2015R1 – The Cut

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.

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…

Millennium Victory Is Mine – 1005LBS – 2 Days Early!

to do winI jumped the gun just a little bit, rather than wait on my schedule to rotate I decided that I would take advantage of my enthusiasm and go for the Deadlift PR on Monday night. It was tough, the deadlift still scares me as a risk but I managed to squeeze what I needed out of the bar for a 1RM PR of 295lbs.

Part of my ultracompetitive psyche wants to hit 300 on my DL and 400 on my Bench but at this point I realize that both those lifts are within me. (As an aside, I did bench 405 after I wrote this). For this cycle though I am done.

I spent most of my summer doing what most would call a “dirty bulk” just eating in surplus and working whatever I could to gain strength. My discipline was lacking because I really didn’t have a specific goal. Once September hit I decided 1000lbs was a great goal to aim for. So for the past 4 months I have been working on my form, having to re-learn some of my Olympic and powerlifting technique until such a time when I could start to pile on the weight. As you can see below I put 390lbs on my total or an increase of 63%. Of course the numbers can be misleading so here are some things I need to add as caveats to the story.

I had lifted very heavy before. My history of powerlifting and working with Oly lifts helped me tremendously. However, since my first back surgery 13 years ago I had never dared to push this hard.
I started off with what I was working on, not what my 1RM was for anything. At the time, these were simply the heaviest weights I was using.
My form may have been compromised on some of my attempts, I don’t think I could have done the weights I did with perfect form except maybe bench. I realize that my 1RM with perfect form is probably a lot less.
These lifts are all raw, no wraps, no belt, just chalk. I also don’t think I will be doing this again.
Apart from a little wrist soreness one or two days and a bit of knee discomfort following squat day my health has not suffered and I completed this task injury free.
My total as of today (Jan 2 2014) is 1015 due to the 405lb bench I did after the fact.

What is next? My least favourite thing, the cut. I have the strength back, I have gained quite a lot of muscle in my right leg for the first time in 13 years and my legs actually look quite similar now. So for now I will take the next 3 months (or however long it takes) to get back down to 235 or thereabouts. I would like to eventually get down to 220 but there is a point in there somewhere that I start to become uncomfortable with my lack of size. For me, bodyfat percentage is more important than weight and I have previously calculated that at a BF that is acceptable to me I should be right around 230-235. For reference right now I am around the 255 mark. I will be doing the starting stats thing in the new year.


Before. Sept 1 2014:

Total lift numbers max
DL 205
SQ 135
Bench 275
Total of 615

During: Dec 1 2014

Total lift numbers max
DL 225
SQ 245
Bench 305
Total of 775

After Dec 29 2014:

Total lift numbers max
Deadlift +44% 295
Squat +133% 315
Bench +44% 395
Total lift numbers max +63% 1005

Millennium Update 985LBS and The Psychology Of Victory

RewardShirtsI know, being so close it’s easy to plan for victory. But the truth is that I would have ordered these shirts a long time ago had I remembered that I could print them myself online. Point is, having goals is great, it’s really critical if you want to have good progress but you should also plan for your success. That means having rewards at points of significance along the way. For me, the finish line of this goal is 1000lbs. Given my back surgeries and my age going any further would only increase the risk to me which is not what I need. After this goal is met, I will have to plunge into my cut cycle which is my least favourite but will be necessary to get my weight back down. When I start that cycle, I will have planned out small rewards at each 10lb increment and also a final reward for my final goal. I will put some amount of money into the rewards in order to psychologically prepare myself to make it. I am not going to hope to hit my goals, I expect to hit them and to reap the rewards. I plan to meet those milestones and I may make them in time, I may miss the deadline but I know I will make the result. The decision to set a goal is as much a decision to succeed as it is a plan for success. The thing is that I can break down the goal into weeks, even down to the days knowing what I have to do each day to get me to the finish line, then it’s just a matter of being disciplined enough to do the work.

Too many times I hear “I’ll try” or “I’ll do my best” but at some level there is doubt in both those sayings. “I will” sets you up for a success. It programs your brain to achieve the correct outcome. It leaves no room for doubt or error. It’s a blueprint for success. Don’t misunderstand me, I realize that goals are missed every day, each step of the way there will be failure but as we know..

Your key to success is massive failure. Without supreme effort there is no failure, without massive failure there is no success.

The point here is simple, plan to succeed, to the point where you set up your rewards, prepare the victory party, believe in yourself enough to get the job done and cross that finish line.

Those shirts up there are my future and although I am too close to have any doubt, I am still not quite there. Will I make it?


Yesterday I cursed my lack of 2.5lb plates. I was going for my bench Personal Record and got up to 395 without realizing that I couldn’t add the last little bit. I was into my max rep range and my total was maxed out. If I had been in possession of those donuts I would have made 400lbs. As it stands, I repped 2x with 395. That put my total at 985lbs with my deadlift still sitting at 275 and what seems like an easy win. That said, the most dangerous lift for me is deadlift and the one that I have been avoiding pushing any further. Still, a 300lb DL for someone of my size should not be an issue, I just need to clear the ghosts of surgeries past from my mind and do the last little bit of work.

I did some cardio on Christmas Day and for the last 4 days I have had a very sore spot under my ribs in my back. Unfortunately it’s the part of my back I use most at the very top of the Dead and I think it may hurt too much to go for the lift today. So I am thinking I will give my new Xbox One Fitness program a whirl and do some cardio / bootcamp for today to get a little looser and try for the PR tomorrow. In all honestly I had images in my mind of pulling a 300lb Deadlift on New Years Eve to get the total. In reality I may be a day early.

Millennium Total 915 – Keeping Your Word.

e158f2d4d41d38e9fdcc5655e83eea7bIt’s December 22 and 2 days ago I managed to increase again up to 365 on bench. I can’t believe how fast mu numbers are increasing and I will share a bit of my schedule so we can see how its working…

Total lift numbers max
Deadlift 275
Squat 275
Bench 365
Total lift numbers max 915

That’s my total so far, only 85lbs from 1000. Maybe I will actually make it?? I shouldn’t have doubts, I was trying to get one of my gym girls to understand the value of making and keeping promises when it comes to physical activity. There are some pretty scary things that gymnasts do and fear is always a factor but you must still commit to the process and value your own word when you say you will do something. The problem is if you don’t go into training with a goal in mind then you will really just be aimlessly going through the motions.

I have set a goal of 1000lbs total for Dec 31. That means I have to make it. It doesn’t necessarily mean I will make it, but my mindset has to be 100% commitment that I will do everything I can to get there.

I am at 915. I will make 1000 in the next 9 days.

Here is what my schedule has been, stripped down for clarity.

Monday, 12/01/2014 1 Cardio 40 min
Tuesday, 12/02/2014 2 Light power cleans 5×15
Wednesday, 12/03/2014 3 Bench Light 200 rep
Thursday, 12/04/2014 4 Squat Light 175 rep
Friday, 12/05/2014 5 DL Light 125 rep
Saturday, 12/06/2014 off
Sunday, 12/07/2014 6 400 rep light squats
Monday, 12/08/2014 7 Heavy Bench PR 335
Tuesday, 12/09/2014 8 Heavy DL PR 275
Wednesday, 12/10/2014 9 Light OHP to 115. 75 rep
Thursday, 12/11/2014 10 Light Squats to 195 75r
Friday, 12/12/2014 off
Saturday, 12/13/2014 11 Heavy Squats PR 275
Sunday, 12/14/2014 12 Cardio walking 45 min
Monday, 12/15/2014 13 Mid bench 275 125 rep
Tuesday, 12/16/2014 14 light deads and cardio
Wednesday, 12/17/2014 off due to sick everybody
Thursday, 12/18/2014 15 WOD dips squat clean
Friday, 12/19/2014 16
Saturday, 12/20/2014 17 Heavy Bench PR 365 3x
Sunday, 12/21/2014 18 Cardio 2x 30 min

it seems like it’s a bit random but to be honest I will try to stick to alternating heavy light 4 day with a cardio day but I will really be doing what I feel I can on that day. I will try to do a heavy DL day today since I had cardio yesterday then a heavy Squat day then a few light days over Christmas. That will set me up for 3 heavy days at the end of the year to try and hit my goal.


The Millennium – 855LBS

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 wodwell.com 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


Millennium Progress – Passing 800lbs

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…


Liza and Elissa Want A Workout…

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

R14D90 – The Conclusion and R15 The Millennium

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.


R14D72 – Planning Time

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.



R14D62 – I Am Not Fearless. I Am Courageous.

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