Ok, so I know a good amount of you are somewhat curious about this "genius" program I keep talking about. So, today I'll give a detailed look at how I came up with it and why it works so well. Just a heads up, this post will probably get somewhat technical.
Focus on the Central Nervous System:
What I've found with most great strength training programs is that they assume the athlete has a pretty decent understanding of strength training in general. This assumption makes the program skip over a building phase that only experienced lifters would know to do before getting started. Many of these programs will start right off the bat with the use of percentages for their progression, and honestly, the vast, vast majority of people out there do not have a good understanding of what their 1 or 3 rep max lifts are at all. If you begin a program using a percentage of a made-up number, you are going to be fighting with trial and error for the entirety of the program rather than having incredible gains. I guarantee that if you prime all of your systems before diving into any known strength program, your gains will be insane. That's why I program a priming phase. Whether you're an experienced lifter or completely green to the iron game, if you are not primed properly you will only be hindering your potential gains.
Your nervous system acts as a sort of central control for muscle recruitment. If lift up a box that weighs 100 pounds, your brain sends a signal to your muscles to tell them how much they need to contract to handle the weight, and the amount of movement you plan to do with that weight. If your brain is not prepared to lift up a heavy weight, well, you'll probably have some issues trying to move that huge box from your basement to the garage. But just like your muscular system, you can train your nervous system to adapt quicker and quicker to greater loads. You can actually "strengthen" your nervous system through proper training, just like you do your muscles. The more primed your nervous system, the easier it will be to move heavier weights, easy as that. Now here's the controversial part: many people think that you can simply prime this system through a few basic movements. You can read up on some good info about eccentric-less exercises that are designed to fire up your nervous system before a lift. You could also get all old-school and slap the hell out of your training partner right before he/she is going for a max squat (sounds a bit funny, but it actually does work). The idea is "waking up" your systems through something extremely energetic, getting your endorphins roused and ready for fight! And this is all well and good except for the fact that there's only so much "waking up" you can do directly before you lift. If you overloaded your body the week before, with weight, with stress, with crappy nutrition, bad sleep, etc., you might hit a PR, but not one as big as you could have hit. If you prepared your body and mind in unison, and THEN got yourself all amped up with adrenaline before your lift... Well, you'd hit insane PR's like all my guys have been hitting over the past 6 months (we're talking 30, 40, 50, 60 pound gains over a few months for pretty experienced lifters).
So how do I prime this little nervous system thing? Nothing new here: progressive overload. This is something good ol' Milo of Croton taught us back in Ancient Greek times. To train for the Olympics, he carried a calf on his shoulders every day until the start of the Games a bunch of years later. By the time the Games came around, the calf had grown to a full blown cow and he could easily carry the thing around. This is commonly used to explain how to properly build the muscular system (it adapts to the progressively heavier weight by getting stronger), but is usable for the nervous system as well. Knowing how the nervous system works now, it makes sense that the brain must also adapt to the progressively heavier loads so that it can tell the building muscles to move properly. It's simply a matter of timing the two of these systems to work and grow in conjunction with each other.
Trail And Error:
Start by giving yourself 3 weeks of ascending weight load. I write in a 3x5 week, then a 5x5 week, and finally a 5x3 week (the first number is the amount of sets you do, the second is reps performed per set). Each of these weeks has you adding weight each set so your nervous system and muscles can get plenty of time to get on the same playing field. I think of it as a trial and error phase. You just sort of add weight and do movements in a seemingly non-specific way.
The 4th week has a set-weight 5x5 template. This is your classic strength-building set up. At this point your body and nervous system are pretty warmed up and ready to go. So, we take a very challenging weight and overload the body with higher reps. I allow for a adding on, or taking away of up to 10 pounds over the course of the 5 sets, but after 3 weeks of some pretty decent lifting, everyone should have a decent idea of what weight to use.
The 5th week is the key to the first phase of the program in that we set our 3 rep maxes. Every single athlete has put up a very impressive 3RM since I have started using this program. Again, this is because the nervous system and muscular system are primed and ready to go! Everything is working in harmony, and good things tend to happen when harmony is heard!
After this we hit a de-load week; very basic, same stuff but not as heavy (I write in 3 sets at about 60% of that 3RM). And after that comes phase 2 of the program. This is where things will look relatively familiar for anyone with any serious barbell training experience. Using the 3RM numbers we established, we get into a 5 week (with 1 week at the end for de-load) phase of specific percentages that again, progressively overload the the body up to that 5th week where we get to see that awesome 1 rep max we've been hoping for! In terms of the specifics, I threw together percentages that made sense to me based on my experience and things just clicked. And since I first wrote the program, I've only tweaked those percentage ever so slightly one time (I took one set away from week 7 as that day is a total shock to the body anyway, and having 6 sets was teetering on the brink of death..so, yeah).
Now we have Olympic lifting, accessory work, and metabolic conditioning. Oh boy, now the fun starts! Well actually, turns out I don't have to get into crazy detail with this stuff as I program it for only two reasons when programming for strength: technique and prep for other lifts. The technique aspect is to both to become better at Olympic lifting, and to get a bit better at controlling your body through space and around other things. Olympic lifting is extremely technical and the focus on form allows for a better understanding of controlling your own body. The prep side of things is all about firing up your nervous system to get it ready for the big, heavy lifts. So, I program pretty basic moves depending on the clientele. If it's a CrossFitter, I'll program in a progression of accessory pulls (snatch and clean pulls, high pulls, pulls off blocks) as well as plenty of power snatch and power clean work, and full snatch and clean work. For the athlete and 9-5er it's a little more simple with mostly hang power work and some pull accessory work. I usually use a modified program from Catalyst Athletics for the Oly work, but again, it all really depends on the clientele.
Accessory And MetCon:
For accessory work and metcon I usually combine a good bit of them. Things like kettlebell swings, presses, push ups, pull ups, lunges, step ups and so on, can all be programmed intelligently into a metabolic conditioning workout. I always remind people to make sure to NOT overdo it here. Especially if you're a CrossFitter, you may have a tendency to want a "WOD" that completely kicks your ass. Well, if it kicks your ass with a specific purpose (like fatiguing your posterior chain and forcing you to generate power with your hips without risking good form) then great, kick away. But if you just throw a bunch of exercises together that look cool but you can't give a detailed explanation as to why it was written, you suck at programming, enough said. I will put the other accessory lifts into a circuit either directly after the strength portion of the session, or after the metcon if it was a tad less intense. These exercises are things like: reverse hypers, GH raises, good mornings, bent rows, Turkish get ups, windmills, etc.
Like I said before, this is not really new stuff in terms of training programs, just a new and COMPLETE approach that I think tends to get lost when most people get started with something. Not sure why I haven't seen a program written like this for the public ever (I know plenty of coaches who will naturally do this sort of thing for their private clients), but so be it, there is one now!
I know there are probably a million more things I could write concerning this program, but i just wanted to lay out the basics for all of you so you could see where I'm coming from. I would LOVE feedback on this, so, please feel free to say what you like. This whole programming thing has become something of a passion for me, and I know it's a never-ending learning process. All I know is it's fun as hell figuring out how to design something that makes people better!
Oh, and if you want to see this program in action (and how I implement Olympic lifting, accessory work and metabolic conditioning for the CrossFitter and the athlete, you can check out the CP East page on this site, and, check out the site below. Both are using the template, but both are very different in how they look. CP East is designed for high school, collegiate, and professional athletes, Courage Workout is designed for up and coming competitive CrossFitters. I also program for myself and a few training partners based on this same template; I'm working now on getting those workouts posted up somewhere as well.
Courage Workout (program design site for CrossFitters)
Never Stop, GET FIT.
The other morning I was walking to the gym and saw a girl trying to climb over a short railing to get to the train station. I would say the thing was about bellybutton height or so, and it took her about 1 minute in total to figure out how to manipulate her body over the thing. She made it, alive, but then seemed to be hobbling a little bit from straining her body in such an "extreme" way.
This got me thinking about how crummy it is that most people in this world just can't do things that should be so easy to do. People can't move! How many times have you seen a cop who is sitting somewhere, overflowing a seat, eating their classic donut, or in a fast food joint, and thought about how effective they'd be if, um, ANYTHING happened. Seriously, besides just shooting people,what else could they physically do? Or someone who can't walk faster than a slow, leisurely pace trying to walk an energetic dog. Or a clearly out of shape parent trying to get their kid to play, be active, be a kid?! How did we become a species of being that has no ability to physically function at even a respectable ability? Are we not the "most intelligent species alive"? Perhaps our intelligence is too much to realize that the basic ability to function is relatively more important than designing computers or suing each other. Perhaps our superior intelligence is actually our greatest curse because it provides us with the argument that anything we do to destroy our bodies and minds can be fixed by the technologies and medicines we've created, with our intelligence. Yeah, that was a long sentence.
I know, I know, I of all people should be understanding of the fact that people lose sight of certain things and just need a little kick. Well, I am understanding of those people, if they know what they are doing is wrong. I honestly have less and less sympathy every day for people who can't perform basic human tasks like: run, move side to side, jump, climb, pull, push, carry, throw, catch, sit down and stand up, duck, react, fight back and lift. These are some of the first things we learn to do as humans, and it seems that once we learn to do them at a respectable level (like around the age of 4) we slowly teach ourselves how NOT to do them. Or how to get other people and things to do them for us.
I'm not saying we should ditch our computers and cars and such and all go live in the woods. All I'm saying is that things would be so much better if everyone could remember what it means to be a human being at ALL levels. Don't use your brains to find ways to NOT use your brains and bodies. Us your brains to make the world better, to help people, to create positive change and all that jazz. And then go play, talk face to face with people, lift things and throw things. Run in different directions and continue to learn the things you were learning when you were 2 years old. Then maybe when you need to hop a railing, or chase down your kid, or carry a TV, or push your broken down car, you won't just sit there like a complete waist of space.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
My max week did not turn out the way it planned. It seems as though my genius program works for everyone but me (Whitey even PR'd his lifts by a damn good number and he was doing the exact same thing as me)! BUt after a couple days of running through the workouts and the numbers over and over, I figured it out. I asked WAY too much of myself over the past three months. Not only was my workout program damn intense, but I was also going through some pretty tough personal; stuff, and up and moving across the country as well. Plenty of stress on my system for sure. I was hoping for a 485+ squat, got 471 and then tried twice at 490. Perhaps I should have dropped to 480 or something, but I feel good with the approach I took. While I'm happy with a 6# PR, I know I should have got more. On bench I walked away after to misses at 325#. That is 10# off my previous PR and I literally had not shot in hell at getting that lift. I had nothing.
At first I thought it was a volume thing. I thought that I had programmed way too much weightlifting (Olympic lifting: snatch and clean and jerk work) when my focus was powerlifting (squat, bench, deadlift). But when my back was bothering me during some light cleans before my bench, and Brendon tried to message it out real quick, I very quickly realized what the hell has been going on: I'm forcing my body to do things it's not ready to do.
What this means is that I have not taken care of myself from a movement perspective. All the stress, added with the stress of my program has led me to tighten up like crazy. And with this tightening up, I have not taken the proper time to really focus on mobilization and flexibility. I am not kidding, if you press on my back, right in the middle of it, it feels like I am flexing as hard as I possible can. This is NOT a good thing. Muscles should be firm but mailable to the touch. I am walking around and functioning with my entire body in a knot. My shoulders, my forearms, my back, my butt, my legs, everything is so tight it's actually kind of impressive I can move as much as I do now. To put into perspective: take a thin foam roller and lie on it with it in the center of your back, perpendicular to your spine. The fast majority of people should be able to have their butt resting on the floor, AND their shoulders resting on the floor. Use a normal foam roller and the same thing generally applies. I took a 1/5 inch diameter bar, then rolled a yoga mat around it, and I could not get my spine to move enough to get both my butt and shoulders on the floor. That is legitimately BAD.
So, to the drawing board I go to learn about mobility even more than I already do. I am choosing to not max deadlift today as I'm sure my spice would shatter if I tried. And, I will be talking from today through next Saturday to focus purely on mobility and skills. I'll write about the program I'll follow soon enough, but I am both excited and nervous. Excited because I know I need this, and my body generally adapts to things very quickly. I know that with a new focus on mobility I should expect some pretty serious gain when I get back on my lifting program. And nervous because I have avoided doing mobility because I just don;t like doing it. Stupid reason I know. But as I learn more and more about it and how to focus in on it like crazy. I'm sure I'll generate a much greater respect for it, and learn to enjoy the process.
Here's to getting better!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I had a conversation the other day with someone about the idea of making the right choices when something is going wrong in your life. It made me think a lot about the choices we make in our lives, and the thought processes we might have when building to those choices. So let me give a few examples:
I have learned a lot about my own metabolism and hat it would take to get myself to a very low body fat percentage. I know that, besides looking strong as hell, a good deal of the things I want to do would be easier if I was about 10 pounds lighter then I am right now. I know that I am lifting heavy and that makes me hungrier in general. And I also know I have some emotionally charged eating habits and that stress leads me to craving certain types of food and also leads to me not being able to process most of those foods that I crave. The cool thing is, I know exactly what I need to do to get to that point; but, I hang at about an 82% consistency rate in doing those positive things as of right now (up from about 50% a couple weeks ago!). So, why do I make the choice to do the things I know aren't helping me? Well, I actually know right now exactly why, but the main thing I want to focus on here is that I know what I am doing will not hurt me in any way. My body can NOT metabolize sugar at all. If I cut sugar completely out of my diet I drop un-needed weight in almost frightening fashion. Yet if I have even a little of it, one day out of the week, I put my metabolism at almost a stand still. I know it's not hurting me per se, just drastically slowing my gains. Now, if I have multiple servings of sugar every day, that would be a totally different story. I would easily gain 10+ pounds in a week (I am actually under-exagerating that one), I would feel annoyingly lethargic, I would sleep horribly, and I would be very irritable. So, I don't do that. Honestly, what kind of a person would I be if I knowingly did something that made me a worse person.
If a doctor told you that drinking coffee would make your stomach lining disintegrate, would you stop drinking coffee? Or say that about smoking, or drinking, or eating cheese, or nuts? When having a basic conversation, this is pretty easy to respond to: of course you'd stop! Duh! But most people don't. What about if we come at it from a different angle; what about if you were not told what you couldn't do, but told what you needed to do? Say, just add 5 minutes of stretching every morning and you'll be able to walk; if you don't stretch, you risk never walking again. Well, again, just talking to people I'm sure nearly 100% of them would give you the obvious "of course I'd stretch!". But I would venture an assumption that most people would not last more than a few days.
Why do our minds do this? Why do we automatically fall so quickly into old, negative habits with the expectation that something new will happen? Well, I'm no super duper psychologist, but I do have my theories.
I think that most people really do know what's better for them. I have had countless experiences where someone will come up with some theory why cupcakes are good to consume on a daily basis, and all it takes is a few leading questions for them to not only admit the cupcakes should NOT be consumed every day, but why, and what would be way better. Reading this I'm sure most of you did one or both of two things: made a joke that was something along the lines of "what's wrong with a cupcake or two every day, I mean, they're sooo good?". And, "well yeah Josh, don't eat a cupcake and have like, salad, and some chicken, duh.". Well, yes! Exactly, you all know exactly what it takes to be healthy, but everyone makes a joke out of it. It's so obvious it's silly. It's so easy, it should just happen on it's own without any effort on my part...
I don't expect anyone to be perfect, hell, I have a hard time with those people who just seem to have it all figured out at all times (although, if you talk to them, you'll find they have just as many issues as you and I do). And if you feel like having a cupcake every now and again, or a drink or two, go ahead, it probably won't kill you. But you all know when enough is enough. We are only lying to ourselves when we think that "I'll just make a change next week", or having "just one more" or "I'll stretch later" is something you find yourself doing every day. If your actions are causing harm to yourself, there is absolutely NO excuse to continue doing them. You know that to be true. Stop making excuses and start by making just a small change. When you see the positive effects of that change, it'll be easier to make another, then another, and soon enough you may feel happy, healthy, positive, smiley, strong, loving, and good.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I go through phases of focused research; sometimes it's just reading and watching random bits of information I find on the interwebs; other times it's searching for specific articles, topics, studies and so on. These days the topics I've been focused on are: liquid retention, and stress! yay!
So, I'll go a little bit into why I've been focusing on these topics and what I've found. As I generally do on this site, I will just be throwing all this out as a stream of consciousness. And this actually leads me to a side topic about info I put on this site. lately I've been either posting from my iPhone or iPad, and the app I use doesn't allow me to get into crazy detail with my postings. Because of this I have a harder time posting links and whatnot. I should have a little office set up in the next week or so, and this will allow for two things: more detailed and information-linked posts, and videos! Yep, I have all the intentions in the world to get back to my video-posting ways! I mention all this because I realize a lot of the info I post here kind of demands a good bit of proof. And, generally, the way I write/talk seems to come across as me claiming what I say to be ultimate truth. Well, it's not ultimate truth, it's just stuff that I have found that I believe in. As always, I am very open to discussion and debate, and I know that what I claim here may at some point be contradicted by me. What I use this blog for is to throw my ideas out there because I have way too many in my head at all times. Please take them as merely thought-provoking ideas, as that is all I intend them to be.
I make these points because I have become aware that there are a handful more people following this blog as of late. Sweet! Welcome! Oh right, and I'll try to do better with my spelling...!
Ok, liquid retention. My body retains liquids like freaking crazy. Add to that my insane sweet tooth and the fact that glucose is probably the greatest liquid retention nutrient, and I'm screwed. The only time in my life that I was legitimately ripped occurred when I was consuming ZERO sugar (and I mean no fruit even). I have started a nutrition plan where I consume fruit, but no other added sugar at all and am eager to see what happens. But it's pretty crazy for me to realize just how much liquid retention effects ones body weight.
So, the reading has been trying to figure out ways to move fluid through the body a little more naturally. Basically, the main step is to look into anything that counters glucose. Another big thing for me to do that I have yet to look into is getting my insulin levels checked. I am sure I have some crazy out-of-whack insulin levels during a given day and that is why I have such a hard time with liquid retention in general, and an even tougher time with sugar consumption. For me, drinking coffee is not for the caffein, it's for the diuretic effect. Apparently celery has a natural fluid-flow effect as well. Writing it all now I realize that I don't actually have all that info on this topic and the fire is lit to learn more. Any insight dear readers?
On to stress. This one has been very eye-opening for me. Here's the basic run-down: all stress, no matter the instigator of it, processes in your body the same. This tends to get confusing to people because the idea that exercising really intensely and getting no sleep doing the same to the inner working of your body just doesn't seem to make logical sense. But if you can look past the external reactions to stress, and just focus on the hormonal and chemical reactions to it, you'll find that it really doesn't matter where it comes from, inside your body it can't tell the difference. So, if you are suffering from the stress of too much responsibility at work, and you try to do an hour of crazy intense exercise every day to relive that stress, here's what happens. You "feel" better because you get a external, physical release. But, inside your body your actually magnifying the effects of the initial stress. What your body actually needs is something to "chill" it out. So, if you are working out hard, sleeping poorly, eating poorly, working too hard and dealing with emotional stress, well, you're in rough shape inside. The key is having a legit understanding of how the different stresses feel, and truly (and I mean truly, not lying to yourself) understand how to deal with them.
I know all that came out as a bit of a jumble, but in my head something just clicked. I all of a sudden realized why there were weeks when I felt fine going into the gym, but I just couldn't recover. The trick? Write everything down! When I saw in my notes that I was having a tough time recovering, I also realized I was sleeping horribly. Maybe I felt fine each day, but inside my body was a different story.
Yeah. writing all this down makes me really realize that I have a ton more to learn and talk about with both of these things, especially the stress one. So, I'll be reading more and writing more over the next month about it all! But, I think that's about enough for tonight. Thoughts?
Never Stop, GET FIT.
That pic above is actually a couple year old shot I took while hiking around Pacifica, pretty cool! Ok, on to my journey. It was more or less uneventful, just a bit of a delay in LA where I found myself some decent food and was able to watch the Giants clinch the Division Series! And even better, I was able to get to CA just in tiem to watch the epic walk off home run by Jayson Werth to send the Nationals to a fonal game! As I said before, I am so excited for this years palyoffs!
Well, aside from that I was able to get a couple movies in while on the plane, as well as do a whole crap load of programming. My "To Do" list is getting pretty intense with all the crazy projects that are neededto get done while out here. There's setting up the house (looks like a pretty interesting work in progress as I sit here writing now), getting the flooring down in the new gym, beginning the transition of making the old gym officially Courage Perofrmance, programming, making sure Courage Performance East has everything they need to keep rolling smoothly, and a few more things. Yay! These next few weeks are going to be pretty interesting to say the least. The main thing I need to get on track is fighting through the lack of motivation I've been feeling this week. My plan is to take the noon class today, then take the next couple hourse to get after it in the gym, catching up on the main lifts i missed during the week. I really need to make sure things are all primed for next week, Max Week!
This weekend will be spent getting all the programs set up, planning out the gym spaces, and shopping! I am a little overwhelmed, but also very, very excited for everything that's about to happen here! And, I am very excited to be here in California. The rest of my life begins now!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today was a bit crazy, and I am fully aware that the fact that it was my last day as an East Coaster, probably for the rest of my life, won't really hit me for a while. This entire process of getting things back out West has been, to put it plainly, very unorganized. A truck showed up about two weeks ago and we just raced to fill it with everything we could possibly think of, and the same thing happened yesterday and today. I just threw as much as I possibly could into a couple bags and I am just leaving super early tomorrow morning. The good thing, and the thing I need to keep reminding myself, is that I'll be back a planned few times in the next 5-6 months. I'll be able to get whatever I forgot over those visits. But I'm getting away from the focus here: I want to take some time and just give thanks to all the things I've had the pleasure of connecting with while in the DC area.
I really love DC. Its such a great city, with so much personality and so much going on. It's really tough to rolling around those streets and not feel like there is something important going on around you. There is so much green around, there is so much to do, to see, to experience, and to learn. It really is a great city. Most people know that if I wasn't in CA, I would be in DC for sure. me of the things I'll probably miss the most are: getting lunch or dinner with my best buddy Ori in the city. Escaping only a short 6 or 7 miles away to the Billy Goat Train to explore or sprint through the woods and rocks along the Potomac River. Hitting up the Washington Waldorf School grounds with a group of people for the now famous "outdoor workouts", climbing trees, scaling bridges, jumping through sand, struggling over the top of the monkey bars and so much more.
The Garage. Man, this place has helped to define my own training and Courage performance more than anything else. For over three years my company has grown within a 200 square foot residential garage and has never seemed to hurt its growth. In the freezing cold winter, or the blazing hot summer, groups of athletes and many private clients pushed themselves to new limits in that tiny space. While I'm incredibly excited to have my 2400 square foot gym to run everything I've ever wanted, I'm going to miss the hell out of that garage. And I'll tell you what, I'll never take space for granted when it comes to training! I'm happy to know The Garage will continue to be used y Courage performance East for another couple months; before moving to the new location (more info to come very shortly!)!!!!
All my clients and athletes. Well shoot, I don't even know where to start! I live for this stuff, and I have been honored to coach all of you over the years. This past summer was especially special to me as I was able to watch pretty much every single person who came into The Garage go through incredibly positive changes. Not only were the strength gains overwhelmingly impressive, but I feel like everyone learned so much about themselves and how to lead better, healthier lives. I honestly can not wait to follow along as all of you continue to grow! And of course, every time I come back to visit, I hope that I get to catch up with each and every one of you; either in the gym, or over lunch or coffee or something.
As I am sure it is pretty obvious, I am very excited to move back out West and get all settled down and rolling on with the rest of my life. But I could not have gotten to this point without all the help and support of everyone I met in the DC area. I'll miss it all a ton and I will be so excited every time I get to return back for a visit. With all that being said, i will remind everyone that not only will my wildly successful programming continue to be available in the DC area through Andrew Whitener and Courage Performance East; but I'll be back 3-5 times per year and will sessions with anyone who wants them. Please be sure top stay in touch with me, either through email, text, write, call, or this blog here. As promised, i'll be posting on a very regular basis and am always happy for questions and comments posted. I'm happy to answer questions and engage in some healthy debate!
Well everyone, I should probably get a few hours sleep before getting out for my morning flight. All the bet to everyone and stay in touch!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
The past year or so has seen a shift in the things I fall asleep thinking about. For the majority of my life I;ve spent a good portion of my me-time thinking about hitting, pitching, fielding, and just a whole slew of situations that could happen on the baseball field. Now, those thoughts have seemed to turn into visualizing snatch and clean and jerk technique. Over and over and over again I think about snapping under the bar with a solid catch. I'll tell you all what, my mind really knows how to lift that barbell! Now all I need is my body to follow. Oh, and by the way, all the other moments are filled with too many ideas and crazy fantasies about living out movie situations. Yep!
But as of about a week ago I've found myself thinking more and more about baseball. Could me my new-found excitement in watching the MLB (these playoffs are AWESOME!, GO NATS!), could be that it's just been so long since I played. All I know is that I miss the feeling of walking to the plate, or running in from the bullpen, or feeling the ball connect with the bat, or knowing the pitch is going to fool the hell out of the batter as it leaves my hand. Baseball is such a complex sport, so much acute athleticism needed, so much skill, and so much intelligence. It's just flat out fun.
The picture above is of me pitching for the Pensacola Pelicans, an independent minor league team down in Florida that I played on for two seasons. It was a crazy couple years. I lived with host family (an awesome group of people I stay in close touch with still today), I got payed next to nothing. I worked out, I watched a ton of movies, and I spent my late afternoons and evenings on the ball field doing my thing. It was so much fun. That being said, I knew I was done when I left the game, and I walked away with no regrets. But that does not mean I don't miss it. And these days I've been missing it a ton. Do any of you have that sort of thing happen to you? Have something that was really meaningful in your life just all of a sudden come back to you and sort of haunt your thoughts for a period of time? I think it's kind of nice sometimes, but only if you're able to reconnect with that something in some way. And right now, with my big move coming up in only one day, I don;t really have the time to get out to the field and get my baseball fix. I know that I'll find a way to do that the second I get out to CA, but its an interesting feeling to have. I find myself wanting to set up some trips to tryouts next spring, just to see what could happen. And why not, right? I wouldn't do it as a pitcher, shoot man, I honestly have no idea if my arm could handle more than about 10 pitches at 100%. I did always think I was a better hitter than pitcher, and I made to pro ball as a pitcher; so maybe I have a shot? Ah, it's all just wishful thinking and day dreams. But, at the same time, it's kind of in my nature to just go out and do stuff if I feel like doing it. So, let's all just wait until spring hits and see what happens...
Big Good Bye post coming tomorrow!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
This past weekend I made the choice to it attend the Mid Atlantic Hopper Challenge. Last year at this awesome event I was able to walk away with 2nd place, and when they announced it this year, I was so ready to move up that one spot! But, after a good showing at The SuperFit team event the weekend before, and getting a slight cold in the middle of the week, I decided to give up my spot. This turned out to be a great, great choice on my part, and here is why:
My programming is rocking my world. I was able to a lead shock myself with a 3RM back squat at 445 and a bench at 300, and I am only two weeks out of working my new 1RM's. the details of this program are pretty intense and I really don't like the idea of screwing with it all that much. I was able to battle through the pain of SuperFit and still feel pretty good with the week. But, if I had done a 2-day individual event, right at the tail end of a little cold, I would probably need at least a couple days off to get my body and mind right. Also, my program is so heavily based on keeping my nervous system and muscular system in tune, I know I would be all to of whack after a competition.
A of now, I am feeling so fresh going in to tomorrow's training, it's actually kind of exciting. The second main reason I am happy I didn't compete this weekend is because of the workouts that came out. Wile all of them were workouts I'm pretty sure I would have done really well at, they would have CRUSHED me! Let's run through the basics: heavy snatches, pistol squats, heavy overhead squats, burpees, rowing, heavy front squats, toes to bar, running, heavy clean, and some more. For those of you who aren't programming geeks, the massive similarity between all these movements is the large hip flexion and extension needed to perform each one. Every single workout included wither really heavy hip dominants, or light and really high rep hip dominance. Basically, my hips and quads would have been needing a solid week vacation. The idea of working through my final prep week before maxing would be impossible. Then, I would have to figure out how t get my nervous system back on track as well. So again, thank god I chose not to compete, I was really hard not too, not gonna lie, but I'm happy I didn't.
Now that being said, I will admit to eating a little poorly this weekend. I had a few drink, and a little too much sugar. I'm not really all that concerned to be honest, I enjoyed it all and didn't feel like it was out of some emotional lack of control. The reason I mention it here is that I have been so aware of how this stuff is effecting me the second I eat it. I can literally feel my body just soak up liquids and hold on to them. I never really felt bloated after eating sugar, but now that I'm aware of my issue with liquid retention, I really can feel how my body react to sugar and alcohol. It's actually kind of cool. I am way, way less concerned about eating too much meat or something like that, it's the straight sugar I have to watch out for. I'm not rally at a point where I can break this down into too much detail, I am still at the beginning stages of figuring it all out. But I know it's always really exciting for me to start actually feeling this stuff. Learning it is cool. Reading about it all is cool. Believing it is cool, yeah. But feeling the body react to things is a whole different level of knowledge and education. Awesome.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today was a deciding day for me with my training. typically an off day, I had originally planned to mess around with some basic skills to prepare me for this weekends Mid Atlantic Hopper. I was ready to work on muscle ups, bar muscle ups, handstand walks, handstand push ups, some power clean technique and then get some running in. But, in the end I came to the unfortunate decision to not attend the competition. Here are my reasons:
I am really focused on my training, and I know that doing two events in two consecutive weekends will take a major toll on my body and hinder my focused gains. In all honesty, the pride of going to a CrossFit event and placing is not overpowering my desire to continue with the exciting gains I am making in the gym.
It's my last weekend on the East Coast. I am moving next Thursday and I feel like I should really be spending these valuable few days hanging with friends and saying my goodbyes.
I am sick. Not enough to stop me from training or anything like that, just a minor head cold. It;s annoying as hell through, and I know that I won't be at 100% for the weekend, and I'll be increasing my risk of a slow recovery afterwards. Agin, just not worth it right now.
So, I'll be forgoing the excitement and nerves of an awesome event. I'll struggle a little with it as I really do love the pressure of these things, and the competition. But, it's just not the right time. And, I've been focusing more and more on being smarter with my training, rather than harder. This is the smart thing to do. And with that being said, I changed up my training a little for today. Whitey and I ran pass patterns! This is something I used to do all the time as conditioning for my High School guys back in our Balance Gym days, and I was eager to get out to the field. I've really been craving playing real sports these days (like pick up basketball, taking BP, playing football, and soccer and so on) so it was awesome to get out there and goof off for about an hour or so. We just ran our basic routes, making up stupid celebratory end zone dances. It really is fun getting outside and just doing what most of us used to do as kids. I may try to convince Whitey and few others to head to the baseball field tomorrow or Saturday and we can run through a little practice; I miss that stuff!
After the football fun I went back to my neighborhood and did 10 hill sprints up a 50-60 meter hill at about 7-9 grade. I probably could have gone a bit harder, but with my head all stuffed up, it felt like I was going to pop. I worked on getting my knees up and staying smooth with each stride. It was nice to just sweat through everything.
I'll be back in the gym tomorrow ready to throw the barbell around! Oh, and since I'm posting on a more regular basis, you all will start to get a little more insight into just what it is I am doing with my program! It works!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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