Friday, November 30, 2007

At work early, gonna be a busy day.

so let's get last night's workout recorded:
6,4,3,3 @ bw

bench+crappy bands:



done and done.
have a good weekend.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cart or the horse?

In wholly un-Christmassy news: Blackwater a private security firm operating (among other places) in Iraq is being sued for excessive use of force.. not really anything too far fetched for ex-military working for foreign nationals in the private sector (what some folks would call mercenaries, but for some reason that's a term frowned upon by Blackwater themselves).
The big news is that a number of these guys are using steroids, which according to litigators and the media is causing them to use excessive deadly force.
I'm no expert. I have never taken anabolic steroids, I do know a number of people who have. Were they more aggressive, yes. Did they go to the front of the line when it's not their turn, yes. Did they tell people to "shove it" more often than polite decorum allows, significantly. Were they more prone to cutting people off in traffic, or flipping them the bird, much. Did they fly into a murderous rage and kill dozens of people without provocation.. uh no. Was their behavior much different before they started using steroids, no.
That aside, I think it is a significantly unreasonable leap to go from "more aggressive" in clinical terms to "excessive use of deadly force."
If steroids caused this level of "aggression" (to use the term very loosely) then there is at least anecdotal evidence to suggest that law enforcement in this country would have similar issues.
This sort of spurious leaps of logic also discount the problematic issue of commonality vs causality. Did the 'roids force these guys to lose control, or are they individuals with a propensity for violence and thus attracted to drugs that will allow them a greater capacity for violence? I'd be willing to bet on the latter, but the truth is no one can say for sure.
There is a huge gap in knowledge from the "athletic community" (athletes, coaches, and trainers) who have been using these drugs for decades, and the medical community who have been testing in small doseages that most of the former group can attest "won't do a goddamn thing." Until that gap is closed, and the anecdotal evidence and evidence from true scientific studies are correlated there will be no facts about steroids (particularly their effect on behavior) only opinions.

On this same subject Mark Bell of team supertraining is involved in a documentary on steroid use premiering at Sundance. Considering the source it'll probably be an honest look at life with steroids. I hope I get a chance to see it.

Advent Event..

Every year around this time, I bring home an Advent Calender for the wife. We're not particularly Christian, but we both like them. They bring up warm fuzzy holiday feelings, and they're filled with chocolate. The big local multinational coffee chain around here has been selling them, and well I went to buy one from them, and they were sold out. I went to 6 stores, and had them call two others.. no dice. Finally I broke down and bought one at a drugstore... along with two Elvis ornaments, and various other junk (raise your hand if you have poor impulse control).
Next year I plan further ahead.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Nice marmot.

I saw a bumper sticker this morning that said "Nice marmot." I can't for the life of me figure out what it means.
Could it mean:
(wink)Niiiice Marmot.
Nice marmot, good boy.
Is it one of those stickers that clothing companies sometimes include in their products as a promotional item?
I can't figure it out.

last night's workout:

good mornings:

glute hams:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

This just in: arm bars are bad for your arm..

I got caught in an armbar last night at training. Nothing new, happens all the time, but with my right arm trapped, and my left tangled in my Gi, and my hips over my feet, I couldn't tap. I said "tap" three times before the guy I was sparring with heard me (hard to be heard when your face is smashed in the back of someone's leg). It sort of messed with my head for the rest of sparring. My head out of my game, I ended up getting tooled. Needless to say my ego was pretty sore last night, and my elbow is pretty sore today.

In other news we worked on knee-on-belly last night. Cool stuff, I even mounted from there in sparring (before the above mentioned armbar).

Monday, November 26, 2007

There ain't no relief...

Almost forgot..
friday circuit:
60 on 30 off:
renegade rows w/ push-up (35lb)
step-ups w/ woodchopper (25lb)
kb clean and jerk (44)
slosh pipe zercher squats.
kb swing (44)

then 2x 3 each side TGU with 44
5x slosh pipe floor to ceilings.
carried pipe back to bh.


And in keeping with the black flag theme for today's post:

I love this song.

We've got nuthin better to do...

I had a good weekend.
Thanksgiving was good. I ate a little too much, but didn't stuff myself.
Friday we had some folks over for pie and watched "How the grinch stole christmas" and "A Christmas Story" it was a good time. I made an extra sweet potato pie, Potter pushed through the pain and brought over Pecan pie, Joe made whipped cream, and everyone's favorite coxswain brought an apple pie.
Somebody stood us up, but whatever.. no pie for you.
Rumor has it there were extenuating circumstances. I forgive her if only because she mentioned it in her blog with a reference to..

Saturday went to Jitz. learned an uma plata for the first time. very cool
After class we met some friends of ours and their two little girls at the zoo. The wife got there before me, and was bjorning the younger girl. I was disturbingly comfortable with it. It's not quite time for babies, but we're getting there.

That night we just stayed in and read, watched.. something on t.v. very low key, very nice.

Sunday I finished "deep survival" I liked it, but I could have loved it. It has a lot of good information about the way emotions can derail our ability to survive, but also can fuel our efforts to survive, and how to try and find the balance between reason and emotion. It's very interesting, but poorly edited. the points are scattered, and really should have been better organized. If you're someone who goes into the deep wild, you should read it, otherwise, don't bother.

Big ups and mad props to the wife and two of her teammates who completed the post-turkey day challange: the Howe st. stairs x20 took them just under 2 hours to finish.
That's about it for me.
hope you had a good weekend.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Iron and sweet 'tator pah.

I made a couple sweet potato pies for thanksgiving. One of my favorites. Still have one left for entertaining tonight.

Went over to the wife's grandparents last night. They're good folks, we had fun. I ended up carving the turkey, which if you see me as an ex-vegetarian makes no sense, but if you know me as a butcher's kid who grew up eating anything that swims or crawls it's a bit more reasonable.

Got in a good workout yesterday, though I had to hurry as I was cooking pies, cranberry sauce, roasted parsnips and brussels sprouts, along with a cedar planked stuffed salmon. I love cooking for the holidays.


Bent rows:


4x4 @bw

2 handed grapplers:
4x10 @ 45 each hand.

hope you're having a great holiday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hey, thanks!

I am thankful for:

1) All of our very existence. Having just finished A Short History of Nearly Everything I am struck by what a sequence of small coincidences have lead to the proliferation of humanity, and by how little we actually know about the way things work. It is humbling to say the least. Literally millions of things could have either prevented humans from coming to be, or could have snuffed out our species prior to my arrival, and many may yet come to be, and yet here we are.

2)My loved ones: my wife, my friends (I.R.L. and those I've become acquainted through this media), and my family.

3) Health. My own, and that of those above. This year, I have dealt with some pings and pangs, but over all my body has done everything I've asked of it in the past year. It is stronger than it's ever been, it feels good, and I am grateful for it.

4) Success. the past year has been successful financially for me, but that's of little consequence. I am referring to life in general. I have met a number of goals:
Bench more than bw.
break previous deadlift pr.
become competent rowing a single.
Be generally happy, and have a good relationship with those that I value.

5)People who have given their knowledge to help make me, and many others better:
Dave Tate, Jim Wendler, Matt Kroc, and everyone at Elitefts.

Alwyn Cosgrove, Eric Cressey, Mike Robertson, Dan John, Lou Schuler, John Berardi, and all of the other contributing authors at T-nation

Chad Aichs who responded to a couple of emails without a second thought. Gave good advice, and is generally a good guy.

Christine, CES, Tracy Rif, Krista, and all of the other fit bloggers who live and lift because that's what they do.

My father-in-law, Frank, my brother-in-law, Doug, Joe, of course my wife, and everyone else who helped me along in my brief rowing career.

Micah, Big 'D', Griff, and everyone else at Ballard BJJ who has taken extra time to show a noob (not just me) the difference between trying a pass, escape, sweep, or submission and getting it.


Last night's workout:
Long warm-up
worked up to 3x3@275


Wednesday, we worked a lot of triangles and stuff from guard, so my legs and hips were pretty tight to start with, so I kept things simple.

Have a happy thanksgiving.

Monday, November 19, 2007

These pipes are CLEAN!!

Props to those who get the reference.
Slosh Pipe workout:
5x100m (approx) zercher carry.
5x100m shoulder carry.
These were tough, staggering like a drunk as the water sloshes and shifts.
The slight grade didn't help matters.

8 reps alternating with a partner floor to OHP.
These were tough. Rolled the pipe on to my fingers, then squeeze the pipe to a zercher position. stand up, then turn my hands around on the pipe, and press. The transition is hard, and the press is astoundingly difficult.

3x30m overhead carry.
Pressing is hard, carrying is hard, pressing and carrying is a whole new level of difficulty.
You should try it.

In short, every part of me was tired and sore after this workout. The pipe exposes every weak point in your body, at the same time I don't think I've ever had that much fun exercising. It was a blast.

Friday, November 16, 2007

You’ve got your big G's..

I've got my slosh pipe.
Something recommended by MFT, Dan John and CES is not to be ignored.
I built a slosh pipe last night. I'll be taking it for a spin this evening. More on that after.
last night's liftedness:

4x4@ bw

worked up to
10@135 w/close grip


bent rows:

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Doctor, Doctor.

I am 5'10" (5'11" if I'm feeling good about myself). My weight has ranged from 205 to 220 in the past year. Which is a BMI of about 29-31 (OBESE). However my waist to hip ratio is in the "healthy" area, and while I could stand to lose a few lbs, I am a lower bf% than most folks (16-17% last time I calculated). In short, I look like a rugby player. The wife is better proportioned than I am. Her BMI is lower, and nearly as lean (which puts her in very good shape as a female) her resting heart rate is somewhere around 5 or something ridiculous, in other words, she is muscular and fit, where as I am a bit more.. sturdy.. lucky me.
The wife has had some issues with doctors. I won't get into the gory details without her input, but the long and short of it is they simply look at her weight and decide that having less of it will resolve all of her problems. I never get treated this way. My BMI puts me at obese, but because I am a male I never get told that my weight is an issue. My resting heart rate is higher, as is my blood pressure, but no mention of losing weight. We are both muscular and athletic, but because I am a male, even though my BMI, heart rate, and blood pressure are higher, she gets told her weight is a problem, and I don't.
I am amazed that medical professionals don't have the understanding of human energy systems of a Small town High school wrestling coach (let alone a true conditioning professional). I used to cringe every time the wife would come back from the doctor with another story of being told to "lose weight." It would appear that she is not alone.
The site makes for shocking, but very interesting reading, and while I have mixed feelings about "fat acceptance," medical professionals should be helping people meet their goals and make educated decisions, and not chiding patients if they don't hold up under scrutiny.
Someone's appearance is not something that should be judged (let alone influenced) by outsiders. If someone accepts themselves as they are (fat) then we as outsiders need to deal with that as a part of their personality. Just as we deal with people who smoke, swear or wear bad ties. If someone is looking to make a change, then support them (or not) but trying to instigate change in another adult seems to me a mistake.
Just as being sedentary and ignoring markers of poor health is another. No one has to have 6 pack abs, or be able to run for miles, or squat 1000 lbs. Everyone should be able to get some form of exercise every day.. or at least every other day. You should be able to break into a run if you need to, you should be able to carry 1/4 of your bodyweight from the car to your house without issue. You should eat your fruits and veggies and lean protein, and you should have dessert from time to time, but not every day. I am pretty sure if people followed those guidelines there wouldn't be an "obesity epidemic" nor would there be "fat acceptance." Then again that might make too much sense for the general population.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

New "Allergen" by Kalvon Clein.

I am allergic to most colognes and many perfumes. Normally they only bother me when applied to my skin, but a very few I am sensitive enough to that being in close proximity to someone wearing them will cause my head to clog up, my eyes to water, and my skin to itch severely. After a while I'll become nauseated and get a severe headache.
Yesterday, someone here at the office was wearing such a perfume. She is nice, and English is a second language for her, so I didn't want to explain the difference between "you stink" and "the scent you are wearing is making me ill." So I sucked it up, and left work with a pretty good headache. I got into my heavy squat work, and the plan was 3 sets of 3 at 275 for squats. I set up tight, and hit the first triple no problem. I put the weight down and released the pressure in my body, and the headache turned up the volume from a background conversation to a shouting match. I set up for the next set, and got tight, pulled in a good bunch of air. I backed down to the box, and up. My head was pounding, but I stayed tight, and did another rep, the longer I stayed tight the more my head was killing me. I stopped at two. I sat down for a rest. I could feel the blood in my brain pounding my gray matter like a hammer. One more set, just do one more triple and you can call it a day. I set up, drove my shoulders into the bar, and pulled my air. My head was killing me. I got down to the box, and fought like hell to keep tight. I couldn't do it again, the pain in my brain wouldn't let me keep my body tight enough to squat. I gave up on the squats. I went on to deads. These were easier because I was just doing singles, so I only had to stay tight for a short period. I finished up and went home. It was a struggle. I have never stopped short of a workout from anything other than injury before. I hope that lady doesn't wear so damn much perfume today.
Workout reads as thus:

Squats: (13" box)


Glute hams:
3x4@ 10kg


Tuesday, November 13, 2007


Last night's BJJ class there were a couple players in from another school. The first sparring session I rolled with a blue belt from the other school. I gave up 10-20 lbs to the guy on top of a lot of experience. I pretty well got handled. Only tapped once, but spent the whole time under pressure and defending. As soon as the whistle blew, the guy was rolling with said "What or where did you train before." I told him I'd wrestled when I was younger, but had only trained in BJJ for a few weeks. He said, "You've got a great base, in six months or so, you're going to be a real handful." It was a great moment. The rest of class was pretty unremarkable, but that had me feeling good for the rest of the night.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Roger Miller, my father, and my weekend.

The tagline "Where have all the average people gone" is from a Roger Miller song. The lyrics talk about how people from other perspectives think of him as an outsider, and he is simply just being who he is. It is one of my personal favorites, and one that I identify with a lot.
This past weekend my father was in town for the weekend with his wife, and they are nice folks and I love them, but we have very little in common. This makes spending time with them exhausting. There was an effort every minute to find some common ground, something to talk about. Sometimes that makes me feel disenfranchised from my own past. Like I have no history, no ground under my feet.
To make a point, to get the benefit of the doubt, or occasionally for the amusement of other people, I play up my Missouri roots. My redneck background, but that's not really who I am. I love Hank and Haggard, I have had a job since I was 11 years old, I drive an old ford pick-up, but I also have a degree in world literature. I like Kafka and Henry Miller as much as David Allen Coe and Roger Miller. In short, I am complicated.
Some days I feel like I'm isolated, a man without a country. Fortunately I have great friends and a wife who even if they don't understand where I've come from exactly, we're headed in the same direction. If I think of that abstractly it's easy to lose sight of what a powerful statement someone makes when they choose to be your friend, lover, wife, husband. It's easy for some people to take that for granted, I try never to be one of those people.
It's funny I don't fit, where have all the average people gone?

Thursday, November 8, 2007

micro entry.

Good rolls last night.
Have Friday off.
Might talk to you before Monday.. might not.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

what are your goals?

So, what are your goals?
5 year?
1 year?
6 month?
3 month?
4 weeks?

Quid pro quo:
5+y: get a purple belt in BJJ, place in a (local) power lifting competition, buy a house with a home gym, have a child, and be a good father/husband, play the banjo publicly.

1y: Get a blue belt in BJJ (1-2 year goal). compete in a the local fall classic powerlifting competition, bench 300+, squat 400+, dead 550+ (all raw)

6m: bench 275lbs, box squat 375, deadlift 500, work on my open guard, submit at least 1 person per class (average).

3m: lift 3-4x per week, 3 bjj classes per week, get my squat up to 350, make a 450 deadlift comfortable (I can do it, but only on a good day) bike to work. Maybe buy a scooter (vespa). Work on hip flexibility 2-4x/week with dynamic stretching and foam roller. Drop below15% body fat. Start banjo lessons, read 3-4 books

4w: new job with a short commute. keep people at current job as happy as possible, and not go crazy myself. Spend more time during sparring in my guard, get to know more people at BJJ, get my first stripe. Work on improving my squat technique out of the hole. Add 2-3 kettlebell workouts a week to get my cardio/lactic acid threshold up. Get a birthday present for my brother, get a good Christmas gift for the wife. Finish the book I’m reading and start “deep survival”

Will it blend?

Last night's workout:
Since it's a deload week, no heavy work this week, and less is more attitude:
Speed Squats:
Felt tight and slow. Should have warmed up more
Speed pulls:
These felt SUPER light. Really got in my groove and pulled well. Felt great.

and the question of the day?
Will it blend?

Tuesday, November 6, 2007


Today I had a discussion about training methods with a rower friend of mine. This is someone who knows my methodologies but is training in a more 'traditional' manner for rowers. People in the rowing community are big believers in the "aerobic base" and even though they are power endurance athletes they spend hours and hours doing long slow distance work.
(rundown on why I think this is a waste of time here)

Very early in my conversation I decided I would not give my opinion on any of this, but would simply ask "why" my friend was doing what they were doing. Also asking what they were trying to accomplish physiologically and what in their racing lead them to choose these training methods. I hoped that my friend would understand what they were doing enough to give a reasonable explanation. They did not, and simply asked me what I would do, I replied. The more I wrote the more I thought it suited to this medium.

You should have enough information to make up your own mind, and then a training plan based on what you believe to be true. You’ll never really be a success until you have an understanding of what you’re trying to accomplish, and the methods you’re going to use to get there. It’s the same with training, rowing, learning a foreign language or anything in life. You can do someone else’s workout program, you can copy someone else’s style, you can parrot phrases from a phrasebook, but none of those are understanding.

Creating a workout program based on your physiology, needs and goals is understanding. Rowing with feel for the blades, the boat and the water, creating a balance of the three using your body as the media is understanding. Thinking and emoting in a different language, reading Gabriel Garcia Marquez in Spanish, Goethe in German, or Dostoyevsky in Russian and feeling the emotions of the stories is understanding. Until you (and no one else) take responsibility for your training, and workouts you’ll never really get there.

No one can tell you how to “get fast” they can tell you how to get fast-er, but the things you do, and have done are different from anyone else. Your body will respond differently than anyone else’s. Only you know if you’re really pushing your limits, so only you can prescribe pushing further, or pulling back, but it takes a level of awareness and self knowledge that most people are unwilling to allow themselves. To be a success you have to set your own goals, and should be able to explain your methods for getting there. Training without an underlying knowledge and understanding is a waste of time.

To go a step further my friend is not alone in jumping headlong into an action without an underlying philosophy. There are many coaches in the rowing world who are terrible because they've never gotten to a point where they were in tune with the entire system. They prescribe drills, training methods, and buy equipment based on what they were told the 4 years they trained in college x number of years ago. They lack understanding, they may get it eventually, but those who can coach their way to understanding are rare. That is the problem with internet training gurus who have never competed in anything, or trained someone to compete in anything. They're just parroting what they've heard, but they don't really understand it.
You have to understand all of the parts, and then know how they work together. You have to address weak points, and have a purpose for what you’re doing. It takes time and effort, and once you achieve it, you can start to create and innovate, you can take your.. whatever to a higher level.


Monday, November 5, 2007

In which king crab comes back in season, and I am a little crabby.

Friday, my old rowing pair partner and I were supposed to do some kettlebell work. He had to work late so I did swings with the 44:
1 minute rest.
down to 10/10
It was quick and dirty.
Friday night we got some take out sushi from Sam's
And watched "blood diamond" good story, crap movie. Leo DiCaprio can't do a Southern African accent to save his life. It drove me nuts the whole movie.
That aside it's a great story, and the first venue for most Americans to hear of the problem of Conflict Diamonds.
As such it's worth seeing, but keep expectations low.

Saturday, I had a pretty good Bjj class. Learned a few helpful things, and am really starting to feel comfortable there. It takes a while to get immersed in a group like that. So many people come and go, you have to earn respect.
After class D, a purple belt who spends a lot of time working with us noobs, had asked me to show him some kettlebell stuff. So I brought in the 35 and showed him some stuff (renegade rows, swings, burpies with a swing, cleans, clean and press, clean and jerk, snatch, and finished off with some TGUs).
It's interesting that a guy with so much control on the mat, really has some postural issues when he's standing up. I think I can help him out. Either way I showed him some stuff, and am going to do some Friday evening workouts at the school for a few folks. It's nice to be able to give back to people who have taken the time and shown the patience to teach me so much.
Saturday night was yet another birthday party for my Father-in-law. It was very nice. It was at Daniel's Broiler. Very swank. I was dressed to the 9s in a tweed jacket, fred perry sweater, and tie. The wife was fetching in a grey knit dress. I got to talk to a few folks I haven't seen in a while. Particularly the coach of the Men's rowing team from when I was their captain. It was good to see him, and to show that the issues we'd had were so much water under the bridge.
Sunday was a good ole fashioned day of sloth.
I made breakfast of eggs scrambled with crimini mushrooms, roasted peppers, and fontina cheese.
The wife had loads of school work to do, so I went to the store, and since Saturday dinner out was on the F.I.L. I splurged on some king crab legs and artichokes, and steamed them both for dinner.
It was quite a weekend.
I hope yours was as grand.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Thursday workout..

Heavy uppers with a sore elbow:

5/4/3/3@ bw

Changed my setup, felt better. We'll see how it is after the elbow rests a bit.

bent rows:

went a little easy on the volume, but still got the work in.
Next week is going to be a deload week.. it's going to look something like this:
Monday: BJJ
Tuesday: speed lower
Wednesday: BJJ
Thursday: Uppers 2x20s on most lifts
Friday: off
Saturday: off
Sunday: off

As I may have mentioned things here at work are a little busy. Trying to juggle "big projects" with the day to day stuff is wearing on me. Hopefully some stuff I've got on the line will come through soon.
Ah well it's the weekend any way.
Next week my pops comes into town, that should be fun.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

If you could hear this post it would go neeeeeEEEEE-Rhom!

Because it's so fricken fast.
Me+BJJ+heavy weights=sore and beat up.
come back tomorrow for.. something.. probably better than this.