R8D25 – Crush Your Fear. C&B Plus TGU.

I have abandoned the ARX in favour of a move that I remember vividly as giving me an extremely strong core, the Turkish Get Up. I am a big fan of the TGU and believe that it was the move that was responsible for giving me a set of recognizable abs for only the second time in my life. Since the first time I had to put in several months of painful crunches and denigrating moves laying in aerobics class as a University student I will take the TGU way any time! It’s not that Ab Ripper X isn’t good, in fact it is, but I find that most if not all laying / sitting ab work leaves my back sore and that is something I am not about to mess with. As I have done for the last 3 weeks, I took Thursday off since the amount of cardio stress I put on my body coaching the bootcamp is ridiculous. As an example, the only time I have been over 5.0 on the Training Effect in Firstbeat Athlete is during bootcamp. The only time I have burned more than 1000 calories, is at bootcamp and the only time my heart rate gets over 170 is during the bootcamp as I try to talk and work at the same time. So my affair with the TGU will have to wait until tonight, and even then, maybe it will get bumped to tomorrow if I opt to work out at gym tonight. I didn’t enjoy last week just doing abs so I will have to see what I can come up wit for today. I am thinking maybe 4 stations including a thruster station, dips, chin ups and push ups.

My parents are here on Monday for 2 weeks, that means probably sporadic updates at best. So I will leave you with a tidbit to think about.


Fear is a chemical reaction. It’s a systematic response to something that starts deep in your brain, floods your body and mind with chemicals and prepares you to react to your fears. It’s the basis of the fight or flight response. In order to survive, your brain will tell you to fight or escape, and your body will react instantly to that decision. But think about that logically for a second. Your body and mind get to a state of readiness without you thinking about it. But that state of readiness isn’t just an evasive reaction to fear, half of that reaction is to stand up to the fear. Your entire being stands to alert in preparation as much to fight as to run. It’s sad, then, that our own immediate reaction to fear is a socially conditioned response to flee immediately with no consideration to the thought of fighting. I face this problem on a daily basis, not only with my own fitness journey, but mostly with my athletes at the gym whose response to scary situations is almost always to quit. They may not be mature enough to understand the mechanisms but they are human and are genetically engineered to balance fear with aggression, to measure out the degree of danger they perceive and to escalate their resolve and determination to overcome that obstacle. It’s what thousands of years of survival of the fittest has brought them.

They stand there, the absolute pinnacle of human achievement, the most advanced and feared animal on the planet, the most recent, most improved and most genetically perfected organism we as humans represent and yet, they squash their killer instinct with ignorance. There is no other word for it. They are unaware of their potential, not their individual talent potential but their organic, human potential to use their base instinct to overcome their fear. It’s a fact that we as humans are designed to fight, to kill and to rise above the challenges we face. However our societal morals have taught us that those things are not acceptable behaviour and that we need to use our empathy and intelligence to measure our reactions. That’s great in the outside world, but it doesn’t translate to training, and it sure as hell doesn’t translate to that voice inside your head who tells you that “you can’t do it”.

Physical activity, high intensity compound movement physical activity requires the benefit of that systematic response to work. It relies on your fight or flight response to cause the cascade of chemicals to flood your brain and focus your mind to the task you face. Without it, you will fail. Without it, you will reinforce your conditioned response that you aren’t good enough, strong enough or skilled enough. Without it, you are no better than that person you see in the gym endlessly lifting 5lb weights, 30 reps at a time in the hope something will happen, or the person running on the treadmill trying to escape their biological need for battle one pathetic step at a time.

It’s simple to turn it all around. Some people call it aggression, some call it a competitive nature, others an A type personality. It’s not really any of those, it’s just a desire to be better today than you were yesterday. It has to come from a place of honesty and integrity but if you hold on to the idea that you will commit to improving yourself then you will discover that you will face adversity with a passion and an aggression that is appropriate and rewarding. Aggression in the physical realm is not only a benefit, it’s a requirement, and the sooner you use your aggression to squash your fear, the sooner you will discover just how much you can really achieve.

Feel the fear, face the fear and crush the fear.


R5 D14-16 RKC End OF Week 3 and Bench Day (White Rabbits!)

White RabbitsI have started to add some cleans, clean and press and (this week) some snatches to my warmup on my TGU days. I am not kidding, it is hard!

The swings are now up to 40 per set, not only that, but I don’t think I am getting any better at TGU than I was. Maybe I should be trying with 35 or 25lb instead of my 45lb KB. Doing the cleans and CAP is interesting, I actually really like it, and I can’t wait until the spring when I can get out on the deck and do them outside. It seems like a perfect outdoor exercise!

Last night was bench day and I managed the following:

15×4 @135 (2 sets of close grip)
12×4@185 (2 sets of close grip)

This is not a comprehensive chest workout and I think I may have to start working in some incline bench into the warmup, not only to make sure I get the whole muscle but also so I don’t have to unload the bar after I do my 275’s!

I am getting a hankering for some cardio. I will probably end up doing an Insanity workout this week just to see where my cardio is in comparison to Rounds 3 and 4. I am also getting nervous about hitting my 240 mark for my birthday since it is now February and I have 19 days left. Since going Paleo I have found that my body has discovered a comfortable place right around 250. It’s weird how your body seems to settle at certain points. I am sure that if I push through this plateau that I will settle again at a lower weight, I just hope I can get through this sticking point without burning too much lean mass or allowing my strength to dip. I have always wanted to settle around 240 ever since I put on the muscle I worked so hard for after I left University, I think at that weight I would be relatively healthy, probably around 12-15% bodyfat and certainly looking acceptable. I guess in about 19 days we will find out!

Today I was 251.

(White Rabbits)

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!

R5D8 – Plan So I Don’t Forget

I am coaching tonight but before I do, this is my plan:

For Time:

  • 50 tuck jumps
  • 1 sumo deadlift high pull
  • 10 plyo box jumps
  • 2 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 9 plyo box jumps
  • 3 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 8 plyo box jumps
  • 4 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 7 plyo box jumps
  • 5 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 6 plyo box jumps
  • 6 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 5 plyo box jumps
  • 7 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 4 plyo box jumps
  • 8 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 3 plyo box jumps
  • 9 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 2 plyo box jumps
  • 10 sumo deadlift high pulls
  • 1 plyo box jump
  • 50 tuck jumps

Then, once coaching is done, I want to do my TGU workout to get me back on track. That will leave me with bench for tomorrow and a day off on Saturday when my wife is out of town and I have the baby to look after.

R5D4 – 6 Harder Than Anticipated

As I suspected when I started, I completely forgot I was supposed to be doing a 4th day and went straight from day 3 to rest to starting over. So for day 4 it was back to RKC swings, then the TGU for day 5 and yesterday I disappointed myself with a mix of deadlifts and chinups. There are a couple of things I would like to say at this point. The Turkish Get Up workout which is supposed to be mixed with the WOD is actually a 20 minute workout by itself once you are done the warmup so adding a WOD at this point is a bit much to ask. Once I get the hang of the TGU, probably after the RKC minimum phase I can add more. Maybe I should have added my day 5 workout on since it was short and left me a little miffed and short on calories burned. I had planned the following: Deadlifts with 135# plus chinups as follows: 1 per minute, adding one per minute. Minute 1 – 1 deadlift, 1 chinup Minute 2 – 2 deadlift, 2 chinup Minute 3 – 3 deadlift, 3 chinup and so on.. I had hoped to get to 20 but my brain intervened and said I should aim for 15. My body intervened quickly after that and due to my lack of experience in deadlifting I was done after 8 rounds. For some reason, I was just too careful to do more. I am not yet familiar enough with the deadlift post-surgery to know how far I can push it. I was scared that I was going to put out my back and that the rest of the week would be spent in pain. So I quit. I did however do an extra 35 chin ups so that I wouldn’t feel cheated and that at least my workout wouldn’t be under 10 minutes. Sometimes I think sticking to P90X would be easier, I wouldn’t run into issues like this however, being your own workout boss is worth it’s weight in gold. At one point during the weekend I had to carry an 80lb bag of salt into the basement and I was surprised to feel the difference the RKC is already making to my core stability.

Yesterday which was planned to be day 7 was usurped by having to coach for 3 hours. I had enough of a workout lifting none too light teenage gymnasts to warrant me doing any more once I got home.

R4 D74 – Beginning of the End

Since without a plan, nothing ever happens, here is the push to the end for Round 4.

W 74 – TGU plus WOD
R 75 –  RKC Swings
F 76 – P90X and Insanity Fit Tests
S 77 – 5K run
Y 78 – off

M 01 – Round 5

That should about do it. I am at Wednesday now and the way I figure it I should be able to put round 4 to bed and get Round 5 ready to go by Monday. It’s going to be a bit weird, since my workouts have been somewhat sporadic over the last 2 weeks but I think there is still some value to doing the fit tests anyway. For what it’s worth, my weight is down, my back seems to be bothering me much less and my feet seem to enjoy doing everything barefoot so all in all I suppose I am reaching my goals of general fitness and as Tony puts it, “less vulnerable and more durable” out in the real world. The question is, what is my fitness goal for the next round? I think I am at the point where I need to start documenting weights again. Much as I wanted to get away from that particular facet of working out, I think at this point I need to see my reps and max weights increasing in order to justify my efforts. Moving away from following a DVD schedule means you are vulnerable to coasting and losing sight of the goal at hand. Since I will be moving towards more Olympic style lifting and Crossfit type work, I guess note taking will be par for the course.