Monday, August 31, 2009


"No one can believe that I am natural. The most important drug is to train like a madman - really like a madman. The people who accuse me are those who have never trained once in their life like I train every day of my life."
-Alexander Karelin

I can't say that.. Maybe tomorrow, but not today.
Complexes on Friday were good, easier than I'd thought they'd be.
Saturday class was tough, a friend was back in town for the weekend. We had a tough roll.
All in all a good class.

Saturday bench week 3:
5 at 180
3 at 205
4 at 230
this is well off of my calculated pr, but after a tough day of sparring, I'm pretty happy with it.
chins: sets of 5
push-ups: sets of 15
4 sets.

Some dumbbell work to bring up my repaired shoulder. It is still pretty significantly hindering my pressing strength, so it's gotta change.

Friday, August 28, 2009

Nurture your nature.

Great post up by Matt K. over on EliteFTS.
I think he's wrong, but he's right. We are the product of our environment. You can't deny the foundry you are forged in, but our choices determine if that environment makes us better/stronger/work harder or if we allow it to crush our soul then we become part of that crappy environment.
I think most people focus too much on either "creating themselves" as something aside from their environment, or wallowing in it's pitfalls. Matt is a great example of taking your past and building yourself from it.

I have a lot of training to update. So I'm going to stay brief.
Last wednesday was the wife's birthday, so not Class that day. In the morning I did some ladders:
kb snatch each hand, pull up.
then ran some hills in the afternoon.
Thursday was 5/3/1 week 2 bench.
220x6 a little disappointing.

Friday it was just Paul and I.
we did 2 circuits:
grappler's twist, grappler's twist, row 1minute
plate switch, lateral shuffle, push up 1minute
twice through

kb halos 1minute
kb swing 1minute
twice through

these were good.

went to class, rolled a bit.
then went straight to the boathouse
box squats 20 at 225 still working on hip mobility and fixing this movement pattern.

Monday, more jiu-jitsu. Fun class some crazy upside-down sweeps/subs that really hurt my back.. but it was still fun.

week 3 military:
5 at 135
3 at 150
2 at 170 I'm going to drop this max 10 lbs next cycle for sure.
rows and dips are still coming along. Next cycle I drop the dumbbell rows to 80 (they're at 95 right now) and push the reps up (12, 15, 18)

ran hills in the afternoon.

Wednesday was a simple sweep, knee in sweep, to take the back progression. Had a good roll with Sam who is back from traveling the world (for a while). I had a couple of moments, but mostly got beaten like a drum.

Deads week 3:
5 at 335
3 at 280
5 at 425 these still seem to be progressing, so I'm going to keep this where it is at least for another 4 weeks.

more hills in the afternoon.

today we're going to do some complexes.
Pick one of the following, do 6 reps each, rest 90, do 5 reps each...

Scottish complex
Romanian Deadlift
Bentover Row
Power Clean
Front Squat
Push Press
Back Squat
Good Morning

Kb complex
Overhead Squat
Bentover Row
Reverse Lunge

Submission complex
Reverse Lunges
Romanian Deadlift
Good Morning
Front Squat
Military Press
Bentover Row
Floor Press

Grappler’s complex:
Bent row
Up row
Good morning
Split squat (each)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

It's been a weak.. I mean week.

I'm falling down on the job posting, but work is busy, and I've been training a ton, so It's been a little sparse.
Training has been a little rough. I can't really say why, I guess the vacation.. pretty much wrecked my strength levels.
Last tuesday was squats:
20 at 225

grapplers twist:
50 each side.

thursday was military press:
3 at 125
3 at 145
4 at 160 (4 reps off pr)

10/10 at 95 (these are going well when I started 5/3/1 I was only able to do 6/6 here)

10/10 at +25 also progressing.

Thursday afternoon:
10 hill sprints around 40-50m

Friday was pretty rough. Working a lot of shoulder stability:
1 snatch
waiters walk 20m
10 swings
1 snatch
waiters walk 40m
10 clean and press
1 snatch
waiters walk 60m
10 kb oh squat
1 snatch
twice each hand.

then lots of slosh pipe ohp to oh carry.
Kudos to Joe and Paul who managed to OHS the slosh pipe.

Saturday was jitz. Worked lots from turtle.
Sunday was rest

Monday went to class, and worked some transitional work from top mount to back mount. Lots of position specifics, then rolled. Got lazy and caught in a choke.. Felt like I was going to pass out till I got home and got some food. Need to monitor my intake on jiu-jitsu days better.

3 at 315
3 at 365
5 at 405 (2 reps off pr)

step ups at 95 40 reps each side.

more hills this afternoon.

Working my strength levels back up..
If it continues this way I'm going to drop all of my working maxes back 2 cycles (10 lbs for upper body work and 20 lbs for lower, and roll again)


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Yo, JOE!!

what could have been.

• Alexis Bledel as Lady Jaye
• Billy Crudup as Zartan
• Zach Galifiankais as Snow Job
• Tony Hale as Dr. Mindbender
• Vinnie Jones as Destro
• Joey Kern as Tomax and Xamot
• Chuck Liddell as Gung Ho
• Julianne Moore as Scarlett
• Henry Rollins as Duke
• Alan Tudyk as Shipwreck
• Olivia Wilde as The Baroness


It's been a crazy week. Major project at work, first week of training since the vacation.. lots going on. My numbers have been way off from where they were before vacation. I am going to complete this month as written, and then if the numbers are still off, I'll adjust accordingly.
Saturday: severely Jet lagged after the 28+ hour journey home. I went to class and rolled, then went to the gym for week 1 miltary:
5 at 115
5 at 135
5 at 150 3 reps off of my pr.

rows 8/8 at 95
dips 10 at bw +25
x 3

Sunday went climbing. Finished a V2, consistently hitting V0 and most V1 routes.

Monday did a light barbell circuit: 5 hang snatch, 5 clean and press, 5 good mornings 4 rounds
then class that night.

Tuesday: week 1 deads
5 at 290
5 at 335
8 at 380 1 rep off of my pr.

step ups at 95 1 long set of 40 per leg (20/20,10/10,10/10)

Wednesday just class that night.

Thursday: week 1 bench
5 at 160
5 at 180
9 at 205 a whopping 5 reps off of my pr... suck.

chins.. lots
push-ups 50
band pull-aparts also lots.

Friday: went to class during the day because I knew I would have to work Saturday, and I was worried I'd get stuck and have to miss class.
Then Friday fun:
1 minute on 3 off each station.
plate walks at 35
grappler's twist at bw
sandbag carries at big ass sandbag
kb snatch (right)
kb snatch left
plate walks
grappler's twist
kb snatch (switch hands as needed)

Saturday, as I feared, I got stuck at work and missed class. Spent the whole day going up and down a step ladder (at least 200 times.. at least)
Watched UFC 101.. kind of a snoozer. No real surprises.
Sunday went climbing by myself. Then put a new disposal in, this is one of the bigger pain in the butt projects I've completed.

Last night went to class, and got caught up on some sleep.
Feeling good. Tonight is squats, and lamb curry.. mmmm

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Why exercise won't make you thin?

Article here..
First off who wants to be thin?
Second, This article is swimming in a lot of murky water. Some of it is pretty dumb: if you burn 200 cals and eat 400 extra, you’re not going to lose weight.
Well of course not.
Diet is more important than exercise when it comes to body comp.. Anyone who says otherwise is selling something. Exercise is necessary for keeping lean body mass, and giving you some "wiggle room" in your diet.
One of the more annoying things is that none of the studies controlled diet. Most of the studies told participants to “eat their normal diet.” Which is kind of bogus; most people don’t have any idea what they consume.
Also, they didn't differentiate (at least in the article, if not in the studies) different forms of exercise, which considering that bowling and poker are sports these days makes this kind of dubious in my mind.
Control your diet: high protein, high fibrous veggies. Work hard in the gym, and your comp will change. I believe that, it's been true every time I've done it, or seen it done.
Re.. Best response to this P.O.S. here.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009


Cancer sucks. We all know it. My father battled prostate cancer this year, my step-brother's son had leukemia, my wife's mother died of breast cancer. I'm not a fan.
So what can we do about it? Be selfish.
Let me explain. Alwyn Cosgrove put together hundreds of pages of content, and Mike Robertson.. well Mike is offering an amazing amount of his time and knowledge and they've donated it to us. If we give $25 to cancer research by buying the cd, we get a ton of content from the Scotsman, and maybe more from Mike, and as an added bonus cancer gets a big ole kick in the pants.
So be selfish, buy yourself something nice, and give cancer the finger.

Monday, August 3, 2009


Good day gentle reader. I have returned from traveling the wide world, I have yearns to spin and tales to tell and observances to… stuff..
The Itnerary:
Fly from Seattle to Vancouver to Montreal to Paris.
Spend 3 nights in Paris and take the night train to Venice.
Spend 1 night in Venice and take the regular train to Florence.
3 nights in Florence, and meet up with some homies.
Take the train from Florence to Vernazza (aka Cinque Terre) spend 3 nights there, and depart homies for Rome.
From Rome to Montreal to Toronto to Seattle.

Notre Dame, climbed the Arch de Triumph, the Catacombs (coolest thing I have ever seen), the Eiffel Tower, the Branly Museum (world-history-artifact-art museum thing), Rodin Guarden, and Versailles.
Notre Dame was cool, didn’t go in.
Climbing the Arch de Triumph was very cool, great view of the city.
The Catacombs were indescribable (see the picture) the remains of 26 million Parisians laid out. One of the most artful and reverential statements on mortality I have ever seen. Most people touring them either were walking really fast, or were nervously laughing every few seconds. Remember, thou art mortal.
Eiffel tower, meh.
Rodin Garden was fantastic, if a bit long. I love the fact that Rodin was drawn to sculpting ugly people/things. Life takes a toll. People with no scars have no stories to tell. Same with art. On this trip we saw hundreds of classical marble statues, they’re soulless, boring. Rodin was a great contrast to them.
Versailles is astounding in it’s opulence. It is enormous. The “summer house” is bigger than I’d have thought it possible for Versailles to be. Walking around and looking at the excess I am not surprised the poor of France put the King to the guillotine.

Venice: Grand Canal, Doge’s Palace, San Marco Square.
Grand Canal was cool, especially at night.
The Doge’s Palace was a fly speck after having seen Versailles, but the Prison beneath it was still intact and was very interesting.
San Marco Square was a nice place to have some coffee and people watch.

Florence: I got food poisoning (probably from something I ate in Venice) so I didn’t see much of Florence.
Duomo and the Central market.
The Duomo is really cool. The dome and the view of the city is well worth the wait and the climb.
The central market was fantastic. More on that in the food section.

Cinque Terre: Not too many sights, lots of beaches and seaside cliffs.

Rome: Vatican (St. Peter’s Cathedral, and the Sistine Chapel), Palatine Hill/Coliseum/Circus Maximus, Trevi Fountain, and a hundred other roman ruins that are around every corner.
The Vatican is very moving in that there are hundreds of devout Catholics for whom this is a true pilgrimage. I saw the tomb of St. Peter, and the final resting place of John Paul II both of which were very moving, but the rest of the Vatican (much like Versailles) was maddeningly opulent. It was disgusting. To see statues of Christian martyrs carved out of marble and surrounded by gold made me ill. Too much good needs doing for that many billions of dollars to be on display for display’s sake.
Palatine hill/Coliseum/Circus Maximus: Palatine Hill is very cool. Just a big open park of the ruins of old Rome. Coliseum is cool, but a huge tourist trap. The Circus Maximus is now just a big hole in the ground. What struck me most about these ruins is how crude they seemed in contrast to the ruins of Machu Picchu.
Trevi Fountain: Is beautiful, and on a scale that I can’t describe, but it is crowded, and claustrophobic. People squeezed in, hawkers selling chotchkies and crap.

Paris: Paris was beautiful, and has an undeserved reputation for rudeness. It would have been even better if I spoke more than sesame street French. All of the resturaunts cater some to tourists, but also have the good stuff. However, even when you order off the deep end of the menu, if you’re American, they will bring you catsup (I shudder to think why). The metro is complicated, but there are signs everywhere and people will take pity on you if you look lost. Navigating the city itself is pretty simple because of the Eiffel tower is visable from almost anywhere and the river runs along most of the landmarks. If you’re polite the people are generally very nice. Paris was my favorite city of the trip. There is so much to do that we had to skip the Louve (mostly due to long lines).

Venice: Venice stinks like a wet fart. The people treat tourists like exhausted parents dealing with unruly slow children. It is difficult (or was for me) to find a restaurant that didn’t cater to the tourists. That said it is a great city to sit, drink coffee and watch people bumble about, but navigating is damn near impossible without a map. Once you see the square and watch the sun set, there isn’t much to do in Venice.

Florence is lovely, the people are nice (especially if you duck a way from the tourist trap market stalls). The food was great, and we went into the central market and were well taken care of buy the vendors we patronized there. I spent our first night and a good part of the next day there terribly sick. I didn’t see much but the inside of our hotel bathroom for that part of our trip, but once I was feeling better I had a great time walking around, drinking good strong coffee and just generally plundering around the stalls looking at everything and watching everyone. I did miss out a bit by being sick.

Cinque Terre: Five small towns on the coast. Are where the Italians go to vacation. Set into the seaside hills they are really beautiful. Not much to do, spend time on the beaches or in the cafés. Which suited me just fine. There are hiking trails between all of the towns and are pretty strenuous. If you’re going to go leave early in the morning to avoid the heat, and be prepared to get stuck behind slow moving Germans on the way back. I lost my favorite pair of flops to a rogue wave on the beach, and had to replace them. It was a sad day.

Rome: Rome would be great if it weren’t for the Romans. There are a million things to see. The food is great. The people are the worst stereotypes of New Yorkers and Parisians combined. You’ve got to go. If you’re in Italy you have to go to Rome, but be prepared to be fleeced, ignored, and the damn near run over. The train system is near non-existent, and the busses are crowded and incomprehensible if you don’t speak Italian. Just walk and enjoy looking around.

Simple good things. In Paris I ate something that was revolutionary to me.
It wasn’t the startlingly good macaroons. It wasn’t a crepe, or pastry. It wasn’t unpasteurized cheese, or cured meat. It wasn’t some fussy confit of duck, or house made sausage. I did eat all of those things, and they were tasty. The thing that I ate that affected me most on this whole trip was a pint of strawberries. They weren’t prepared in any way. I bought them from a little produce market, to eat with some cheese that we’d bought, and they were fantastic. They were small, about the size of the tip of my thumb, and they were ripe, sweet, tart and tasted every bit like a strawberry should. They were completely unlike the wooden, pithy, sharp, gigantic, one note strawberries we get here in the states.
All of the produce was like that, fully ripe and perfect. We in the states have let our standards drop for the sake of shopping once a week. In France I watched a woman buy 1 small tomato, a double handful of greens, and two figs. Maybe a salad with dinner tonight? Maybe not, but clearly she was shopping for a meal that was to be immediately eaten. Here you can’t do that; you can’t get an avocado that isn’t rock hard, bananas that aren’t green and woody. We have strawberries that will last a week, but at what cost? That is the true secret to food in France and Italy: simple things purchased as their height and used to their greatest effect. Do not take the simple things for granted, if anything they are more important! It’s not the béarnaise, it’s the steak. It’s not the sauce it’s the pasta. It’s not the cheese, it’s the baguette. I have a feeling that if we got back to that a lot of the health problems in this country would not be problems.

In Italy they have 100 different ways to order strong coffee, and all of them are fantastic. In France they roast the beans to oblivion and look at you like you just got of the latest Viking long boat if you order coffee without milk.

Physical culture:
In Cinque Terre I spent a lot of time on the beach, and I noticed Europeans don’t exercise. They eat better than we do in a lot of ways, but sport very little excess contractile tissue. The perception is that Europeans “don’t get fat” is not entirely correct. They don’t get massively obese. However most of the adults that I saw were probably sitting around 15-25% body fat.’ Now full disclosure, I am solidly in that range (although it seems that I haven’t gained any weight on the trip in spite of the bread, pastries, and pasta) but with a fair amount of muscle underlying that body fat I would submit that I am far more healthy than the people I saw on the beach. They were ‘skinny-fat:’ low body weight, but still a high percentage of fat. They had no muscle. There were two people that I saw with any muscle at all: one was a young guy lounging on the beach with his gal.. don’t know his story, the other worked at the local boat rental place and had to row the boats out of the harbor day in and day out. That was it. Struck me as very strange. We really do have far more of a sporting culture and I submit if we can get our food sources and nutrition in line, we could be the most physically healthy nation in the world, but until we get our food issues sorted no amount of physicality is going to help us out.
That said, I didn’t do much structured exercise. I did some SMR, and stretching every other day. I did a couple of workouts with body weight and the TRX. I did one hike that was fairly difficult. But honestly I haven’t taken any significant time OFF since I started this blog (March 2007). So it was high time.

All in all I had a fantastic trip. I will post a review of books I have been reading here shortly along with the training I’ve done since I’ve returned.

The trip home was epic. We got up at 6 am Friday morning in Rome, walked 2 miles to the train station, where the wife realized she left her wedding rings in the hotel. We grabbed a cab. Cabbed it to the hotel and back. The wife went off to get out tickets and I sat on the bags. She came back about 10 minutes later, and we made it on the train with about 15 seconds to spare. We jumped through all the hoops in the airport and got to the gate just in time to board. I watched a the watchmen (again), and listened to some fitcasts that I’d saved up for the trip home. We landed in Montreal behind schedule, had to grab our bags (checked).. ok hold on… for all that is holy people when you’re waiting for your bags step back 2 steps until you see your bag, so ALL OF US can see the belt. Don’t be a numbnut and stand all jammed up against the conveyer so that I have to peer and poke around your giant cranium to see if my bag is coming. Don’t be a dick… So after I almost belt a guy with my bag because he was in fact being a dick, we trot through customs, and then recheck our bags and jump in the security line. This is where things get bad. You get to the fake end of the line and a woman looks at your ticket and assigns you line 1,2,3,4.. whatever. Well either she didn’t actually look at the tickets or.. something because she put the wife and I (who had 15 minutes) in the slowest security lines in Christendom. The line I was in had 3 old codgers in front of me that couldn’t figure out that metal detectors detect… METAL and was staffed by one less person that all of the other lines.. I still made it through my line in enough time to check in at the gate, and buy two coffees and a sandwich before the wife got through security. In spite of the slowness and stress we made our plane and landed in Toronto. We stopped there and got a sandwich, and were felling like we had hopped the biggest obstacles and were heading to the home stretch. We got on the plane, and patiently waited. The captain came on and said “we’re having some mechanical issues, and we’re going to have to reboot the plane.” Uh-oh.. this isn’t good. Oh and by the way rebooting airplanes: they don’t have air conditioning. It got hot. I got sweaty.. The reboot didn’t fix the plane. Fortunately for our captain friend that is no longer his problem he comes back on the overhead “sorry folks this delay has run us out of flight time for the month, you’re going to have to wait for a new flight crew. Double suck. We wait, the conditioned air comes back on. A new captain comes on, sorry folks we’re going to have to reboot the plane again. They do, I sweat. The plane comes back up. Captain number two comes back on, sorry folks that didn’t work, they’re going to (for lack of a better) jump start the engine, that means another reboot. More sweating. Captain number two comes on for a final time, sorry folks this plane is busted, and this flight crew just ran out of hours. Please deplane and you’ll meet a new plane and your third flight crew at gate 163. After another hour and a half of deplaning, waiting and replaning we are under way. We land and the rest is pretty much a blur. I woke up in my own bed. The cat has been very needy for the past couple of days, but I think he’s convinced we’re not leaving again for a while. I’m still not caught up on sleep from the 28 hour journey home, but I’m getting there.
I hope you didn’t miss me too much.

Sunday, August 2, 2009


I'm back from my European vacation. Learned a lot, got a lot of rest.
Long post coming up, but not today.
Miss me?