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Wednesday, December 24, 2008

The Night of Oranges

Via The Art of Manliness:
By Flavius Stan

It is Christmas Eve in 1989 in Timisoara and the ice is still dirty from the boots of the Romanian revolution. The dictator Nicolae Ceausescu had been deposed a few days before, and on Christmas Day he would be executed by firing squad. I am in the center of the city with my friends, empty now of the crowds that prayed outside the cathedral during the worst of the fighting. My friends and I still hear shots here and there. Our cold hands are gray like the sky above us, and we want to see a movie.

There is a rumor that there will be oranges for sale tonight. Hundreds of people are already waiting in line. We were used to such lines under the former Communist Government-lines for bread, lines for meat, lines for everything. Families would wait much of the day for rationed items. As children, we would take turns for an hour or more, holding our family’s place in line.

But this line is different. There are children in Romania who don’t know what an orange looks like. It is a special treat. Having the chance to eat a single orange will keep a child happy for a week. It will also make him a hero in the eyes of his friends. For the first time, someone is selling oranges by the kilo.

Suddenly I want to do something important: I want to give my brother a big surprise. He is only eight years old, and I want him to celebrate Christmas with lots of oranges at the table. I also want my parents to be proud of me.

So I call home and tell my parents that I’m going to be late. I forget about going to the movie, leave my friends, and join the line.

People aren’t silent, upset, frustrated, as they were before the revolution; they are talking to one another about life, politics, and the new situation in the country.

The oranges are sold out of the back doorway of a food shop. The clerk has gone from anonymity to unexpected importance. As he handles the oranges, he acts like a movie star in front of his fans.

He moves his arms in an exaggerated manner as he tells the other workers where to go and what to do. All I can do is stare at the stack of cardboard boxes, piled higher than me. I have never seen so many oranges in my life.

Finally, it is my turn. It is 8 o’clock, and I have been waiting for six hours. It doesn’t seem like a long time because my mind has been flying from the oranges in front of me to my brother and then back to the oranges. I hand over the money I was going to spend on the movie and watch each orange being thrown into my bag. I try to count them, but I lose their number.

I am drunk with the idea of oranges. I put the bag inside my coat as if I want to absorb their warmth. They aren’t heavy at all, and I feel that this is going to be the best Christmas of my life. I begin thinking of how I am going to present my gift.

I get home and my father opens the door. He is amazed when he sees the oranges, and we decide to hide them until dinner. At dessert that night, I give my brother the present. Everyone is silent. They can’t believe it.

My brother doesn’t touch them. He is afraid even to look at them. Maybe they aren’t real. Maybe they are an illusion, like everything else these days. We have to tell him he can eat them before he has the courage to touch one of the oranges.

I stare at my brother eating the oranges. They are my oranges. My parents are proud of me.

May you always eat oranges at Christmas. Peace be with you!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Injury Workout

I sprained my left knee during our last performance of The Santa Claus Caper (see here for details). This put a damper on my original plan of training three days in a row before I leave for Christmas vacation with my girlfriend. Instead, I created a quick routine to hit the major muscle groups not connected to my left leg.

T = 55'00''

2 Circuits Total:
Door Pullups = BWx3x3x3
Pistols (wall assist) = BWx8x8x8
Rope Rows = BWx5x5x5
Pushups+Scapula Pushups = BWx15+10x15+10x15+10
Single Leg RDL = 16kg x10x10x10

This was a surprisingly intense session. I took care not to re-injure my knee and still managed to work up a decent sweat.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Max Reps #3

Very good session. Felt strong and in control.

T = 60'00''

Overhead Press = 80# x 44 @ 5-min
Bent-over Row = 50# x 35 @ 2-min ea.
Goblet Squat = 50# x 60 @ 5-min
Cable Pull-Throughs = #8 x 98 @ 5-min
Barbell Wrist Extensions = 25# x 40 @ 5-min

The show I am currently cast in is almost over (see here for details) and that means a loss of 5-10 hours of physical activity per week. I will need to make up that time to maintain a high energy flux.

Alwyn Cosgrove's recent newsletter outlined a variety of methods for using weighted resistance to create a metabolic training effect. He suggests timed sets, EDT, complexes, Tabata and various other protocols.

Over the next few days, I will need to incorporate some of Cosgrove's methods into my training program to compensate for the change in Calorie expenditure after the show closes. I have been noticing an improved physique and major strength gains over the last few weeks and I'm not about to loose those gains!

I'm still training for the powerlifting meet on March 1st and will need to periodize my training program for January and February.

Until next time,
Merry Christmas

Monday, December 15, 2008

Get Out Of The Gym!

Last Friday, I went rock climbing with my friend Jaci at Lakeview Athletic Center. This was my first time climbing (ever!) and I didn't know if I had the appropriate level of physical conditioning to scale the rock wall. I knew that my finger and grip strength was going to be pushed to the limit, but I didn't realize how quickly fatigue sets in under such a constant isometric contraction as holding on to a rock wall.

It was slow going (I needed to rest every few feet), but I did make it to the top of the four-story wall and am very proud to say that I touched the top.

Rock climbing was the best forearm workout I've had in a long while and the DOMS that followed lasted most of the weekend. I've wanted to go rock climbing for a some time now, but didn't know if I would actually enjoy it. Well, it's safe to say that rock climbing is awesome and immensely beneficial to my personal training program. Eventually, I would like to scale a real rock face.

I've come to believe that every client (and coach for that matter) needs to be physically active beyond the time spent training in the gym. Go on a hike; sail a boat; rock climb—just do more than you're doing now! The benefits go far beyond Non-Exercise Physical Activity. You can explore the world and connect with friends; see and experience things you've only seen on television or the internet; and return to work on Monday with an amazing story.

Hate "The Outdoors?" Attend a dance class or learn ninjutsu.

No money? Weed the lawn by hand, then re-organize the garage. After that, plant some tomatoes.

It doesn't matter what you do, so long as you're up and about while doing it!

Me? I've been grappling with friends every week for the past few months. None of us are professionals, but we spar and learn and sweat and get better each time we meet. I'm also looking into Reality-Based Self-Defense techniques and just learned a series of finger locks that are surprisingly effective.

The point here is that all this physical activity adds up quickly. Not only is it a great way to burn extra Calories, but you may learn a new skill along the way.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Training Log: Max Effort

First training day in a week due to painfully tight muscles in my right shoulder complex. Still not fully recovered, but a good day nonetheless.

T = 80'00''

Unilateral Dumbbell Bench Press = 60#x5x5x5
Assisted Wide-grip Pullups = -BWx5x5x5
Bulgarian Split Squat = 30#x5x5x5
Trap-bar Deadlift = 285#x5x5x5
Book Press (4 fingers) = 60#x5x5x5

For the past week I have been experiencing pain and tightness between my shoulder blades on the medial aspect of my right side. There is also pain whenever I rotate my head to the right and extend my neck back, localized to a position roughly equal to that of the insertion point of the sternocleidomastoid and the superior origin of the trapezius. I have been massaging and foam rolling systematically as often as I can in an attempt to relieve the pain.

If you have any experience with these symptoms, please feel free to message me for details. Or leave a comment here on the blog.


Sunday, November 30, 2008

Deadlifting at 73

Via Fight Geek:

If Ron can do it, so can I!

On 1 March 2009, the 100% Raw Powerlifting Federation will be holding their Northern Illinois Championships at B&W Gym in Chicago.

I would like to compete in that event.

I have never competed before and have no idea if I can even rank against the other lifters, but I don't care. This is not about ranking. This is about setting a goal, showing up and giving my all.

Details to follow. Stay tuned.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Max Reps #2

Happy Thanksgiving!

T = 42'42''

Pushups = BW x 70 @ 5-min
Door Pullups = BW x 10 @ 5-min
Hindu Squats = BW x 100 @ 5-min
KB Swing = 16kg x L40/R40 @ 2-min ea.
Powerball = Physical Strength Index (30-sec) x L3845/R3779 x L3473/R3995 x L3472/R3832 x L3344/R3982

A fast session, with little impact on my Turkey Day recuperation. BJJ sparing is scheduled for today and I hope all the food from last night will be put to good use.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Conquer Thanksgiving and Beyond

Thanksgiving (and Christmas for that matter!) are fast approaching. For many of us, vacation and the impending holidays become a reason to neglect our training and nutrition programs. Below are five tips to help keep your training on track while away from home.

1. Re-affirm Your Priorities
Take a moment to evaluate what is most important for you this holiday season. Is the short-term satisfaction of eating all that food, drinking all that alcohol and spending all that time on the couch worth sacrificing the progress made in last few months at the gym? Clearly define for yourself what your long-term goals are and share them generously with those around you. The support of your family and friends is the easiest way to maintain your goals and stick to your program.

2. No Gym is No Excuse
You're away from home for the holidays and won't have access to a gym? Big deal. This is no reason to skip a workout. Pushups, lunges, squats and other bodyweight exercises are extremely beneficial and require very little equipment. Pick two upper-body exercises and two lower-body exercises and, for each exercises, do as many reps as you can in three minutes. Once you complete three minutes with one exercise, move on to the next. If you don't feel challenged, do each exercise for four minutes (or five, or six, or...). If that's still not challenging enough, add a third upper-body exercise and a third lower-body exercise; or elevate your legs onto a chair to make the existing exercises more demanding. Always know your limitations and never attempt something that may be dangerous or past your level of experience.

3. Eat Before You Go To Dinner
20–30 minutes before you arrive at the big family dinner, eat a large snack. The snack should consist of mostly proteins, fats and fiber. Drink plenty of water with your snack and while waiting for dinner. Feeling satisfied before all the food is laid out in front of you will help prevent over-eating at dinner.

4. Stick to Meat and Veggies
While at dinner, fill your plate with plenty of meats and vegetables. Avoid the potatoes, pastas, cakes and candies. Drink water.

5. Never Feel Deprived
Follow your training and nutrition program for only 90% of your vacation. For the other 10%, go wild and enjoy yourself. The holidays are a time to re-connect with the people that have made an impact on your life. While it is important to maintain your goals, it is also important to relax and unwind. Work hard, play hard, and take full advantage of your time with family and friends.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Max-Effort Lifts #2

1RM assessments taken over the last two weeks. One movement per day, with at least 48 hours rest between assessments.

325# = Squat
225# = Bench Press
375# = Deadlift (semi-sumo)
165# = Overhead Press

Max Effort Day #1

Started a new program today, based on Mike Mahler's T-Nation article. Mon/Wed/Fri will be cardio and sport-specific training; Tue/Thr/Sat will be heavy lifting.

Yesterday was my first GPP day.
T=38'16'' / Rest = 60-120 sec

0. Ginastica Natural = 8 min

1a. KB Swing to 120° = 16kg x 30 sec L, 30 sec R
1b. Pullups (ledge grip) = BW x 60 sec

2. Side Bends = 16kg x Tabata (L/R alternating)

3. Bottom-up Press = 16kg x 1R x 0L

Today was a max effort day.

Press = Incline Bench Press @ 135#x5x5x5
UB Pull = Seated Row (w/ Rope Handel) @ 100#x5x5x5
Squat = Zercher Squat @ 115#x5x5x5
LB Pull = Good Mornings @ 95#x5 115#x5 120#x5
Grip = Pinch-grip Plate Curl @ 15#x5x5x5 (3 5#-plates)

Plus an additional 1h30 in light walking.

Both yesterday and today were good sessions. I look forward to tomorrow.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Maslow's Hierarchy of Needs

Via Fitness and Wellness in America:

Chris suggests the fitness industry is still considered by many to be a higher-order category when placed on Maslow's pyramid. He also suggests trainers and coaches should begin branding their services as a lower-order necessity: a way to maintain homeostasis.

I believe we should all consider ourselves Allied Health Care Professionals and should treat our clients with the same respect and care as physicians do their patients. Employers are already discovering the benefits of keeping their employees healthy; and I have personally experienced the favorable effects (physical, emotional and psychological) fitness and wellness can have on an individual and that individual's daily life.

It is true that in times of crisis, the "luxury" of going to the gym may be compromised. It is true that many families do not have the resources to pay for a highly skilled fitness professional. It is true that physical fitness may take a back-seat to other, "more pressing" matters.

I consider my own physical conditioning Preemptive Medical Intervention, and would never jeopardize the rewards that come from a strong, mobile body. You shouldn't either.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

World's Strongest Geezer

Via MarkFu’s Barbarian Blog:

Bill Kazmaier, former World's Strongest Man, laments on getting old and how it affects his training.

Bill is 54.

I'm less than half his age and already I'm starting to see a major difference in my training from 2–3 years ago; I can't make the same stupid training decisions I did back in sophomore year of college without paying for it later in the week.

That said, I'm also a lot smarter than I was back than and am training much more efficiently and effectively than I have in the past.

There is a saying about aging martial artists:
What an older fighter lacks in speed, he makes up for in efficiency.

There is another saying about aging actors:
What an older actor lacks in raw energy, he makes up for in stamina.

As we get older, our abilities evolve. It is our duty as athletes to exploit our strengths (at any age) and find a goal to strive for, and compete with others to the best of our abilities.

This fact gives me hope for my future as an athlete and a strength coach.

Original post here.

Saturday, November 8, 2008

The 80/20 Rule, Parkinson's Law and Physical Fitness

The 80/20 Rule (also referred to as The Pareto Principle) suggests that 80 percent of all results are the product of only 20 percent of all efforts. This principle is used all the time to help explain and codify how resources are distributed within a system.

This idea can be applied to physical fitness just as easily as it can to in business or economics.

Suppose I perform 10 movements during a training session. The Pareto Principle says that two of those 10 movements are providing me with most of my results. What if I focused my efforts on only those two movements? And what would happen if I allotted myself a specific amount of time to perform those movements during the training session? How might those changes effect the results at my next assessment?

Parkinson's Law suggest that work tends to expand to fill the time allotted for its completion, and explains why simple tasks (and tasks with no deadline) take so long to accomplish (or are not accomplished at all). This law is very similar to Student Syndrome, a phenomenon where many people fully apply themselves to a task only at the last possible moment before the deadline.

If I make the deadline concrete—my next assessment; a friend's brithday; Labor Day—I have a finite amount of time to accomplish my fitness goals (Parkinson's Law). To use that time most effectively, I should concentrate on movement patterns that will produce the greatest result for my efforts (The 80/20 Rule). And to take full advantage of the allotted time, I should begin applying myself at full intensity from the very beginning of the program (Student Syndrome).

Look over your own program and see if it can't be improved upon. Where are most of your results coming from? What's your deadline? Do you commit fully to each and every training session?

And don't just stop at your training program; the above principles can be applied to most anything: analyze the situation, break it down, and discard the parts that are of least value. The end result is more productivity in less time.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Sick Day (Well "Week," Really...)

I got hit with a massive cold on Friday that is now making its way through my upper respiratory tract, causing me to hack and cough all day. I should be back to full-power by Wednesday.

This week was originally schedule for max lifts. Instead of loosing this week entirely, I will continue my New Leaf protocol. The first of four sessions was done today. The other three are scheduled for tomorrow, Thursday and Friday.

In the mean time, here are some exciting articles recently published on T-Nation:

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Club Industry Expo 2008 Recap

Last Thursday, I attended the Club Industry Expo at McCormick Place. This was my first year attending and I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and variety of vendors that were there. Here is a recap of the more memorable products on display at the convention.

Woodway Force Treadmill
I also discovered that all of Woodway's treadmills have a "Dynamic Mode," which mimics the motorless characteristics of the Force. Dynamic Mode can be accessed by pressing the up and down speed buttons simaltaniously for an extended period of time.

Marpo Kinetics Rope Climber
One of the easiest ways to de-load a rope climb I've seen yet.

Pneumex Pro-Vibe and PT 50
The Pro-Vibe series is the first vibration platform I've seen with a large, unobstructed oscillation surface. The PT 50 treadmill has a built-in unweighting harness and can be used for both rehabilitation and over-speed training. The PT 50 is also built like a tank.

Keiser Air Series Equipment
Resistance training powered by compressed air. One compressor can power up to 8 machines; and each machine's resistance can be adjusted in 1-unit increments.

Vita-Mix Food Blender
A blender that can make peanut butter? I'm sold!

Treadwall Rotating Climbing Wall
Because some people don't have access to a mountain.

Strive Selectorized Equipement
The first product line I've seen with an adjustable cam.

Skorcher Pro
Originally designed as a "butt blaster," this bench is surprising versatile. You can even add external load to some of the movements. I don't know if it can replace the functionality of a squat or deadlift, but it's certainly a great, safe-saving way to add supplemental exercises to a program.

And my pick for Best In Show:

Sciona Mycellf Personal Genetic Assessment
For a (relatively) inexpensive fee, you or your client can have a DNA sample analyzed and compared against genetic markers. The markers determine optimal micronutrient, training and recovery profiles.

Attending the expo was a wonderful experience. It was great to meet all the companies and their reps. I hope to go back next year.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Squat + Deadlift Day #4

Last Thursday, I attended the Club Industry Expo. This was the same day I schedule my heavy leg day and I was weaker during the session than I originally anticipated (I'll report on the expo in a later post). I also had less time to rest between sessions than I would have liked.

T = 59'40''

bar x 12
135# x 6
185# x 6
225# x 3
275# x 1 (BELT ASSIST)
315# x 0 (BELT ASSIST)

BW x 8 x 8 x 8

I think I had too much volume on the squats and that's why I couldn't get lock-out on the last set. I also think I've been training at a high intensity for too long. I would like to take next week to de-load and recover. Perhaps I'll focus on cardio.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Bench Press + Overhead Press Day #3

Today was a very intense metabolic training day. I did some sled work and used a medicine ball for my core. Since I missed my bench press day last week, I decided to have that session today and do my heavy squat session on later this week. Because of my schedule, I had to break yesterday's training session down into two parts.

Part 1: T = 1:02'13''

bar x 15
135# x 6
155# x 4
175# x 3
195# x 3
205# x 2 x 2 x 2

BW+20# x 6 x 6 x 3

Part 2: T = 47'02''

20# x 14
30# x 6
40# x 4
50# x 3
60# x 2

BW+5# x 4 x 4 x 4 x 4

Good sessions, the both of them. I think I'm going to limit my heaving lifting days to just these four movements (I would prefer the barbell press over the dumbbell press) and see if I can make some progress in them before adding other movements.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Squat + Deadlift Day #3

Trained on Tuesday at Lincoln Park Fitness Center and sparred with my friend (and fellow Chicago Stunt Works stuntman), Sebastian Garavaglia. He is much better at Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu than I am.

T = 1:58'08''

bar x 20
135# x 8
225# x 3 x 3
265# x 3 x 3
295# x 3
305# x 2 x 2

55# x 20
155# x 6
199# x 3 x 3
243# x 2 x 2

BW x 5 x 5 x 5 x 5

BW x 8 x 8 x 8

I can feel myself getting lazy. I used "muscle soreness" and "general fatigue" as an excuse to not train heavy today.

This has got to stop! I need to find my motivation again…

I also need to get my food into gear. I'm going to re-reading John Berardi's Precision Nutrition packet again and see where I can adjust my current diet. I'll start with the obvious junk foods and then chisel away at the less apparent sources of bad feeding habits.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Read My Meat #1

Important articles (and their micro-summeries) to read and pass on...

Back To Form Fitness: "Stand Up!!" [6 Oct 2008]
You sit all day, so why not stand while training? Standing is good for everything you do and even better for your training program. "Joint function and assessment with Chuck Wolf" [1 Oct 2008]
If you're not assessing, you're guessing (thanks Alwyn!). Start from the big toe and work your way up.

Eric Cressey's Newsletter #127: "5 Keys to Bulletproofing Your Knees" [7 Oct 2008]
VMO, VML, ACL: Alphabet soup for all your hip-knee issues and debates.

Female Fitness and Nutrition Scientist: "No more Waifs!" [6 Oct 2008]
Tracy Anderson says woman should not lift weights heavier than 3 lbs. Cassandra Forsythe disagrees and has links to back her claim.

Fitness Spotlight: "Do Our Ancestors Tell Us Everything We Need To Know About Fitness and Nutrition?" [3 Oct 2008]
For natural selection to occur, behaviors must be present in the first place. Is the "Palaeolithic lifestyle" as accurate as we think?

Modern Forager: "Developing Hip Function: A Hallmark of Athleticism" [6 Oct 2008]
Your hips and core are all-important for athleticism. A strong posterior chain will increase strength and power for most everything you do. "10 Reasons to Start Deadlifting" [6 Oct 2008]
You pick stuff up (1,9), Pull stuff out (2), Walk/climb stairs (3,4). Weak abs/core (5,6), The Pareto Principle (7-8), More T & HGH (10)!

Straight to the Bar: "Quadruped Draw In and Variations" [30 Sept 2008]
Advanced core work for those looking to go beyond a static plank hold. Learn to "brace your abs" in a safe, effective way.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression

Tim Ferriss posted a great article on using the mental stages of building a business to your advantage. The stages are:
  1. Uninformed Optimism
  2. Informed Pessimism
  3. Crisis of Meaning
  4. Informed Optimism (-or-) Crash and Burn
I find many similarities between Ferriss's "Entrepreneurial Manic-Depression" and the Four Stages of Competency, which are:
  1. Unconscious Incompetence
  2. Conscious Incompetence
  3. Conscious Competence
  4. Unconscious Competence
My combined stages are as follows:

Stage 1: Uninformed Optimism and Unconscious Incompetence

At this stage, a sense of excitement and nervous energy about the new endeavor is overwhelming. The person does not recognize any deficits needing to be addressed. Everything appears to be awesome. Communicate freely with others and share your joy.

Stage 2: Informed Pessimism and Conscious Incompetence
The person is now aware that a deficit exists somewhere and wants to correct it. Fear and frustration begin to set in and the realities of the endeavor start to take over. Stay rational and make smart decisions.

Stage 3: Crisis of Meaning and Conscious Competence
The person is past scared, and feelings of despair kick in. This is the critical juncture where attention and focus are needed to maintain a sense of stability, or the endeavor will fail completely in a huge orange fireball. Reconnect with those around you and reaffirm your beliefs as much as possible.

Stage 4: Informed Optimism and Unconscious Competence (or Crash and Burn)
If the endeavor has not failed, the person emerges from Stage 3 with a new-found sense of calm and peace. The person is now aware of the hardships that come with taking on the endeavor and can make informed decisions based on experience and skill. Make smart choices and share your budding enthusiasm with others.

*Rinse and repeat*

These stages can be found in any project you take on. I know from personal experience that I just made it through Stage 3 of my personal training business. Lucky for me, I didn't crash or burn, and I can now enter the next phase of growth with more knowledge and experience than I did before. I know to expect the stages again as I face new challenges, and I will be ready for them. My network of friends and colleagues has expanded over the last three months (since I graduated college) and I have people around me that I love and trust, and who will get me through those tough times.


Friday, October 3, 2008

Bench Press + Overhead Press Day #2

Today was lame. Yesterday was good, but today was lame. I trained at HiFi yesterday, took advantage of another trainer's Prowler, and did some sweet energy system work (this includes rope climbs, ab wheel, box jumps and atlas stone lifts). I should have done my heavy lifting before my energy system work, because today I felt completely drained and could not get into gear for my session at LPFC. I fatigued way too early and didn't have the will power to finish today's routine.

T = 40'50''

bar x 12
105# x 8
150# x 3
170# x 3
190# x 3

30# (3 plates) x failure

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Squat + Deadlift Day #2

T = 1:15'08''

bar x 12
40 kg x 8
60 kg x 6
80 kg x 2 x 2

40 kg x 8
60 kg x 6
70 kg x 3 x 3 x 3

BW x 8 x 8 x 8 x 8

50# x 15 x 15 x 15

Nothing major to report. I trained at Lincoln Park Fitness Center yesterday and got to play with their kilo bumper plates. I never get to play with bumper plates at my other facilities, so it was a great switch-up from the usual.

Monday, September 29, 2008

My Kind of Gym

Via Beyond Strong:

The Belleville Weightlifting Club is a no-nonsense private gym. Its members are its care-takers, and membership is strictly limited.

This is not a health club.

This is not a spa.

This is serious training.

On YouTube: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Magic Hamburger

Via Fitness and Wellness in America:

Karen Hanrahan is a Wellness educator and Nutritional Consultant. She teaches a workshop for parents looking to make smarter food choices for their children.

To demonstrate the power of preservatives, Karen displays a McDonald's hamburger purchased back in 1996.

What's amazing is that the hamburger looks just like it did 12 years ago.

…People always ask me - what did you do to preserve it? Nothing - it preserved itself. Ladies, Gentleman, and children alike - this is a chemical food. There is absolutely no nutrition here. …McDonalds fills an empty space in your belly. It does nothing to nourish the cell, it is not a nutritious food.

And to think, people everywhere are eating this stuff on a consistent basis.

Original post here.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Tabata-at-Home #1

Tabata Protocol. Straight-sets. 8 rounds each. 1-min rest between movements.

T = 12'00''

- Jump Rope (double-under attempted)
- Kettlebell Swing, alternating (180-degrees)
- Turkish Get-up, sit-up only (4 left, 4 right)

Short and sweet. I stopped before I became excessively fatigued.

Next session scheduled for Monday.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Bench Press + Ovehead Press Day #1

No training session yesterday. Today's results are as follows:

T = 1:15'00''

Bench Press
bar x 12
105# x 12
140# x 3
160# x 3 x 3
180# x 3 x 3 x 3

Overhead Press
85# x 8
110# x 3
125# x 3 x 3
140# x 2 x 2 x 2

Towel-grip Pullups
BW x 3 x 3

BW x 7
BW + lite band x 3
BW + heavy band x 2

Hanging leg-lifts
BW x 9 (lost grip on bar!)

A colleague and I got into a discussion about Range of Motion. She suggested that it was safer and more effective to limit ROM to 90-degree angles all the time (e.g. shoulder abduction to 90, but not beyond; hip flexion to 90, but not beyond; etc). A second colleague agreed that, if the risk of injury was greater than the reward of doing the movement, stopping at 90-degrees might be a good option.

I see limiting ROM as a tool, but not as a primary method of training.

Wouldn't training a muscle in its complete range of motion have greater transfer into activities of daily living and other real-world applications?

Next session scheduled for tomorrow. I will focus on energy system work. Perhaps a Tabata protocol.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

D-Rock is now on Twitter

Or follow the "Latest Tweet" on this blog, found under my Current Goals.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Squat + Deadlift Day #1

I was near HiFi Personal Fitness today and used their facility for my training session. The results are as follows:

T = 1:49'42''


bar x 20

155# x 12

205# x 3

235# x 3 x 3

265# x 2 x 2

285# x 1 (missed depth?)


135# x 12

235# x 3

265# x 3 x 3

310# x 1


BW x 8 x 8 x 8


BW x 8 x 8 x 8

Yesterday consisted of sled pushes/pulls and jammers. Tomorrow may be a rest day; I'll see how I feel.

Monday, September 22, 2008

"Current Goals" added to the blog

My friend, Matt McG, has been holding me accountable for keeping my blog accurate and insisted I display all my stats and goals.

Therefore I have created a "Goals Box" in which I will keep a dated list of all my current goals, and have added my current stats (dated as well) to the "about me" box. I and my readers now have reference points for later comparison.

Thanks Matt!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Active Recovery Week: Day #3

I missed day #2. Bad back. Hurt something on Monday. Not sure what.

Today was good, though. I had only 20 minutes before I met with my first client of the day and felt a Tabata protocol would be appropriate for the short time frame. I grabbed two 25# kettlebells from the assessment room and went into a an empty studio on the second floor. My digital watch beeps for 10 seconds when the timer goes off, so I was able to use it as my counter. Again, no set scheme. Just work hard, and work fast!

I incorporated swings, thrusters, partial turkish get-ups, snatches and renegade rows into the circuit.

Man, was I dead afterward. I was sweaty, shaky, and experienced short-term muscle soreness everywhere. What was most amazing was the sudden burst of energy I experienced about 3 hours later. Was the Tabata circuit responsible? Was it the chocolate mike I had as my recovery drink?

Honestly, I'm not too worried about Cause and Effect right now. More importantly, I was able to complete my Energy System Training requirement for the day in a short amount of time with very little equipment.


Thursday, September 18, 2008

Energy System Work: Mike Robertson's Way

Mike Robertson reminds us that treadmills are not a necessary piece of cardio equipment. From his blog entry:

One of the first questions I'm asked when people tour our gym is "Where are your treadmills?" I always explain to them that the way we structure their strength and energy system workouts makes the need for treadmills irrelevant. Not that they can't be useful - but for $3,000 (the minimum you're going to pay for a decent commerical-grade treadmill), I could buy several Prowlers, Airdyne's, and a whole set of kettlebells!

I agree with Mike.

Currently, I'm designing a program at integrates energy system work like Mike uses into a protocol created through New Leaf Metabolic Testing, which is based on heart rate. The main issue is maintaining the perscribed heart rates for the perscribed times during complex movements like a sled-pull or sledgehammer swing.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Active Recovery Week: Day #1

I was not impressed with my Personal Records from last week and have decided to not work on the major lifts this week, focusing instead on metabolic conditioning and general ass-whooping.

Alwyn Cosgrove, Jason Ferruggia and others have all spoken once or twice about the positive effects of short (under 45-minutes) training sessions. I personally fatigue quickly after about 30 minutes of continuous high-intensity physical activity and believe shorter training sessions are a very valuable tool in a trainer's toolbox.

The goal for this week:
In 30-45 minutes, do as much work as I can, at the highest intensity I can, resting as little as possible between sets.

The term "sets" is a bit misleading, because I am not really paying too much attention to the actual set-rep schemes being used. Instead, I focus on tempo and form. As soon as I significantly slow the movement down or the form becomes sloppy, I stop and take a short, un-timed break and grab some water. At that point I will either switch movements or pump out an additional "set."

I just started training clients out of the HiFi Personal Fitness studio and am taking advantage of their collection of kettlebells and a short climbing rope hung in the second room. They also have two small sleds and plenty of resistance bands. Using very little equipment, I was able to completely butcher myself for 45-minutes yesterday afternoon. I recovered quickly and had an elevated mood for much of the evening.

My next session is schedule for tomorrow.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Max-Effort Lifts #1

315# (142,8 kg)..........Back Squat
215# (97,5 kg)............Bench Press
365# (165,5 kg)..........Deadlift (semi-sumo)
165# (74,8 kg)............Overhead Press
I didn't rest long enough between sets to see improvement on the squat and bench press from my last max-effort test. Next time, I'm going to make sure I rest long enough for complete CNS recovery (5-6 minutes between sets).