check in: plan HTFU and body measures

I took Friday off from the WOD, and skipped my 5k sprint work and the WOD on Saturday. I’m damn glad I did. By Thursday morning this past week I was so wrecked from lack of sleep and general central nervous system overload (caused by excessive working out but also by stress from family and work) that I couldn’t help but acknowledge that I really needed more rest. So I took it.

Now, here at the end of the weekend, on Sunday night, after three days without working out, I feel ready to get back to training hard starting tomorrow morning. It’s amazing what a couple of days off can do to fire me up these days.

So, “Plan HTFU” is still in full effect. Taking extra rest days as needed DOES NOT CANCEL the plan. For this upcoming week the training schedule is as follows:

Mon: CFA Strength & WOD + Additional Push-Ups and Pull-Ups; Tue: 5k walk/sprint workout & deadlifts or other strength set at CFA; Wed: CFA Strength & WOD + Additional Push & Pull; Thu: 1 mile run, Back Squat, and Manual Therapy; Fri: CFA Strength & WOD; Sat: Haywood Heroes 5k in Canton, NC.

Just looking at the plan I know I’m going to be wrecked by Saturday AM, but I’ll take an additional rest day or two (e.g. Tue and Fri) the following week.

This Week’s Body Measurements
Weight Observed

Suprailliac Skinfold

Body Fat %

Fat Mass

Lean Mass

4-6 mm


21 lbs


Depending on your point of view on these things, I managed to maintain weight, or gain weight, this week, weighing in three pounds heavier than last, but at the same BF % as measured by this skinfold technique, which is new to me. At some point I’ll discuss and possibly post pictures illustrating it on myself. Actually the skinfold measure for this week was less than last week (more like 5 mm) but my instrument has marks only at 2, 4 and 6 mm, so, unless I clearly get down to 4mm I will just round it up to 6.

I view this mild weight gain from last week as weight maintenance because I have the long view, and 182.5 is about even with the long term average I am working on. (See my weight chart for details.) I had to eat myself almost sick to get this result, and I had one ridiculously out of control episode of cheating during the week, on Friday night.

What happened on the cheat was this. From Thursday to Friday, I did my usual 14 hour fast, and then started the day with a big breakfast. But then, probably because I skipped the workout on Friday morning, I simply forgot to eat my lunch. That’s kind of an unusual thing for me. I was busy and had meetings straight through the day, but even so, normally I’m so hungry that I would never miss the mid-day meal. But Friday I did. Then, after work, at about 5:30 pm I met up with Yael and the kids at a family friendly Italian place near our home, Vinnie’s Neighborhood Italian, on Merrimon. I was ravenous; it had been 8 hours since my last meal. I chose the location, because they have unusually paleo-friendly grill menu items (e.g. grilled chicken breasts w/ spinach and broccoli for sides). Initially, I had no intention to cheat (other than my usual self-indulgence of some booze on a weekend night). But… I had two martinis and ordered the steak with goronzola (so what? a dairy cheat, no big deal right? after all, it was Friday and I was drinking, so why not allow some cheese?). So when we got home I was buzzed and mentally out of the paleo groove and definitely not in my best judgment.

On the stove-top, still sitting on the sheets, there were some crappy home baked Chocolate chip cookies made from industrial processed pre-made cookie dough (a neighborhood kid sold it to my wife as a fundraiser). My wife and daughter had made them during the day. For some reason they were calling out to me. I wanted more calories, and badly. And my normal feeding window was closing fast (it was 7:00 pm, and I intended to be done ingesting calories from food by 7:30 pm). So, anyway, I broke down. I quickly ate several cookies… I am not sure why. But that opened the floodgates. I started raiding the kitchen for sugar and excess calories. I found some Nutella spread and put that between two halves of one cookie; that tasted a lot better than the crappy cookies did on their own. Then I raided some remains of a dark chocolate my wife had left uneaten for weeks; then consumed another fundraising item, a milk chocolate with almonds bar. I topped it all off with a protein shake made with strawberries, honey, whey and coconut milk (in case I didn’t have enough calories?).

Of course, I felt like shit the next day. Partly, this was a sense of guilt… this was a second big cheating episode in as many weekends! But, as my weigh in today showed, I’m none the worse for wear in terms of overall body composition goals. I guess that’s because I continue to follow my 12-14 hour daily fast (in fact, from Saturday to Sunday I did 16 hours, 6:00 pm to 10:00 am) and to emphasize food quality, staying gluten, sugar, and dairy free (except for whey protein) all the time … except when I cheat!

Run and Squat

Active Rest / Plan HTFU / Manual Therapy

1.1 mile run in 8:14.56 (7:29.58 pace).

Back Squat. Supposed to run it at 70% (125). But I accidentally grabbed 25 lb plates instead of 35 lb plates. So I used only 105, which is 58%, and 5 lbs less than last week! Oh well. Set back.

Result: 12 x 2 @ 30s w/ 105#.

Then manual therapy with Corey.

This is an active rest day and I have no plans to do any additional volume for Plan HTFU today.

Before bed, I will do two of Starret’s mobility WODs. I’ll update this entry with them later.

Stress and Rest

I was so exhausted yesterday I went to bed last night before 8:30 and read in bed (although, as usual, my falling asleep was protracted, my sleep was broken and disrupted, and not all that restful).

I understand (or rather, believe) that the problems I’ve been having with getting restful sleep have a lot to do with overall stress load in my life. Because of bad work habits, poor planning and weak time management skills, I have inflicted upon myself much of what counts as stressful in my life (huge stacks of ungraded papers, lists of undone tasks, looming deadlines, files and records not properly kept, and giant piles of unsorted, disorganized junk). But I also find stressful many of the things that are beyond my control (namely the demands of students, colleagues, bureaucratic work associated with my job, home and yard maintenance, and household chores and duties — not to mention child-care responsibilities).

Today I am going to do some things to address a few of these areas of stress. I have a babysitter for four hours and can at least do some of the grading. In the afternoon I might get some more things done too. We will see whether that contributes to a slightly better sleep experience tonight.

Going forward from today, I think a reasonable plan of attack would be to find a way to get out from under as many of these stressors as possible by Monday. So that is my operative mode for the next four days.

Deadlift and Dead Tired

Got decent sleep last night (thank you, Ambien… Once in a while it helps) and got up early to work out as usual.

Warm-Up. A member at CFA had a serious accident during her WOD (stitches and concussion!) leading to some confusion and slow down in the warm up for the six AM class. (We hope you are feeling better Jess!) Still we did do some warm up and I managed to get my pull-ups and push-ups, squats and ab hollows in.

Strength: Deadlift. 70% 12 x 2 @ 30s intervals. Fun. Weight: 205 lbs. Volume: 4,920.

WOD: 400 meter run, then 20-16-12-8-4 of push press and push-ups, then 400 meter run; weight: 75 lbs (about 50% of my 5 ; 75% was Rx’d but … My shoulder!). Time: 15 min exactly.

The WOD was freaking exhausting. I worked hard to stay in motion even with reduced weights. I knew shortly after I was done that Plan HTFU was NOT gonna proceed today. Instead, I walked around like a Zombie and ate like a one man army. Now it’s just after eight PM and I am going to read in bed. I am dead tired. Too tired for self-care, mobility work, additional pull ups or push ups. No nothing! Bed time. Hoping tonights sleep will be recovery enough for tomorrow.

New OHS PR and 1.1 mile Run

Quick note: Tuesdays are a “light” day with just a short run and one lift. Today started super early with a 1.1 mile run at 5:00 am followed by an Overhead Squat lifting session at the 5:30 am CFA class. No additional volume in push-ups or pull-ups for Plan HTFU today… the run covers that.

Run 1.1 miles

Result: 7:33.6 (6:52.3 pace).


MUCH better time than this past Thursday. Obviously I pushed it harder.

OHS 5 rep max

Result: 10 x 45 / 5 x 65 / 3 x 90 / 1 x 110 / 5 x 115 (PR) / 5 x 95. Volume: 2,205


Volume here today was somewhat less than my last PR session (9/27), where I did two warm-up sets and a final work set at 100 instead of 95 (ending up with 2,365). Wish I’d looked into that before starting today! Still, good stimulus today, and I feel ready to hit another OHS PR at the next opportunity.

Mobility Work

I did a fair amount of rolling, plus hamstring, calf, and quad mobility work after the lifting. Damn that felt good.

Front Squat 4 x 80% Max Reps and 500 meter Row

Strength: Front Squat

Front Squat 4 x 80% max reps in 30s @ 180s intervals. I used 125 lbs. Result: 12, 11, 9, 9. 41 reps. Total volume = 5,125. In comparison with last 80% max reps session (Sep. 16), with volume of 4,945, this represents a slight improvement. But not a great one. My left knee was hurting enough that it discouraged me some and the lack of sleep last night was also limiting. The whole thing pissed me off a bit, to be honest.

WOD: 500 meter row, plus warm-up exercises

400 meter run, 12 GHD sit-ups, 500 meter row warm up (time: 1:58), 12 GHD sit-ups.

Then… 500 meter row for time.

Result: about 1:36. I did not set the machine to count down from 500, a mistake, so I don’t have the EXACT time. My PR in the CFA gym is 1:34.7. So I do not appear to have gotten there today. But it felt good, and to be honest, I was going only about 90-95%.

Update on Plan HTFU

Today’s Additional Volume: Push-Ups (5 x 12). This includes 1 set of 12 ring push ups during warm-up. Pull-Ups (? x 12). 1 set was w/ red and purple band combo, the rest with blue). One set during warm up, the rest post-work in the afternoon.

Today’s Mobility and Relaxation work: Worked on learning and practicing the moves in Mobility WOD episodes 4, on the Psoas and 5, on the shoulders.

Diet: continuing to fast 12-14 hours every day, training in AM in fasted state w/ BCAAs and Jack3d. Paleo or 95% paleo… not counting this past Saturday night (date night with my wife), where I just ate whatever I wanted including glutens and sugars.

Sleep. Plan HTFU is not snagged, but my body is having some trouble… with sleep. I am fighting chronic sleep disregulation from a variety of sources, most especially children. But also alcohol on the weekends messes with sleep, as does evening time TV and computer. I have every intention of improving my sleep; steps I am taking include: no caffeine after the 16 oz. cup I fill up at 9:30 am (thermos of Decaf comes with me to work); restricting TV during the week; trying to do some reading before bed. Steps I haven’t been taking: going to bed early enough, keeping lights dim in evening, etc. I have work to do!

Body Check

I didn’t get a chance to weigh in last week, so this weigh in period covers the past two weeks. In that time, I’ve made a few changes to my plans for recording body metrics.

First, I won’t be reporting a body fat percentage based on my Tanita scale’s Bioelectrical Impedance Analysis (BIA) method, because it’s not accurate enough for a man of my age, size, activity level, and current level of body composition. Instead, I’ve switched to using a suprailliac skin-fold caliper method (with flattering results, I might add).

Second, I am going to periodically (every 4 weeks, starting today) record measurements for the following body parts: shoulders and chest (girth), bicep, thigh, umbilical waistline.

Body Measurements
Weight Observed

Suprailliac Skinfold

Body Fat %

Fat Mass

Lean Mass




179.5 lbs

6 mm


20.5 lbs

159 lbs

34 1/4″

12 3/8″

21 5/8″

46 3/16″

Basically, I don’t have data to compare the measurements with, and since my body fat measurement method has changed, all previous data is incommensurate with these numbers. I’ll have to start fresh. What I do know is that I have, against my will, lost about 3-4 pounds in the past two to three weeks. I need to EAT MORE! That’s good news. I will be upping my carb intake over the next few weeks as I try to maintain my weight between 180–183 lbs.

I’d like to see continued improvement in the skinfold measurement numbers, but I don’t expect much change, to be honest. I think perhaps the other body measures might reveal some interesting changes. But I am going to hold off taking those measurements to once a month, since such changes tend to be slow.

Saturday Beatdown (5k walk/sprint and Carolina Challenge MetCon)

Plan HTFU was in full effect this morning as I did two workouts between 6:30 and 8:30 am; first a 5k walk/sprint (on my usual “Montford Crawl” route) and then, at the 7:30 am CFA class, a few sets of heavy Thrusters followed by the Carolina Challenge WOD.

It was a lot of work. As a result, there’s no need for additional volume in Pull-Ups and Push-Ups today! (I did do one extra set of each, though). I’m spending the rest of the day pigging out, and am going out on the town with Mrs. Baldwin tonight, where I plan to eat whatever the frack I want, although I’ll probably stay completely or mostly gluten free. That’s right: dairy and sugar are permitted tonight! (It’s Saturday, I did two workouts, and I am down 3-4 pounds over the past two weeks).

Montford Crawl 5k walk/sprint

I followed my customary Montford Crawl route.

Protocol: 3 min walking, 90 seconds sprinting (4:30 intervals); result: 7 rounds + 1:31 walking; 33:01 total time.

ANALYSIS of Walk/Sprint Work

I would like to point out that all of these sprint sessions are performed in Vibram Five Fingers shoes.

Comparison of Sprint Work Over All Sessions
Date Distance Protocol Percent Running Total Time Pace Comments
9/25 3.1 90s sprint / 4:30 walk 25% 44:45 14:25.8 DNF all sprints, Pain in Knees
10/2 3.1 60s sprint / 3:00 walk 25% 38:13 12:19.2 No pain
10/9 3.1 90s walk / 30s sprint 25% 32:23 10:26.4 Shorter sprint and recovery intervals leads to faster overall time!
10/16 3.15 6 min walk / 3 min sprint 33% 35:42 11:20 Pain in right leg returns
10/18 3.15 4 min walk / 2 min sprint 33% 34:54 11:04.2 Less pain
10/23 3.1 3 min walk / 90s sprint 33% 33:01 10:39 Pain free!

From this table, it seems that longer walking or recovery times and longer sprint times lead to an overall slower time; but it also seems clear that my results are following a sinuous curve of improvement; not every session will represent a clear improvement over previous work. Although today’s time was not my fastest, if it is compared to the last session with 90s sprints (9/25) it kicked butt. It remains to be seen whether this training protocol will eventually lead to consistent improvements in my 5k time. We shall see.

CFA WOD: “Carolina Challenge ’09”

Today’s CFA WOD included a brief Strength Session and a brutal Mixed Modal MetCon; twice before CFA has done this WOD — which came from last year’s Carolina Fitness Challenge — but I have always had my excuses as to why I couldn’t do it. Not today. Holy Moly.

Strength: Thrusters 3 x 3

Result: 10 x 45 / 5 x 95 / 3 x 115 / 3 x 125.

MetCon: Carolina Challenge

125 Double unders (375 single unders)
100 squats
75 kettlebell swings (53/35lbs)
50 burpees
25 thrusters (~70% of your thruster 5RM not to exceed 115/75lbs)
For time.

My shoulder was my excuse for not doing full weight on the Kettlebell, and I went lighter than Rx’d on the Thrusters as well. There was a 25 minute time limit. I just squeaked by!

Result: 24:35… w/ 35 lb KBs and 80 lb Thrusters.

The Thrusters weight I chose was only 64% of my 5 RM (125). So… that is what it is.

This is a hard workout. Period.

Plan HTFU: Additional Work

Push-Ups: 1 set of 10 in AM before run; 1 set in Warm-Up for WOD.

Pull-Ups: 1 set of 10 in AM before run; 1 set in Warm-Up.

Mobility and Ice: will update later. May not get time tonight, since it’s a date night!

Front Squat 5 x 3 and Ugly Bugly

I’m calling today’s WOD at CFA “Ugly Bugly” because that’s how it made me feel.


The usual. Included pull-ups and push-ups.

Strength: Front Squat 5 x 3

Having missed the WOD on Monday I missed a crucial step in our Front Squat progressions. So I did that today, since the programmed strength session was Back Squat, and I did that yesterday with Corey.

Rx: 90% of Front Squat 5 RM, 5 sets x 3 reps @ 90s intervals.

Result: 140 lbs, as Rx’d. No problems.

I am going to blow the squats out of the water soon.

WOD: Ugly Bugly

21 pull-ups / 30m line sprints / 18 knees to elbows / 30m line sprints
15 pull ups / 30m line sprints / 12 knees to elbows / 30m line sprints
9 pull ups / 30m line sprints / 6 knees to elbows / 30m line sprints
3 pull ups

For time.

I had to use the blue band assist on the pull-ups. My shoulder just can’t take the stupid kipping pull-ups right now! F***!!! Time: 12:25.


Additional Push-Ups: 5 x 10 (1 set in warm-up; rest scattered throughout the day). Additional Pull-Ups (blue band assist): 5 x 10 (1 set in warm-up; rest scattered throughout the day; and NO, the pull-ups in the WOD “don’t count”).

Mobility: I did some basic ground stretching and hip opening; I did not get a chance to do the “mobility WOD” work that I wanted to.

Back Squat Rehab

Plan HTFU, Part I

Additional #1: Pre-Lifting One Mile Run at 70% RPE.

Actual route: 1.1 miles.


View Larger Map

Result: 9:03 (Pace: 8:13.2 mile)

Warm-Up w/ CFA

The usual stuff.

Manual Therapy with Corey

Corey’s RX: basic strength progression for training new 5 RM, round I: 60% 2×12@30s.

I used 110 lbs. 2 reps x 110 lbs x 12 rounds @ 30s intervals

Plan HTFU, Part II

Foam Rolling, Mobility WODs, Ice, IT and Hamstring Stretching (will be updated later…)

Notes on Sleep and Diet

Sleep: last night once again I had trouble falling asleep, even though I went super light on the coffee during the day and went to bed early (before 10 pm). I tossed and turned; to make matters worse, J.Z. woke up screaming multiple times during the night. Then I got up at 4:45 am, with only about 4 hours of consistent sleep. Tonight: no TV or computer after kids go to bed; low light; reading on the couch until I’m really sleepy, bed before 9:30 pm, then up tomorrow at 5:20.

Diet: remaining on track.

Back At CFA


5 sets of combo shoulder press & push-press (2 x & 3 x). Result: (2 & 3) x 80 / (2 & 3) x 80 / (2 & 3) x 85 / (2 & 3) x 85 / (2 & 3) x 90. I went light, because of my left shoulder, which continues to feel less than 100%. Instead getting up to a goal of 110% or more of shoulder press 5 RM (currently 115), I went with about 70%, 73% and 78%.


WOD was a combo of 3 rounds for time of 10 overhead squats and 150 single unders or 50 double unders. RX’d at 80% of OHS. Again, to baby my shoulder, I went with 65 lbs, about 60% of OHS 5 RM (currently 110). My time: 7:48. I did double unders, but because I can’t do them consecutively, but have to do intermediate reps, I probably did all the single unders too!


Plan HTFU Additional #1: Body Weight. This went just according to plan. 5 x 10 push-ups, 5 x 10 pull-ups (with blue band). These sets include the 1 set of each I did during the warm-up. Push-ups were scattered through morning, before and during the workout and finally back home. Pull-ups were during the warm-up.

Plan HTFU Additional #2: Ice. I iced my left shoulder, both knees, and right forearm for about 5 minutes each.

Plan HTFU Additional #3: Mobility WODs. I’ll be going up from the very first post through KStar’s entire series of Mobility WODs. Two per day until I catch up. It should take 2 weeks or more. Today, following episodes 1 & 2, I did 10 minutes total in a squat (First of Many Beat Downs) and an abbreviated version of his hip extension stretch (don’t go in your pain cave) — spending only about 2 minutes on each side instead of 4, and not doing the pre-and post squat test.

Diet: 95% paleo plus BCAAs, whey protein, and supplements; 12-14 hours of fasting daily; decaf after the last cup of caf is poured at about 9:30 am.

Sleep: no sleep last night — at all. Freaking stressful travel day and I drank a “shot in the dark” (espresso in coffee) during the drive from Charlotte to Asheville (9:00 to 11:00 pm). Tonight: watching 1 TV show, going to bed soon, when it is over. Getting off this blog and the internet immediately. Getting up at 4:45 am!