Year in the rear view mirror

Well, I can’t believe it but the end of 2012 is here, and what an interesting year it has been. Taking a look back on it now, it was a pretty eventful year, and as for physical training, it has been a very productive one at that.

What I want to do is a quick recap of some of the training that made me step outside my comfort zone, and in doing so really learn something.

  • 20 Rep squats:

The year started off with my second 6 week cycle of 20 reps squats. My goal was to get 300 pounds for 20 good reps. The mental training from this program was outstanding. Just getting psyched up before getting under the bar was a workout in and of itself. 300 was not to be, but 290 x 20 was. It was a very tough 6 weeks, but the rewards in knowledge and intestinal fortitude were well worth it.

    Several cycles of Military Athlete Stamina focused work

    These are two week long Stamina focused cycles. The two weeks are high volume, and very demanding. You do two-a-days on Monday and Wednesday, Tuesday and Thursday regular length Military Athlete workouts, and Friday is and hour and a half long workout. There is an awful lot of work done in those two weeks, but I found my recovery ability improved when I returned to my regular style workouts.

    Military Athlete’s approach to training has had the biggest influence on my training by far. If you have not looked into Military Athlete before, I highly recommend it. I still use pieces of their planning methodology in my own planning.

    • Highland Games assisting and Farmers carry

    I had a great time helping with the setup and assisting in the judging of the local Highland Games this su mmer. I am going to compete in the full games this summer, and can’t wait to start training for the specific events. Throwing heavy things for distance and height, sounds like fun.

    The farmers carry didn’t go like I was expecting it to go this year. I was hoping to improve on my performance from the year prior, but fell short. My buddy beat me soundly this year, and now I have to work all the harder this year to avoid a repeat.

    • 10,000 swings in 10 days challenge

    It took me eleven days, but there was nothing I could do about work. It was an outstanding challenge. I took it on after the let down from the farmers carry at the Highland Games.

    24kg kettlebell, 10,000 swings, and trying to get it done in 10 days. The last couple of days I had to mak e up for lost time, so 2,000 swings were on the docket for the tail end of it.

    • Working with guys dealing with injuries

    During the latter half of the year, I had alot of fun running Physical training for the guys with various injuries. Twisted ancles, muscle pulls, broken bones etc. During the training, the guys showed a lot of heart, and by the end of our time together, had met and exceeded all expectations. The one exercise they dreaded was the sledgehammer strikes on the tire, but that last week, they met the goal with a full ten minutes of strikes with the 20lb sledge, or for the smaller guys the 10lb.

    Unfortunately I also acquired an injury this near. A nagging minor hernia. Lots of fun, but not anything that cannot be worked around.


    • SealFit

    I finished the year with a foray into the 8 weeks to SealFit program. I still have a few workouts left till I am officially done, but it has been a very educational experience to say the least.

    My biggest take aways so far have been an improved run time and form, work capacity when tackling WOD’s, and the forced improvement on all the Olympic lifts (just in order to get through the WOD ‘s.)

    • The new year is almost here.

    This has been a very good year, and it closes out here soon. Tomorrow brings on another 365 tomorrow’s that we can either fill, or leave empty.

    Choose to fill your days with family, love and challenges overcome, and plan your tomorrow’s open to new experiences, and barriers to be broken though. Never stop learning.

    Till next year, take care



Must have missed the memo (must be getting old rant)

Have I missed something over the years? I must have, but I notice it everyday, and I really don’t understand it at all. It’s on Television, in the gym, all around town, and even at work.

Welcome to puberty boy, now shave your legs
When did guys start shaving all body hair all the time? I am not talking about Olympic athletes, or Ironman triathletes, I’m talking about almost every male these days. I’m not sure when it started, I don’t know why it started, and I don’t understand the reasons behind it either. It’s as if the male population these days grow up waiting to hit puberty so they can finally start doing manly things, and shave their legs. I remember that being something a mother and daughter talk about when the time came, but i don’t ever remember having any man in my family give me the hygiene talk and include shaving my legs, arms, and everything else for that matter. You lea rned a few pointers on shaving your facial hair, and how to stop bleeding with toliet paper. Men were supposed to have hair. It was a part of growing up.

Men were supposed to be strong, burly, hairy, and rough and tumble. Men did manual labor., and outdoor work in the yard. The man of the house opened the stuck jar lids, and killed the mice and spiders that got into the house. Men hunted, and fished got into fights sometimes and worked with wood. When you hit a responsible age – I was 9 – you got your own pocket knife, were expected to be responsible with it, and you never wanted to get caught without it from that day forward.

Being a man was about action, not looks. If you wanted to look good for something, you wore a suit, or your tucked your shirt in.

Pretty colors
When I go to the mall, it’s funny to me, but the young men are more doll ed up than the young women they are walking with. The young man will have more designer clothes, hats, hair gel, and perfume on than the lady he is trying to woo. He probably spent more time in front of the mirror too.

The same thing is happening in the gym too. The bright colors, and hair gel is all over the place in the gym. Accessories and workout gloves abound, but hard work on anything but mirror muscles is hard to find. On the flip side, women in the gym have begun to take manly workouts and make them their own. You are more likely to see a man doing doing shaping and pumping in the mirror than a female lately.

There was a time when the first thing you did to a new baseball hat was to form the brim so that it was curved, and not flat. you wore it with the brim over the face, or the hat backwards. Pretty simple.

Hats today remind me more of the way o ld southern belles wore their hats. To the side, flat brims going every direction, cocked at odd angles and either down so far they cover the ears, or barely secure at all on the head. I am pretty sure that hair pins will be in style for hat retention if this keeps up. While we are at it, take the store stickers and tags off.

Opinions are like assholes, everybody has one and they all stink.
“my 2,000 twitter followers and 500 Facebook friends all like my feeds of wisdom, but my boss just told me to shut the f#*$ up, and get back to work. This sucks”

Welp, my young friend, respect for you and your opinion is a two way street and here are some of the traffic laws:

  • Respect is earned not given
  • Nobody cares where you came from or who you were in school or in the neighborhood
  • Respect earned in the workplace comes by way of rank and position, and in life thr ough age and experience. It doesn’t matter if they earned it before you got there, they were there before you.
  • You don’t make the rules, the rules are already written, you have to follow them to earn respect.
  • When starting out, you earn respect by keeping your mouth shut, learning everything, and working hard at whatever endeavor or career you are embarking on
  • Until you prove yourself to those around you, your opinions and snarky comments (the ones your friends and followers enjoy so much on the web) need to be kept to yourself.

I know alot of this comes from how men are being raised these days. Many have grown up with cell phones, computers, video games, and action heroes who have “issues”. Instead of action, they sit. They see images, videos, and do wonderful things with computers, and beat all the latest games with ease, but they don’t know how to act. They don’t know what to do with all the information they are taking in. Without experience to know what is true, people will rely on emotion, not reason to come up with their world view.

I think that’s about it.
Sorry if this made no sense, but I had to get some stuff off the chest.

Lately, I have felt a lot of young men are losing their way. More and more are worried about appearances than they are about their actions. If I could sum up a few things I believe every man should do, I guess a code, my top picks would be these-

  • A man is no better than his word (and that includes promises of fidelity to girlfriends and wives)
  • Actions speak louder than words
  • A man prepares himself to defend his country, home, family, friends, and those who cannot defend themselves
  • A man believes and has faith in something bigger than himself
  • A man lives his life as an example for others to follow
  • A man works to provide

Till next time, take care, and merry Christmas,

Week in the rear view

This week was all about dragging ass, and just feeling wore down. It was just not a good week for feeling energized, and motivated. I don’t know what it was about this week, but at least it’s over with.

There were two workouts that do stand out this week.

I went to train knowing that SealFit had “Murph” as the workout for the day, but i had a hankering for a little bit more than just that. I haven’t been able to do the big three lifts in a while, and wanted to see what I could total before hitting a body weight only “Murph”. Here’s how it went.

  1. SQUATS- 8 sets of doubles working up in weight until I hit 275, then 3 singles working up to my max of 315 for the day. This was slightly depressing. When I mean 315 was the max, I mean it was a a true max. I was glad to just get it out of the hole, let alone stand erect with it. I have lost about 70 lbs on my max with squats over the weeks of SealFit. I know I can easily get this back with just some technical work, and time under the bar, but still a kick in the butt.
  2. BENCH- it took only 6 sets of singles to reach my max for the day of 285. No real loss here. I expected a good single at this weight in good form, and got it.
  3. DEADLIFT- 4 singles to reach my max for the day, and it was a rough pull of 405. I was hoping for 425, but i got over confident and made a bigger jump in weight to 405 than I should have. Oh well.

Directly following the last dead lift, I started the first 1 mile run to start “Murph”, and didn’t stop until I finished the last step of the final 1 mile run. I did not partition the exercises, and completed each in succession resting when needed. I hit a wall at about the 200th squat, and really had to work to get through the last 100. To my suprise, the last mile was much better than expected. All the work on running has def initely paid off.

For those not familiar with “Murph”, it is a Crossfit Hero WOD. It consists of-

  • 1 mile run
  • 100 pull ups
  • 200 push ups
  • 300 squats
  • 1 mile run.

To make it harder, you can add body armor or a 20lb weight vest.

When I looked at the work done for the day, I realized how the squat-bench-dead work complemented the WOD. Squat- Push- Pull, run, Pull- Push- Squat, run. Accidents happen I guess, but I will definitely use this combo again in the future.

This was what was on the schedule:

  1. WARM UP- 1 mile run, then 21-15-9 of 95lb “Curtis-P’s” (you can find the exercise demo here: )
  2. STRENGTH – 5×5 of weighted pull ups with he heaviest weight possible for all 5 sets without dropping weight
  3. ENDURANCE – 30 minute ruck march with 35lb pack
  4. STAMINA – 100 pull ups, every time you drop off the bar, 20 push ups.

Due to time constraints for meetings, and other work items, I had to break it up into three sessions. This is what I did:

  1. I got thru the warm up in the morning ( I hate “Curtis-P’s” more than I hate thrusters)
  2. Strength session and Endurance during lunch- using 28kg KB for all five sets of pull ups, but instead of the ruck march I did a one mile run, and one mile of rowing back to back
  3. and finished the day in the garage with the Stamina work. I ended up completing in 8 rounds of pull ups and push ups.

Main take away from the week

My stride is much more comfortable now when running. My legs have a higher turnover and I can maintain a pace easier than I have been able to in a long time.
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This coming week I have several time trial runs at various distances, and with my renewed confidence in running, I hope to see some real improvement, especially in my 2 mile run time. Hopefully the weather cooperates. We are supposed to get back into the negative temperature range starting Monday. Not fun.

Till next time, take care and good lifting


Some things to consider when running in cold weather

Today’s temperature is about twenty five degrees warmer than Friday, and it feels great outside. How long will the warm weather last, not sure, but it is much more comfortable running in +10 degrees than -15 F.

For those who want to endure the cold while running, here are a few things to think about before you do.

  1. Dress in layers, and if at all possible use material that wicks away the perspiration. Keep exposed skin to a minimum, and protect the fingers, toes, and nose.
  2. Don’t over dress. If you are comfortable in the cold before you start the run, you will be miserable and sweating your ass off in the middle of your run. Being soaked in sweat is fine in the summer months, but soaked in the winter leads to injuries.
  3. Know where you are running and prepare for the worst. If you run in a neighborhood, or in town, there are plenty of places you can go to to get out of the cold in cas e of emergency. When running in these locations, traveling lite is fine. If you are planning to run trails or back roads, you need to bring some extra gear. Put some additional layers of clothing in a fanny pack, or small back pack. Thick socks are a good idea to also have on hand. If you twist your ankle on a busy street or in a neighborhood, no biggie, help is readily available. Twist your ankle on a trail, or back road, you may be in a survival situation. You are already sweating, now possibly immobile, or the very least slowed down, and now you are a possible candidate for hypothermia. Hope for the best, plan for the worst.
  4. Wear a reflective belt, or vest for hours of darkness, even if you plan to run sidewalks. Ice and snow build up on a sidewalk may force you to move to the street until you get past the obstacle. Always plan on the drivers being idiots, and make yourself as visible as possible. (that takes away the “I didn’t see you” excuse and verifies t heir idiot status.
  5. If you are using a balaclava, ski mask, or some sort of face mask to cover your mouth, cheeks and nose remember that once you put it on, don’t take it off until back in shelter. Many people start the run wearing a face cover, but when they start breathing hard, or start to over heat, they remove it. Exposing those moisture soaked cheeks to cold and wind chill will give you a good case of face chap, or if cold enough, frost bite. If you think chapped lips are annoying, try a beard of chap and see how you like it. I rarely use a face covering when I run, but i have one with me, and when the nose and cheeks tell me it’s time, I use it.

Don’t let the weather keep you from running, or enjoying the outdoors. Just be smart about what you plan to do, and be prepared.

Till next time, take care and good running


Last 4 days of morning fun

Monday was the worst of the three days I had to suffer the chest cold I happened to come down with. Luckily I had to grade a Fitness Test that morning, and after work I crashed as soon as I got to the house. Tuesday morning I felt great.

Tuesday thru Thursday, I took a break from my SealFit experiment, and I got to run guys through some pretty fun workouts for morning PT. the workouts were put together from old workouts of mine, Military Athlete, and couldn’t resist putting a little of the SealFit program on them for the endurance portion.

Each session lasts only an hour and fifteen minutes including warm up, and cool down.

I listed my weights, and rounds in parenthesis.

Warm up and stretch
5×3 bench press (165/195 /225 /255 /285×1/265×2)
5×3 barbell bent over rows (135/165/195/205/22 5)
36’s + 20m wheel barrow walk *(36’s are: explained below)
18’s with 45lb plate **(look below)
6-3 pull up work ***(look below)

Endurance – 5×1 minute on, 1 minute off, max row. (1609m rowed total)

Warm up 5 rounds of
4 lunges
10 push ups

Main body-
10 rounds of
4 weighted lunges (2 per leg) increasing weight each round (listed are dumbbells per hand- 25/30/35/40/45/50/55/60/70/75)
4 body weight squat jumps

5 rounds of farmers carries x 50′ with 70lb dumbbells

Endurance- half “Murph” (took about 29 minutes to complete, no partitioning)
.5 mile run
50 pull ups
100 push ups
150 squats
.5 mile run

Warm up 5 roun ds of
5pull ups
10 push ups
15 squats

Main- 10 rounds of
Push Press/ jerk singles (95/105/135/155/165/175/185-missed/175 for last three singles)

3 rounds of-
30 ankle to bar
40 flutter kicks (4 count)
50 sit ups

Finished with 1,000m row (4:16)

Yesterday’s workout was the SealFit workout i had scheduled for the day from the 8 week program. I wanted to see how the guys would do with a full workout from SealFit.

Warm up of Jumping rope, Hindu push ups, flutter kicks.

WOD : 6 rounds in 20minutes of 400m run, and 10 weighted pull ups at 35lbs (completed five rounds in the 20min time limit)

Strength: 30 Renegade Man Makers at 35-50 lbs

Endurance : Rest v>

Stamina : 1000m row, 50 pull ups, 50 push ups, 50 v-ups, 1000m row (had to shorten the distances for rowing due to time constraints )

Overall impression of the week
I was very happy with how the guys attacked the workouts. We scaled the weights, and exercises to meet their abilities, but with the volume of work they took on made the scaling a non issue. They got a great workout despite it.

Now I am back on schedule, feeling much better, and very happy to see the improvements on my own performance. This is the first time I have worked out with others in a while, and now have a better idea of how SealFit has helped improve my overall fitness and mental drive compared to others. What a great program.

Till next time, take care and good lifting,


*36’s= exerciser is in a push up position; partner stands over him; exerciser holds the down position of a push up, while the partner applies pressure pushing down on his shoulder blades for 6 seconds; the partner releases pressure on 6 seconds and the exerciser knocks out 6 reps of the push up; repeat, with no rest 6 times for a total of 36 seconds of tension in the bottom, and 36 reps of pushups. Finish with the partner holding the ankles and walking the exerciser wheelbarrow style.

**18’s are the same as above, but only three rounds. We did the 18’s with a 45lb plate instead of having the partner pushing down.

*** 6-3 pull up work- perform an inverted row with feet elevated, hold the top position for 6 seconds, relax, and immediately perform 3 reps of chin ups from a pull ups bar, repeat 6 times no rest. Total of 36 seconds tension and 18 chin ups.

SealFit update, and the flu season.

Today is workout number 31 of 59 total scheduled workouts for SealFit. I have maintained consistency with the workouts, but have had to shuffle them on the calendar from time to time due to work and other commitments. I have kept true to the program.

This experiment has been an eye opening experience, and I’m learning a lot about myself, and how I trained before.

Here are a few things I have noticed lately:

I have begun to notice definite improvements in my performance during the WOD. One of the things I am realizing is that as the workout progresses, I am starting to find my second wind, so to speak, a lot faster. This second wind usually comes to me about the second or third round of the WOD, and this boost of energy has helped cut down on times to completion. My mental drive to finish faster is improving as well.

This was not the case in the beginning. With the unfamiliar exercises, and rep schemes, I would find myself just slogging through the work, and just trying to finish.

Here are a few WOD and completion times:

  • “Barbara”, 33:16.9. (that time includes the 4 mandatory 3:00 minute rest times)
  • 9 – 15 – 21 Thrusters and dips. 135# thruster (scale if necessary, no lighter than 95#) 22:19. I did scale this one. 135 first round, 115 the second round, and 95 the third round. I had never tried a thruster loaded this heavy before, but got all 9 reps first round, I started the second round with 135, but form on the squat was so bad, I scaled down.
  • Men 135 lbs– For time: 5 rounds of 15-Dead-lifts, 12-Hang Cleans, 9-Push-Press, 6-Front Squats. 36:12. This was the workout where I really noticed the improved mental drive. My technique on all the lifts got more efficient as the WOD progressed, and by the end I actually felt better than when I started. (exhausted physically)
  • 147 kettle bell snatches at 24kg in 10 minutes (not bad considering having not done snatches for high reps in a while)

This program is very pull up intensive, and is one of the reasons I am enjoying it so much. It uses pull ups as the warm up most days, and lots of them. Before I started this experiment, I did a lot of pull ups while working out, but this has made me do even more.

During the warm up I keep all the pull ups very strict. I try and maintain the same strict form during the WOD but when I get later in the rounds, I do kip. Luckily I am not very good at kipping, and the majority of the pull is strict with only enough kip to get past the sticking point.

I have not had to modify any of the workouts so far due to lack of equipment. I have had to condense the workouts due to time constraints though. This program is basically a long list of two-a-days, with the strength and WOD early in the day, and the endurance and stamina work several hours later.

I have had to combine the morning and evening portions into one long workout many times, and it sucks. If you do decide to try this, make sure you have time set aside for 8 weeks to workout, and just be ready to adjust the workouts accordingly.

What I have noticed is a loss on my max lifts with the squat, and deadlift. I think the loss is due to less practice, more than a loss of strength, but I notice it big time.

Yesterday was supposed to be 5×3 with overhead squats, for a 3 rep max. The arthritis in my shoulder is flaring up, so went with back squats instead. I warmed up and hit my first working set with my usual weight, but it felt heavy and out of the groove. Long story short, I ended up doing five sets of 255×3. Before I started the program, this would have been the first set of 3 reps, and 315-325 would have been my last working set. 255 felt heavy, and every set of three I had to grind out of the hole.

Another thing I have lost is some weight. Some of this is due to sporadic eating, and someday’s not eating much at all due to work, but much of the weight loss is from the workouts. Running is getting more fluid and my times are improving. I have actually found my natural stride on occasion, and my form overall is more comfortable for long distances. Running with less weight to carry is kinda nice.

With holiday season in full swing, kids passing germs in air tight classrooms, and having friends and family over to visit, it is impossible to avoid getting at least a mild case of the sniffles.

I have not been sick in a long time, but I now have a case of the crud. Hopefully you are able to keep well, and avoid it.

I am interested in your times to completion for any of the WOD’s you may have taken on, and do still include them in your schedule? If you do use them, how often do you do them?

Till next time, take care and good lifting.