Friday, February 27, 2009

Hells Bells.

Wednesday night was off. I have 3 jitz seminars coming up this weekend (2 today, and 1 tomorrow) and I decided to stay home with the wife.. and I didn't have a clean gi.
Last night was all about the Kettlebell:
3x 80 reps kb snatch at 44 (each set was about 3 minutes)
Gentleman's rules:
You may stop or switch hands at any time, but the bell may not touch the floor until you are done.

then I did some single leg squats 20/20 total reps at bw.

pretty simple, but enough to elicit adaptation, but not to feel sore or run down today

Hells bells:

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Light day?

training last night: kept it short at the gym because I knew I'd be doing a lot of sprinting later.
long warm-up.
front squats 4 sets of 4 just opening up the hips
worked up to 2x3 at 405.
then 10 at 315

pull-ups: neutral grip dead hang.. yadda yadda yadda.
8 at bw
4 at +10
3 at + 10

Then went to coach rugby. Spent the whole practice running drills and playing patty-cake defense. I was pooped by the end.

I was setting up my deadlifts at 405, and a new trainer at the gym is working out on his break is setting up near me.
He looks at me and smiles "light day?"
"yes, actually it is."
he pulls a funny face.
"oh... I guess it's all relative."
I guess it is.

Monday, February 23, 2009

There is no charge for awesomeness...

Not that I have been particularly awesome.. I just like that line from Kung Fu Panda.
Friday I was back to it. My elbow is managed, but not 100%.
Max reps
Snatch in 5 minutes 44 lb kb.
Me: 147
Paul: 131
Joe: 148 (with 35 lb bell, he has been having shoulder issues)

Then hot-foot medicine ball throws with full rest.

then suspended plank for max time:
Me: 2:31 (just off pr of 2:36)
Paul: 1:46
Joe: hmm forgot. I'm a little sleep deprived.

went to class did some basic collar chokes. Then several rolls. I felt pretty good considering I'd been off the mat for a week. Movement is coming back, and still working on being tight and heavy.

Saturday at the gym:
lots of hip work to warm-up.
trap bar deads (this is an old trap bar so the handles are at the same height as the pin, so this is a LOW dead)
worked up to 3 at 405.

4x5 at bw

face pulls:

Saturday night was UFC 95. Some good fights, and a lot of over matched opponents.
Ciesnolevicz heel hook was vicious. That move makes me ill.
Stefan Struve needs to eat something. He has the frame to be a major factor, but he needs to fill out.. a lot. He's just a kid. He has time.
Koscheck was out. He needs to watch the tape before protesting so effusively.
Sonnen v. Maia was the fight I wanted to see. Maia is astoundingly slick. I can't believe he threw Sonnen like that (Chael was an alternate on the U.S. greco squad). I don't think there's a better guy on the ground than Demian Maia, at least not one who is fighting currently.
Dan Hardy bugs me. Too much bravado, not enough accomplishment.
The cut to 155 didn't bother Diego Sanchez.
Once again Joe Stevenson had a very tough time with a fighter who negated his ground game. It's hard for a short guy on the feet, but he needs to work on it, or he's going to quickly slide down the rankings.

Had the in-laws over for dinner last night. It was fun, but my sleep has been all screwy.
Hopefully that will settle down.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Wednesday night I babied my elbow and did some more hill sprints:
Longer steeper north face of the hill x12
Last night I decided that I was tired of just doing conditioning, so I took a day off.
Tonight actual training will actually happen.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Bend in the river.

My elbow hurts. To be more precise I am having a ton of pain right at the Olecranon process of my left elbow. That bit of bone is the connection point for the triceps, so I could be experiencing tendonosis/tendinitis or because that "point" is also covered by a bursa I could be having Olecranon bursitis. Regardless of the cause my elbow hurts, it hurts to move, and it hurts to touch. Monday night I skipped jiu-jitsu. I pushed the prowler instead:
30 m sprints at prowler+140 x10

Last night I ran hills:
big hill, from tree to tree x10.
it seems to be getting better.
here's hoping.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Just training updates.

1 minute on 1 off x4 per station:

A) suspended planks with a "flutter" (great ab exercise from this article by Mike Robertson) we did these with feet at the same elevation as hands)

B) Kettlebell clean and press (long cycle). Switch hands each rep.
44 lb kb.

C) prowler hand-over hand (add weight each cycle till max weight and go back down)
I made it up to prowler + 230.

Class was standing to break the guard, then passing with the same-side knee through.
3 rolls at open mat. Win some, lose some. (notice I did not say "loose" lose and loose are not the same thing).

My elbow was bugging so only lower body stuff at the gym:
worked up to 5 at 275.
then single leg RDL:
3/3 at 135
x 3.
lots of stretching.

Friday, February 13, 2009

president's council on physical fitness and sports, and other childhood issues.

As I have said before I was a fat kid.
Unlike alot of fat kids, I didn't hate most of the President's council on physical fitness testing we did in grade school. The shuttle run was fun, push-up test was ok, I hated the mile run for time, but we're talking about running in Missouri in late summer: fun for no one.
I did always hate the pull-up test. Not because it was hard, but because I was terrible at it. I never even got a chance to try. Grab the bar, hang there for 3 seconds tugging (not moving, but tugging) flop to the floor and go back to the end of the line. The gym teacher writes a big fat ZERO in his book. Then little Timmy, the snot who called me fatso on the playground and got roundly pounded by a girl that same recess for calling her names, would hop up there and bob up and down 12 times before starting to struggle. Seemingly there for an eternity. Jerk.
I hated pull-ups. Even when I got to high school and leaned out I hated them. Even my senior year, weighing a tidy 185, I couldn't do more than 2-3 pull-ups.
Getting my shoulder fixed allowed me to kick my ego to the curb. I knew I was weak as a baby fart and had no excuses. So I worked on the things I suck at (remember kids, if you suck at something you need to do it more). I have worked on my pulling.
Last night I did 10 strict Pull-ups. Neutral grip. Stop at the bottom, pull yourself until your elbows touch your sides, and no kipping.
This is not an impressive feat by most athletic people's measure, but for a 5'10" 215 pound former fat boy 5 weeks out from his 34th birthday: I'm pretty stoked on it.

here's last night's training:
1 leg box squats:
2x 5/5 at bw
2x 5/5 at +25
5/5 at +45
my right leg sucks at these.. I'll be doing them more.

worked up to 4 at 4 plates

Pull-ups: 1 set max reps
10 at bw

worked up to 4 at 155

Complex: all at 40kg
5 narrow grip hang snatch
5 ohp
5 front squat
5 bent row
rest 90


Thursday, February 12, 2009

ah, L'amore...

A little anecdote in honor of St. Valentine's day:

About 150 years ago when I was a single guy living in St. Louis I met a young female. We went out on a few dates. As I have previously mentioned I am not the suavest of fellows at the best of times, and this particular series of dates may be me at my least suave. We went out, did fun stuff. Got on well with each others friends... but we never really got going.
I was awkward and shy, and she was not impressed.
After she didn't return a couple calls, I just decided I'd blown it. Pity. move on with my life.
I dropped her an email that said:
"I have noticed that you are not returning my calls. I assume that means you no longer interested in a relationship with me. That's really too bad, but I've had a lot of fun hanging out with you. Give me a call sometime if you want to hang out as friends."
I didn't expect that she'd even reply, but figured at worst it would be an acknowledgment of the "end" or whatever. Again, a few dates no big deal.
A few minutes later, she replies:
"Sorry about that, let's meet up after work for drinks and to talk."
Weird.. ok.
We agree on a time and place, next door to her work, and down the street from my house.
I show up, and she's there.
We get a table.
I order an orange juice, she orders a mixed drink.
I figured we were just going to hang out.
She looks nervous.
She says "I guess you've noticed that I haven't returned your calls..."
I reply "Yeah. I understand. I just didn't want to.. well I still wanted to be friends. So I figured I extend an olive branch. No hard feelings. We had fun together so if you want can still hang out."
She seems confused.
she says "I like you a lot. We have similar taste in music, I think you're funny, but I just don't feel... "
Long pause here.
"I just don't think we're going to work out."
"I understand."
"But I still want to be friends."
"ok good. I hoped if I let you know that I got the picture that we were no longer dating, It would take the pressure off and we could hang out."
more confusion..
"ok, great!"
Then I turned the conversation to stuff about her work, and some mutual friends.
We talked for a while, finish our beverages.
She says "I'm really glad we got a chance to talk. This has been bothering me."
She hugs me, and we went our merry way.
I never heard from her again.

So gentle reader.. The thing that bothers me to this day (150 years later):
Why did she contact me. Arrange a meeting. Formally break up with me, and THEN never speak to me again?
Wouldn't it have been easier to delete my email and save both our time and me from buying a $6 glass of o.j.?
People are crazy.
This site reminded me of this story (not particularly SFW).
Happy Valentine's!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Stinking up the joint and a good day in the gym.

Usually, the week after a de-load I stink up the joint in live sparring. Sparring is timing and the time away from live sparring erodes it. Monday night, I stunk up the joint.
It happens.

Tuesday was a good day at the gym.
band assisted deadlifts (MM bands set to be fully slack just above knee)
worked up to 2x455
then 2x3 at 405
Lots of speed. felt good.

1a dumbell press
4x4/4 at 95

3/5 x4 no rest

barbell complex at 40 kg (88 lbs)
narrow grip hang snatch
front squat
bent row.
5x each
rest 90 sec

Monday, February 9, 2009

Ten things those who cook for a living know that you should.

I'm not going to go all Kitchen Confidential and explain all of the things you shouldn't order at a restaurant. Anyone who thinks at all about what they eat should get that book and read it for themselves. These are simple, inexpensive things that make your food better:

1) Make use of Maillard Reaction. The short version is when you apply dry heat to food, it turns roasty toasty brown and tasty. It is what makes toast better than bread, and Grilled chicken better than boiled. Meat needs a little salt to pull water soluble proteins to the surface, and draw surface moisture away to get a dense brown crust, and as Anne Burrell is wont to say "brown food tastes good."

2) Speaking of salt, be liberal with it in preparation (don't make it unpalatable, but use its mojo). If you are eating unprocessed whole food 99% of the time, it is very difficult to season your food to the point where it is unhealthy.
Salt does wonderful things to food (see above) and literally changes the structure of food. If you want vegetables to break down, salt them early in the cooking and the salt will help to pull the moisture out and will aid in browning. If you want them to maintain their structure salt them later in the proceedings.
An important point is the stuff in the blue canister "when it rains it pours" stuff is junk. The grain is too fine, and it tastes acrid and chemically. It's over processed the enriched white flour of salt. Get the equivalent of whole grain: either kosher, or sea salt. Try several and find one whose texture you like. This brings us to...

3) Quality counts. Executive chefs spend most of their time sourcing food, and finding pantry ingredients that work for their food. This is the true difference between a great shop and a mediocre one. Good restaurateurs know their purveyors they bully, or bribe them if need be, but they get the best food available. You don't need to go to this extreme; you only need 5 apples, not 500. Going to a couple stores and being friendly goes a long way to getting the good stuff. Buy stuff that is local. Buy it as close to the source as you can get, and for all that is holy buy stuff in season.

4) Store it right. Once you've gone to the trouble to get the good stuff, store it right. The best way to tell is if it was on ice in the store put it on ice at home. If it wasn't please don't. There is nothing worse than a tomato that has been put in the icebox.
Most proteins must be chilled for safety reasons, but appreciate being allowed to come to room temp before facing the heat. Particularly eggs, and red meat (be careful with store bought ground meat, and unpasteurized eggs) the exception here is raw tuna. I keep it mostly frozen and let it face the heat. That way the center stays rare even though the outside is crusty and brown.

5) Thaw it right. I love using frozen items, but you have to give it time to come out of cryostasis. Put it in the fridge 36 hours beforehand, or if you need to quickly thaw it, plunk the whole package under COLD barely running water. It may take longer, but any other method either damages the food, or puts it at risk for rot.

6) Use spices, and remember quality counts here too. Most folks, if they spice food with anything other than salt and pepper, go to their grocery and buy a little container of powder from the grocery. I understand not wanting to make a whole separate trip to buy whole spices. I get it, but there is no excuse for not grinding your own pepper, chili powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg. I keep a mill for pepper, a coffee grinder for Chile powder (if yours has a metal bowl wipe it out, and grind some cornstarch in it, throw out the cornstarch, wipe again to clear it's "palate") and I simply grate cinnamon and nutmeg with a micro plane grater. My personal preference for Chile powder is 1 ancho to 1 New Mexico (seeds and stems removed).

7) Don't boil anything. The only exceptions are starches, which you shouldn't be eating anyway. Broil, braise, sauté, but don't boil it.

8) Portion food correctly. It is better to cook more pieces of food in the right size batches than try to make one supersized batch. It may take more time, but the more raw food you put in a pan the longer it takes for that pan to come back up to heat. The bigger a piece of something, the longer it takes for heat to reach the middle. Which can lead to a raw middle surrounded by a dry overcooked mess. Be patient, cook in smallish batches.

9) Use the right vessel for the right job. Glass or ceramic for slow cooking (holds heat longer). Non-stick for medium heat, sticky foods. Metal for high heat. High heat can cause non-stick coating to leech into food. Most foods cooked at high heat will "let go" of the pan if given time, and not fussed with.

10) Don't be a slave to a recipe. Get the best stuff that you can, and adapt. Some of the best foods were invented because of substitution. Just make sure you think about the whole picture (texture, flavor, and cooking times) you may have to make adjustments to seasoning, cooking time, or temperature depending on the substitution.
This is the reason that dining at big chains is a problem. They have to keep the same foods on the menu all year round in every location. So they can't pay attention to quality, season, and location. Their food suffers in the name of convenience, consistency and preservation. To me that's not a fair trade.
enjoy your food.
If you have any of your own tips, let me know.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Big Love.

Watching it now. I love that show.
Wednesday night:
Some cool stuff to control a turtled opponent, and get hooks in. No sparring.

Thursday, I just did some BW stuff. More deload.
Friday was all about offset loads:
pistol squats.
1 round each leg.
Briefcase deadlifts at 115.
1 round each side.
KB clean, press, and lunge at 44 lbs.
1 round each side.
1 arm 2 feet planks.
1 round each side.

tabata interval kb swings.
4 minutes.
done and done.

worked some basic moves, and open mat.
It was crazy busy. Too many people on the mat. I sat out for a while. Rolled with Jeff, then Sam. Sam went for a knee bar. I defended by putting my knee on his chest. I turned and went for a knee bar myself. I figured if I threatened him with it I could create a scramble. Sam flipped the script by going for an ankle lock just as I turned to attack his knee. My ankle made the loudest POP I have heard in a long while. It scared the crap out of Sam. To be cautious I called it a day on the mat. I iced. It's a little puffy, but no big deal. Full ROM, no limping.
I went to the gym later:
Bench cluster set of 5 at 225.
Front squats 4x5 at 135 after a long warm-up.
Face-pulls and plank superset.
done and done.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

(Blue) notes.

Monday afternoon I was sitting on the couch before jiu-jitsu. I found the St. Louis Blues were playing on t.v. I wanted to do nothing more than sit there, watch the hockey game, and eat myself silly. The last thing I wanted to do was go to class. I thought about the last time I deloaded.. um about 5-6 weeks ago.. time for a deload. So that means no sparring monday or wednesday night, thursday will be light 2x20 on some basic exercises.

Monday night, I went to class, but did lots of mobility work before class instead of rolling. We worked on a simple sweep to arm bar (basic stuff, but with lots of details). I skipped sparring and went home.

Last night, I went to the gym and decided that I would push weight on rows only, everything else would be kept light.
Front squats: as low as possible 2 second pause in the hole
5x4 at 135
Yes, these are pitiful. Yes, they're getting better. Yes, my hips still hate me.

no rest.. (big sign I need to deload)

bent rows:
worked up to 3 at 205
10 at 135

I went and did some rugby coaching. Ran around a little bit, worked on set pieces and talked about loose play. Fun stuff.


Sunday, February 1, 2009

No bowl for you.

When was growing up in St. Louis, there was a love/hate relationship with the Football Cardinals (aka the "Big Red" as opposed to the baseball cards or "redbirds"). People in the city loved the team, Guys like Dan Deirdorf and Conrad Dobler. Vai Sikahema was one of my favorite players. He was a humble guy, and an exciting player. When he broke a big punt return, and worked the post pad like a heavy bag I thought it was great. The guys who played on that team were good players and good guys, but there is only so much the players can do when the ownership of the team is miserly and refuses to hand the running of football operations to those that know football. The city hated the owner of the team (Bill Bidwell). When it was announced that they were moving to Arizona, there were people volunteering to help them pack.
They made it to the superbowl, and I had mixed emotions. They suffered so long, and there is still a soft spot for the players that I grew up watching. I was conflicted until I saw Bill Bidwell sitting in the owner’s box. I just cannot stand the idea of him having a Superbowl ring. So I rooted like hell for the Steelers.
It was a great game.

Friday training:
Ladder: 1-10
kb snatch each hand at 44
squat rack rope climb.
deadlift at 225.
tough one.

We worked an Americana, and some movement.
Then open mat. I rolled with Big Jeff for the first time in 6 months. It was good. It was nice to see how far I'd progressed. From there I had a couple different rolls. I gassed pretty quickly. I haven't been eating as well as I should, and that Friday workout was brutal.

In the gym:
Step-ups against purple band:
30 total reps each side.

3/5 at bw
x5 no rest.

2 plates 10
3 plates 6
4 plates 5
3 plates 5
2 plates 10

Push-ups (1 hand on med ball feet on bench):
ballistic push-ups

My serratus Anterior on my right side is sore as all get out.
Fight by fight thoughts on the UFC in a couple of days.. I need time to get my head around it.