push press PR and burpee-clean and sandbag lunges

6:00 am CFA. Warm-Up, then:

Push-Press. Rx’d as 5-5-5-3-3-3-3 but I wanted to max out my 5 rep. So: 5 x 45 / 5 x 115 / 5 x 135 / 5 x 150 (PR) / 2 x 145 (f on 3) / 3 x 135 / … done. I actually failed the 5th rep of that 5 x 150, but hung onto the bar and immediately attempted a 6th rep, which I got. So, good.

4 rounds of 45 second max rep dumbbell burpee clean, 45 seconds rest, 45 second max distance sandbag lunges (1 point per 5 feet), 45 seconds rest. 50 lb sandbag, two 30 lb DBs. Total lunge points + reps: 82.

new squat and lift PRs

Open Gym at CFA, Saturday mid-day.

Warmed up with jump-rope and rowing, a little mobility, push-ups, hip-extensions, squats, and a set of 1 dead-hang pull-up (my pull-ups SUCK).

Then…

Back squat 5×45 / 5×45 / 5 x 115 / 3 x 175 / 5 x 190 / 5 x 200 (PR).

You know, it’s funny, but I miscalculated the total weight on the bar and did 5 x 190 (my previous PR) instead of 5 x 200 on the 5th set. But it had felt so clean and easy I knew I could still get in the 200. And I did! Whatever I’ve been doing prepared me well for today.

Deadlift 5 x 165 / 3 x 225 / 1 x 275 / 1 x 290 / 5 x 300 (PR)

Deadhang pull ups: 4-3-1-1-2-2-2 elapsed time 8:38. Total volume: 14 pull-ups (+2 from Tuesday).

God that was fun. Came home and treated myself to two scoops of whey in 12 oz. of yummy Homestead Creamery Chocolate Milk. It’s sunny and the sky is Carolina Blue. It’s about 50 degrees out. I’m on the front porch with my laptop. I love Saturdays.

Clean Winds

Friday morning 6:00 am, doing just a wee bit better on the sleep front, I was there. Warmed up, got loose, did below the knee cleans 3×3 and (full) cleans 3×3 then Burpees and Power Cleans, 20/10-16/8-12/6-8/4-4/2 (total of 60 burpees and 30 power cleans).

Cleans

Result: below the knee: 3 x 75 / 3 x 85 / 3 x 95; full clean: 3 x 115 / 4 x 125 (f on 5) / 3 x 135. I tried to book a new 5-rep PR in there, by doing 5 reps on the 125 set; unfortunately I didn’t make it! What I had forgotten was that I already got a 5 rep PR at 125 on 12/24. Maroon. I tied my previous 3-rep PR (from September).

WOD: “Winded”

Result: I used 110 lbs on the Power Cleans (70% of my 5 RM). Time: 9:23. Burpees felt slow but mostly solid.

Program Notes

Again, I would like to note here, as I did on Wednesday, that my training is feeling unfocused, my sleep pattern has been horrible, and my diet rules are all jumbled up and being constantly ignored. I need to refocus this program and soon. I haven’t felt this unfocused in these things in a long while.

Thu: a little therapy

I got up early Thursday AM and stretched out with the 5:30 am class, then was lucky enough to have Corey Duvall work on me again, for the first time in a number of weeks. He tried to address my painful left foot. It’s still painful but I definitely am glad to have some help with my various mobility and pain issues.

Otherwise a straight up rest day.

Wed: shoulders and dual amraps

Wednesday I made it to the 6:00 am class at CFA: Shoulder Press 5 x 8 and a dual amrap: 2 min amrap 5 deadlifts and 10 double unders, 1 min rest, 2 min amrap 5 ring dips 10 wall balls, 1 min rest, repeat for 3 rounds.

I got my first ever consecutive double unders in this WOD. Big PR day for me, there. Otherwise, kind of an undistinguished morning. Or rather, a morning distinguished by the fire in the belly focus on training I’d like to have. Too little sleep lately; and improper eating; immoderate “cheating” on my “diet”. I have to find a fresh reservoir of resolve! I need to re-focus my diet and get more concrete about my training. But I really haven’t got time to focus at the moment. So, I keep saying training is day by day. During the past few days, though, I have begun to think, maybe this Sunday would be a good time to adopt a fresh “plan” that I can hold myself accountable for.

Shoulder Press

This was all about the “tempo” (3s down, 1s rest down, 1s up, 0s rest up). Slowing down the eccentric phase of the rep results in a much different stimulus! Probably good for me. Results: 8 x 45 / 8 x 65 / 8 x 75 / 8 x 85 / 6 x 95 (f on 7)

WOD: Dual Amrap

I used the max Rx’d weight: 135 lbs. And a 20lb, small and non bouncy medicine ball. And my own jumprope. Averaged out I got a few reps more than 2 rounds per 2 min AMRAP, which meant that I ended up with nearly 7 rounds total for each couplet. Not sure of the exact total.

the latest yokeage

Taking training day by day. Today (Tuesday morning) I found 40 minutes or so at the YMCA. JZ did “ok” in Child Watch there (meaning, he cried most of the time). I felt kinda guilty. We’ll keep trying.

Plan today was to follow up last Tuesday’s bench press session, work on Pull-Ups, and skip the squat, since I had back squatted last Tuesday and Saturday, plus did Front Squats and Overheads on Monday.

Warm up sprint 400m at 5:45 pace

Dislocates and stretches

Bench 5×95 / 3×135 / 6×145 (PR) / 5 x150 (PR) / 5 x 135

KB swings: 15x53lbs

Dead Hang Pull ups (4 diff grips): 7 sets at 60s intervals: 3-3-2-1-1-1-1 (about 6:30 total time; volume: 12 reps; +2 from Saturday).

The Mondays

CFA 6:00 am, only 5+ hours sleep, fasted of course. Hardly no caffeine (3 oz. iced coffee, maybe?), or Jack3d, etc., though.

Case of the Mondays for sure. Not really sure what all was eating me. Not feeling 100%; not even close.

Warm-up: jumprope, and ohs squat holds, plus calisthenics

Front-Squat 3011 tempo, 5 sets: 3×135 / 3×145 / 3×155 / 2×165 (f on 3!) / 2×155 (f on 3) — I felt so WEAK! Neurologically overloaded, I guess, from Saturday’s strength workout.

Partner Workout: worked with Rustan; 10-1 ladder of OHS w/ 85lbs (70% of 5rm) (Rustan used 95); partner does KB swings (53lb) while other works; total swings; one second off time per swing: total time: 13:31; 179 swings, so: 10:32. Rustan generally got at least 2x the number of KB swings as I did — again, WEAK! Same excuse, I suppose. I did do all the OHS in continuous sets of reps, no resting.

Shanna called me out (gently) on my attitude in an email (a day later). Gotta keep things in perspective. Lack of sleep, system in recovery; it’s not a straight line. It’s not going to be a straight line.

cage session at YMCA

My approach to training at the moment is day by day; I am happy to have days with no WOD and just some lifting, like today. I could not get to CFA morning class or to Open Gym time, so I hit the YMCA, as on Tuesday. I did back squat, deadlift, and deadhang pull-ups.

Warm-Up: sprinting for 3 minutes on the treadmill (sub 6 minute mile pace). Mobility work. Push-Ups.

Back Squat: 5 x 95 / 5 x 5 x 165 @ 120s intervals; Volume: 4,600.

Deadlift : 5 x 135 / 5 x 5 x 255 @ 180s intervals; Volume: 7,050.

Pull-Ups: Deadhang, various grips on the squat cage, six sets @ 60s intervals: 2-2-2-2-1-1

fight not bad

Friday morning I arrived at the gym, having totally inadequate sleep, in an exhausted state; I worked late the previous night; then was too wound up to fall asleep. I came in for the sake of discipline, to attempt to maintain a state of “training” when it is clear I am instead “pedagogue.” But when I saw the WOD was KB swings and Fight Gone Bad, I knew I was headed for trouble.

I warmed up, stretched, swung the KBs, and then skipped the WOD. A beat-down was not called for in my condition.

Results: Kettlebell Swings; I don’t think the weight numbers are quite right but this is what I remember: 24kg (53lb) x 20 ; 28kg (62lb) x 15; 32 kg (70lb) x 10; two 35lb KBs x 10.

I walked away after this but I did feel this workout the next day.

Braising, Bone Broths, and Instant Meat Stews

It’s a cold winter, which is a perfect time for cooking low and slow. I just enjoyed an awesome bowl of leftover turkey thighs in a gelatin-rich bone broth: the simplest possible stew, and absolutely delicious.

If you aren’t experienced with braising meat, you need to get familiar, and soon. Fatty cuts that are filled with connective tissue and bone are perfect for braising. You need a heavy covered sauce pan or dutch oven (I am not a fan of crock pots… a poor substitute), and you need to be willing to let the meat cook all day. When I do braised meats, the prep gets done in the early AM, and the cooking starts before work.

Braising usually involves a combination of searing and fluid, but it’s not always necessary. You can also brown food in high heat and then add fluid, cover, and braise. That’s how I made my turkey legs. After 40 minutes at 375, I added one cup of water, covered, and let them cook about 6 hours at 215. They were falling off the bone tender. That night we served the tender turkey thighs over mashed celery root (celery root pureed with butter, which is awesome), with asparagus.

The leftovers included a good deal of turkey and about 2 cups of a deep brown salty fluid. When chilled, the gelatin in this fluid turns it into a giggly solid. Turkey jello.

Gelatin comes from the collagen in bones and connective tissue, and is released into water through low and slow cooking techniques. When you braise up your meats, especially if they have lots of skin and bone in them, the watery environment and long cooking time causes the collagen to dissolve into the water and break down into its constituting proteins, mainly Glycene.

Gelatin is not at all gross. It melts right away at a low temperature and makes the perfect base for very delicious, silky smooth sauces and cooking fluids for meats and veggies.

Also, and I can’t emphasize this enough: the stuff is REALLY GOOD FOR YOU. To learn more about the many benefits of gelatin, you could just google “gelatin and health”, or you could read this awesome article that lays out the science of gelatin’s health benefits in full: “Gelatin, Stress, and Longevity” by Dr. Ray Peat. Bottom line is that the magic ingredient in gelatin is probably the amino-acid Glycene, which is its main protein. Glycene and the other big, puffy proteins in collagen promote relaxation, sleep, regularity, metabolic health, muscle growth, and tissue repair… in short, gelatin is the bomb.

So, save that stock in a tupperware in the fridge! Then, the next day, take a cup size scoop of gelatin, mix it with a cup of water, heat it to steaming, chop up leftover meats, heat them up in the melted meat jelly and BAM. Instant recovery food. The best winter food and it only takes 5 minutes to prepare from your dinner leftovers.

I’m not trying to get fancy here, but you could obviously throw any old leftover veggies in with the meat to make your stew better; or you could cook sweet potatoes, carrots, or other roots in the broth for 10-15 minutes before adding your chopped braised meats.

You can also save the bones or carcass from almost any kind of animal, or buy bones directly from the butcher, and slow cook those with water on the stove top or oven, and you’ll get the same basic gelatin rich stock… perfect for using to boil up some veggies, throw in some pre-cooked meats, and enjoy instant stew.