monday conditioning and lifting

A full Monday. I was stoked to see this morning’s workout at CrossFit Asheville. Back to a more simple and direct program? Maybe so. In the meantime, I’ll take today.

CFA WOD: Hang Cleans, Double Unders, and 8 min AMRAP of burpees and running

Hang Cleans: 5 x 45 / 5 x 75 / 5 x 95 / 5 x 115 / 5 x 135 (PR) / 5 x 145 (PR). A 25 lb. PR.

Push Jerk: 5 x 135. (After finishing the Hang Cleans at 135, I decided to do a set of split jerks at 135, because I could. It was fun).

Double Unders: 4 x 1 minute Max Reps w/ 1 min rests. Amazingly, I was able to string together some DUs today. Maximum number in a row: 8. I’ll take it!

AMRAP: 8 minutes of 200 meter run and 12 burpees. Result: 3 full rounds and 1 run. I went a few seconds long. I was SLOW. SLOW. Feeling totally deconditioned. Did I mention I was moving like molasses in the fridge? Plus, I was hacking up goo balls from my lungs. I am totally NOT well yet. It’s been almost 2 weeks with a nasty respiratory/sinus bug. I hope this clears up soon.

Lifting at Asheville Strength and Conditioning

After breakfast, and working on my stuff for a few hours, and lunch, and more work, I made it over to ASC to get some work on the gym done, hoping also to get in a quick session of squats and shoulder press. I assembled the squat racks and weight stands, sweating in the growing heat. Then did some quick squats. I only did one set of shoulder press.

Dumbbell Shoulder Press: 20 lbs DBs x 10.

Squats: 10 x 45 / 5 x 135 / 3 x 185 / 3 x 195 / 3 x 200 / 3 x 205. Volume: 3,480.

Analysis: these squats felt like shit. I did the 135 and the 185 as High Bar squats. But overall, I was feeling pretty weak here. On paper, my 5 rep max for squats is 210. But it felt impossible to imagine that today. I didn’t even feel like doing an additional set of 3, at 210 or any other weight. Volume wise this session was about 500 lbs less than the total of my last serious squat session (a week ago Friday). This calculation seems consistent with my gut impression that I wasn’t able to accomplish as much work today as I was this past Friday. It’s high time I charted out the curve of squat volume again as I did a few weeks ago, and considered more carefully the frequency of my training here.

A word or two about the term “volume” as used in this blog

In this blog I somewhat idiosyncratically use the term “volume” as a shorthand for what other weightlifting writers would call “work” or “volume of load.” I hope that this doesn’t confuse anyone. I track my workout volume out of curiosity, as a way of roughly comparing the “intensity” of various lifting sessions I accomplish, knowing that most of these sessions take place within reasonably comparable time frames, and that almost all of them reflect some variation of the low-rep scheme training methods that are more popular in powerlifting or olympic lifting as opposed to bodybuilding or weight training.

In most American weightlifting literature, the term “volume” is used only as a means of quantifying the amount of exercises that are done; when others write about “volume” it doesn’t reflect the weights that are used. Sometimes no number is given for volume at all, as in the use of relative or qualitative terms like, “high volume” or “low volume”; but if there is a number it is denominated in “reps.” Workouts are said to be “high volume” if they have a comparatively high number of reps. “Low volume” workouts have fewer reps. Thus, the term “volume” comes into play, for example, when comparing weight training methods of powerlifters as differentiated from the methods of bodybuilders. In conventional terms the former use “low volume” training sessions and the latter use “high volume” training sessions.

When I do much lower rep workouts (what other writers call low volume workouts) I do expect to see the volume of load number be lower than when I do much higher rep workouts. And thus, it is the case that volume of load (or what I call “volume”) does tend to track volume in the conventional sense of the term.

But again, I don’t find the conventional use of the term very helpful.

If I tell you I did 15 reps of the back squat, you’re going to ask me what weight I used. Why is that? If it wasn’t a relatively heavy weight you’ll call me a pussy, that’s why. On the other hand, if I tell you I did 250 back squats, you’re going to assume I must mean air squats, or used a kid’s bar (and you’ll probably be right). Because nobody (or at least, nobody who looks like me) can do 250 heavy back squats in one session. On the one hand, you could say that this just proves that there’s a rough, theoretical expectation that what is traditionally called “volume” tracks with “volume of load.” Or, you could point out that for anyone to make sense of what you really mean when you say “low volume” or “high volume,” you have to do more than quantify this in terms of reps.

This conventional system of terminology never made much sense to me, because, for instance, it doesn’t really let me compare the relative training value of two of my own “low volume” workouts. So this is one of the main reasons I always report “volume” not as reps (implying some rep scheme or another) but as volume of load, i.e. reps x weight.

Now, none of what I’ve written here so far takes account of the idea of “power.” Greg Glassman of CrossFit makes a big deal about what he calls both “intensity” and “power,” which is volume of load, or work, divided by time. If a CrossFitter does 36 back squats at 95 in 3:00 minutes flat, he or she is said to have produced more power and to have worked out much more intensely than a powerlifter who does 9 squats at 380, but over the course of 20 minutes. The absurdity of this comparison should be immediately apparent to all. Once again, we return to the observation that the two different workouts offer completely different neuromuscular stimuli. A high power workout is a good way to elicit conditioning, weight-loss, puking, and/or a rush of happy neurotranmitters. But power and intensity, as CrossFit defines them, are completely different animals than strength. The fact that many male CrossFitters could easily accomplish 36 squat reps at 95 does not at all let us know how many of these skinny boys could squat even one rep at 380, let alone 9. Power is clearly not everything. Being metabolically well conditioned but comparatively weak may be sexy, but it will not help you lift a volkswagon beetle off of an old lady after a traffic accident.

Of course, in principle it does make sense to differentiate between different training styles, especially between those that use low rep schemes versus those that use high rep schemes. This is because we know that there are far different neuromuscular effects elicited by 36 back squats done at 95 lbs, versus 18 squats done at 190, versus 9 squats done at 380. And yet, these all have the same “volume of load,” i.e. the same amount of work has been done, the same amount of weight has been moved. So a critic might point out to me that volume really isn’t that reliable or useful a number.

There may be truth in that. But one of the uses of this number that I have discovered for myself is in predicting my needs for recovery. In general, I find that my “volume” calculations are pretty good predictors of the difficulty of the recovery I will face (i.e. the amount of DOMS, the amount of rest needed, the amount of food I’ll want to eat). Training methods being kept more or less constant, when I significantly increase my volume of load above whatever “curve” my linear or sine-like progressions have been following, I’ll be more sore and stiff than usual over the next few days.

And so, my own preference is to compare my lifting sessions using the term “volume” in reference to the total volume of load lifted in any given movement, in any one training session (or measured over any arbitrary period of time). Since my training methods do not wildly vary, this provides an interesting way for tracking my progress, planning my workouts, and looking at potential neuromuscular effects. I am not under the mistaken impression that any two different workouts using the same movement that happen to have identical volume of load will produce comparable neuromuscular effects. I just wanted to make this clear in case any snarky reader comes along some day and says, hey, you’re an idiot for computing your so-called “volume” after squatting.

Well, whatever dude. I may be an idiot but this particular issue is the least of my worries.

back at the mac

My old-time “home gym” is the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland Oregon, which is a really great facility, when compared to your typical “health club” type space.

By “really great” I just mean they have rowing ergometers, a pull-up bar, an Olympic lifting platform, kilogram bumper plates, etc. They also have all of the typical BS rules and restrictions that distinguish health clubs from actual weightlifting facilities. E.G. — They have platform and bumper plates, but a rule against dropping weights from above the knee. They have four flat benches with racks for “bench press,” and they even have a set of olympic-bar chain weights, but no racks for squats (their two counterweighted Smith machines DO NOT count as squat stations).

Anyway, it was good to get a lifting session in this morning irrespective of the schizophrenic rules at my old gym.

Warm-Up

700 meter row (19-22 strokes per minute; avg. split about 1:49).

Double Under Practice (5 x one minute sessions w/ 40 second rests).

Pull-Ups (10, dead hang, red band); Push-Ups (10); Squats (10); Overhead Squats w/ 15 lb bar (10); Sotts Press w/ 15 lb bar (10); GHD extensions (10).

Deadlift

I wasn’t sure how to follow up the stimulus of the Carolina Fitness Challenge, where we did max reps of 225 lb deadlift in 2 minutes. I got well over 20 reps at 225 in under 2 minutes, suggesting to me that a typical 65% or 75% 12 x 2 would not be particularly helpful to me today, since 65% (190 lbs) and 75% (220 lbs) are both less.

I decided on a basic 5 x 5 set of work sets at about 80% (235 lbs).

Result: 100 kg (220 lbs) + 15 lbs x 5 x 5. Volume: 5,875.

These were done @ 120s intervals, alternating grip, opening fingers between reps.

Back Squat

With no racks I couldn’t do a proper 75% (145 lbs) x 12 x 2 @ 60s, which was my original plan. I had to settle for a weight I could comfortably clean, jerk, and receive behind my head and then jerk back out between sets. I used 132 lbs (70%), and did 5 x 5.

Result: 60 kg (132 lbs) x 5 x 5 + 5 power cleans, 10 push-jerks (5 front and 5 rear). Volume: 3,300.

Bench Press

Might as well use the bench! It’d been a while, so I decided to find out where my 1 rep max is at. Kinda pathetic, actually.

Result: 1 x 65 / 1 x 95 / 1 x 115 / 1 x 135 / 1 x 155 / 1 x 165 / f x 170. Volume: 730 lbs

Push Jerk plus five rounds of KB swings and box jumps

Warm Up: agility plus mobility; then calisthenics: push-ups (20); pull-ups (10, red band); squats (10); GHD sit-ups (10). Handstand practice.

Push Jerk new 5 RM PR 145 … the same as my Push Press. Which tells you I need to work more on the jerk. But all in due time. My left shoulder was bugging out unhappy about the last two reps of my 5 rep max effort set.

Results: warm up reps then – 5 x 80 / 3 x 95 / 3 x 105 / 1 x 135 / 5 x 145 (PR but pressed out last two) / 3 x 135 / 3 x 135. Volume: 2,670.

My jerk is lagging because of two factors: my recent shoulder problems and the fact that I hadn’t made a new 5 rep PR attempt since June 2009. (Lol. Record keeping definitely cuts in every direction. If I wasn’t constantly recording what I do, this gap in my training would not show as well.)

WOD: 5 rounds of: 12 KB swings (1.5 pood Rx’d); 12 Box Jumps (24″); 200 meter run; rest 1 min. Report total time minus total rest (4 min): 53 lbs; 24″ box; vibrams; 9:57.

I think I was the slowest guy in my class today but… I’m fighting my own fight here.

Additional handstand practice after class.

Additional volume: after work — push-ups (4 x 20); pull-ups (4 x 5 dead hang).

Happy Birthday Aidan!

Quickly, Today’s WOD: Aidan’s 40th birthday, and the lady worked HARD on this one. Congrats Aidan! We started with single support deadlifts (for me: new 30 lb PR: 5 x 45 / 5 x 75 / 5 x 95 / 5 x 115 — PR) and then did 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 of Sumo Deadlift High-Pulls and Push Jerks (Result: 12:08, Rx’d at 75 lbs). This was also the CrossFit.com mainsite WOD on Sat., Aug. 28th. Tough WOD. Fun times. I LOVE CrossFit.

Generally, My Health, Nutrition, Etc.: My sleep has not been good, probably for two reasons: stress is unavoidable in my life right now, and I drink too much coffee. Other than that, everything, I mean everything, feels like it’s on track. For that reason only, I should be trumpeting the fact that I’m “100% paleo” right now (as if such a thing really existed). 3 meals a day, none of this constant grazing and snacking bullshit. Full 11-12 hour fasts every day (running 7:30-8:30 pm to 7:30-8:30 am every day). Limited fruit. Plenty of protein and fat. Veggies at every meal. Absolutely no sugar, dairy, grains, legumes, or alcohol. Eating almost exclusively whole foods, with very little factory processing and packaging (seriously; exceptions are some fat sources, esp. Fish Oil, Coconut Butter, Olive Oil, Smoked Salmon, and Nitrate Free Bacon). It feels good. Going on about 10 days now (since Aug. 22nd).

D.T. again

Today at CFA: definitive proof that I’m getting stronger and faster. The WOD, called “D.T.” is a hero workout honoring slain soldier Timothy P. Davis (RIP D.T.)

I’ve done the workout at CFA twice before, in April and in August 2009. According to my records, CFA last did D.T. exactly one year ago today.

Last year I found the WOD so challenging that I renamed it “Delirium Tremens;” back in Aug. 2009 it was a Friday morning and I was a bit hungover. Those days are gone now. Today I was training in a hydrated, caffeinated and fasted state, with no hangover (though I did have a couple of drinks last night) and plenty of decent sleep.

In Apr. 2009 I used 95 lbs and it took me 12:38. In Aug. 2009 I used 105 lbs and it took me a ridiculous 16:45.

Today: 110 lbs, 10:47.

Something’s working. VERY WELL.

A note on the weights: originally, this WOD was Rx’d at 155 lbs, which is super heavy. Our coaches have now set the Rx at 80% of Push Press 5 RM, which seems quite reasonable.

Indian Beach and Back Squats

Training Cycle: Week 5/6 (Vacation Work Week)
Diet: Ad Libitum Quantities
Whole/Clean/Paleo Zone w/ 2x-4x fat
First workout of the Week
Summer Surf Session: 1

Surfing 01

Wildlife I’ve seen here since arriving on Sunday: a bald eagle (eating something on the beach), seagulls and pelicans, a hummingbird, bunnies, and today, while surfing, a whole bunch of harbor seals. It was just me and the seals this morning at Indian Beach. I surfed for only about 90 minutes, from about 5:45 to about 7:15.

5:30 am at Indian Beach, June 7th 2010

So… first day back in the water since October. I was grateful to be there. I battled my way out through the break (instead of sneaking around on the north side… stupid!), and, after getting outside it, paddled around for a while. My arms and shoulders complained mightily on that first paddle out! I spent time stalking the foam crescents, finding the breaking spots, trying to figure out which would offer the best ride. Some waves were large, shoulder height, but were underpowered, unstable, more choppy than I’d like. It felt awesome just floating, thinking, watching and, occasionally, doing some short “sprinting” with my upper body. I rode only very few waves. The outer break offered short rides. But I could feel my muscles waking up, the muscle memories returning. At 7:00 or so about three other surfers turned up (including one I recognized as Mark from Cannon Beach Surf); my time was almost done anyway, and I was moving out of the water. Before I had packed up and moved along, one of those three was back up in the parking lot. “I could have blown off work today,” he told me, “but those waves were nothing special; at least I can say I went surfing.” I feel the same way.

My driveway gym at Arch Cape

Strength: Back Squats Driveway Style

Did a minimal warm up (need to get better at that… throw in some running and a more clear set of calisthenics or something).

My new weight set is Chinese and cast iron. I am using it in the grass at the end of the driveway at the beach house. No dropping allowed! And currently, no racks. Everything has to be cleaned or snatched up. The back squats were low back (as low as I could get it without racks). The push jerks that finished each set were from the back, obviously.

Sets: 1 x 95 x power snatch, back squat, push-jerk;
1 x 115 x p.s., back squat, p.j.;
5 x 135 x 1 clean and jerk, 5 back squats, 1 push jerk

Volume: 2 power snatches (vol. 210); 7 behind the neck push jerks (885), 5 power clean and jerks (675), 27 back squats (3,585).

Later, the day became beautiful, and I played around with Lena on the beach, flying a kite. Also, I grabbed a 40 lb pry bar to work on the path. I moved a lot of really heavy rock, working for a while. I think I tweaked my knee, too (my left knee, the one with patellar tendonitis). It’s feeling not so great these days.

It was a beautiful day

The Cred and Various Squats

A second workout this week (not including the three days of fishing), this time at the Multnomah Athletic Club in Portland, OR. I did 5 x 5 of dumbbell one arm power snatches, followed by some quick and dirty work with a 40 kg bar, on back squats, front squats, and overhead squats.

Training Cycle: Week 4/6 (Vacation Work Week)
Diet: Calorie Cycling (4 days low, 1 day high),
Second workout of the Week

Getting in a second workout is as much as I could ask for during a week that not only included a three day fishing trip, but also a bunch of hanging out in my home town in a small condo with two sick kids along with my with wife and parents.

Warm-Up

Jump rope technique practice, 5 minutes. Push-ups (25); GHD sit ups (10); pull-ups (kipping, 2 sets, 10 reps total); squats (45 degree foot box, 10 reps).

Strength/Skill: Dumbbell One Arm Power Snatches (aka “The Cred”)

In reference to this exercise, I owe the term “the cred” to the blog of Keith Norris (the excellent “Theory to Practice”); see especially his post “Comments on the Cred”. His blog is great, and this lift has lately become my hands in the air favorite movement. Norris’ comments on it are sufficiently illuminating as to reveal why that might be the case.

Results: 5 x each arm x 35; 5 x e.a. x 45; 5 x e. a. x 55; 5 x e.a. x 60; 5 x e.a. x 65

Volume: 2,600 lbs (1,300 each arm).

Lifting: Squatting with a 40 kg Barbell

I went to the oly lifting platform in the MAC weight-room, and they have Ivanko kg bumper plates, but unbelievably, the damn place has a policy that weights are not to be dropped from above knee height. And they don’t have squat racks. So I had to follow my sense of prudence and keep the weight light, since I was planning to throw around a bar a bit. I set up a 20kg bar with two 10kg plates (that’s 40 kg, which is 88 lbs) and proceeded to do some quick sets of the following:

Result:
1 snatch, 5 x back squat, 1 push jerk
2 x 1 snatch, 10 x b.s., 1 p.j.
2 x 1 power clean, 10 front squat
1 snatch, 5 overhead squat
1 snatch, 7 overhead squat
1 snatch, 10 overhead squat
1 power clean, 7 shoulder press

Volume/Analysis:

6 snatches (585 lbs), 3 power cleans (264 lbs), 3 push jerks (behind the head) (264 lbs), 25 back squats (2,200 lbs), 20 front squats (1,760 lbs), 22 overhead squats (1,936 lbs), 7 shoulder presses (616 lbs).

I took short (that is not to say, brief) rests between these sets, but did not work “for time.” Because I was using a relatively light weight, I worked as fast as I could during the actual sets, and I did more reps than I would during a “normal” lifting session.

Between the Creds and these squats and auxillary lifts, I know I’ll feel it on Sunday. Wow.

Kettlebells, Push Jerks and Box Jumps

Wednesday AM was a fun time at CrossFit Asheville. For strength we did some Kettlebell Swings (and for me, One Arm Kettlebell Snatches too) and for a met-con we did 3 rounds for time of push-jerks and high box jumps. Now, no more WODs until Saturday’s Warrior Dash in Georgia. That day also marks the end of my five month alcohol fast.

New Program

Training Cycle: Week 2/6 (Work Week)
No Alcohol Month 5/5
Diet: Calorie Cycling (2 days low, 1 day high), Whole/Clean/Paleo Zone w/ 2x-4x fat
Second workout of the Week

Warm-Up

Crawling around. Stretching. Calisthenics.

Stregnth: KB Swings and Snatches

Result: swing: 15 x 35 lbs; One arm KB snatches: 5 x 35 lbs x each arm; swing: 15 x 45; snatch: 5 x 45 x each arm; 15 x 53; snatch: 5 x 53 x each arm; swing: 15 x 72; snatch: 1 x 72 x right arm; fail x 72 x left arm (finished with right hand assist).

WOD: Push Jerks and High Box Jumps

3 Rounds of:
7 Push Jerk (80-85% 5RM not to exceed 155/105lbs)
7 HIGH box jumps (35″/28″)
For time.

Although the web-published version of this was to uses 80-85% of 5 RM, in the gym I was told to use 75% of my 1 rep Clean and Jerk max (165). That would have been 125 lbs; due to a lack of sleep and general problems with my damn knee, I went lighter, 115 lbs. It turns out that 115 is indeed just over 85% of my current 5 rep push-jerk PR (see here) although it is high time I boost that number up.

Result: 4:11 w/ 115 lbs and 30″ box.

The damn box jumps DEFINITELY hurt my left knee patellar tendon. Frack. I hate injuries and chronic debilitation. Prescription: diet, bodywork, rolling, stretching, ACTIVITY!

Two Days of WODs: Deadlift, Push Jerk, Helen, Etc.

Lots of fun these past two mornings, but super taxing! On Monday: Deadlifts and Helen. On Tuesday: Push Jerks and 5 rounds of 12 shoulder press 12 toes to bar. Post-WOD on Tuesday: I’m spent.

New Program

Training Cycle: Week 1/6 (Work Week)
No Alcohol Month 5/5
Diet: Hi-Fat Zone balanced Clean / Whole Foods
First and Second workout of the Week

Warm-up both days

Various footwork. Stretching. Rolling. Push-Ups. A couple of dead hang pull-ups. Back, Overhead, and Front squats (10 x 45# each). GHD sit-ups.

Monday: Workout #1

Strength: Deadlift

Result: 5 x 135 / 3 x 5 x 250 / 3 x 3 x 286.

Volume: 6,999 lbs (!)

Analysis: 250 lbs is 90% of my 5 RM PR (275) and 286 is 98% of my 3 RM PR (290). And the volume kicked butt when compared to my last 3-rep max effort PR day (3,810). These were intense high effort work sets. No wonder I’m so sore the next day. These ought to pay off later… assuming that I didn’t reinforce bad form (some rounding on the 3 RM sets).

WOD: Helen

We did Helen back in December but I wasn’t running at the time, I was rowing. I used the same KB weight and had no improvement in time.

3 rounds for time: 400 meter run, 21 KB swings (1.5 pood Rx’d), 12 pull-ups

Result: Weight: 45 lbs. Time: 12:50

Tuesday: Workout #2

Strength: Push Jerk

I made the mistake of trying to do this as a 1 RM Push Jerk. I am no longer going to pursue 1 RM Push Jerk aside from the Clean and Jerk. That’s because today I didn’t even equal my 1 RM PR Clean and Jerk number from last Monday. So F-that.

Result: 2 x 95 / 1 x 135 / 1 x 145 / 1 x 155 / f x 165 / f x 165

Analysis: this effort sucked doing it and it sucks even worse when written down.

WOD: The 5th Circle

5 rounds of:
12 shoulder press (Use ~60% of 1RM not to exceed 95lbs/65lbs)
12 toes to bar
for time.

Result: 75 lbs on S.P. 13:20.

The thing that is slowing me down here is the Toes to Bar. My hands feel raw and weak, forearms and biceps and triceps spent. Maybe it’s all the pull-ups yesterday? The deadlifts? The shoulder presses and push-jerks? Who really knows.

Stress, recovery. Growth. Hell yes.

Lil’ Dutch Boy / What I Know

You can bless him or curse him, but celebrity CrossFit programming guru Dutch Lowy can certainly craft a powerfully painful WOD. Today at CrossFit Asheville: 10 minute AMRAP 12 burpees and 8 back squats, Rx’d at body-weight (I did about 5 lbs less than 50% of my body weight). For those of us going below Rx, and not competing for a spot on our affiliate team, this workout followed a strength session of Push-Jerks.

Recently, Our programming coach Shanna contacted Dutch and asked him to create three qualifying WODs for CrossFit Asheville to use in selecting an affiliate team for the upcoming CrossFit regional event, a step on the way towards the 2010 CrossFit games. Dutch complied, putting together a couple of great WODs we all will hope/hate to see come up again in our rotation. This was the first one. It was a doozy.

“New Program” Training Cycle: Week 2/6
No Alcohol Month 4/5
Diet: Flexible-Paleo-Zone
Second Workout of the Week

Push-Jerk

Results: 10 x 45 / 5 x 65 / 5 x 75 / 5 x 85 / 5 x 95 / 5 x 105 / 5 x 115

Volume: 3,150.

Analysis: apparently, the last time I did a heavy push-jerk was a part of a WOD on Nov. 6th, when I used 105 for three rounds of 5. My last strength session on the Push-Jerk was Oct. 28th, 2009, a pretty anemic session, where I accomplished only 3 reps at 135, and closed with a 5 x 115; I tied that latter number today, but also smashed the overall volume. I supposedly have a 5RM of 135 in the Push-Jerk (from June 6th, 2009). I did not strive for a new PR today, but I feel confident I can exceed what I have on paper during my next max effort attempt on the Push-Jerk.

The WOD: Lil’ Dutch Boy

I used: 85 lbs.

Results: 4 rounds + 1 burpee, 85 lbs.

Analysis: my result may not seem like much… and compared to the big dogs at our gym, it ain’t. But for me it was a good place to be today. After all, who can say no to 49 burpees and 32 back squats with 85 lbs in 10 minutes? It’s not like this didn’t leave me wheezing and feeling like shit!

What Do I Know?

Although I demonstrated not the slightest inclination to load up the bar and test my mettle against the fittest dudes at CFA, I have to admit I was tempted, and jealous of those who did the workout full bore. Now, I weigh about 175, and while I know I could put that much weight up, I haven’t done so in months, and I have never done it for more than 3 reps in a row. My old workout buddies Tom and Rustan both did the WOD as Rx’d and ended up with the best results in the affiliate (although, not with the highest weights).

I have to have patience with my body… still coming back from surgery (in only my second week, in fact, of unrestricted movements) and sick with some kind of respiratory virus for the past week. I am super fatigued and definitely not ready for the big time. I know that I have to have reasonable goals for myself right now.

What goals? The truth is, I’m still formulating what exactly my goals are at the moment. I’m actually working, for the first time in many months, without a definite set of rules. I do know some things, however.

I know that I am 41 years old, in comparatively great shape, and that I want to maintain that advantage without breaking down my body. I know that I continue to use a framework of a 6 week training cycle. I do want a minimum of 3 and a maximum of 5 CrossFit workouts per week during my “on” weeks (5 out of 6). I know that I am training for the Warrior Dash. I know that over the next year I want to move faster, lift heavier, get my muscle up, get 10 consecutive dead hang pull-ups, run a sub 22 minute 5k, etc. And after today, I now know that I want to be able to knock out 10 body weight back squats, too. I know that I am committed to a diet that combines a commitment to 90% paleo-quality foods, while paying attention to quantities and ratios of macronutrients (I eat a high-fat diet that falls somewhere between carb restriction and the Zone). I know that I want to at least maintain my present weight and body composition, or improve my body composition, or improve my body composition and increase my weight. I do not want to weigh less. I know that I am allowed at least one full blown cheat day per month. I also know that I seem to do well with a random cycle of high-calorie and low calorie days, high-carb and low carb days. I’ll keep doing that. I know that I do at least one 28 hour day of fasting per six week cycle. I know that, at present I have another month and a half without alcohol, and that when this period of abstinence is over, that I will continue to abstain on “school nights,” i.e. everyday except on Fridays and Saturdays. I know that I need more sleep than I typically get, but that I face a deadly combination of threats to proper sleep: I have years of bad sleep habits, and I have very small children, one of whom sleeps in my bedroom still.

I also have discovered something new in the past couple of months: happiness is important, mental health is important. I know that there is something important about happiness; the extent to which I am able to recover physically and maintain my energy is dependent in part on the extent to which I am able to deal with stress. My happiness in marriage, in family, in work, in play, and in training — all these elements of happiness are related together. I know, at a minimum, that my happiness depends on my successfully navigating my responsibilities in work and family life, and that over the past several years I have let things slide that should not have slid. I’m trying to steer the ship of Matt back into the deep part of the channel. It’s proving to be somewhat difficult.

The good news is that I’m thinking about it and I plan to keep working on it.

Three of my four reasons for training; the other one is holding the camera.