Back Squat 5 RM and Power Snatch / Knees to Elbows 21-15-9

Something about this morning’s workout drained the hell out of me. There was no thought in my mind of being able to do any additional volume. In fact, I felt shaky and weak all day for some fracking reason.

Warm-Up: the usual footwork type drills, then dislocates and mobility. Push-ups (20); pull-ups (10, blue band; I know, but I was feeling funny and weak even before the workout); overhead squats (10); sotts press w/ pvc (10); and side planks (about 60 seconds per side).

Strength: Back Squat 5 RM. Result: 45 x 10 / 95 x 5 / 135 x 3 / 180 x 1 / 190 x 5. Wicked hard. Those heavy weights left me light headed, dizzy, almost shaking. Volume: 2,460.

WOD: 21-15-9 of Power Snatch (limited to 95 lbs or 70% of 5 RM, i.e. 75 lbs — rounded down — for me) and Knees to Elbows. This WOD was a real challenge, not for the power snatches (the middle sets were most difficult) but for the combination of power snatch and k2es, which left the forearms completely spent, already by the middle round. Result: 7:20. Not the fastest, not the slowest; not the heaviest or lightest. I was happy enough. Especially with my last set of power snatches.

Finally, to finish off the WOD and counterbalance the stiff, spent weakness of my forearms, I did some handstands; which felt good. Getting there!

Saturday afternoon brutal walk/sprint 5k

Plan HTFU in effect.

I put myself through one of the most brutal walk/sprint workouts yet this afternoon. It’s a cold day, sunny, but windy and temperatures in the thirties. I followed my usual Montford Crawl 5k route, and used a 3/2 walk/sprint protocol, 90 seconds of walking/recovery then 60 seconds of sprinting.

Result: 5k distance walk/sprint @ 90s/60s: nearly 12 rounds (12 walks, 11.25 sprints), total time: 29:15 (9:25.8 pace).

The cold burned my lungs, and my stomach and insides felt like junk. I guess I’m recovering from 4 nights and three days of bad behavior and WAY sub-par nutrition. Bad judgment. After every single one of those one minute sprints I felt like hurling; I was panting, almost stopping and doubling over as I entered the walking recovery. After about 8 of the sprints, I really didn’t feel like I had it in me to start up again after the 90 second recovery window. But I pushed it. This is about toughness as much as anything else. HTFU.

For the next two weeks I’m going to be VERY good (i.e. no alcohol, no sugar, no interrupting the daily fast, and no skimping on sleep). Why?

One week until the Jingle Bell 5k. I plan to PR. We’ll see.

Two weeks until the Carolina Fitness Challenge. I plan to NOT EMBARRASS MYSELF. We’ll see.

post feast beatdown, aka Bronco

I managed to show up for the 7 am workout at CFA on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Strength was Kettlebell Swings, WOD was “Bronco”, 4 rounds of 2 two-minute amrap couplets, a “turn off your brain and rep it out” slug-fest with 16 minutes of work and 3 1/2 minutes of rest.

Warm-Up: 200 meter run, pose drills, mobility and dislocates. Pull-ups (dead hang, x3, x3, x4, x5), push-ups (20), knees to elbows (10), overhead squats (10), sotts press w/ pvc (10); sotts press w/ 20 lb bar: fail! wow that is hard.

Strength: Kettlebell Swings. Results. Both hands, Russian swing: 32 kgs (70.5 lbs) x 15 / x 10 / x 8 . Two KBs, Russian swing: 35 lbs (x2) x 5 / 45 lbs (x2) x 5 / 45 lbs (x2) x 5. Both hands, American swing: 32 kgs (70.5 lbs) x 10.

WOD: “Bronco.”

Complete 4 rounds of the following:
I. As many rounds as possible in 2 minutes of: 5 burpee dumbbell deadlifts / 10 box jumps
30 seconds rest
II. As many rounds as possible in 2 minutes of: 5 pull-ups / 10 squats
30 seconds rest
Begin each round where you left off on the previous set. At the end combine rounds of each couplet for total score. (Every 15 reps counts towards an additional round.)

Results: 24″ box & 35 lb dumbells & purple band assist on pull-ups; burpee deadlifts & box jumps: 7 rounds plus 12 (40 deadlifts and 77 box jumps). Pull-ups plus squats: 10 rounds plus 12 (55 pull-ups and 107 squats); total score: 18 + 9; or 279 reps.

The WOD sounds like nothing but a math scramble on paper but it left me DRENCHED with sweat.

The pull-ups went as well as could be expected. You’d think that the purple band doesn’t add much but I couldn’t have done this without them. Using the band I was able to go with unbroken sets of 5 (duh) until the very last two rounds of pull-ups.

Additional volume: later, I got one set of 6 dead hang pull-ups in. Right now I am just trying to hang on to my fragile progress in dead hang pull-ups, and I figure that one has to, at least, do one set per day of your current maximum reps, just to stay in the game. I did not, however, have any on Thanksgiving.

the sun and the rain

no sun or rain at 5:55 am when I left for CFA, just low clouds and wet fog.

Warm up pose drills out in the parking lot, mobility and dislocates, push ups (20), pull-ups dead hang (5, 3, 1, 1) overhead squats (10), PVC sotts press (10), knees to elbows (10).

Strength/skill handstand push up progressions 4×5 (blue band red harness x3, red band red harness x1). The first set of these messed with my left shoulder and I almost decided to ditch the WOD. But I didn’t.

WOD just made the 20 min cap at 19:52. 7 rounds for time of 7 push-press and 21 double unders. DUs slowed me down for sure. I did all 80 burpees and a zillion single unders on my way to the finish. I went with about 52% of my 5RM for the push press just to baby my shoulders: 75 lbs. Exhausting.

Later additional volume. Dead hang pull ups: x6 / x6 / x6 / x6 / x6 /

Mobility: rolling stretching shoulder.


I rested today. I feel good about it now. I felt spent after the WOD yesterday, and hours later noticed that my pull-ups were toast. My body needed a full-stop rest day, a break from physical stress. I’ll perform the better for it tomorrow.

I also cheated today. After eating paleo all day and through dinner, I made bad chemicals, glutens, sugar and EtOH my feast for dessert. Oops. Gotta love unhindered oxidative stress and inflammation. Tomorrow performance will suffer for it.

Break even?

Way to undo your recovery day, Matt.

(It’s also like a Friday night here, since we all got off on Thanksgiving break at close of school today.)

I’m going to work out tomorrow but I still need more rest. Looking forward to more rest/cheat behavior on Thursday, though hopefully with higher quality foods.

squat run lift jump

Fun workout at CFA this morning.

Warm-Up. Pose drills followed by 200 meter sprint. Dislocates and mobility. Overhead Squats (10); PVC Sotts Press (10); Pull-ups (7, 2, 1 w/ purple band); Push-Ups (20).

Front Squat: 10 x 45 / 5 x 95 / 3 x 120 / 1 x 155 / 5 x 165 (PR) / 3 x 155. Volume: 2,730.

I was definitely up at the limits of my capacity, mechanically speaking, in front squatting 165. The last two reps were super ugly. Which is irritating to me. I feel like I should not have been so bowed forward and am disappointed that my form got so poor. But I’ll get over it, and, a PR is a PR. Because the set was so ugly I did a much better set of 3 at 155 to conclude. I didn’t want to end with my last rep being such poor form.

Transition: 3 x 100 meter sprints.

WOD: 400 meter run, 20 deadlifts (@ 70% of 5 RM, or 205 in my case), and 30 box jumps (24″).

My box jumps are slow as shit! The deadlifts were much better than I feared they would be. I did them in 5 sets: 1, 4, 5, 5, 5, trying to be safe. Result: 5:42.

Additional: push-ups (2 sets of 20); pull-ups (1 x 6, 1 x 5-fail on 6). My pull-ups are tired today. Maybe they’ll be better tomorrow.

mo pulls

more dead hang training (finger) grip pull-ups

On Saturday… 2 sets of 6 pull ups, 4 sets of 3 pull-ups (24 total); scattered through afternoon.

On Sunday… 4 sets of 6 pull ups, 2 sets of 3 pull-ups (30 total); through day.

Body Metrics, Month Two

Body Measurements

Weight Observed

Suprailliac Skinfold

Body Fat %

Fat Mass

Lean Mass




Oct. 24th, 2010

179.5 lbs

6 mm


20.5 lbs

159 lbs

34 1/4″

12 3/8″

21 5/8″

46 3/16″
Nov. 21, 2010

184.0 lbs

(less than) 6 mm

(less than) 11.5%

21.2 lbs


34 1/4″

14″ (flexed) / 12 1/2″ (unflexed)

21 5/8″

47 1/4″

What a month! At one point (last week) I was up 8.5 lbs from my weight in late October! At the end of the month I am up 4.5 lbs. That’s virtually all lean mass.

I lost about 4 lbs over the past week using calorie restriction in “Zone” fashion (this was no fun, by the way, and only about 80% successful too). That weight loss was primarily fat, I’ll wager. My skinfold measure is definitely down this week from last.

The measurements of my body parts is mixed. My chest and shoulders, would appear to have grown SUBSTANTIALLY, suggesting that new lean mass is primarily distributed in the upper body and relates to the push-ups and pull-ups I’ve been doing. I wasn’t sure whether I measured my biceps flexed or not, etc. That’s why I put both of the numbers in today. (Less dramatic growth seems more likely; i.e. I measured them unflexed last month).

I’m puzzled that my thighs don’t show growth. That’s not what my pants have been telling me! They’ve been feeling more snug. Maybe it’s my butt?

But I’m pleased that my waist remains stable. It looks the same. Maybe slightly more cut in the abs.

Basically, these measuring tools, whether scale, MyoTape, or skinfold calipers, are pretty rough instruments. Let’s look for the trend. Four weeks until the next measure.

Friday’s Food and Drink

Pre-WOD: Creatine, Jack3d, BCAAs; Post-Wod: BCAAs, Creatine, L-Glutamine; L-Carnitine; Chromium; B; D3; Probiotics; Cal-Mag Citrate

Breakfast (at 8:45 after 14+ hours of fasting); 4 egg whites fried in non-stick pan; 2 eggs fried in 1 tsp. butter; 1 cup kale; 2 tsp. butter; 4 oz. plaintain; 4 oz. white sweet potato; 4 oz. ham 53.00 p 20.50 f 67.50 c

Lunch (at 1:00 pm) from school cafeteria (take out): large portion (6+ oz) of fatty beef brisket; 1/4 cup of cole slaw; 1/2 cup of jerusalem salad of tomatoes, cukes, onions, etc.; 2 slices tomato; some boiled carrots; mixed veggie salad 1/2 cup; 4 oz baked french fries 40.00 p 32.00 f 48.00 c

Post-Work: 1 shot of vodka 14.00 alc

Dinner (at about 5:30 pm): 6 oz. salmon w/ garlic; 6 oz. mashed potatoes; 3/4 cup broccoli; 1 gin martini (6 oz) 42.00 p 32.00 f 49.50 c 35.00 alc

At home (dessert, about 6:30 pm): 1 piece of pumpkin custard pie; 1 scoop protein; 3/4 cup hemp milk; 1/4 cup chocolate milk; 6 oz. wine 23.00 p 16.00 f 40.40 c 21.00 a

End of Day Total 158.00g pro (22%; 23 blocks) 100.50g fat (32%; 34 blocks) 205.40g cho (29%; 23 blocks) 70.00g alc (17%)

2848 calories

I wasn’t able to weigh and measure either lunch or dinner today; and I wasn’t able to moderate my choices very well while dining out. I drank alcohol before during and after dinner, and this kind of messed up my calorie total (about 400 calories from alcohol alone), as well as my judgment, leading me to eat a whole piece of my NOT gluten free pumpkin custard pie and consume sugar with my evening shake.

Yet, at the end of the day my protein and carb totals were about right (how did I do that? I am suspicious of my counting, since many of the quantities here are estimates) and I was only about 10 blocks over on the fat. And at 2800+ calories I probably ended up about even for the day. We had a hard workout in the morning and experience teaches me that I’m very likely to burn 3100+ calories per day. So, while the food choices were not ideal, the results were not disastrous.

One of the benefits of keeping a food journal is that the journal is unbiased. It does not judge your decisions, it simply records them. You may be thinking to yourself, as I was after Friday’s food and drink: “I’ve had a terrible food day; it’s been a failure; I missed all my targets and I cheated against my own rules.” The journal (at least, the way I keep it) helps me analyze those choices in a more quantitative way, leading me to a new qualitative assessment of the food day. Snatching relief from the jaws of anxiety.

OHS and Foolish Chief

Friday morning workout at CFA: Overhead Squats and “Foolish Chief,” a 20 minute beatdown involving on the minute sets of power cleans, push-ups and squats. Fun, but painful.


Agility. Mobility. Calisthenics: pull-ups (10, red band); push-ups (20); GHD sit-ups (10); squats (10); PVC sotts press (10).

Strength: Overhead Squats

I worked with Brian Cohen on this one. New 5 rep max effort.

Results: 5 x 45 / 5 x 70 / 3 x 90 / 1 x 110 / 5 x 120 (PR). These felt solid.

Volume: 1,555

WOD: “Foolish Chief”

This WOD requires TOO MANY air squats. I would SO rather do it with weighted front or back squats, and much fewer reps. My knees did NOT like the workout at all. I’ve been making progress against my jumper’s knee on the left patellar tendon; this didn’t help. Back in April I did a half-assed version of this (I was recovering from surgery!). This was my first time through “as Rx’d” (although my weight was not near the maximum Rx).

Every minute on the minute for 20 minutes:
3 Power Cleans (Use ~80% of your 3RM not to exceed 155/105lbs)
6 Push-ups
12 Squats
If you are unable to complete the work within the minute take a full minute to rest. When you jump back in keep the power cleans the same (3 reps) and subtract one rep from the push-ups and two reps from the squats. Continue this pattern until the 20 minutes has expired. Post total squats completed to comments. Highest score possible = 240 squats.

I used 115 lbs (about 80% of my 5 RM, which is currently 145, on paper).

WOD Nov. 19th 2010 "Foolish Chief"

Legend: that’s 10 rounds at 12 squats, rest one round, 4 rounds at 10, plus only 4 squats on the 5th round, rest one round, then 3 rounds at 8. With 115#

Results: 188 squats, 97 push-ups, 54 x 115 power cleans.

Power Clean Volume: 6,210.

What a BEATDOWN. I was not feeling too great after this one. But I must admit that later, I felt happy to be able to do shit like this at all.

CrossFit rocks, even if the amount of volume we sometimes do is ridiculous.