A+reportcardsmallAfter bootcamp last week I decided to try not to take Thursday off and keep that day in my pocket in case I needed it. On reflection it was a great idea, I think I made some good strides this week back to my 232lb partial goal and I am hoping to gain some momentum to pass right by 232 without noticing.

Olympic Lifting. I stuck to my plan of increasing my weights slowly but surely. This time I surpassed 205 and went up to 235 with my deadlift. I know, it’s not much but I think once I make it to 300 I will cap it anyway so I am not searching for glory here!

P90X2 Balance and Power. I have been trying to stick with at least 1 full DVD workout each week, partly because it makes sure I get a longer workout than usual and adds to my total time for the week but also because it gives me some inspiration for bootcamp. Balance and Power is a good workout if you are looking for something that is not body part specific and had some good coordination/balance moves incorporated. There is also some abs work which makes it a good all around bootcamp style workout.

Saturday and Sunday:
Bench and Free dips plus Fountain of Youth Yoga. Saturday was the first time in a long time that I set up the bench and did some old school gym workout bench presses. I wanted to see if I was still as strong as I was (I’m not!) and see if my endurance for benching is still where it used to be (it is!). I only managed to get up to 235lbs partly due to the fact I didn’t have the new bumper plates in the basement but also because I chose to ramp up slowly taking sets of 10 reps at each increment. By the end I had completed over 100 reps going from 135lbs up to 235lbs. Mixed in with the bench I was also doing free dips on my home made dip stands which added to the fatigue and therefore lightness of weight. All in all, it was a satisfying workout, and once in a while it’s good to go back to bodypart basics and make some waves! Sunday I decided since I hadn’t had a day off since Tuesday I would spend some time treating my body well and did the FOY Yoga with Tony. It’s only 40 minutes max and I have to admit I skipped the abs so it was only about 35 minutes but it was just what I needed. I got to hit 6/7 days this week and didn’t feel like a total basket case at the end.


My Olympic Lifting Days

I have been working on my technique in the last few weeks, knowing that I really shouldn’t be trying to achieve higher weights if I want to control my size. I know that now, being a little older, it’s not always better to be or go bigger. That said, I have been trying to work my way into developing a solid clean and press where previously I was using the hang clean to do the movement. It has taken me a while but I am now at a point where I can comfortably do around 10 full cleans with squat and press without feeling like I am going to lose my balance or lose the bar.

I have also managed to work on my rack position so that the bar actually rests on my delts like it should but I am having a tough time with wrist flexibility and arm size. My arms are built in a way that makes it tough to get the forearm and bicep to occupy a similar space and for the wrist to maintain even the most rudimentary grip on the bar. I did notice during the Olympics that the way the pros do it is to take an extra little bump after the rack to get the hands under the bar ready to press. I’m trying to work on that.

Finally, since my squat is pretty solid I thought I would give overhead squats a try. It’s something I have tried in the past with mixed results, and by mixed I mean absolutely zero success. For some reason I can’t get my arms back far enough to balance, that is until I realized that my hands were FAR to close together. Once I slid my hands out to the end of the bar, like one would for a snatch, I found that I could squeeze out a couple of reps. I was pretty happy, but it is a very uncomfortable and strenuous activity, one that will require many many more attempts to become comfortable.

Since I am getting more comfortable I have also started doing multiple movements, specifically going from clean and press to back squat. Not only that, but a 4 movement set of deadlift, clean, clean and press, clean and press with squat. It’s becoming a lot of fun and I can definitely feel the benefit in my legs and my lower back.



10.26-29 – The Long Weekend

It was Canada Day here this past weekend and so that meant a long weekend and an extra day off from coaching. After Bootcamp cardio during coaching on Thursday I took Friday off and took Saturday as an Olympic lifting day in order to try and work a little on my shoulder strength and mobility. It’s a little foggy now but I think it was something like:
25 Shoulder Press
25 Squats
25 Clean and Press

Although I was only using a light weight to dedicate my concentration to my form it was still a bear to get the mechanics of the press correct without compromising my lower back.

Sunday I took in an X2 Yoga class, which was actually very enjoyable and although I do like the Fountain of Youth Yoga with Tony, it’s a little dry. At least with X2 you have others to watch and emulate.

Monday was a DIY WOD out on the balcony, I decided to take a familiar apporach and do things I enjoy but also get some pullups in since I am disappointed in my ability on the chin up bar recently.

10 rounds:

5 Pullups
10 55lb kettlebell swings
15 Pushups
10 Full Squats
5 Ring Dips

It was a satisfying workout, I am still a little disappointed that  I didn’t get in a RKC workout this week but I can always get that done next time.

Tuesday will be bootcamp bodyweight day, a return to the shcedule!

R9D24 – Bootcamp 2.4.2 – Taking It Up A Notch

It was weights day at bootcamp and I thought it was about time I introduced the gang to the barbell and some olympic style lifts. Maybe I was being a little too ambitious but I figure if Crossfit gyms all over the nation can teach this stuff to people who are ill prepared and occasionally ill equipped physically then I should be able to get my (already fit) bootcamp peeps to do it. I also wanted to get some kettlebell style swinging with dumbbells (since we don’t have actual kettlebells) into the workout schedule since it’s a great full body workout as I regularly say.

The workout looked something like this:

Double Curls
Double Press
Squat high pull
chin ups

Alt curls
alt press
chin ups

db high pull
db clean
db clean and press

bb deadlift
bb clean
bb clean and press

Laying chest fly and press
Laying chest pullover 2 way
Shoulder fly side to front
Shoulder fly front to row

Each section could be performed with barbell or dumbbell but it was the teaching of the simple clean that had most people stumbling. I guess there are 2 factors here, one that pulling  a weight viciously towards your chin is perturbing for some and second that being a woman probably makes the move a little more difficult to master given the “obstacles”. They seemed to pick up the dumbbell swings OK however my comfort level with that particular move using dbs is not high. I would far prefer to get a set of 5 25lb kbs and do it that way, but I am not sure if the gym is willing to pick up the tab for that quite yet!

Since it is winter here and the temperature in my garage has been below freezing for some time now my olympic lifting has taken a far away back seat so after class I took a few minutes for myself and threw some 45’s on the bar and did the following:

10 Deadlift
10 Power Clean
10 Strict Press
10 Power Clean and Press

It has been a while since I did these movements together so I was a little wobbly, also I don’t usually do that much weight, since I typically do more reps but I was happy to crank out what I did especially given it was after a bootcamp class and I was nursing an already sore shoulder. Sad as it may sound for someone of my size but those were all PRs for those lifts since I started making notes on it over a year ago. I am fine with the notion that I may never deadlift 500lbs, my head is no longer 100% in that space and although it is hard to let go of the demon inside I think I have a much stronger muzzle on him now. All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable evening at the gym.

R7D89/91 – The Final Weekend

My encounter with Cindy last week left me extremely sore in the quads. I am not sure why it was so bad, but Friday and Saturday I was in agony most likely because I chose to do full squats for Cindy instead of only going to 90 degrees. I was severely compromised during my Olympic Lifting practice and due to the pain rather than doing any max weight, I chose to concentrate on form and get my mechanics back on track.

Olympic Lifts:

3 sets of 10 each, unloaded bar.

Power Clean
Clean and Press
Clean and Jerk
Push Press

Saturday we attended a wedding, but that timing was good since by that time I was unable to walk without looking like I had a metal coat hanger for a spine and hips made from glass. For Sunday, the official last day of Round 7 I caved and did Yoga with the P90X gang. I admit I did skip some of the savasanas at the start but it was an hour of yoga that I was grateful for.

Monday rolled around and knowing that I am at the very least starting with the same round again I knew it was RKC time. I may change the format a little, but for the first week I knew it would be the same as last time.

R9D1 – My RKC mini workout:

Ladders of 3,4,5,4,3 with pullups

For those who are unfamiliar, a description of the ladder system is here.

I did 20 swings between each set (some head height, some overhead) and at the end decided to add something extra.

1 clean and press left
1 clean and press right
1 snatch right
1 snatch left
1 pullup
2 clean and press left
2 clean and press right
2 snatch right
2 snatch left
2 pullup
3 clean and press left
3 clean and press right
3 snatch right
3 snatch left
3 pullup


Forget What You Believe. Find Out What You Need To Know. Then Change (Now With Links!).

Comrade, I Have New Hero. His Name, Pavel Tsatsouline.

pavelETKI picked up a kettlebell and it may turn out to be the best thing I have done in years. Well, that and going Paleo along with my discovery of High Intensity Training. You can’t help but love Pavel, and you can check out a review of his Enter The Kettlebell here.

It’s tricky trying to accept things that we believed to be unalterably true. Sometimes it’s almost impossible especially when you have spent half your life telling other people the wrong thing. But we are all here to learn, to adjust and to judge what is the best for us.

As Pavel says, “If you don’t have good judgement, why don’t you stay on the machines you big sissy?”

Eating 5 or 6 smaller meals is physiologically better. Not true. It may help you to snack less since you have no time to do it, but it’s not based on scientific evidence. It may help with digestion, something which I am sensitive to but as long as the caloric amount is the same, the time doesn’t matter.

Spending time on cardio machines is hurting you, not helping you. That’s because the calories burned vs time spent is pitiful and it’s making you hungry so you overeat. Try higher intensity, shorter duration instead such as Crossfit inspired Olympic Lift workouts.

Want 10 reasons why that elliptical 30, 45 or 60 minutes is no use? Here you go.

How about the myth of skipping meals slowing your metabolism? More bull. Just check out any writing about IF (intermittent fasting) to find out why skipping meals can be good for you once you get the refined carbs out of your life.

BMI? Bullshit Medical Information. I know this being a muscular dude, but it’s true for everyone.

Let’s not forget the overwhelming evidence that carbohydrate not fat is the reason for the obesity epidemic. There is too much info to list here but authors like Gary Taubes, Mark Sisson and good link pages like this are a great place to start. Any information on the Paleo movement will help, as may reading the free version of “The Vegetarian Myth” over at Amazon.

You can also go to Whole 9, paleohacks (for great tips and general info from Paleo people) or The Paleo Diet.

Sadly, starting here may lead you on a journey that makes you uncomfortable, frustrated and confused. Keep at it, and slowly but surely you will come to see the new truth about fitness… The so called experts don’t always know what they are talking about but the truth is out there.

Eat bacon!