happen to my back, not because I have never done it before. Should I realistically try for 1000lbs? Is it really that important as a goal? Maybe for the new year I should pick a few WODs and try to rotate through them beating my time / rep count / whatever each time. I am so focused on what I am doing that this blog is suffering. I am afraid it’s not really entertaining to do and definitely not entertaining to read…

Question remains, can I squeeze another 150lbs out? I can realiatically see another 15-25 on bench before January and maybe 30 on squat. I may have to admit that I  have bitten off more that I can chew, but as the saying goes…

I would rather choke on greatness than nibble on mediocrity.

Deadlift 275
Squat 245
Bench 335

Total 855

That said, I recently changed my warmup to being a 15 minute cardio warmup to Dance Spotlight 2014 on Xbox One. Ya, a bit ridiculous but it really does get me ready to work and it’s kind of fun. At least when nobody is home…

Last of all, yesterday I posted the workout for the girls at gym. I wanted to do a Christmas theme and I came up with the picture below but it could have been so much better, I will have to think about that…


Also, I found a WOD site that claims to have ALL the WODs that are recognized by Crossfit called I think for tonight I will do something off the site to honour the discovery.

One Bar 3 Girls…

21-15-9 Reps for Time
Thrusters (135 lbs/95 lbs)
Squat Cleans (135 lbs/95 lbs)
Bar Dips
Deadlifts (135 lbs/95 lbs)
Handstand Push-Ups


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Millennium Progress – Passing 800lbs

Category: Gym / Weighlifting Workouts, Gymnastics / Bootcamp

Deadlift 225
Squat 245
Bench 335

Total 805

So I really can’t call this round 15 since it’s just a race to the end of the year to see if I can hit 1000lbs combined. I have been cycling on and off heavy 4 day groups with my lifts including cleans that are not included in the total. So far I have been able to get my bench up to 335 for 3 sets of 3 but my DL and Squat are still lacking not surprisingly because of my back surgery. It may take some time to get my lifts up to scratch but I am thinking I may be able to hit the following by year end.

Deadlift 275
Squat 275
Bench 350

That would do me a solid 900lb total meaning I would still have to get my DL and squat up to 325 each to meet my goal. Since I am currently at 225 that seems like a long shot given my restrictions. I mean if I didn’t have to pace myself because of my back I probably would be able to race past these numbers. It also doesn’t help that I am trying to get my bodyweight down so I am fighting against nature to try and increase my strength while losing weight.

That said, I have managed bench PRs the last 2 weeks and DL PR last week too. I think I have a lot of room to grow the DL but I am more wary of the squat.

I called a place in town yesterday to inquire about a mirror for the basement. All told, they gave me a quote of around $650 for 8×4 mirror installed. Considering the sad state of the wall mirrors I have up there now this seems like a good idea. Also, fitnessavenue has their slab mats on sale so I can potentially replace those sad foam grey interlocking tiles that are now starting to bubble up in the middle of the room. It’s the time to buy, whether it is pre Christmas or Boxig Day there are sales to be explored. Also, once February hits there are bound to be lots of new fitness gear up for sale on Craigslist…


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Liza and Elissa Want A Workout…

Category: Gymnastics / Bootcamp

Sets of 10, single legs are EACH LEG

shoulder crunch
Hands down in and out
crunchy frog
hands down bicycles F and B
full situp

front lunge
pop squat
back lunge
super skater

hands up in and out
crunchy frog
hands up bicycles F and B
Full situp double twist feet off

Pop squat
Sissy squats
super skater
1 leg toes touch knee lift
Full squat to floor

vsnap + pushup
crunch + full situp + vsnap
Side crunch + power crunch + side crunch

Jumping jacks
frog jumps
tuck jumps

With heavy bar
Back squats
full situp bar on chest
Full situp bar by feet

front lunge
back squat

front lunge + back squat 1-10
vsnap+pushup 1-10

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R14D90 – The Conclusion and R15 The Millennium

Category: Gym / Weighlifting Workouts

NewStackLast night was pretty good, I managed to do my PR for deadlifts since my surgery. I remember during the summer lifting 200lbs for deads and thinking it would not be smart or even possible to go any heavier. Then I decided that I should at least have bodyweight as my goal for deads and squats and bench and maybe for OHP like I used to. Fact is that all these lifts put the same compression into my spine (with the exception of bench of course) so technically if I can squat 275 I should be able to dead 275. Anyway, last night I guess I was not paying attention to much of the weight I  just kept going up the ladder as I usually do for bench. I started with warmups at 95lbs then 135 then 185 then straight to 225. It was not until after I completed 3 reps at 225 (TWICE) that I realized what I had done. So I was pretty excited. I have set a goal of 1000lbs total for bench deads and squats by the end of the year. At this point my PRs (again since my back surgery) are:

Bench 275 (although I am sure I can bring this up quickly with no issue)
Deads 225 No wraps or belt and hook grip not cross grip. Chalk of course.
Squat 275 No wraps or belt

That gives me a total of 775lbs for now. If I can hit my weight loss goals then I should be around 240 at New Years and repping a 1000lb total. My conservative self says bodyweight which would put me at 720 total but since I am already past that then an average of 333lbs per lift would be great. For now I will continue to try and hit 800 in a week and see how that goes.

Which brings me to my last point which is what to do next. I had thought of incorporating bootcamp workouts back into my regime which I think is still valid. That said, this would be my rotation:

Bench and pullups
Squats and pullups
Cleans / snatches / Olympic lifts / shoulders
Cardio / Yoga if required

I am tempted to do another 30WOD to be honest but I think that will have to wait until the spring. Unless of course I can fit it into my Cardio day. After all, HIIT is by its very definition cardio, right? We’ll see. For now, R15 will be the Millennium Round as I shoot for 1000lbs again.


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R14D72 – Planning Time

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts, Olympic Lifts

failing to planThis round has been a little less structured than I would have liked, at times i have felt like I was just barely hanging on to the schedule by my fingers. I know what the theory is behind what I am doing but the amount of flexibility has made it seem chaotic. After the 30WOD round I thought I would welcome a bit of leeway but as it happens it appears as though I have been rotating workouts like this:

Chest / bench day 150-200 reps up to 315lbs
Squats day 120-150 reps up to 275lbs
Cleans and pullups 200+ reps total up to 185lbs
Deadlifts and pullups 200 reps total up to 225lbs
Cardio walk/jog 40 min
Shoulder day usually strict press and kettlebells with press up to 225lbs

I am torn if I really want to try and up these weights, they are painful to look at when written like that but then again I have limitations I need to consider. As far as how I feel physically at these weights I can report that my knees are a little sore if I am not super careful about my foot positioning but the depth of Olympic squats is not bothering me. Deads are fine, my back seems to be able to handle the load OK and the pullups are improving. I feel a slight lack or inability to maintain good form with my cleans, on sets of 10+ I have a tendency to get loose at the bottom. With sets of 7 or so I am fine, just the last few that go sideways. Benching is what it is, my wrists are sore most days I am sure it’s more the cleans and KB work that is to blame for that since my suicide grip is not an issue for bench. Lately I feel like I have been struggling a bit with my higher bench, I can’t remember the last time I repped over 315 and I would like to keep my working weight at 365 for my top 3 rep sets. I have had a slight tenderness in my back this week probably due to the KB swings I did with the squats but that’s what I get for mixing days…

So the question is what do I want to do with my next round, I am only 18 days out so it’s time to start planning. I have been thinking of subbing my cardio days with bootcamp days instead, I know last time I got down to 230lbs it was while I was teaching bootcamp and I can’t ignore the fact my cardio is sadly lacking. I may try to work a 3 on 1 off schedule but I know every time I try to strictly schedule my workouts that way I feel claustrophobic and end up freestyling the thing anyway. I guess I am more of a do what you feel like person than a do what you have scheduled. I just know with working and coaching that there are days I just don’t have the gas in the tank and I need to take those days off. There are also times when I feel like doing a 6th 7th or 8th day in a row, it’s just what I feel like at the time and so far it has worked OK. I just can’t think of anything worse than sitting not working out because of my schedule when I am itching to do something.



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R14D62 – I Am Not Fearless. I Am Courageous.

Category: Gymnastics / Bootcamp

courage-and-successI’m not fearless I just know fear is false…

There is a saying that you should do something every day that scares you. When you get past your 30’s getting out of bed should count for that thing, but since it doesn’t we usually don’t come across fear very much in our lives. How then can we relate to the athlete that is fearful of doing a new skill? Well, in my most basic mind I think “Suck it up, I had to, you can too” without realizing that in as much as I seem normal, I am in truth an exception. It’s not to say that I am exceptional (although there have been times when I was) what I mean is that over the years, and starting at a very young age (pre 16 years) I have developed a very strong control over the tricks I allow my mind to play. Fear, after all, is a trick your mind plays on you to prevent you from hurting yourself, it’s the most basic of self preservation. However, the brain is a bit of a sissy and it will over-react to most things. With that in mind you have to take what that voice inside your head is saying with a grain of salt or in my case a box of salt. I have an often quoted page I wrote about fear and “doing the work” and the part I like to quote the most is this:

This is something I wish someone had told me in simple terms when I was younger. Instead I learned it from coaches who drove us into the ground on the rugby pitch, drilling us with merciless laps, sprints and piggybacks up tall grassy hills. It was those experiences and the results gained that drove into me the importance of doing what you are told, no matter how hard, no matter how painful it is, you will always succeed if you just do the work. There is a whole industry built around this theory, shirts, advertising campaigns, soft drinks, power drinks, protein bars, and almost everything else that can benefit from being tied to being healthy promotes pushing yourself to the limit. But it’s not the limit that you need to worry about, it’s your brain that you should be wary of.

The key here is to stop listening to yourself and realize that your brain, the couch potato that it is doesn’t really want to do much of anything, especially something that is hard or potentially dangerous. At 16 years old I flew a powered glider solo for the first time. I was scared out of my mind but I already had the mentality that if I wanted to do something amazing I was going to have to be something extraordinary. That achievement is something I still talk about decades later, it meant that much to me and it is probably the one thing that taught me that you can truly do anything you want if you are courageous enough. In my current life I face fear every day during my workouts, I have a history of back problems and a longer history of pushing myself beyond what some might call reasonable. That is why I still bench press 400lbs without a spotter, not because I have to but because it reminds me of what it is like to be scared. That feeling of fear is what produces the adrenaline that gets me through the set. Without the fear and adrenaline there would be no way I could do that kind of weight. Without fear, there is no courage…

We live lives fraught with danger, crossing the road, driving a car, riding transit, we put our faith in the skill and care of others with unwavering faith so many times, then why is it that when you have a coach who could dunk you that you refuse to let go of the bar doing flyaways? Is it really a fear of the skill? I think we know that is not the case since nobody gets to the point of doing flyaways or sole circles or giants without having done hundreds of drills and repetitions beforehand. So if it’s not the skill, what is it? It’s not the coach, for most kids the trust that they have in the coach (although they may not admit it) is is enormous, every back tuck they do, every twisting layout they try, any time they throw complex skills while the coach spots is saying “I trust you” and in turn the coach is saying to the athlete, “You can trust me, I promise to protect you”.

So that being said, where does the remaining fear come from? It comes from your inabilty to forsee a positive outcome. It comes from the lack in confidence that the unknown is a safe place. It comes, at a most basic level, from the voice in your head that can’t imagine your ability to succeed. That basic self-preservation has no gray areas, it’s not likely to make quality decisions, after all, it’s job is to keep you safe and much like parents on their child’s first day of school, breaking that protective bond is terrifying. But let’s give a shout out to logic here. Emotions are what give us quality in our lives, it’s what make us happy, loving, sensitive caring people. But it’s also what makes us paranoid, frightened and reclusive. Which one we choose is exactly that, it’s a choice. We choose to be fearful without even thinking that maybe the more beneficial choice would be to try a little courage on for size and to reap the emotional reward that comes with staggering achievement. And don’t kid yourself, once you have chosen to ignore the fear and go for it, the result is truly staggering because you have just overcome millions of years of evolution to do something that you wanted more than you feared.

There is no easy way to this point. It has to come from experience because nobody except you can control that inner voice of yours. Nobody can magically make the voice go away but with a little practice you can learn to ignore most of what it says. So next time you are stuck with a skill, fearful of a fall or worried about the work just remember, your coach has one job above all else and that is to help and protect you. But no matter how much support and encouragement they give, you won’t be able to hear it until you tell that voice to be still.

Bravery isn’t the absence of fear. It is the acceptance of the dangers, the acknowledgement of the challenge and the unwavering faith in your ability to perform. It is the courage to stand up for yourself in the face of doubt and to emerge triumphant. It is truly the champion’s path to greatness.

“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

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R14D54 – Sometimes It’s Easy.

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

beast lionWorking out, being a competitive athlete, being a gym rat or a fitness fanatic is easy for some people. Many of us, and I include myself in that group, find it easy to be motivated to do physical things, to be able to push ourselves to do things that are difficult or challenging. Some people, and again I include myself in this, may have issues of laziness or distraction in other parts of their life but when it comes to the gym it’s a different story.

Most of the time.

My history is a long one of competitive rugby, competitive powerlifting, Soccer, Diving, Swimming, Fitness Instruction and Personal Training. I am fortunate enough to have had exposure as a coach and trainer to many different disciplines including my second greatest athletic passion, gymnastics coaching. I call it my second passion because I put my own physical fitness journey ahead of everything else I do. I have to. If I didn’t then it would get swallowed up by other things and that would affect everything else in my life.

As I get older, people occasionally ask why I still work out like I do, why I don’t dial it back to walking a mile or two and doing some situps like most people my age. Well, that’s a easy one to answer, I don’t want to be like people my age. In fact, I refuse to be like most people I know my age and that is the point. My abject refusal to capitulate to my age is what drives me as much as anything. I know I won’t be able to bench 400lbs forever and with my back issues I know my squat will never go back over 500lbs but I am not about to step back from the edge of my ability for the sake of feeling comfortable.

This is the problem I have with most people however. For me, the times when it’s not easy are the times when I can prove what separates me from everyone else. Sometimes it’s easy, but sometimes it’s just a giant pain in the ass to have to do the work. The difference between a competitor and a recreational athlete is how they approach those times when it’s hard, when you just don’t feel like it, when you are in pain or have an injury. Those are the times that count.

I tell my kids all the time (not that they listen) that it’s not the 90% of the workout that matters, it’s the last 5 reps, the last 2 routines, the final push past the comfort zone that creates magnificence. Anyone can do the 90%, only the dedicated can get the last 10% done. I have a quote on my white board at gym that I feel reflects this perfectly and it’s the image above. Everybody likes to think of themselves as a beast or a high performing athlete but very few actually are willing to do what it takes to make the grade. I have high hopes for my girls this year that they will make it to level 6 for competition, but even though they know how far they need to go, unless I tell them to get to work, they are happy to stand around and go at their own pace. The normal pace, the pace of someone who is just there for fun, someone who doesn’t care about the competitive aspects of sport, someone who is average. I am not referring to the actual competitions where they will ultimately be judged, at their age they can’t really use that for motivation because they can’t create that urgency in their mind. However, I am referring to the internal competition, the contest with who you were last week, last month, last year. It’s the fuel inside a competitive person that makes them want to succeed, that makes them get on the bars when nobody wants to take a turn, that makes them ask for spot to do the skills they don’t like so they can get better at them, that makes them simply WANT to be better.

All day, every day.

I miss my competitive days, and I have to come up with new motivating factors all the time to fill that void, to give me something to focus on, something to achieve. I try to instil that in people all the time, from online forums to people I work with that they need something to drive them physically to do the work. But mostly I try to encourage that feeling in the young kids who can use it for the rest of their lives. We should all strive to be our best, but we should realize that the journey never ends, that there is always room for improvement and searching for those weaknesses and addressing them is bravery, it’s sacrifice, it’s uncomfortable and it’s the road to being the beast that resides in your heart.


Wednesday, 10/22/2014 61 Clean only 135 – 60 reps
Thursday, 10/23/2014 62 Squats Oly to 135 Power to 185 120 reps
Friday, 10/24/2014 62 off
Saturday, 10/25/2014 63 Walk Cardio 40 min
Sunday, 10/26/2014 64 Walk run 40 min plus 200 reps 135 bench
Monday, 10/27/2014 65 DL day 135 x 1234567891087654321=100 plus pullups
Tuesday, 10/28/2014 66 Kettlebell clean and press for shoulder day. 75 reps
Wednesday, 10/29/2014 67 Clean Day

Just a quick note on my rep count for Monday. I did deadlifts and pullups and in the process remembered these counts:

1-5 is 15 reps
1-10 is 55 reps
1-10-1 is 100 reps

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R14D37 – Basic Lifts, Basic Weights

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

simpolebeautyMy mantra for this cycle has been to keep things simple. I have tended to stick with Deadlifts, Cleans, Clean and Press, Bench Press and Squats. With the occasional treadmill jog thrown in for good measure.

Wednesday, 10/15/2014 55 Bench and pullups 180 reps
Thursday, 10/16/2014 56 Squat both types 100 reps up to 185 9nly
Friday, 10/17/2014 57 Shoulder day – Raises, press etc.
Saturday, 10/18/2014 58 Cardio walking
Sunday, 10/19/2014 58 off
Monday, 10/20/2014 59 DL and Pullups Up to 185 and 80 pullups

I feel like I am in a groove of sorts and my diet seems to be on point as I am slowly retreating from my 274lb high point and am down to 259 at last count. I am trying to get back into keto to get the weightloss to speed up a touch but I am finding it hard with the milk I drink. I think I am going to have to give the nightly glass of milk a skip and try to stick with water for a few weeks and see what happens.

I have been using the new squat rack and for the first time in a long time I squatted 185 last week. My plan is to get up to 305 and no further, I am not in the kind of mindframe where I need a 400 or 500lb squat any more. I think having a 400lb bench a 300lb squat and a 300lb DL would be fine and would give me an even 1000lb total. At my age and history, I think that’s a reasonable goal.

It’s also time to plan for the winter. With the new rack in place this winter should be better than last especially since the pullup bar across the top of the rack is really handy, high enough for pullups not so high that I hit my head… I will need to figure out what to do for the next round, and I would not be averse to bringing back some DVD work for the winter. I can probably compact my heavier lifts into 4 days and spare 2 days for mobility / bootcamp type DVD work and cardio. It’s definitely something to think about.


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R14D31 – So Much For That. Calf (again).

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts, Injuries

AmStaff TP006D Power Rack-WebThe calf strain is back but strangely this time it’s perfectly fine after I walk for a couple of minutes. It’s excruciatingly painful when I don’t and it came about after my workout 3 days ago where I did power cleans and pullups. I managed 85 of each but I guess I didn’t warm up properly because my calf was very bad the next day. So I am back to hobbling around and having to work around an injury that it an impediment to almost all of my workouts.
The following few days will look like this:
DL and pullups
Squat both types
Chest and pullups
Clean and dips
Shoulder day
But the big news is that I finally took delivery of and assembled the power rack pictured above. It’s pretty sturdy, the chinups are high enough that I don’t have to bend my legs that much and it came with lots of bar rests. It was on sale from $800 down to $229 so I really couldn’t resist. So now we have the treadmill back in use, a new squat / power rack for the winter so I can do heavy squats so I am pretty happy. All that I need to do now is replace the old projection HD TV with a new flat screen to get a bit of space back and the room will be much better. Except for the mirrors and the floor which is for some reason raising up into bubbles under the foam. I hate that foam.

I am toying with the idea of going back to another 30WOD stretch, it’s day 31 today and I could hypothetically do it today. I really enjoyed the variety and although my DUs are not going to happen with my calf strain, I think it would be great to do that again. Today, for reference, at Crossfit ARK is this:
Overhead Squat (5-5-5)
Metcon (AMRAP – Reps)
8 Alternating Tabata Rounds of each
Walking Lunges


score total reps

Even if I don’t actually do the 30WOD again, I think I will just make it a habit to check the site and see if it is something I can adapt. For example, I could use overhead squat practice since it’s as bad as my DUs if not worse. Maybe I will throw in some OHS with my DL and chinups for today.

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R14D23 – Stress Test Passed

Category: Crossfit WOD Type Workouts

Baby_SquatI have been taking it deliberately easy on my calf for quite some time now. As of Saturday it was 17 days since the injury and after the treadmill guy replaced the motor the treadmill was once again up for grabs. So Saturday and Sunday I decided to do some stress testing. Saturday was mostly just walking at various predictably slow speeds, and Sunday was more of a jog/walk to see if my leg held up after Saturday and to see if it would take the strain. It went OK, I didn’t have any soreness next day and the pain seems to be staying away. Next test will be an Insanity DVD but with at least 5 minutes walking on the treadmill beforehand to warm up my poor gargantuan calves.

So not much to report since I took Friday off. Yesterday I did bench and dips again looking something like this:

@135 – 5×10
@185 – 4×10
@225 – 7×7

I wanted to go up to 275 but my shoulder was a little tenser, probably from spotting last week so I let it be. That was almost 140 reps anyway so…

I have to do some low squats this week in addition to my heavy DL day and Clean with Snatch or C&P day.

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