R12D2 – Cravings or Memories

I did what I thought was theCarrot cake only logical thing on Tuesday to start round 12, I did the Full Monty.

The Full Monty

10 reps x 5 rounds = 250 reps

Hang Cleans
Shoulder Press
Power Clean

I was using 95lbs since this was not a feats of strength workout but rather a foray into HIIT for what seems like the first time in a long time. I felt pretty beaten up after, and in fact I didn’t get to 5 rounds I think I crashed somewhere during round 4. It is the best workout to get you going again, especially if you continue to fill in the strength gaps the next 2 days. In order to do that yesterday I did bench and dips and today I will be doing some variation of pullups and biceps. Those 3 days will get your whole body into shape in a hurry and with the addition of some running which will probably be today it’s going to be a great kick start to my summer workout. I am planning to get back into doing nightly workouts with my kids once or twice a week, they did tabata workouts last night which was well organized and productive for all. We will work up towards 30 minute bootcamp classes by the time summer workouts are back however it means I have to be in shape to lead them. That is around 15lbs from where I am now so I have a little work to do.

I overhear someone saying how they like to use maple syrup in their diet instead of sugar since it’s so much better. I used to think that too, especially about honey. Turns out I was kidding myself. There is no such thing as “good” or even “better” sugars.

I have been craving carrot cake and I can’t take it any longer. I’m not sure if I just want cake or if I just have the occasional fond memory of it, but either way I have been looking for recipes on Pinterest and I think I have a winner, I just have to figure out how to make the frosting taste good. Here are a couple of front runners.

Carrot cake bars

Carrot Cake

R11D58-60 Rep Counts for P90X, P90X2, P90X3 and Body Beast (Proof you are being lazy)

make every rep countI have to say first off that I can already feel the difference between the 25-30 minute workouts of the first half of Round 11 and the 45 minute workouts of Body Beast. It’s a really small change but I sincerely believe that the extra 15 minutes makes a big difference in my results and how I feel. It’s not that the workouts feel that different it’s just that the rest of the day I feel like I have done more, I feel in better shape, I feel like I am on a program doing something worthwhile. I remember the P90X days at the very start, I was still pretty overweight but I felt like an athlete once I started to feel some results. In comparison, after 45 days of P90X3 and T25 I feel more like a cheat and a bum than an athlete. I know the idea of squeezing an hour long workout into 30 minutes sounds great but if we can all just be honest for a minute here, you are not working any harder in P90X3 than you did in P90X and you are missing half the workout. For me, if I wanted to shorten the P90X workouts then I would rest less and get it done in 40 minutes. That’s the equivalent amount of work in less time which is what they were going for in P90X3, I just think they have fallen short of the mark and if I could be bothered to count the number of reps per workout I bet I would be right.

Speaking of rep counts, last summer when I was doing my Oly lifts in the garage and making progress after surgery my rep count for that workout was between 65 and 100. I had also said I wanted to get up over 100 reps as a baseline for an Olympic lifting workout with at least 3 movements. The year before when I started out getting back into these lifts my workouts looked like this:

Friday: 135lb

Deadlift 5×5
Hang Clean 5×5
Clean and Press 5×5
Squat 5×5

So you can see, a 100 rep count was normal as a baseline. Yesterday I did deadlifts, hang cleans and cleans plus some shrugs for trap strength like this:

DL 10×5
Shrugs 20×5
HC 5×5
Clean 5×5

For a total of 200 reps. Now if I am honest I lost my grip on the bar during the cleans and was too chicken to do the last set meaning I was at 195 reps for the workout. Granted the shrugs aren’t exactly taxing but I was really happy with my output. Not only that, but it took 45 minutes to do keeping my workout length at an acceptable level. I figure that if I can keep my reps at between 25 and 50 for the major movements I will be happy and I am still looking to do 200lb deadlift and 185 clean by June 1st.

As an appendix to this, let’s assume you are able to do 10 reps per exercise for P90X and P90X2, here are some totals for you:

I know 10 reps is a bit of a random guess but even if you are doing 30 pushups you are probably not doing 30 pullups and probably not even 30 diamond pushups so lets leave it at the classic 10 reps.

P90X Chest and Back 240 reps
P90X Shoulders and Arms 240 reps (270 with bonus)
P90X Legs and Back 240 reps
P90X Back and Biceps 240 reps but with superman, corn cob and towel pullups it’s likely to be less.
P90X Chest Shoulders and Tris 240 reps
P90X Ab Ripper 275 reps

P90X2 Total Body 270 reps
P90X2 Balance and Power 240 reps
P90X2 Chest Back and balance 210 reps
P90X2 Shoulders and Arms 230 reps
P90X2 Base and back 230 reps
P90X2 Chest Shoulders and Tris 230 reps
P90X2 VSculpt 230 reps

P90X3 Eccentric Lower 130 reps
P90X3 Eccentric  Upper 190 reps
P90X3 Complex Upper 200 reps – Part of the Elite Pack
P90X3 Complex Lower 200 reps – Part of the Elite Pack
P90X3 Incinerator 180 reps
p90X3 Total Synergistics 160 reps
P90X3 The Challenge 160 reps

It’s right there is black and white, if you think you are doing an hour workout in 30 minutes, you must be having a laugh. I would suggest that a workout of under 200 reps is leaving you short and it would be preferable to aim for around 240-250 reps per workout. Body Beast which is my recent Golden Child has a far more impressive count:

Body Beast Total Body 240 reps
Build Back Bis 392 reps
Build Chest Tri 312 reps
Build legs 278 reps
Build Shoulders 351 reps
Bulk Arms 351 reps
Bulk Back 238 reps
Bulk Chest 253 reps
Bulk Legs 368 reps
Bulk Shoulders 303 reps
Lucky 7 Up to 1000 reps if you did a minimum of 10 per set (not likely)
Tempo workouts 225 reps each



R11D40-43: Another Weekend Away Plus Back Stretches

This travelling is getting tedious and honestly I am losing my enthusiasm for hotel beds and pools. This weekend we were out in Peterborough where the best hotel room in the whole town was only $129. On Friday I rested and coached 3 hours but on Saturday before we left I managed to squeeze in a bench workout with barbell and dumbbell because my back was a little sore. It was destined to get worse as the days passed too. I benched up to 235lbs around 10 sets total with chasers of dumbbell presses and flies. Sunday after we returned I was going to do some Olympic lifting but again my back was a little tender and after I had finished my 5 sets of 5 deadlifts I decided to hop on the treadmill and ran a mile pretty much without stopping (although my pace was rather pedestrian). My ITB was tight and sore, and I have a feeling that stretching it is what is causing my back pain. I have to say here that I am a little confused at why this happens, I remember following the Supple Leopard in stretching my ITB and hips before my recent surgery and I remember having nothing but acute hip pain for months after moving into hip stretches. I was better for it relating to my back but my hips were in agony. Not only that, but after being laid up for a few days after surgery when I started walking again it was my hips that gave me the most pain. I have also noted that I don’t have any stretching instructions in this blog, at least not any that are easy to locate so I am going to try and put together a few of my favourite stretches, or maybe find where I have done it before and re-brand the page. Then Monday which was Family Day I once again opted to stay off my back and it was even more sore than before up into the mid right side feeling like a muscle pull more than anything. I did manage to get about 30 minutes of heavy bag work done with some direction from P90X3 MMX.

I am often asked about back pain, having had 2 back surgeries I am what you would consider to be experienced with it. The first thing I do is recommend stretching the ITB and hamstrings and hips in order to try and release whatever compression surrounds the area. How to do that? Do this:
This is one of the best for my back and hips. It does make loud cracking noises in my spine however and you should do it every day… you should do all of them every day really.

Very simple stretch to help loosen up the back and abdominals

Very good for tight hamstrings that can cause all kinds of back problems

More advanced for hips, this is actually quite hard if you are male

Another very good stretch for hips and sciatic problems. You should feel the stretch in the buttock and hip of the leg that is crossed over, in this case the left leg.

Very basic, can be done in conjunction with an arching motion every time you stand up

A little more difficult for some, and also hard to control but once you can do it, it is very effective.


Be careful with this if you have pinched nerves, but the leg in front takes the load off the spine somewhat.

Cat stretch, also can be alternated with seal stretch where from the starting position you drop your hips to the floor and keep your arms straight.

Swiss army knife stretch, very good for hips and back

Basic and similar to the front bend, but this is a standing version of the cat stretch / seal stretch.



R11D31-32 – Winter Olympic Lifting

sochi2014flameThe opening ceremonies for the Sochi Olympics are this morning. I know that the Winter games don’t have the lustre of their summer counterparts and to imagine those poor Canadian Hockey players suffering needlessly in their shared rooms is almost too much to bear but it is the Olympics so I am suitably excited. Not about Hockey of course which to me is more like chicken fencing where you can’t whack someone with your stick until they hit you first just like Toronto’s little  bitch coward Kessel did. Anyway, that’s only one uninspiring thing about the winter Games but there are plenty of other mouthwatering spectacles like the luge, snowboarding and of course ski cross. Add to that skeleton, slopestyle and aerials and you have yourself a smorgasbord of entertainment.

And one more thing, if you think that ski jumping is easy, think again, there are times when it doesn’t go so well, and I am not talking about Eddie the Eagle, sometimes making it off the end of the ramp isn’t a guarantee.

That said, it was really just a filler for the fact that it’s winter and I did my Olympic lifting rotation again, however I am happy to announce that I managed to complete more this time, doing all 5 rounds of deadlifts and hang cleans and 4 of 5 power cleans with 135. I am thinking by March I should be able to see if I can get my deadlift up to my PR which is (I am sorry to admit) only 200lbs, however, after 2 back surgeries and only about a year actually doing the deadlift (not counting the lifts I used to do 20+ years ago) it’s not so bad.

R11D22-23 – Shoulder Good, Coordination Not So Much

anatomia-spalla-4My plan was to take Sunday off as a day of rest in case I had actually done something bad to my shoulder and then to go straight back to the same routine to see if it held up. I left the bar at 135lbs and planned the following:

5×5 Deadlift
5×5 Hang Clean
5×5 Power Clean

I didn’t want to get too complicated, just to make sure I did every rep of every set and see how my shoulder held up. Thankfully it was fine, not only that, it actually felt better after I was done. I am struggling a little to get the power cleans done since the weight is still a little unstable as I come up but I am able to hang on mostly and get the bar back in shape. I am amazed at how heavy it feels after knowing how easy it was last summer. I also know that it’s a matter of time before I am able to contemplate hitting 155.

That was Monday before coaching and the only residual issue I have is my left shoulder (not the really bad one) is still a little painful. I felt it during bars as I was spotting front stride circles. I will keep updating the issue and the progress. Tuesday I decided I needed a little cardio so I took on T25 Speed 2.0. Since Speed 1.0 was a bit of  letdown I was hoping that this would be a massive improvement and I was not disappointed. The workout has 2 sets of moves, as far as I can tell designed to simultaneously make you trip over yourself and make you feel slightly remedial in your agility. The good news is that the 2 sections are then repeated with shorter intervals, 8 counts instead of 16. Then, after going through them all a second time, you are then instructed to go through again even faster with 4 counts. Of course then there is a burnout which from what I could see through the sweat was more of a chicken dance meets mosh pit meets full body seizure. Fact is it’s a 2 count run through of the whole thing. I was able to keep up for most of the time however there were a couple of transitions that had me twisting my toes on the foam floor tiles or staring blankly like a 3 year old does when  you tell them it’s PJ time.

I have to admit I love this format, especially when the moves are challenging which these definitely were. As the tempo increases, the time seems to pass faster and the last 8 minutes or so are just a blur. Unless Speed 3.0 is another quantum leap, I think I will be doing this workout any time I feel like I need an agility boost. I liked is so much in fact that I am going to steal some of the moves for my next cardio conditioning at gym which should be Friday. I can’t wait to see the confusion on their young faces… hahah!

R11D5-7 – The Weekend

shaun-t-not-impressedI completed the Olympic lifting schedule. Sticking with my 5×5 routine of deadlifts, power cleans and squats. Since it was my first time back I stuck with the 95lb bar and checked my form. The goal is to get back up to 135 as soon as possible for everything and then work back to 200+ by the summer. A 200lb clean is nothing to sneeze at, but I really should be aiming for a 300lb deadlift and squat, the only problem is that I don’t have a squat rack so that’s an issue. That said, I often get asked by people WHY I work out like I do and as often as I do, and my answer is not necessarily what they expect. I suppose they want me to tell them about the health benefits and so on but really all I want long term is to be able to get through my life with the ability to take on any challenges I may face. For example, on Saturday I had to clear the snow and ice off my upper deck which is probably about 400sf. The ice was about 5 inches think in places and broke off in chunks weighing upwards of 60lbs each. I took particular enjoyment out of hurling these massive sheets of ice off the balcony down on to the lawn below and in total I probably shovelled and tossed 600lbs+ of ice off that deck. It took me about 45 minutes but I am happy to report that I was not sore the next day and regardless of the awkward size and shape of the blocks I was able to handle them with ease. That’s the reason I work out. So if I come up against a high demand incident I can blow through it rather than have a heart attack trying to do something I am not prepared for. Of course, being healthy and living a long life are important, but those are very ethereal goals and personally I like to have something more concrete to push against. Tony Horton calls it being durable and less prone to injury and at my age I tend to agree that being able to handle high demand situations is critical. It doesn’t matter if it’s self inflicted like my deck clearing or accidental like having to shovel yourself out of a ditch, either way I don’t want to be the guy who has a coronary in the snow.

Which brings me to Sunday where I picked T25 Total Body Circuit as my opponent and was forced to take back everything I had said last week about T25 being too easy. This was a tough workout. Now let me state that if I was in the kind of shape I was at this time last year then maybe this wouldn’t have been so hard and if I compare it to the bootcamps that I was running last year it’s a distant second. However, current state dictates that I report what it was I felt and I have to admit nausea came into it a little at the end. I was sweating like a thief and  at one point I actually had to rest during the burnout at the end. It was a little shameful and extremely motivating to know just how far away from my peak I am and to know that as painful as it was, it’s a step in the right direction. It was, however, a very enjoyable workout and one that I think I would like to repeat (actually it’s the only one so far that I think I would enjoy a second time). It’s now Monday and I have done 7 days straight, and since I am not anywhere near burnout yet I think I will continue until I require a day off through time constraints or simple rest requirement. I will try to hit a P90X3 workout tonight like I did the other day (likely CVX since I want to save the chinups).

The Last Few Workouts

bodycryingThursday – 30lb shoulder cleans with medicine ball, 50lb deadlifts with heavy bag, 95lb deadlifts with barbell. 10 each x 10 rounds.
Friday – Off
Saturday - 30lb shoulder cleans with medicine ball, 50lb cleans with heavy bag, 95lb cleans with barbell. 10 each 10 rounds.
Sunday – 100 deadlifts 95lb barbell sets of 10. 100 shoulder cleans with 30lb med ball sets of 10.
Monday – Off
Tuesday – 50 deadlifts @95lbs. 50 deadlifts @ 135. Plus a little clean practice at 135lbs. Shoulder still problematic.

For the rest of this week I need a pullup workout, a dip or chest workout and a HIIT bootcamp workout plus 1 or 2 135lb barbell workouts.

My basic plan for now without gym workouts looks like this:

Deadlift / Squat Day
Clean / KB Clean and Press Day
Pullup and Dips Day
Multifunction HIIT / bootcamp Day
Plus whatever I can manage on my 3 gym days which at the moment is 1. Very Little and 2. About To Change.

If I can get to a point where I can do 2 days of HIIT at gym with the kids then I can start to work more aggressively on adding more weight to my deadlifts and maybe squats. I don’t think I want / need to exceed 135lbs for my clean and press at this point especially with a hurt shoulder. It will also give me what I consider the Absolute Minimum for consistency and that is 5 days work out of 7.

Time to stop talking and start doing…

Basic and Light

meteryardFor the past week or so I have been doing my regular olympic lifting, anywhere from 65-105 reps total. Last week I was able to do a day of just deadlifts at 135 which left me very sore indeed and so I decided to scale back a little and go back to 95 lbs until I am a bit more stable. So this weekend I did just cleans at 95 lbs and did 5-5-5-5-10-10-10-5-5-5 for 65 reps at 95 lbs. It really doesn’t sound like much but it’s a lot harder than I thought it would be. I have also added a little kettlebell swinging and/or some pullups. Last week I did 10 sets of pullups to see what my output was like. Well I only managed 65 total but at least that is 6.5 per set average. It is getting tough again with coaching 3x a week and trying to work out on the other 4 days plus squeeze a workout in at the gym either during the day or before I coach to make it 5x a week but time is such a challenge. That’s part of the reason I am getting back to my basic lifts, making sure I do deadlift, clean, pullups, bench, ring dips and squats during the week. My combo / bootcamp workouts will just have to wait for the time being until my back settles down a bit more and I get my capacity back up to scratch.

I am hoping to get back to 100 rep min workouts with 135lbs and multiple movements by October, but the way my back is at the moment, that may be a bit ambitious however I think it’s only sore because of how much I am doing. I can’t really gauge how well I am doing according to my pain level but rather by my capacity for work and that’s why the basics are so necessary as a yardstick.

I’m Back! P90X Kenpo

andersonsilvastarIt’s been a while, I have been battling many things, a very sore leg which may have a slight infection, a hacking cough that won’t go away, a significant weight gain that is preventing me from getting to a pain free plateau and a return to coaching that will no doubt throw a wrench into my workout schedule. However, I am glad to report that I have been able to do 2 workouts now using the 135lb olympic bar. It’s not the volume I would like to say I am doing yet but I made it through and recovered in the standard 3 days. This is pretty significant for me because it signifies the threshold that I wanted to reach where I could say I was back into my normal range of functionality. I now realize that I am going to have to start back with my regular stretching and mobility work too since I have been staying away from it in order not to stress my back too much but I know I can’t expect to move any significant weight around without maintaining a good stretching regimen. I have also done a couple of kettlebell workouts with my 45 and 55lb KBs which also represents a milestone given the amount of stress that KB swings put n your spine. My chinups are pretty sad, I am only able to hit about 7 or 8 in a row but I did manage to do a 100 pullup workout a couple of weeks ago mixed in with 100 ring dips.

I hesitate to say I am back to normal only because I still live with a huge amount of pain every day. I realize that the better I feel, the more I do so therefore it will be a while before I am able to feel “normal” but the good sign is that my actual workout weights are getting back there. My endurance is a whole other ball game. I am really gassing out very quickly and I need to really work on my high intensity capacity now, giving me a longer window of time where I can keep my work rate high. I am certain that there is no way I would be able to match my bootcamp capacity from last year at this point but hopefully before Christmas gets here I will be able to do a 750 calorie workout in 45 minutes which was my peak performance that I can recall from last year.

I did do P90X Kenpo last night, I wanted a little cardio and to feel like I was mobile and Kenpo really did the trick. It was so weird going back to those videos but the forced warmup and stretching did wonders for me. If I have to, I will go back to Tony to get me back n track with the warmups and cool downs since it seems to be that is a critical component to my next few months.

RehabD6 – Rehab Recap

kettlebells-anatomyAs far as I can remember I didn’t do anything on Saturday since I had coached Friday and worked all day. Sunday I did a basic Olympic lift workout managing to stick with my 70lb barbell for now and covering off the basics:

5 rounds of:

10 Squat
10 Deadlift
5 Power Clean
5 Clean and press

Sure doesn’t sound like much when I look at it now but my legs were very sore from wide leg squatting 2 of the sets. My back was very sore Monday morning while getting ready for Wonderland but it was workable. Monday after Wonderland I needed to work on my pullups again so I did the following poor impersonation of a workout:

10 rounds of:

5 pullups
5 ring dips

That is really pretty sad but again, I am really all about making sure that what I do isn’t disabling me afterwards and so far I think I have a good handle on my limits. It’s Tuesday and I have to coach Wed and Thurs but I think today I need to pull off a WOD type full body workout and I am actually ready to try the med ball cleans again with the 35lb wallball. I must add that I also did a kettlebell workout at work on Friday (I almost forgot) and while it was once again rather small, it was a large victory to know I can KB swing with a 45lb KB and survive. Maybe that means I can add some KB to my med ball cleans today.

All in all it’s been a pretty good few days, the parents are in town which is great for us and for the grandchild and I am still managing to get some physical work done. Things are indeed looking up from a functional aspect. I am still very sore in the mornings and EXTREMELY tired no matter how much sleep I get. I do seem to snap out of both very quickly but I think I do need to get more rest.