Gym90 Day1 – Splits. Kind of.

invincibleknightOK so starting out I thought I would take it easy. I did some splits or rather some “splits” work on leg day which was Wednesday and then yesterday I was supposed to do handstands work but my shoulder workout said otherwise. When I say splits, unfortunately my middle splits are so poor at the moment that I had to use an exercise ball to lean on rather than reaching the floor. I have  A LOT of work to do.

Coincidentally there was a guy doing muscle ups at the gym while I was there further motivating me. So today which is arms day and I am supposed to be doing handstand pushups which means still having to work on handstands so maybe missing yesterday wasn’t such a disaster. It’s 2 days since splits and I have a lot of discomfort in my groin. I was unable to stress my hip flexors to any degree since my hamstrings seem to want to steal the workload. Middle splits though, I thought I was going to snap something. I have estimated that I could probably almost reach from the wall to the first velcro line at gym. I will let you know when I improve enough to prove that.
I have a feeling that this gym90 is going to be more of a challenge than I anticipated. I realize that I can’t hold a handstand at all and my cartwheel looks more like an accident than a gymnastics skill. Still, good thing I am not vaulting…

That said, I am at a strength to weight ratio that is for once in my favour for inversion skill so I am hoping that my handstand work, when I actually get around to doing it, will rapidly improve. My humourless co-coach Marija seems to find this all very amusing. I am determined to show her I am capable of almost average things… 🙂

My Other Life – Gymnastics Coaching (Level 5 bars 2014-17)

In my spare time I am a gymnastics coach, I have been coaching for quite a few years now and up until now there has been little change to the way things were done. The past season brought a whole new angle to the game though, more concentration on basics, body shape and fine details with some complex movements made mandatory. In reviewing the documents for this season the instructions for uneven bars were particularly confusing and even though we probably won’t have any level 5 this year I still wanted to make sure I understood what we were supposed to be coaching.

I found a great article regarding the first part of bars for level 5 for this year. It’s located HERE.

I will occasionally put gymnastics stuff up here, I think it’s a good way to keep the content more interesting than just what I do in my basement and garage!

R11D80-86 – Squats Tried To Kill Me Plus The June Goals

im not big at allI got called 2 weird things lately.

A cross between Chef Ramsey and Simon Cowell and from another person a mix of Shrek and The Hulk. Really? Really?? I’m not that big. Seriously.

So I haven’t posted in a few days because I have been in so much pain I can’t even explain myself. I did Body Beast Bulk Legs the other day and added some deep squats to the routine, something that I would have done in the garage last summer every week. For some reason, doing deadlifts and cleans does not extend the squat as fully as I had thought and after doing the full squats I developed massive knots in the top of my quads on both legs. I am mystified as to why this would happen I mean it’s not like I don’t do legs, but the reaction my body had was like “what the hell are you doing?”.

My past few workouts have looked like this:

79 Tuesday, 03/25/2014 63  Body Beast Bulk Arms 80%
80 Wednesday, 03/26/2014  off 0%
81 Thursday, 03/27/2014 64  Body Beast Bulk Shoulders 79%
82 Friday, 03/28/2014 65  Body Beast Bulk Legs – Squats killed leg 79%
83 Saturday, 03/29/2014  Off very sore leg 0%
84 Sunday, 03/30/2014 66  Body Beast Bulk chest 135-235 79%
85 Monday, 03/31/2014 67  Body Beast Bulk Back – Pullups and Deadlifts 50 per 79%
86 Tuesday, 04/01/2014 68  Body Beast Bulk Shoulders with press 79%

and I am happy to note that I am still almost at 80% even after 86 days. I will be officially finishing the R11 this week then but I will continue the Body Beast for probably another 30 days or so to get a good idea of what a full 90 would be like. Also you may notice that on back day I did pullups that means it was warm enough on Monday to get outside. It was in fact 14 degrees and doing pullups outside again was both exhilirating and worrisome since I became aware very quickly that my ability to knock out 20 pullups in a row was very far in the past. As soon as the weather is better I will have to modify y goals to add 20 in a row. In fact, now that the weather is improving a little I think I need to put down what I expect from myself by June 1.

Deadlift – 200lbs
Shoulder Press – Standing 185lbs
Clean – 185lbs
Clean and Press – 185lbs
Pullups – 20 unbroken with kip 10 without kip
Squat – 185lbs since I don’t have a squat rack and have to C&P the weight first
Ring Dips – 20 unbroken or 10 strict
I would also like to have my bar muscle up by the summer, I don’t think that’s too crazy. Or maybe ring MU.

Summer Warmup 2012

I though I would post the up to date copy of the warmups we are doing, so the kids can have it at home, and so I have a reference to look back on once all the tweaks are done!

Warmup Summer 2012

2 laps each: running / skipping / heels up / knees up / 5 corner sprints
5 minutes foam rolling (Concentrate on large muscle groups, quads, hamstring, hips, calf)
5 laps running during which: 10 burpees / 10 pushups / 10 squats / 10 chinups


15 wall sliders
15 floor sliders (on floor beam)
10x Slot machine pull each arm (Liza)
10 Reverse pole grab, elbow stabilize, slide down pole to extend shoulder (Liza)
10 min ball work (lacrosse ball to loosen upper back)
5 weighted pullovers
5 skin cat hold 15s
5 bridge / elevated bridge 15s
5 wall walk to bridge

Splits cycle:
Kneeling reverse quad stretch x5 hold 10 (go to elbows down if possible)
Knee to ankle against wall vertically, other leg out in front, open hip towards floor (Emma)
Right, left, middle 10s each
Right, left, middle 30s each
Right, left, middle 60s each

Scorpion back stretch (assisted)
Back manipulation / inversion table / individual back stretch

Handstand Cycle:
10 handstand against the wall
5 handstand against the wall 10 shoulder touch
5 Cartwheel to handstand against wall with rollout
10 handstand pivot (5 1/2, 5 full)
10 handstand pop onto stacking low mats
10 free handstand hold for 10
1 full walk

You Need To Know This – Health and Fitness 101, The Basics

I guess I should expect it given where I came from…

I get asked with great regularity about my exercise, diet and motivation. I consider it a privilege to share my knowledge and in that spirit I have put together a basic list of the things that have influenced how I think. Some are my original thoughts, some are not, but it’s all part and parcel of what made me who I am today.

First, let’s get the diet out of the way.

Most of you already know my diet is paleo. It’s what I do and it is what I recommend. Even for kids I don’t see the value in eating grains that are processed and have very little in the way of nutritional value. Eat whole foods, drink water.

Eat like a predator, not prey
What are my reasons for eating paleo? (Other than losing 65lbs?)
Why I eat paleo (By Fitbomb)
Refined Carbs are Just Plain Bad  – including the part about exorphins, or why your body craves carbs like an addict craves coke
Its Carbs not fat that are the problem
Why Paleo isn’t low carb

Now you know how to eat and why let’s quickly address the darling of the weight loss myth – Cardio.

Kettlebells Vs Cardio - The dishonour of cardio
Forget what you think you know – Why cardio is killing you (especially this: 10 reasons I don’t do aerobics)
Why do HIIT – A special nod to my gym girls

The mental game. Why it’s critical to develop mental focus, strength and have a healthy work ethic. Fear and motivation are two topics that come up a lot with my gym girls, and it’s also something I see in the faces of my bootcamp participants. Fear is good, fear is healthy, fear is there to tell you that you are about to become better.

For the kids – Some things you should know…
Fear – Face it, defeat it. Over the years I have had kids who were afraid. Most aren’t any more because they know better.
A big enough WHY? Find your reason, without it you are lost.
Stop listening to yourself – long but well worth the read. PROTECT THIS HOUSE!

So there you have it for now. Some stuff I have written, some links to very good information out there on the web and some stuff I admit I stole because I think it will help you. It’s all important, come back again and again to take what you need and as you do, learn how to coach yourself through life and be the best that you can be for you, your family and those with whom you can share the knowledge.

R7D85 – Test Week Day 1 – Chest and Triceps

Day 1 of my test week was going to be a fun day, I knew it would have to be at gym with my girls so we all did this:

Push To Shove

Military Pushup
Superman Pushups
dip with leg raise
shoulder touch
hip touch
clapping pushup
plyo pushup

plank side reach (5 per side)
plank side reach pushup (5 per side)
arm circles (60 seconds)

It was a quick but decent workout for me. For them it was tough but doable, we all finished in under 20 minutes.

I feel like my body has started to give up it’s stranglehold on this plateau. Today I feel better, lighter, and hopefully this means my stubborn weight which has been around the 235 mark for a couple of months now will start to decrease once again.

Reasons To Love Bill Gates and A Note To My Athletes

Bill Gates speech: 11 rules your kids did not and will not learn in school

Rule 1: Life is not fair – get used to it!

Rule 2: The world doesn’t care about your self-esteem. The world will expect you to accomplish something BEFORE you feel good about yourself.

Rule 3: You will NOT make $60,000 a year right out of high school. You won’t be a vice-president with a car phone until you earn both.

Rule 4: If you think your teacher is tough, wait till you get a boss.

Rule 5: Flipping burgers is not beneath your dignity. Your Grandparents had a different word for burger flipping: they called it opportunity.

Rule 6: If you mess up, it’s not your parents’ fault, so don’t whine about your mistakes, learn from them.

Rule 7: Before you were born, your parents weren’t as boring as they are now. They got that way from paying your bills, cleaning your clothes and listening to you talk about how cool you thought you were. So before you save the rain forest from the parasites of your parent’s generation, try delousing the closet in your own room.

Rule 8: Your school may have done away with winners and losers, but life HAS NOT. In some schools, they have abolished failing grades and they’ll give you as MANY TIMES as you want to get the right answer. This doesn’t bear the slightest resemblance to ANYTHING in real life.

Rule 9: Life is not divided into semesters. You don’t get summers off and very few employers are interested in helping you FIND YOURSELF. Do that on your own time.

Rule 10: Television is NOT real life. In real life people actually have to leave the coffee shop and go to jobs.

Rule 11: Be nice to nerds. Chances are you’ll end up working for one.

So why post this here? Well, I have been working on a piece to give to my new gym girls to try and pass along certain messages. It started with what was a quote from Jeff Tucker, a crossfit coach, that I assume he posted for the benefit of his “athletes” as follows:

“I am not your best friend. I am not your drinking buddy. I am not the guy or gal who is there to make you feel warm and fuzzy. I am not a part of your sewing circle or gossip clan. I am not the one you call in the middle of the night and ask financial advice from or borrow money from. I am not the one you ask, do these Lu Lu’s make my butt look big. I am certainly not the one you ask why all my reps did not count…. So just who am I? I am your coach. The one you hired to kick your butt, the one you asked to be honest with you in how to train; the one whom you listen too and take facts from as you grow within the realms of CrossFit. I will make you jump, crawl, pull, push, throw, stuff while spitting profanities or praise, which ever apply. Come here and train – that is why you are here. Train and then go eat some good food, not that crap that makes your results stifle hard work. I will stay late for you, I will come early for you, I will make sure you get the advice you need on movements or food. We are allowed to disagree with each other – and if you can’t handle that then you have choices, we all do. And yes, if you call me in the middle of the night and need help with a get out of jail card, I will do that too. So get in the gym, and GET SOME!”

Since it was too much for my kids, I worked it a bit and came up with something that gives me goosebumps every time I read it…

We are about to start an amazing journey together, a journey that will bind us together in a common goal. It is a journey whose destination is a place you may not even be able to see at this moment. Each step of the way, we will build on your success, celebrate your victories and challenge your shortfalls. As we go you will learn to face your fears, to break down your ideas of what is possible for you and set goals that will inspire and amaze you. I am committed to showing you the endless possibilities you have as an athlete and a person, and I promise to protect you, to assist you and encourage you in every step of that journey. If you fall, I will catch you, but if you hesitate to take a step, I will watch and wait. Your responsibility in this journey is not to me, it is to yourself. You have to take responsibility for who you are and what you do. Your work rate, your skills and ultimately your success will depend on your commitment to yourself as a competitive athlete. To compete is to test yourself against others, but the real test of character comes in the challenges you set for yourself.

But let me be clear…

I am not your best friend. I am not your school buddy. I am not the guy who is there to make you feel all warm and fuzzy. I am not part of your Facebook friends, Twitter followers or gossip clan. I am not the one you call for advice about school or the one you borrow money from. I am not the one you ask if your new Lululemon outfit looks cute and I am certainly not the one you ask why all your pushups didn’t count. Who am I? I am your coach, the one who is accountable for kicking your butt, the one who will make you work harder than you ever though you could. I am the one who you will hate, love and come to understand as the key to your success. I will be the one to cheer loudest at your success and be the first to console you during your challenges.
So train as hard as you possibly can.
I am committed to you, I want success for you, and I want you to work your heart out for it. I will stay late for you, I will come in early for you, I will give you the advice and guidance you need. We will fight with each other, we will laugh with each other, we will go through wars together and emerge victorious from the trenches.

So do us both a favour and get in that gym and work like your life depends on it!

R5D12 – Modified WOD and TGU Plus Why Do HIIT (and not cardio)

gymnastsWhat burns calories best? Should I run 3 hours a day to burn fat? Why are you making us work so hard? All valid questions from my little proteges at gymnastics. Being as it is that I am their Strength and Conditioning coach, they often come to me looking for (simple) answers. Running 3 hours a day vs working out 30 minutes a day? Sounds like the stuff I tell my wife about wasting her time on the treadmill. Once again, the interwebs come to the rescue.alicias

HIIT kicks cardio’s butt.

The study to show HIIT (painful, hard workouts) beats lower intensity longer cardio sessions (A bit, well, dry)

Yet more information about why not to eat grains including rice!

In honour of the benefits of HIIT, I literally drove myself into the ground yesterday.

Using a 90lb barbell and a 18″ box (due to height restrictions in my basement):

10 Box Jumps
1 Sumo Deadlift High Pull
9 Box Jumps
2 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
8 Box Jumps
3 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
7 Box Jumps
4 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls
..and so on until…
1  Box Jump
10 Sumo Deadlift High Pulls

I collapsed and I think I set a new HR record of 166 bpm which for me is pretty good. I usually peak at 160 and I really felt those extra 6! I don’t really know why I was so tired after, however, I also did my RKC 5 TGU per side so that may explain it.

I shouldn’t complain, my competitive girls work harder than I do… I make sure of that!