Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Give me a blankie ! I feel like Linus in Charlie Brown's Christmas, give me a blankie !!!

In a very "Have a painful Christmas Day" the sadists, sorry I mean leadership at Crossfit have designated tomorrow as "Angie"

100 pull-ups
100 push-ups
100 sit-ups
100 squats.

Anyone else noticed yet that Angie, Eva, Cindy were all major hurricanes, it should come as no surprise searching through the archives that there is a "Fran" and "Isabel" too.

On the road, I'm on the road again.....

A quick one as I wait for a confirmation email from Dell before I can hit the road. After the recent monster workouts, Eva apparently being one of the most brutal in the archive according to the Crossfit comments today seemed a little anti-climatic.

5-5-5-5-5 on Squats.

So did a hardish warm up of stretches, crunches (going easier than yesterday) pushups, pull-ups and dips it was onto the squat cage.

Start relatively easy with sets of 12-10-8 increasing weight, then rack the plates on until I'm at near my max for 5-6 reps.

Five sets with 2 mins rest between.

Done. But with a sense as I drove home of "Was that it ?", and feeling like I should go jump a tall building or run a half marathon.

But now its CHRISTMAS, and I'm off to go see the munchkin. Please spare a thought and a prayer for those less fortunate in this Holiday Season.

Y'all be good :-)

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

I did Cindy....

...15 times in 20 minutes. And she kicked my arse !.

OK, so Cindy is a WOD (Workout of the day), which consists of:
5 pull ups
10 push-ups
15 squats

Repeat the circuit as many times as possible in 20 minutes. So 15 gives, :

75 pull ups
150 push ups
225 squats

In 20 minutes. By the end I was a heap of hurt lying in a pool of my own sweat. Admittedly I managed the first three sets as full pull-ups, then the next sets went to the assisted pull-up machine, first 2 sets each of 20lb, 30lb, 40lb, 50lb, and the rest at 60. THe last 3 sets of push-ups were from my knees rather than toes, my shoulders were simply giving out.

Yesterday was a very welcome rest day, I learned from last weeks over enthusiasm and did nothing :-)

Today was "Eva" - after reading it last night I was quaking, but anticipating and committing to it.

Repeat 5 times timed.
800 yd run
30 kettle bell swings
30 pull-ups

2.5 miles run
150 kettle bell swings
150 pull-ups

Dammit, what is it with the **&&**!! pull-ups !.

First set 20 pull-ups, then 10 on the assist.

Total time 50 minutes. Slow, but again I completed the workout and I'm just starting out with this, things will improve. As one of the trainers pointed out today, that I'm doing something few people could manage even dropping the weights down, so that's comforting.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

One foot in front of the other. Repeat.

Today found me back on familiar territory of running, which after yesterdays “Filthy” was most welcome – 4 x 800m with rest between until heart rate comes down to normal. Cool - long intervals :-)

The path by my lake (in picture) has a trail that I've measured before. From the fork in the path to the first bench is approx 200 yards apart. Yeah it was cold, but nothing a good warm up can't take care of.

I'm still a little leary of my calf muscle having torn it in September and still bitterly remember the ridiculous amount of time it took to heal and the number of times I thought it was healed and then pushed too hard to set it back.

The first interval I hit out, going hard but not all out

4:45 – hmm, that's a bit slow, that's a 9:30 mile, it sure felt faster. 3 minutes to rest and off I set again

4:50 – at least I'm consistent. Another 3 minutes rest, and my calf is feeling tight

4:51 – damn, this was getting ugly really fast, I could barely feel my legs after yesterday and had difficulty in turning over

5:10 for the last set, yeah, the rails came off, physically I wasn't hurting, I was breathing hard and the last 400 going absolutely all out, but there really was nothing left in the tank.

A good cool down run and head home for warmth and food, and to sodding well measure that course more accurately. Onto MapmyRun and switch to satellite so I can see the two ends and measure it – 260 meters, making each '800' yds actually 1100. Which equates to a 7:30 average pace, much more respectable, and I'm happy with that knowing how fried not only my legs, but my entire body, especially my glutes and obliques, where the initial movements for running fire from. I'll be interested to do this as a test in 3 months to see how much stronger I am, but also by which time I will be three months back into regular running after my layoff.

The soundtrack today was just a thing of pefection :-

INXS – Kick

The Jam – Going Underground

The Tossers – Come Dancing - vids not on youtube, but imagine a drunken lurching acoustic Irish folk/punk song..difficult to run to actually.

Big Town Playboys – Shake your hips - no youtube, shame.

Kid Rock – American Badass

John Lee Hooker – Big legs, tight skirt

Aerosmith – Pink (got clicked forward halfway through just wasn't working for this workout)

Joe Satriani – Flying in a Blue Dream

Flogging Molly - Drunken Lullabies

Stevie Ray Vaughn – Superstitious

INXS – Devil Inside

Black Sabbath – Die Young - Oh yeah, it just drives along, perfect as I was making the final push on this one

As a side note I forgot to write what amused me on Tuesdays muscle buster. At the start of my first set Guns N Roses “You're Crazy” (aka You're ****ing crazy) came appropriate.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Filthy, filthy, filthy...

Very filthy, very, very, very filthy. Before this week I thought I was fit, and compared to most I guess I was (am?), I was wrong. Very wrong. I can see how far I can go, and how much further I can put myself, this is going to be a great journey.

Being the cretin that I am yesterday was a day off, as Crossfit is 3 days on, 1 day off, so muggins here shot out at lunch for a 45 min ride. Even though its my ‘easy’ route it still involves quite a few hills, one or two of which can be challenging. It took me nearly the whole ride wondering why the steeper or longer hills seemed so hard, my breathing was OK, and my quads weren’t sore or burning up but I just seemed to have no power at all….doh – the 75 hip extensions yesterday, plus all the Gordo core workout – when you ride, the beginning of the power for your stroke comes from your hip abductors/glutes – precisely what I beat the crap out of the day before.

But hey, I HTFU’d and enjoyed it anyway. Fast forward to last night and today’s WOD (Workout of the Day) was first it was disbelief followed by “This is going to be ugly” followed by cool, this will be so hard that it will make me strong !

A lot of that positive attitude was reading the Men's Health interview with Lance Armstrong about his come back and another small insight into what makes him tick. Unfortunately the article is not online yet, but a very edited version is on NY Times, looking at the shape he is in I would not want to bet against him next July. The other was Jason Statham's original article, how many times have we gone to the gym and not put in 100% thinking something is better than nothing, then have the same thing happen the next time, this article changes your thinking. Since I first read it I've committed to each and every workout even if I'm having a bad day, no skipping that last rep, no cutting sets short, and no half arsed efforts.

Similar warm up to Tuesday – 5 mins rowing, then 3 sets of 10 reps of overhead squat, incline twisting sit-up, push up, side planks, dip, plank+10crunches

Then THIS is the ‘Filthy Fifty’ as I did it

50 24“ Box jumps

50Jumping pull-ups (stand on boxes so bar is easily reached then jump and finish a pull up)

50 Kettlebell swings – my gym doesn’t have 36lb, only 20. This was the only one I could do straight

50 knee to elbows (hang from bar, curl lower body until knee to elbow)

50 45lb push to press (stand bar at shoulder, ¼ squat and drive bar overhead, lock elbows)

50 Back extension

50 Wall ball shots (20lb medicine ball, squat and then drive upwards throwing ball up wall, catch repeat)

50 walking lunges

50 Burpees

400 yard run

Row to cool down

Not counting the cardio or planks, that’s 530 reps in 43 minutes. Most things if I had to stop I could get motivated and get back on quickly in 5-15 seconds, in nearly every case I hit at least 30 reps before the first stop. But the burpees…which use almost every muscle in the body was 5 sets of ten, with a minute, maybe 2 minutes between the last couple, I didn’t realize how much they use the abs/core. One of the older citizens of the gym came over at one point as he thought I needed help getting up..I just looked at him because I wasn’t sure that I didn’t need help.

At the end I needed to sit down and quickly, Mr Pukey wasn’t quite visiting, but he was walking up the path if I didn’t stop moving, by halfway through the workout I could hear the blood in my ears, and flowing through my veins, a hammering in my head. It took a few to get my life back together again, and I could feel the workout in EVERY muscle in my body, but its workouts like this that push you beyond the edge that really provide the gains.

I want my Jason Statham six pack !

And I'm going to get it. And quickly ! :-)

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

It's going to be a slow death....

Eagerly this morning (I know, I know, I’m sick) I logged into Crossfit to see today’s workout – the score on the door was as I planned the workout

Repeat as a circuit for 20 minutes, no rest:

400m run
15 L-pull-ups (a pull up but with your legs out in front of you parallel to the floor)
15 hip extensions

I'm going to have to change this a little, I think I can manage one set of pull-ups to 15 with good form, but have never tried L-pull-ups, so I"m going to attack it as hard as I can with normal pull-ups until my arms give out then move to an assisted pull-up. But the paperwork did say that the first month or so you will have to modify weights and/or reps, the important thing being to complete the workout having worked hard.

That's the pre-workout view, I'm stoked.


OK, so views afterward, this is the warm up :-

Row 5 mins
Warm-up (10-15 reps each except for the stretch) repeat x3
Samson Stretch
Overhead squat

Then managed 5 complete circuits in 23:10. To give an idea of how bad the fall off was I completed the fourth set at 18:05 (including say 30 seconds doing hanging knee to chest while waiting for the hip/back extension machine). But figured as I had started the fifth set then I was damn well going to complete the circuit. By this point the legs were very wobbly, I was drenched in sweat, breathing hard and stood in front of the pull up bars for a good 10-15 seconds until I had got my life together enough to get on them. The first two sets went well, clipping along at a good pace and hustling between the treadmill, bars and extension, by the third the spirit was there, but the body was beginning to give out, the fourth was ugly and the fifth was mental drive alone.

Afterward, completely shattered, sat up against a wall for a good five minutes before getting on the rowing machine to cool down.

So total workout:

30 incline sit-ups
30 push-ups
30 dips
30 overhead squats
1.25 mile run @ 7 minute/mile pace
75 pull-ups
75 back/hip extensions

On paper it just doesn't seem too different to what I did on Monday:

Clean and press
Weighted hanging knee to chest
Weighted 24" step ups
Wide grip pull-ups
Raised pushups (standard push up but with tips of toes on a swiss ball)

All 10 reps, 3 circuits with 2 minutes rest.

The key to why Crossfit today was much harder is that rest , ie. there wasn't any, so the tiredness between circuits just multiplied exponentially, unbelievably even. Also the total number of reps is much higher at 270 vs 180.

Brutal, destroy your world brutal. Can't wait for the next one. Unfortunately it is a 3 days on, 1 day off schedule and I joined up the day before a rest day. But, the weather is warming up for tomorrow so I see a play on my MTB before work tomorrow :-)

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Death becomes me :-)

“God will only give you as much pain as you can physically handle. The problem is that he thinks you can handle a heck of a lot of pain, usually followed by death”.

In life sometimes we look for new challenges. With the changes and studying on the professional side of my life, I have also felt the need to switch up and find a workout plan that will push me to my limits. I have worked out hard, consistently on an almost daily basis for nearly 18 months now so have built a good base of fitness both in strength and cardio, but on the strength side have become a little jaded to the same exercises week in/week out, most of which are conventional weight lifting standards (not that there is anything wrong with that). As such I have been looking for something that will really push me every workout.

Reading a couple of articles from Jason Statham in Men's Health started to change my thinking about how I wanted to approach this side of my fitness, the first in terms of attitude, and then the second which was an in depth look at one week of his training. This was fine, but finding how to keep that progress evolving without hiring his trainer was going to be tough, and as they stated this workout was designed specifically for him. In the meantime MH also published Daniel Craig's workout from Quantum of Solace, designed to make him leaner for this movie than his first. After a few weeks of that, yes its a killer, each day there will body parts that closely resemble rubber man. My first day of doing the legs day I made the mistake of running to the gym, running back home was 'interesting' to say the least.

Purely by chance at the same time a friend sent a link about Crossfit, at the same time I saw a couple of people doing these strange circuits, never doing the same workout twice, it took a few days to realize I was looking at Crossfit.

I've read up on it quite a bit, comparing it with P90X which a number of triathletes are swearing by. For the last week I have been looking at the daily workouts and thinking “Ouch” but thinking more and more I WANT TO DO THIS !!!. It's exactly what I'm looking for, hard, extreme sets designed to push you through barriers.

So trigger pulled, signed up for an account and let's get this going !!

* Yeah, so I mentioned Daniel Craig and Quantum of Solace, so I just had to insert a gratuitous picture of an Aston Martin ;-)

Monday, December 08, 2008

Cold enough to freeze the balls on a brass monkey

A photography blog for today, how I spent yesterday afternoon at Lake Fairfax in Reston at the final race of the Mid-Atlantic Cyclocross series. Great racing but my gosh it was COLD !!.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

It ain't over until the fat lady has ******* you over ! :-)

What I listen to in the morning can easily shape my day, this morning once again was the Rocky Horror Show, Tim Curry is an absolute genius and as for Richard O"Brien (Riff Raff) for writing and envisioning the whole thing...

So my unconventional, always amuses me that the most frequent search term for finding this blog is "makka pakka knitting pattern", from an old post I made, now given my description of the character, why on earth is he the most popular, not iggle piggle or upsy daisy ?

Something a little different this morning, I've been using the "Genius" function on iTunes to build my playlists for working out recently and have to say I'm quite impressed. What it does is builds relationships between songs in yours and other people's libraries, allowing me to pick a song and it will then build me a playlist with however many songs I want in it, it doesn't necessarily stay in the same genre or style but will transition smoothly across them.

I tend to pick something upbeat for running for it to key off, and for weight lifting from the nose bleed end of my musical listening spectrum. This one was for lifting, keyed off Psychosocial by Slipknot, now its out of order as when I downloaded it to the shuffle I'd re-shuffled again, great for weightlifting, the constant change ups throughout the workout broke up the monotony of 4 sets of each eaxercise :-)

This was a fun exercise as I had never seen a great many of these videos...

Du Hast - Rammstein
Hand that Feeds - NIN - the one I have on the iPod is from the NIN remix site, so is just Reznor and a piano, somehow more powerful much like Johnny Cash's take on NIN's "Hurt"
Enjoy the Silence - Lacuna Coil - yes its a Depeche Mode cover
Man in the Box - Alice in Chains - on the live CD I have his guitar is sound of the apocaplypse, always surprises me how much Jerry Cantrell (guitarist) sang on AiC songs..
Rearranged - Limp Bizkit - yeah a strange one for those that know me, but have always has a soft spot for Mr Durst and the boys..
Lithium - Evanescence - their usual drab and dreary, low budget video ;-)
Not Big - Lily Allen - she's much maligned, but I always loved Squeeze and Beautiful South for their very British way of taking a happy sounding song and putting a nice sense of cynicism, irony and bitterness in the words, she's the same, sharp as a tack and quite a spitfire
Remember - Disturbed
Before I Forget - Slipknot - probably one of their more 'commercial' songs, and the only video without their stage masks, hey I did say this was a nosebleed selection.
Heaven's a Lie - Lacuna Coil
Mustang Sally - Buddy Guy - no blues player ever gets as wild as Buddy, or as soulful in the blink of an eye. Tours every spring, go see a 70+ old guy behaving like a 16 year old with ADD...

What is strange is that on the big iPod (iPersevere) I use in the car I predominantly listen to jazz...currently John Coltrane and Grant Green. Of the latter, very few videos exist of him, but here with another great influence of mine Kenny Burrel, both were that bluesy swing and Barney Kessel I remember seeing just before he died in a small pub in Nottingham. Looking at the guitars and era, each one of those guitars is probably worth the heavier side of $35k these days...

"I don't want no dissension, just dynamic tension - in just seven days I can make you a man"
- Dr Frankenfurter