Last week was a pretty good week. Team Courage hit our max lifts after the rest of gym had all just done that themselves and there were some pretty damn big numbers.
To finish off the week, myself, Mike, and Ryan (and a a decent collection of other training partners and friends) hit up the Lalanne Summer Throwdown, a ridiculously massive one-day competition out at Treasure Island in the city. With over 200 total competitors, this was the largest event I've ever been to, and one that saw 100 competitors in my division alone! It was a well-run event, not many hiccups that I could see, pretty good workouts all around, and some pretty damn good athletes (I think there were something around 5+ Regionals competitors there. I ended up finishing 8th overall and to be honest, I am happy with that given where my training has been over the past few months. I felt like I was about one gear off from where I normally would be competing, and that led me to just moving a hair slower than what I would expect from myself. But again, I was happy with the event and how I performed. Here are some cool pics from the day.
While it was a fun day, I actually had an interesting experience in that it was the first ever fitness competition I've been a part of where I lost interest in competing. I've had the experience before where I felt burnt out, but then when the announcer yells GO, I just find the switch and attack it with everything I have. This time around I was able to get that switch on the final announced workout, but going into the very final one (I was lucky enough to be in the top 8 who make it there) I just had nothing left to give. It was a strange new feeling for me to be at a competitive event and really just not care at all. At the time, there wasn't the desire to "dig deep" and find that edge. I had given what I wanted to that day and felt like there I didn't want to give anything else. Strangely enough, I stopped that final workout one rep shy of completely ripping my hand open, and I am beyond happy about that. I allowed myself to walk away from the day, get some good food and sleep, and hit the gym hard on Monday for our new cycle of heavy programming without having to modify everything because of a busted hand. Either way, it was a learning experience.
So, about said new cycle of programming! The past few months have been wildly successful and I had programmed out the next three months when one of my Team members approached me with the dreaded Smolov Squat program. I had read about this one a while back, and even considered using it in my program but ultimately wanted to try out my own strength program after going through the Hatch Squat cycle. But, upon some further review, and looking at what I had programmed, I decided to sit the Team down and find a way to incorporate this crazy intense program into our next 13 weeks.
Here's how I'm writing it out for us. First off, only a few of us are following it because my requirement is that anyone on the program must do it with others around. It's an incredibly intense program that calls for 4 days per week of high load and high volume squatting. So. Yeah. It's scary. I insisted on having a support crew around for each and every session for all of us on it.
Four out of our 6 days of training per week will be double training days. Our 6am Smolov squat sessions will also include focused gymnastics work and stretching. The afternoon session will be dedicated to weightlifting (snatch and clean and jerk work), accessory work, and conditioning sessions. And that's the extent of the the detail I'll share with all of you! I'm extremely excited for this program and I'm hoping some huge gains over the 13 weeks we're on it. As I mentioned to the Team, we are going to be entering into a lot of very dark places during this experience. But, it will be very eye-opening, very honest, and self-revealing time. I am very excited. On that note, if anyone is looking to get some pretty damn good programming (if I do say so myself...), let me know and join Team Courage! Just shoot me an email or call and we can get something going. The Team is looking to expand!
Anyways, I'm sitting here typing away, feeling like i got run over and all I can think about is the heavy squatting I have to do tomorrow morning. To be honest, the biggest thing I need to focus on over the next few months is eating, sleeping, and stretching. And this is perfect! The process of learning how to eat enough food to properly fuel myself without eating a bunch of crap is a huge challenge in and of itself. Sleeping is another thing I tend to have a hard time with timing out. For me, the best thing to do is plan to get around 6 hours per night, then focus in on getting a30-90 minute nap at some point each day as well. And lastly, I do tend to breeze over the stretching work, so planning out stretching and mobilization each day will help me so much, and I know I need it a lot.
I'll make sure to post regular updates on how this program goes. My research led me to realize there is not all that much anecdotal feedback on the Smolov program, so i plan to talk through it all and finish it all up with a big write-up on all my thoughts about it.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
It's been a while since I've written about my own programming and how it's going, so I thought I'd share. It's been going well. I've steered away from the classic CrossFit plan and more towards a straight up strength and weightlifting focus, it's been fun to say the least! While I do enjoy getting my butt kicked in the gym with a brutal metcon here and there, I do very much enjoy the day to day demands of a very serious strength training program. I am watching my numbers creep up slowly but surely, and when I keep my food in check, my mood, energy, and weight all keep getting better and better.
The best part about the program as of late is that i have a group of people to workout with. Team Courage has been a slowly building project at the gym and as of now we have five really serious members, and another 3 who are a tad less involved. The energy around this group looking through the programming and hitting the gym hard has been one of the best aspects of my training I've ever had. Couple that with the feeling of pride I have every day when I walk into y own gym with the big orange wall and my logo on it, I just feel good about where everything is going.
So, the program itself is using three major sources as its motivation: the strength program I wrote two years ago that saw 100% success rate in all athletes who've gone through the whole thing, a very, very base level conceptual feel for the Bulgarian Method of training, and some aspects to how a few of the Catalyst Athletics weightlifting programs have been designed. I can comfortably say that this program is about 98% mine (most/all good programs use tons of research and ideas taken from other programs already in existence) and to be honest, I have an idea of what will come out of it at the end, but I am really curious to see just how big some of our gains will be.
We are pulling heavy weights from the blocks each day (working 80% and up on all sets) and then our strength work is seeing about 8+ programed sets each day. It's pretty brutal having to work up to 100+% of your 5RM or 3RM and then head back down to 85% and work back up again. The combination of load and volume is something that has taken a little to adapt to. But, I feel like I'm adapting pretty well and I am feeling stronger each day. My drill work with the Olympic lifts is now consistently only 10-15# below my best ever lift. While this is depressing that my 1RM sucks, it's promising that I am getting more efficient and consistent at heavy loads. Here's what a typical week looks like:
Monday: snatch, squat, snatch strength accessory
Tuesday: snatch, clean and jerk (light, drill)
Wednesday: clean and jerk, bench, front squat, c+j accessory
Thursday: snatch, deadlift, strength accessory
Saturday: snatch, clean and jerk, squat
It's been intense, but real fun. I am hoping to get to my first ever Weightlifting meet this coming weekend, but it's way down in San Diego and I am not sure I can get there. We'll see. Either way, it'd be SO much fun to actually compete at this stuff. I am setting up goals slowly but surely.
My food has gotten under control and I am down to around 235# consistently. I think that I'd feel my best around 225-230 and I'll probably be there next week and will plan to stay there for the next few training cycles. I have a lot going on, and all going in the right direction, so that's cool in my head.
Have a good deal of business and personal stuff going on that could be a lot better, and I will be filling everyone in on the details about all that pretty soon. TONS of growth for the company coming up but I want to keep some of it under wraps until things are 100% confirmed. I will also fill people in with some of the crummy stuff that has led to all this good stuff as well. Should be an exciting few months for sure. I do like writing about my workouts and programs, so I'll be sure to make a point to continue doing that as the summer progresses.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
It's been a few days now and the excitement of Regionals has passed. Now I am sitting around each day, wondering what the hell I'm supposed to do next with all my training. Wondering why the hell I was so close with so many different things over the years, yet just not good enough to really shine. Well folks, it's time for a really self-analytical post here. It may come across as a little negative, a little bitter, maybe a little whinny at times (we'll see how it goes...); but, I need to do this every now and again to gain a better view on what I am doing in life. I have talked very often about taking time here and there to take a serious look at yourself so that you can make the necessary changes in becoming a better person each and every day. And when you feel like you might be in a rut, or in a place you just don’t want to be, in any way, then it's time to take that moment. So, here are some of the thoughts I've had over the past week.
Damn it! CrossFit season is over for me! Just like that. All that hard work, all those extra hours of foam rolling, training, thinking and stressing about how far I could go and in three simple days it's over. At first I was a little relieved. I think that the mental stress got to me just a little as we got closer to Regionals and I was just happy to put my worries away for a while. What I mean by that is I was teetering on the edge of being burnt out. It's tough to be so one-track-minded about something for so long, especially if you're like me and have a mind that wanders off so easily. But that relief turned very quickly into restless confusion and frustration over what my next steps will be in training. I can now look back on everything I did and so clearly see where I went wrong. I got strong as hell, I put on a TON of weight, I somehow got a good deal better with my conditioning, and my body-weight and Olympic movements only slightly improved. My nutrition was streaky, as was my life in general which led to varying levels of motivation throughout the whole process. From a physical standpoint it's pretty obvious what I need to do to get to the level I hope to be with this Crossfit thing. I need to stop being such a wimp with my nutrition and just stop letting food consumption be so closely connected with my emotional state (yep, I am a stereotypical girl and eat sweets when I'm sad. Oh, and by the way, I'm a dude. Just in case any of you were confused by that sentence). When I lose control of the food, I lose control of my stress levels, my sleeping patterns and my overall positive outlook that I pride myself in having on a regular basis. Food does so much for me in terms of how I am as a person (it does for everyone, but this post is about me!), and when I eat like crap, I feel and act like crap. Simple really. Easier said than done of course. I'm also sure that eating better would have helped me stay around 220#, rather then the 230# I ended up getting to right before Regionals. And while I did get better at things like muscle ups, handstand push ups and running, I’m sure I would have gotten WAY better if I didn’t have to move such a massive amount of weight! I am not disappointed with my weight gain at all, hell, I put 40# on my squat, 30# on my deadlift, 35# on my clean and 25# on my snatch, not bad! I just know I could have controlled it a little more and that would have been that much more helpful.
I am not at all worried about where I am headed with my training. I have all the faith in the world with my coach, Rudy Nielsen for programming. I know that for the summer months my focus will be getting even stronger (I already have my weight goals on the board in my gym, and will post a summer goals post in the near future), but the main thing will be getting outside and doing my metcons in the woods and the great outdoors like I enjoy doing so much. I will probably either skip out on The Outlaw Way's conditioning sessions and do my own in the woods, or, find a modification of theirs to use in the woods. I will continue to train at Outlaw on a pretty regular basis so that I can get good coaching points from Rudy and the other athletes, especially on my Olympic lifts. I will also head into the city for a few sessions here and there with a couple different USAW lifting classes. I have high expectations for my Olympic lifts over the next six months. So, from a physical training standpoint, I am right on track with what I need to focus on.
Ok, enough about the physical, I am sure I'll get more into that soon enough, especially the food! On to the important stuff, the mental!
I feel like I’ve written before about the idea that one might hold oneself back by being scared of success. And while I definitely relate a little to that idea, I think that I am probably a little more scared of focusing only one thing. Sure sure, the beauty of CrossFit is that there is no specialty and you get to focus on a ton of different thing. But the fact is, you still are only focusing on CrossFit, and not all the other amazing things life has to offer. I love baseball, trail running, climbing, well, I could just go on a rant here, but you get the idea. I have some strange mental block from allowing me to commit, like, SERIOUSLY commit to any one thing. And this is where I begin to confuse myself. I say this because from an outside perspective I’m pretty sure I appear to be an over-committer. And if I were to compare myself to “the majority”, I’m sure that would be an accurate description of my personality. But the truth of the matter is, I will always find a way to mentally check out, even if it’s just a tiny little bit. I find something else that excites me and that little bit of distraction takes away from gains and successes I feel I really should have.
Sweet, Courage, you get distracted and you should be better. Well, what are you going to do about it? And at what point do you look at your life and say, well, maybe I can’t be better? Honestly, that’s a great question, one I have asked myself in many situations and take pride in being able to answer at almost any given moment. I stopped playing baseball because I lost the drive to play at the level I was at. I put everything I had into the game and got as far as my physical and mental self would allow. Now, with CrossFit, I am not yet there. I keep getting stronger, faster, better. I know that I could reach numbers that are far beyond what I have now. And I know that I can get even more mentally tough and competitive. Well, the question is pretty easy to answer in the end. I know I want to compete again next year at Regionals. And, I want to compete at a high level, as in, I want to give the other athletes a run for their money in getting to the Games. So, I need to take the next couple weeks, look over my training, and assess the best path to get there. I need to light a fire a little deeper in me that will never burn out. I can write here that I want it, and I can tell people I talk to that I want it. But in the end, I have to believe, with every ounce of my soul, that I truly want it. If I come up with that as a conclusion in the next couple weeks, then it’s going to happen. I’ll let you all know.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, it's about that time I give a little update on how things are rolling along on my training life. It;s been a fun tome over the past couple weeks since the Mid Atlantic Hopper, and until yesterday, I feel like I've had some great progress. Let's work backwards. My back is basically destroyed. I thought I had a little tightness going on that I'd be able to work through, but after the past few sessions, I ended up having to take a day off because my back was so crushed I just couldn't do the work. I woke up this morning and went for a jog, and added some pull overs after, but that did nothing to loosen it up. I am hoping a bit of mobility work and some rolling tomorrow will get be back into it. I don't want to lose the progress!
After the Hopper I got right in the swing of things and was feeling stronger and stronger each day. My strength gains are there, perhaps a little slow, but there. My gymnastics, clearly my weakest link, are coming along nicely as well, especially with the extra work I am adding to my program. And my plan has been to bring my few days a week runs back into the training program as well. I've talked about it before, but it's worth mentioning again, I feel as though basic running (usually trail running for me) adds a whole new level to my gains. I feel trimmer, lighter, fitter, happier and it aids in my recovery time as well. Especially after the wonderful amounts of food i ate over Thanksgiving, I am feeling like I need to cut a few pounds. This actually leads me into my next conversation piece.
All this heavy lifting I've been doing has jacked me up pretty good; and I mean that in a positive way. When I first noticed this was actually about a month and a half ago when I put on my nice 3-piece suit for a wedding. I threw on my vest and realized it completely didn't fit. My brain went into fat-guy mode and I got all bummed out. But then I realized that I my body fat was probably right around where it had been for a while, I just had a TON of extra size on me. And now, a month plus later, I am feeling like I've added yet another inch or so all over. The added size has upped my hunger and Ive been eating more and more each meal (and what doesn't help with this is that I have strayed from my every-3-hours meal plan and because of that I tend to eat a crap-load of food come meal time). Well, my fix for this added size is that I'm not all that worried. I don't want to take away from the strength gains, so, I am gong to let this happen, and keep fueling it accordingly until January I would say. Then I'll up the metcon intensity, along with my additional conditioning and focus on cutting down to my fighting weight with all the new-found strength!
Other additions to my program? I started today with THIS. I will be doing Kelly Starretts Mobility WOD each and every day (perhaps a couple of them depending on time and how I feel). I want to add these because I have not been finding the time to get to yoga on a regular basis and I really feel like I need to get my mobility up. My lack of mobility is what I have found is the main limiting factor for my gains. I know if I work my hips more and low back more I'll have some crazy gains on any movement involving squatting. This will inevitably be the case for the rest of my joints. Eager to see what happens.
What else what else...Oh, right. I have a gym! Yep, starting tomorrow and for only a temporary time, I'll be running Courage performance out of a 6,000 square foot crazy huge facility! Just wait until you see all the crazy equipment that's going to be in there! Given the nature of how I'll be at this space, I'm not going to be doing tons of crazy advertising or anything like that. So, keep an eye on this blog, along with my personal Facebook page and Courage Performance Page to keep up to date with class times and other details. You can expect a few friendly Throwdowns/cook outs in the coming weeks, so be ready!
Hope everyone is training hard through the Holidays!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Well, I am officially two weeks into my pretty insane training program and am feeling very confident with it all. I have stuck with it all very well (except for a couple missed jiu-jitsu sessions) and I am feeling very strong. The only glitch in the system is trying to figure out the whole fueling process for the amount of work I am doing. The latest note in my workout/nutrition journal says that I am feeling a strong disconnect between my training and my fueling and I need to figure that all out somehow. Also, I am still struggling with the overwhelming desire to have a large handful of chocolate covered almonds every day. Couple that feeling with Lindsey and my move to an apartment complex literally attached to the new Whole Food in Friendship Heights and it's a perfect potential storm of quick visits for "just a taste". I'll have to get all that under control. Who wants to go on an all-out fitness/nutrition challenge with me?! Accountability is our friend...!
As for training, I am feeling AWESOME! Rudy's programming is fun, well-planned, and very, very challenging. My body feels abused, but not over trained and I am liking it a lot. I need to figure out the nutritional timing a bit though as I know if I keep up the pattern I am following I will begin to feel over-trained. This will be the perfect setting for Catalyst Athletics owner Greg Everett's wonderful quote: "there's no such thing as over training, only under fueling". I know that as a competitive CrossFitter, I need to be pushing my limits intelligently in the gym (and in the woods as it would be for me!). But, if I don't fuel perfectly for the insane amounts of demand I am putting on my physical and mental body, I am destined to crash! So, gotta get those things working in sync, stat!
That aside, I thought I'd share with you a few of the fun things I've done over the past week, as well as a little insight into what my week actually looks like. First off, I weight train on Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. I go to Ashtanga Yoga on Tuesday and Thursday, I hit the pool for 30-45 minutes of what I call "pool play" every Thursday (I get about 500 meters in over that time, but spend most of it just goofing off in the water, doing flips, messing around with different strokes and just using it as active recovery, fun, and recognition of how to function under water). I do a 3-4 mile run generally twice a week, on no particular day, I just throw it in when I'm feeling ready to run. And becuase of how my body reacts to running, I view it as an active recovery method as well. Then, I off-and-on head to 1.5-2 hours of jiu-jitsu practice on Monday and Wednesday nights. It's a pretty good workload all around, but I feel really strong with it all so far!
As for the actual weight training I am doing, well, this is where it's been getting really fun! You can check out exactly what I'm doing if you head to The Workout page on this website, I write out the workout under my gyms workout, then I also fill in my results. I've been doing a ton of Olympic work, with some rally intense strength work mixed in as well. One of the biggest jumps i saw was doing max effort back squats with 325#. Two weeks ago I got 8 reps, last week I banged out 12 with energy to spare! The MetCons have been pretty crazy for sure. Very well-planned for the work that is prescribed each day, and it has never failed, i have been crushed cardiovascularly each and every time So far I think doing 3 rounds of 20 pull ups, 20 30" box jumps and 20 burpees all with a 20# weight vest was the most exhausting. And this past Saturday I had one that crushed my central nervous system like nothing I have ever experienced. I literally blacked out 3 times while trying to do 25 snatches at 155#. And this was the last portion of an already insane MetCon that included 25 thursters at 155#, 50 chest to bar pull ups, 75 KB swings at 53#, 100 feet of handstand walking, 75 jumping lunges and 50 pull ups! Goodness! I would never ask that of my athletes as i am sure it would kill most people. But, as a competitor, I understand the need to be over-challenged every now and again. Sometimes it's all about testing your mental fortitude!.
Needless to say, training has been going pretty well all around, and this week looks to be just as fun! Now if only this gym space I've been trying to get can get rolling, things will become a whole lot better! I hope everyone else is having success with training!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
So far this week has been way easier than I expected. I don't mean that I had easy workouts. On the contrary, as I write this I am just wonderfully sore from head to toe! What I mean is that I was surprised at how seamlessly I feel back into a pattern of being very strict with workout times and nutrition. I thought I would have a much harder time getting back into the diet plan that allowed me so much positive change a month or so back. But, I guess I was able to form a pretty good habit when I did that whole program. And, inspired by a couple conversations today, and thinking about the whole process, I totally understand why.
Establish What Works For You:
When I was challenged about 3.5 months ago to follow a super strict nutrition plan, it clicked instantly with me. After a few weeks of following what was given to me, I made a couple modifications, and ultimately found a nutrition plan that just straight up worked. For me. And because it worked so well, my body responded accordingly. I lost fat, gained muscle, decreased my stress, had more energy and slept better. And because of all these positive changes, I psychologically became "hooked" on this lifestyle. My desire to stay up super late, to watch TV, to eat cookies, to skip workouts, all those things that I tended to do before, they all just went away. I learned first-hand that the body really, truly wants to be fit and healthy; and if you take the time and effort to allow it to be, it will crave those GOOD things instead of the bad. Now what works for me may not work for you. But the idea of cleaning everything out completely allows for your body and mind to have a cleaner slate so that you can honestly look at what works. For me, eating every 3 hours works wonders. Consuming the proper amounts of foods during those meals helps even more. I don't know what works for you, and a believe me, sometimes this can be really freaking hard. It took me about four years to find out how to literally melt body fat off me. And I am a fitness expert who has the time and wherewithal to try many different things. S be patient. There IS a process that works for you if you are willing to search for it. This brings me to my next point:
Don't Be A Wimp:
Yeah, I said it, you're going to have to be tough. One of my conversations today was with a lady who was feeling really lethargic, gaining weight, having skin issues, and struggling with sleep. I asked her about her eating habits and simply suggested she keep a food journal. A month later (today) I asked her how it was going and she said she only kept the journal for about a week and then just forgot about it. Interestingly enough though, upon my bringing it up she realized that the week she kept the journal was the most energetic and stress-free week in a long, long while. This made me think; not about the obvious, that having more control of your food makes you eat better, but of the effort she, and so many others put into change. Here's what I mean. It's crazy daunting to think that the way you live and eat is flat out hurting you, and that it is actually possible to change. this is the part that is NOT easy in any way. You have to change a habit. And usually, this is a habit that's been engrained in your brain and body for years and years.
So think logically through this one with me. If you've taken years to create a way of living/eating, do you really, honestly expect to change that habit in a week? Thinking of it this way, it should actually be a breath of fresh air to know that you can mostly change habits over the course of a short month! Either way, it's tough as hell to change like this (a "how to" on this is clearly a great topic); but, suffice to say that if you can find a way to dedicate a month to your program, things will inevitably become a LOT easier. Again, the body wants to be healthy, give it time to recognize the healthy things you are doing and it will react positively.
A concept that is really well described by Robb Wolf in his awesome book The Paleo Solution is that you can eat as much as you want. Totally, go to town! It’s just that when you are eating clean and living well, “as much as you want” tends to be healthy doses. This occurs because your mind and body are more closely connected. You finally stop eating emotionally and you eat to live.
Finally, Your Flow:
I think I’ve found my flow. I think this because even when I fall off for a month, it’s so much better than I’ve ever been my whole life. Sure, when things are down and I am more emotionally unstable I may have a cookie or ton; but I have formed the habit of eating regularly.
So the point to all this, the only way to really find that flow enough that it is engrained in you as a genuine part of you life. Give it all a fare shot. Take your time, trial and error, add things, take things away, chart EVERYTHING, be patient and be tough. You’ll have to go through hell before the simplicity of being healthy can actually occur. So don’t lie to yourself in thinking that you can figure it all out in a couple days. Trust me, it will not happen. If you want to be healthy, fit and happy, you need to commit to following a program for at least a month (preferably 2 or 3). And always remember: it took you years to become as unhealthy as you are now, you need to understand that true change may take a little time.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I am sitting at Lindsey and my “home” for the time being; and, along with making about 10 pounds of Courage Bars (they are settling in the fridge as we speak!), I have been bearing down on the focus that begins tomorrow for me. There has been so much going on over the past couple months: gym space search, house hunting, shifting of programming in the gym, bringing on tons of new clients, two of my best friends moving away, prepping for the “Into The Wild” adventure, and that is just skimming the surface. All of this stuff I’ve decided to take on has taken away from the focus I decided I needed towards training for next years CrossFit Games. So, while enjoying the wedding of my good ol” host sister from my baseball playing days, I have hit that point where it is time to re-focus my attention. This blog has been a really good recourse for me in terms of getting my thoughts out there, and it’s time to make myself accountable as publicly as I know how.
Food. As most of my readers probably know, I have been delving a little deeper as of late into nutrition. But, over the past couple weeks, my own ability to follow all of my incredibly intriguing findings has slipped away like crazy! I need to get back on track! So, tomorrow it happens. I am back on my eating every 3 hours kick that had such a great effect on my body fat, mood and energy. I am back on eating 100% clean. To make sense of this, if you’ve ever heard of Whole9, it’s basically like that. I am eating chicken, turkey, fish, eggs, nuts, seeds and TONS of veggies. I will be consuming ZERO sugar (in any form at all), dairy, and oil and I will be having a bowl of oatmeal almost every day which will be the only grains I’ll consume. Eating like this did so much for me and I want to find that again.
Sleep. I have been having a harder and harder time getting to sleep at a reasonable hour and I am re-committing to getting into bed by 11pm every night. If I fall asleep then or not, doesn’t matter, I want to form the habit of getting in there and letting my body begin to relax at an earlier hour than the 1am or worse I have been using.
Training. Here is where it gets fun! My training has actually been really good, but with the crap nutrition and lack of sleep, my gains have been slipping a bit. Also, I feel as through the program I’ve been on has been so open to modifications by myself, that I end up taking advantage of that situation. What I mean by this is that it feels like each day I’m sort of just winging the whole thing. I need more structure if I want to get to where I want to get. So, I did what I would suggest to anyone who wants to get their training in order, I hired up a coach. Rudy Nielson is the owner and head coach out of Outlaw CorssFit in Alexandria, VA. I met him a couple years back and he has proven himself over and over again as a coach who produces top level CrossFitters. All of his athletes are such beasts, so, I figured I’d get in touch with him and see what he could put together for me. Now, this is going to be an interesting process as I am a bit of a programming geek. Let’s put it this way, Rudy can expect my open and honest critic on this process along the way! I expect nothing but great things from this, and I am so excited to have a program put together for me for pretty much the first time in my life! It’s time to see what happens!
I’m not done with my program though. All last week I was realizing how sporadic my actual training is. I would workout in the mornings sometimes, sometimes later on in the day. Sometimes I would go ahead and do 3 workouts in a day, just kind of depended on how I felt and the time I had. I have always known that for me, to get really, really good at something, I need to get on a schedule and stick to it. So, I put together a plan where my workouts are added into this schedule as well. I am not going to hold myself to it like crazy, as I think that leads to a sort of obsessive behavior. I just want to have more structure. So again, starting tomorrow I will be weight training on Rudy’s program, 3 days on, 1 off, 2 on, 1 off. I will be getting 2 times per week of ashtanga yoga at Ashtanga Yoga Center DC and swimming at Wilson Aquatic Center. I will also most likely be getting back into my old Jiu-Jitsu training twice per week at Ultimate Heights MMA (I will be writing about this a bit later…). All of this is set in a schedule in terms of what days and times as my sleep and fueling schedule will work with it all.
Whew! I am so damn excited to get started! This whole scheduling concept is also going to be set a little towards my blog/article writing as well. So expect to see some new patterns in posts. This one, the update on my training with some insight into why and so on, can be expecting early each and every week. You’ll see what’s to come the rest of the week!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
Today marked the start of my new crazy program and as the strength building part of it all I am following the greatest program for becoming really freaking strong, the West Side Barbell Program. I'll get into this one a bit later in detail (it's a pretty complicated one at first glance, but so awesome once the details are figured out) but let's just say I started off on a totally bad foot.
Today called for Max Effort box squats with a good deal of supplemental work for the posterior chain and abs. I pushed up 365# pretty easily and then jumped to 385#, a weight I got for a really comfortable couple sets of 3 just two weeks ago, and could not get my butt off the box. Immediately I was overwhelmed with all the basic "what the hell am I doing" thoughts; why am I squatting heavy alone with no spotter? Why did I jump up so fast in weight? Why did I expect to go so heavy without taking proper time to warm up? Why did I run for 52 minutes at 6am in the 98 degree humidity? Who the hell am I going to get out of this?
Well, thankfully box squats are a ton safer than normal squats if you get stuck, all you end up doing is sitting there with a ton of weight on your shoulders. So I sat there for a second and then decided the best thing to do would be to just toss the weight off my back and to the ground. Here's where my mis-judging took over: the box I was on stuck out pretty far behind me, and the weight was, well, heavy, too heavy to "toss" off my shoulders. The bar proceeded to plummet to the edge of the box, landing squarely ON the box and then taking the massive amounts of force to both ends with all the plates loaded on there. This led to the end of the bar. It bent so much! I tried to figure out a couple ways to bend it back real quick but it just did not work. Damn.
Maybe it was the heat, maybe it was the insane the serious lack of sleep the past couple nights, maybe it was just that sometimes I AM as stupid as I think I am. I decided to throw the bar back up there, load the weight back on the bar and give it another shot. And in true Homer Simpson fashion, much to my surprise (NOT...), it all happened again. Literally the same, exact, thing. Idiot. I guess I was just in denial that it happened the first time that I just insisted on going on...
Either way, I jumped into the most complex and serious heavy lifting program without being ready at all, and I knew I wasn't ready. I am embarrassed by this as I know better. So, I'll really be ready to go Wednesday and I'll turn this thing around so fast!
In other news, I am headed out to California tomorrow morning, so my posts may be a little spuratic, but I'll probably get a couple up while there. In terms of workouts, the entire week is posted up on the "Workouts" page, so be sure to see what's in store for the week!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
I haven't really chatted about my own personal stuff for a few days so I figured I'd throw up a little update on how it's been going. This week begins the last week, a deload, of the strength program I was on for two months and I was able to see some pretty impressive gains throughout. With a solid 3 reps at 385# on the back squat, a real good 505# on the deadlift and a comfortable 3 reps at 155# on the strict press, along with a perfect combo of supplemental work, I feel so much stronger. All this combined with some insanely rapid fat loss (15 pounds of legit weight lost in 1 month) and I am feeling like I am on the right track.
I have yet to decide exactly what program I am going on starting next week, but I have been researching both the Wendler 5/3/1 program (I did this for about 4 months or so last year) and the crazy looking West Side Barbell program. Not sold on either one yet, and I may just go ahead and take aspect of them and fit them into a program that fits me, not totally sure just yet. All I know is that I want to get a whole hell of a lot stronger over the next three months so, whatever program will help me do that is what I'll be following.
Running more, CrossFit style metcons here and there but not really a main focus, swimming will start up more, and mobility and gymnastics will begin a bit more as well starting next week. I'll be eating exactly the way I have been, it's been working wonders for me and I don't see a reason why I would switch that up at all. So, really not too much to talk about in terms of nutrition. Turns out the whole Paleo concept is working for me this time around (although i didn't even realize I was eating Paleo until about two days ago, and maybe that's why it's been working!) and I really don;t have any sort of good reason to stop. One point to make about the food though is today. I felt really groggy all day and I quickly realized that besides breakfast yesterday, I had all my meals from a store (Sweet Green salad, Chicken Out turkey and veggies, Whole Foods fish and veggies). While I ate super clean from all those places, I am totally aware of the sodium, sugars and potential other additives that I would not have had if I had made the food myself. A note was made to avoid eating out. No matter how clean the food is, it's never as clean as when you make it yourself.
So, what you will see with my physical training starting next week: a new strength training regimen that will really kick my strength to a whole new level, continued runs, 1-2 swims a week, mobility practice probably each and every day, more gymnastics work.
Another bit of interesting happenings today was a strange sort of culmination of a few things that really messed with me emotionally. At first I got depressed, then I got super motivated, it was interesting to experience. With the CrossFit Games coming up this coming weekend, information and videos have been popping up like crazy, and I have been catching so many of my friends and old training partners, now celebritized through the internet with their impressive growth in the sport. While I am so happy for all them, there is a piece of me that is so envious that they are there while I am at home; I was able to get so close. This was compounded by a really nice lunch and catch-up couple hours with my good friend and Washington Nationals pitcher John Lannon. As always with baseball, it was so great to be around him and talk about the game and such, but it brought back memories of how close I was able to get to "making it" as a baseball player. The depression hit me that I am always just so close to getting there, but not quite. I am really good at so much, just not good enough. Then the motivation hit that I know, deep down, that if I can commit to something, with the abilities that I have, I can really make something happen for myself. Focus and determination will take you far, and I if this whole CrossFit thing is something I am seriously considering giving a shot, I certain I can make it happen (it's eye opening to me to see how far i made it with the training and nutrition plan I was on leading up to it all!). I have a plan, it's being prepared, I am excited.
Never Stop, GET FIT.
After a couple rest days (one with an easy 2.5 mile run), I got my act together to set out my new training program. While I am still a little beat up from the Regionals workout (specifically, the one that ripped my hands to shreds and apparently my biceps are internally about as bad as my hands are externally...) I figured I should be good enough to get after a new program. My hands have healed up so quickly, in fact, they are fully usable as of today. Insane. Proving once and for all I have Wolverine qualities (from X-Men, no the actual animal. He heals fast for those of you who don't know). To get things rolling I went out with a large group last night and did a crazy long sandbag workout that lasted us about an hour. perhaps not the smartest move Ive made but it was low-intensity enough to not beat me up too much. In fact, with a little pool time this morning I was feeling really good to go in the gym.
So, for the next two months I am going to be following a very straight forward strength program designed by a trainer I follow from time to time named Mike Robertson. A regular on T-Nation and a big name in Sports Performance, Mike has a very straight forward and easy to understand approach to his programming. My goals for the next four months are to focus on my greatest weaknesses (gymnastics) and get myself back to the basics in terms of strength. So, this turned out to be just about as perfect a program as any.
Monday - Run/swim. Tumbling/gymnastics. Squat focus strength.
Tuesday - Run. Rings/gymnastics. Press focus strength. Short MetCon.
Wednesday - Tumbling/Jumping/gymnastics. Mobility/Recovery
Thursday - Swim. Isometrics/gymnastics. Deadlift focus strength.
Friday - Lock-out focus strength. Medium/log MetCon
Saturday - Optional. Sports.
Sunday - Rest. Mobility/Recovery
The running, gymnastics, tumbling and MetCons are all my own additions to the program, and, I will be opting in strict pressing for the most part over bench pressing as I suck at that movement completely. For a more detailed look at this program, check out the article on T-Nation HERE. Robertson will be publishing the second month soon.
After these two months, I plan to put together my own program based on aspects of ones that have worked for me. The ulitmate goals here are to become WAY more proficient with all things gymnastics (especially muscle ups and handstand push ups), and get my strength numbers to new, much, much higher levels. In terms of goals, here is what I am expecting out of my training in the next 4 months:
HSPU - 5+ strict (current - 1)
Muscle Ups - 1 strict, 10+ kipping (current - 5 kipping)
Deadlifts - 550# (current - 500#)
Squat - 445# (current - 405#)
Strict Press - 200# (current - 181.5#)
Additional goals/focuses: Continue to learn what nutrition program meshes best for me and my training program at the time to more quickly see and feel results. Focus more on supplemental lifts to build stability and balance I have clearly lost thanks to my hardcore CrossFitting (I have very strong opinions on this that I have alluded to in the past, I have it in my to-write list as a separate article altogether). Condition on a regular basis as to informally train for my next big feat. Um. This leads me to my next subject. Many of my closest friends and such know this, so I guess this is the first official announcement: I plan to attempt an Ironman Triathlon this coming fall. As only i know how, perhaps always wanting to do too much to ever be incredibly good at anything, I am already looking into a nice, quiet Maryland Ironman I can jump into and do. It's been a goal of mine for a few years to do one before I turn 30, so, I have a little under a year to get it done! Following that fun, it's CrossFit 100%.
So, lot's of good info out there. I am sure more will be coming your way over the next couple weeks!!
Never Stop, GET FIT.
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