Another night of sleep. Blessed sleep. And then, on Saturday, blessed sunshine. I feel my humanity returning.
And then, to find myself in the place I want to be: on the black rubber flooring of my gym, surrounded by dedicated athletes and in the company of friends. What could be more pleasing than a leisurely Saturday lifting session in spring weather?
I showed up to the Open Gym time at CFA at about 11:00 am, planning to do Overhead Squats, Cleans, Pull-Ups, and Shoulder Press. And that’s what I did.
5 x 45 / 1 x 95 / 3 x 105 / 3 x 5 x 90. Volume: 1,985. What happened here: for some reason I thought I’d be doing three sets of 5 at 105. The first two sets at bar weight and at 5 were supposed to warm me up for that. Which was poor planning anyway (where’s my set of 3 at 75?) Anyway, when I snatched that 105 and started to squat it, I realized it was NOT HAPPENING. So I got out my handy iPhone, looked up my numbers and the master plan I’ve been working with and realized today was planned for 3 x 5 x 90. Oh. Duh. No wonder that 105 felt like crap. Gotta crawl before you can walk.
In between warm-up sets and actual sets of OHS I did some pull-ups. Nothing dramatic or fancy.
5 x 3 x pull-ups at body weight; 1 x 1 x pull-up w/ +5 lbs. I.E. 6 sets; first three sets normal grip; next three sets reverse grip.
1 x 95 / 1 x 115 / 1 x 135 / 7 x 1 x 155. Volume: 1,430.
What can I say? This was awesome. 155 lbs is a good place for me to be working, for now. I’m just scared enough of the weight to keep it interesting. It challenges my form just enough to make me have to think about not thinking about it. Next time I do a clean workout I will do 10-12 sets of 2 at 155, with 10s rest between reps. After that I’ll try to set a new 1 rep max, and hopefully get it up above 170.
I am going on the attack against the pain in my left shoulder. After Friday’s WOD #2, with its 84 push-ups, I was surprised that I had as little pain in my left shoulder as I did afterwards. The lesson clearly is that movement helps. You don’t clear injuries by not using the injured part.
I kept it light. I kept the form strict. I kept the tempo reasonable, i.e. 1 up, 1 rest, 2 down, 1 rest, repeat.
7 x 45 / 7 x 55 / 7 x 65.
A Last Bit of Fun…
I was working out with my pal Matt Smith during all this. And he decided to do some farmer’s carries with 53 lb kettlebells at the end of the WOD. So I joined him for one round. I did a 200 ft farmer’s carry, shuffling fast (Matt was basically running but he’s crazy like that). That was a fun end. Stretch out the biceps.
I was surprisingly exhausted later in the day. And sore. SORE and STIFF. I love lifting.
A busy week, no time to update the blog, so, I am pre-dating this entry.
It’s Spring Break, so I skipped my 6:00 am workout in order to sleep in. But I got aced out of a chance to make it to CFA open gym at lunch time (sharing a life with a spouse means making compromises, yo?). Anyway, I still managed to get through a window of opportunity for training in the later afternoon. I went the the YMCA and did a light session of squats.
Rowing. Mobility. Basic calisthenics.
5 x 95 / 3 x 135 / 5 x 5 x 170. Volume: 5,130. Good session. Overall I am having trouble keeping my chest and back upright in these lifts, though, so I have to work on that. Which is why I followed this session with…
3 x 5 x 80. Volume: 1,200. I felt pretty unstable with these, strangely enough. It felt like a good idea to be doing them, that’s for sure.
And that was it for the session. I felt like a slug for not doing any pull-ups (not enough to be worth mentioning, anyway) but I guess the desire I have for these things goes in waves. I am hating… really hating… pull-ups right now. And so I’m not doing them? That doesn’t make sense. I think I need to come up with a better plan for myself.
About the current plan for squatting…
I have a new program planned out for myself, the details are not important to share at the moment, but it covers the next 10-12 squat sessions and provides for a gentle sawtooth shaped “curve” with a an upward trend in volume. For the next few sessions I am stepping back from where I was prior to my most recent PR session, but will soon be hitting some new volume PRs and then some new overall PRs at 5 and 1 rep maxes. Watch out!
Saturday, Open Gym, 10:15 to 11:30 am. Feeling kinda beat up by the week, for some reason. Sleep has been shaky. I’ve also lost weight. Still, glad to be there.
Warm up: 1000m row: 1022m total; avg split: 155.9; average stroke/min: about 19; time: 3:57. Then, Mobility; push ups 15 ; pull ups c2b dead hang wide grip blue band 10
Neck press w/ clean grip 45×10; w/ snatch grip 45×10
Overhead Squat 45×10 plus deep squat holds on 1&10
Snatch balance: 5×45 / 5×65 / 5×85 (PR)
Snatch: 2×85, f on 3 / 3×85 stumble on 3 / 3x3x85 progressively better. Then 1×95 and 1×105 and ran out of time. Volume: 1,390.
Feeling ok about this. A good start to a long-term progression.
The briefest of records. Monday 6:00 am CFA. Poor sleep, better diet. I am trying!
Strength: Overhead Squat
OHS: 45×10 / 75×5 / 85×5 / 95 x 5 / 105×2 / 110×2 / 115×2 / 120xf / 120×2 / 125×2 (PR)
The fact that my diminutive coach, Shanna, put up 135 in this lift is NOT going to make me feel inferior. I SWEAR. God bless it.
WOD: “Can’t Stop”
Not gonna explain this here. See the CFA website for details.
Weight: 110# x 7 x 4 cleans emom w/ double unders in balance of time remaining; total score: 35 double unders.
Post WOD weigh-in: 190.5 lbs (!!)
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.
Quick note to catch up on recording my training efforts here.
Warm-Up. Lunges, etc. Dislocates. Mobility. Push-Ups (20); Pull-Ups (10 w/ blue band; 3 dead hang; 3 kipping; those felt surprisingly possible); Overhead Squats (10); Sotts Press w/ PVC (10); Side-Plank (60s per side).
Strength: Hang Power Clean 3-3-3-3-3-3-3. Result: 10 x 45 / 3 x 95 / 3 x 115 / 3 x 125 / 3 x 130 / 3 x 135 / 3 x 140 / 3 x 145. Volume: 3,105. I was not happy with a lot of these reps. Having trouble getting those elbows around fast enough, and with staying in my heels both in the dip and in the catch.
WOD: “Three Amigos.” 3 rounds of: 30 seconds of work / 30 seconds of rest
ring dips (red band); overhead squats with bar weight (45#); ball slams (12 lb).
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.
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)
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).
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.
Front Squat 5 x 3 x 95% (150 lbs) @ 90s this morning. Warmed-up with the usual drill and then 10 x 45 / 5 x 3 x 150. Total volume: 2,700.
AMRAP in 10 minutes: 7 Overhead Squats (Rx’d at 70% of 5 RM, for me, 80 lbs), 7 toes to bar, 7 burpees. Result: 4 rounds + 7 OHS + 7 toes 2 bar. I finished on my stomach during the first Burpee of that fifth round. Analysis: a fun WOD but I was feeling a bit slow, I must say. Every round of OHS was done as one unbroken set of reps; 35 total reps at 80 lbs = volume of 2,800 on OHS, which is nothing to sneeze at. Plus 35 toes to bar and 28 burpees. Somehow the guys in the previous class had completed 6 rounds. I don’t know. I have some work to do, I guess!
Recovery from Saturday’s PR 5k (which took more out of me than I expected), was first hindered by my debauched behavior on Saturday (as I completely left behind clean eating and binged on sugar). Sunday was a day of serious rest and recovery. My calves are still stiff and sore today on Monday.
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.
I did a fair amount of rolling, plus hamstring, calf, and quad mobility work after the lifting. Damn that felt good.
Today, at the 6:00 am CFA workout: Overhead Squat new 5 rep PR (110#) and 4 rounds of 10 overhead box step ups (20″/45# plate) and 20 double unders in just over 8 minutes. (Yes I did double unders, and about 3 single unders per double under rep.)
Leaping and bounding, dislocates, mobility, kip swings (10), push-ups (12), front squats (10), cross-chops (25#, 10 per side); Boz overhead squat warm-up.
Strength: Overhead Squat
45 x 5 / 65 x 5 / 75 x 5 / 95 x 3 / 105 x 1 / 110 x 5 (PR) / 100 x 5
WOD: Police Truck
8 min. AMRAP: 10 overhead box squats, 20 double unders
Result: 4 rounds
I decided to do double unders, use a shorter, 20″ box, and go Rx’d on the weight. It was good. I went over by about 15 seconds to get my last double unders in round 4. That just felt right. I was slow and deliberate in the overhead box step ups… really feeling soreness in my shoulders and traps (in a good way)… residual pain from Saturday’s workout… while also making sure my form was exact on the step-ups. I had to take triple single unders (and sometimes more) between each double under but I did get a chance to work on the skill while working up a serious sweat.
Training Cycle Notes
This is technically week VII and by rights should be a rest week. However, I am feeling strong and motivated, and I took an effective break from WODs during my week V (the week of the Half Marathon) and went slightly lighter during the first half of Week VI. So I am exercising my right to revise my training plan. This is hereby declared to be a Week II, and I am also, hereby, deciding to go with a 5 week training cycle, with the fifth week being a “light” week (1 WOD and 2 strength sessions).
Nutrition Plan Notes
After the expiration of my “100% paleo” 30 day period, I still remain close to canonical Paleo — no sugar, no dairy, no wheat/gluten/grains, no legumes, no industrially processed seed oils, very few processed foods. But I have gone back to charting my own path: alcohol is ok (Fridays and Saturdays only), whey protein is ok (post workout), hemp and almond milk are ok (to mix with whey protein), etc. I choosing my own level of compliance based on my desire to experiment and play. I have also added supplements besides fish oil (vitamin D, and calcium/magnesium citrate, as well as probiotics).
I am also experimenting with two other performance supplements. I am fascinated by the approach of Martin Berkhan and so I am conforming some of my diet and training to his principles. I don’t follow a full 16 hour intermittent fasting protocol, but for the past month I have consistently attempted to get at least 12 hours of fasting per day (8:00 pm to 8:00 am). Now I am beginning to push that fast to 13 hours (7:00 pm to 8:00 am). I will continue to train in a fasted state, something that Berkhan really recommends; but whereas, when I was on 100% paleo I really did not consume anything before training, now I am taking Berkhan’s advice and taking a Branched Chain Amino Acid supplement (about 10g worth of BCAAs) before the WOD; and I am trying out a thermogenic energy booster pre-workout too.
I gotta say after one day that I DO NOT LIKE the artificial sweeteners in these products. The whey protein I use has no additives (at all) including no colors, no flavors, and no sweeteners. Mixed with water, it basically tastes like powdered milk. But the “Purple Wraath” brand purple lemonade flavor BCAA powder and the lemon-lime flavor “Jack3d” thermogenic are both too sweet and leave an aftertaste in my mouth for hours. I do not consume sugar, so these artificially sweetened products taste REALLY sweet to me. I am going to look into unflavored or unsweetened BCAA. But like I said this is an experiment and I am going to give it about 30 days and then evaluate how I am looking, feeling and performing.
That being said I felt pretty terrific during the WOD so, there’s that to consider.