Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday morning..

I don't really know if that last post makes any sense to anyone. That article got me thinking and that sort of snowballed into a bunch of stuff I've been thinking about. I'm so frazzled with work and the kid coming.. sometime.. that it didn't get much editing.

Training updates:
front squats: worked up to 3 at 225 (no clean this time) felt good to actually squat something heavy(ish) although my hip has been killing me for a couple days since.
Bottoms-up press: did several with the 26 and 44 lb bells. Inspired by this.
bodyweight rows: bunch. Feet elevated, various grips.
chins: some

Day class: arm-bars from knee on belly, and posed the question to the Professor:

If I have a weakness should I seek out that weakness all the time, or just work on it with lower belts until it gets stronger then elevate it. With the clarification that my fear is not getting "beat" on the mat, but that I won't actually have enough control to keep the roll in that position. His response was the very logical "if it is a weakness, you need to work on it all the time." Which does make sense. I put it into practice some and more and more.

night class: good no-gi roll with Paul. Talked some wrestling with the Professor, and more guard work.
Master Renzo is conducting a seminar here in Seattle. It was supposed to be on the 15th which gave a thin margin for the birth of the kid, then it got moved to the 22nd which gave a nice 2 week cushion.. then to next weekend which whittles that margin down to a couple of days. Hopefully the grizzly bear is born sometime this weekend so that I can go. If not, I won't complain, somethings are more important.
assim é vida!

kept it light. I was feeling pretty beat-up. so 3x5 minutes on the airdyne, and went to the bookstore with the little woman.

Today: Friday fun.. prowler, sandbag, airdyne.. medium intervals.. haven't figure out exactly what it's going to look like, but that's the idea.


Thursday, April 29, 2010

You are not your body..

Well, you are your body, and being too fat/skinny/short/tall/hairy is inconvenient. However, the appearance of your body is probably not the source of your problems. You are not lonely because you are fat. You do not have a crappy job because of your lack of abz. A 500 lb squat will not erase the mistakes you've made in life, and 'swole gunz' do not make you a better person.

Don't get me wrong, exercise builds confidence, and feeling physically able can help you feel more capable in the rest of your life, but your problems will not disappear as your gut disappears. This is the real reason why a lot of people are fat: it gives them a reason for their problems. No one likes me because I'm fat. My job sucks because I'm fat. Everything would be great if only I wasn't fat. It's just not true. Often these folks get their diet and exercise nailed down, but once they lose weight their problems are still staring at them still unresolved, and they have nothing left to hide behind. This leads to depression, and gaining it all back.

This is one of the few things that the folks at 'the Biggest Loser' get right. Your fat is not your problems, your problems will not go away just because you are no longer fat. Fix your problems AND drop the fat.

If this guy can be happy then you can be happy. You are not your body. Don't be so vain. No one cares, just get out there and do stuff that you want to do. Walk, run, jump, throw things. Eat good food, food that tastes like food not weird processed crap. Once you get started, then build momentum. Develop a lifestyle. Be a 'fit person' and let that look like whatever it's going to look like. Get your life in order. Get a better job if that's what you need. Make some friends that DO things (sitting at a bar/in front of a t.v./rock) is not doing.. that's sitting. You know what your problems are, you know what hard work needs to be done, so get started.. you can quit tomorrow, just do what you need to do today.

Once you have that in line, once you are a person who takes care of his problems and DOES stuff, then you can take some time to modify your appearance. Add some muscle, drop some bodyfat as a vanity project. The same way you would go shopping and buy a pair of shoes that make you look good, or get fitted for a nice suit. This is not a self defining "life changing experience" you're just dropping a few lbs. Add some weight training and learn to heft some heavy sh!t. It doesn't make you a better person.. it may teach you something about the person you are, but that's not the same thing.

No one thinks more about fitness than I do, but we're not 'saving lives.' People save themselves, they just need to learn that they have control. This is YOUR life.

This is why I have a real problem with the "Fat Acceptance" movement. It singles out "Fat" as a body type that needs to be accepted. That is external: you have to accept me. That type of thinking is completely dis-empowering, and utterly meaningless unless you accept it yourself.

It should be the "body acceptance" movement. To hell with what is acceptable to other people! This is your body. It bears the scars and bruises of the life you have lived. It functions in keeping you alive (temporarily) and that's all it does accept it. Enjoy it. Use it to do things. See what it can do, because eventually all it will do is push up daisies. Moping about because it's too fat/ugly/flabby/hairy is garbage and a waste. Starving yourself and cardioing yourself to Olsen twins-esque proportions will not make you happy. You will still have to accept that your body looks/works/functions how it does, and any changes are simply cosmetic.
Good article on MSNBC. Got me thinking.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010


Catching up on some training logging as I am well behind.
Cleans and front squats: worked up to 185 did a few sets of 1 clean and 5 squats. I'm feeling better about my ability to squat and move some weight.
Ostrich rows (lean you head on a preacher curl with dumbbells in hand and with hands facing each other and straight arms bring dumbbells from in front of you to beside you)
some at 30 lb dumbbells.
several sets of bw

Friday fun:
we got some new toys. Michelle and Chad were kind enough to donate some rubber mulch to our little toy box. So now we have a 60 lb "mulch bag." Really this is the best material for making a sand bag period.

first bit partner work:
a) sand bag clean and press x10
b) airdyne till your partner is finished.
rest while the other group goes.

Second bit:
person a: sandbag complex: clean, front squat, ohp, good morning, row 5 reps each rest the remainder of the 3 minutes.
persons b/c/d: 30 sec on 60 off of the airdyne x2
The second part was hard, but the first bit was horrible. We will revisit.

Class in the morning. Some guard pass stuff. Then open mat. I'm feeling better about some parts of my game. still feeling a little weak in others.
In the afternoon: 2x 5 minutes on the airdyne with some swings and snatches with the 62. It's a whole different experience with the big kb.

Monday: Did some man-makers with a client. 4 sets at 35 lb dumbbells then she complained that I was moving too fast so I did the last set with 55s. Made things interesting for sure.

Jiu-jitsu: did some back control from standing, and a couple of chokes. I rolled twice. My hip started hurting in the middle of the first roll. Second roll was good, and bad. It was good in that I had success, it was bad in that I had success because I kept the roll in positions where I knew I would be successful.. so that, in and of itself, is a failure.. I think.
It's hard to say. I want to be complete. To have a dangerous game everywhere, but does that mean that if I can control the transitions against an opponent who is at or above my level should I work the strong points of my game against a strong opponent, and weak points against weaker ones? Or simply work on the weak points at all times?
Something I'll have to think about.

Today my hip still hurts.. nothing I can't train through, but it is cranky.

Friday, April 23, 2010

A desert in downtown Chicago..

What seems like 150 years ago (really only about 10) I lived in downtown Chicago. Right next to the Sear's Tower and the CME. It was the financial district. The building I lived in had a small grocery store on the ground level, but it was mostly just packaged food. They had produce but was pretty horrible. I was a vegetarian at the time, so quality produce was kind of a big deal. To make matters worse the store's true clientele were the folks working in the financial district, so the store was only open till 8 pm during the week, for 6 hours on Saturday, and closed Sunday. If you don't have any food, or they didn't have something you're looking for: the nearest grocery store was 4 El stops and a transfer away (aka a $12 cab ride).
This effectively created what is known as a Food Desert.
I was plenty healthy, and did walk, bike, or take the El to get food, but the round trip was over 2 hours. Taking a cab really weren't an option as the expense quickly became prohibitive. So what did I do?I did what millions of folks who live in similar areas do, I went out to eat. It was horrible. My options were sit-down dinner that I couldn't afford regularly, or fast food. I had to really work to make the right choices (which not everyone is informed enough to do).
Things were far worse as you got away from the money of the financial district. On the other side of the UIC there was absolutely nothing.
This is becoming more of a common problem in large urban areas. As areas have economic problems, businesses close up shop. Some of the first to go are the small neighborhood grocers. It creates entire neighborhoods fed by the fast food industry.
The same phenomena is occurring in rural areas. My grandmother lives in the Ozark mountains of Missouri. In her town there was a 'grocer' really an convenience store that was a little too big for it's britches. It had the basics, some pretty fair produce, and a butcher that came around once a week in a big meat truck. If you wanted something they didn't have, or they were closed the IGA that was about 12 miles up the road was bigger and had more hours. If you needed something really big there was a Super Wal-mart about 50 miles away. This was pretty common: get the basics from the local guy, supplement with a garden/fishing rod/shotgun and if you needed something special you took a "trip to town."
Many of those local stores are closing up (as are some of the intermediate grocers), and that makes the communities less than viable. Young people "move to town" closer to where they can get food, and the old folks who are trying to stick it out either have to make the drive themselves, or someone has to deliver their food.
In some of these areas fast food are some of the only businesses that are financially viable, but how often can people eat like that? Combine this with similar phenomena in poor urban areas is it really any wonder that the obesity rates skyrocket as people's income drops? I don't really have a solution, but I think it's going to get a whole lot worse before it gets any better.


Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I've been on a diet for the past couple months.. I'm not restricting calories, but fluff. I've stopped watching all but my favorite T.V. shows and even then I mostly watch them on the DVR so they take less time.
I've stopped listening to the radio on my way into work, and have been listening to podcasts, particularly the Fitcast while I drive or wait in line. I've been reading a lot more, and generally feel like I have more time, more information, and feel less rushed.
Once the kid comes I'll probably pare this down even more, but that's fine because once you start cutting you really see how much of your time is actually used fairly frivolously.

more on the Fitcast: Its a great resource. I have talked about what great guys Kevin and Tony are in the past. Jon Fass is a very smart guy, and Leigh Peele has a great perspective and gets fantastic results with her clients.
This is free information and very entertaining. If you are interested in fitness there is no reason not to take advantage.

Training update:
Monday was a pretty standard class at jiu-jitsu. There was a bit of a ringworm scare so I went home early. I scrubbed down, and cleaned all of my gear. Hopefully I am clear.

This is a deload week, but once the baby comes I don't really know how much I'm going to be able to train so I'm changing my training without actually backing off significantly (and while resting my sore elbow).
morning lifting:
Deads (speed)
6 sets of 2 at 365
bw rows:
lots feet elevated.
paddlers: (the inverse of this movement)
lots each side at 50 lbs.

took the new airdyne for a spin:
30 seconds on 90 off x8 all out. (will work to add reps to this)
5 minutes of continuous effort. (build this up to 5 on 1 off x4 aka a jiu-jitsu tournament)

today I went to day class. I played a lot of bottom game (my weakness) and did pretty well. It's still weaker than my top game, but the delta is becoming narrower and narrower.


Monday, April 19, 2010


In a St. Louis state of mind all weekend.. Don't get me wrong I love living in Seattle, but when the weather turns warm, and the Cardinals are on t.v. I throw a little meat on the grill and I miss being back home... just for a bit.
Over all a great weekend.
Thursday was a great workout. My hips are starting to open up. I hit 185 for 3 sets of 1 clean and 3 squats. Bench was a little rough as my elbows are still pretty sore.

Friday was a good workout. Start with the bar do 1 complex:
hang clean, front squat, ohp, good morning, bent row 5 reps each.
add 10 lbs on each side, repeat. keep going till you can't hit 5 reps.

Then we played with the slosh pipe for a while:
Ohp and hold (2 seconds) 3 sets 5 reps
Oh hold for time (3:09, just off pr)

Saturday, good class worked with a new guy, rolled with a few other folks.
Then the wife picked me up. We went to lunch then picked up some more KBs a 26 for her, and a 62 for me.
That night we went out to dinner at Cafe Juanita for our last hurrah before the kid comes. Beautiful place with amazing food.
I watched the fights on DVR while the wife snoozed on the couch. More on that later.

Sunday we found an Airdyne bike on craigslist, so we did the grocery shopping then went out and picked it up. ESPN sunday night baseball was Redbirds vs. Pond Scum. I threw some pork steaks on the grill and had a fantastic evening (Cards win 5-3).

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Winner, winner, chicken dinner...

Yesterday I knew it was going to be a good day when I opened a new canister of protein powder and the scoop was sitting handle up, right on top. That never happens. Invariably you end up elbow deep in protein powder trying to get the scoop out and spill half of it on the floor trying to extricate it. Had to be a good day.
Shelby Starnes over at elitefts had a contest on his training log, and I won. I asked for a copy of his ebook "Tips and tricks for dieting success." Should be pretty great as Starnes is one of the top diet coaches in the country. Pretty cool.

Then at the gym:
5/3/1 deads: 7 at 415 which is a pretty solid pr.
5/3/1 military: 7 at 155 also a pr.
face pulls: lots

cliche? probably but still a damn good song.

Training catch-up
Clean and front squat: worked up to two sets of 1:3 at 185
5/3/1 bench: worked up to 215 only did 5 because my elbow is bugging me.

Thursday night was infant CPR class so Friday's workout was a bunch of bw stuff sort of off the cuff then suspended plank 1 set for max time: 2:19.

Saturday was a good open mat.

Monday: I am feeling pretty beat up so I just went to class to teach. Taught the wizzer and front headlock.

Monday, April 12, 2010

thoughts on 112

UFC 112 was all about matchmaking. You've got the most like-able fighter in professional sports (Renzo Gracie) against a surly born-again wrestler that you can be pretty sure dunked people's heads in a toilet in high school (Matt Hughes). The enigmatic fistic genius (Anderson Silva) against a ground game artist with a suspect chin (Demian Meia). Hand speed and wrestling (Frankie Edgar) versus hand speed and jiu-jitsu (B.J. Penn).
On paper very damn entertaining... in real life.. mixed results.

I can't stand Kendall Grove. Something about him annoys the crap out of me. He's brash, cocky, and not nearly good enough to be that brash and cocky. but Mark Munoz drives me nuts too, for completely different reasons: He's a decent fighter, good wrestler with a suspect chin who doesn't use his wrestling. Your stand-up isn't that good, and you have a weak chin. Take guys down and pound them into next week.. this you ARE good at.

The strikes to the spine call against Rafael dos Anjos was weird. I'm a firm believer that the referee should be concerned with a fighter's health, and the fighter should be concerned with his record, but that was just silly. I'm excited to see dos Anjos climb the ladder a bit.

Hughes vs Renzo was a great Face/Heel battle in the finest Pro Wrestling tradition. I've said it before that I like Matt Hughes.. mostly because we're from the same area, his walk-out music is awesome and his 'type' is one that is eminently familiar to me: the former high school wrestling stand-out (and probable bully) turned family man.. but I'm pretty lonely in my fandom. Renzo is pretty universally liked he has a fighter's heart and soul, he's funny, and personable. One of the great positive people in the wide world. However, his fight preparation was inadequate.

First thing that happens when guys who fear each others ground game fight: it doesn't go to the ground. So it suddenly becomes a second rate kick-boxing match. Hughes saw the writing on the wall and improved his striking. He adding that vicious leg kick and a little head movement. Renzo didn't. This time around Matt Hughes second rate kick-boxing won the day.

At the top level jiu-jitsu alone doesn't work (I'm sorry to say it but it's true) you either have to have top level striking (like Anderson Silva) to force the other guy to take you down, or top level wrestling/judo to take the other guy down (Jake Shields) Half-assed takedowns and mediocre stand-up combined with out of this world jitz is just as effective as a guy with no ground game at all.

If you're a B.J. Penn fan, please read this entire thing before posting to the comments.

I told a friend on Wednesday that this was a bad match-up for B.J. Penn. If Penn's fans weren't so notorious for sniping over the internet I would have posted it here as well. The problem is that Mike Goldberg and Joe Rogan refer to former high school champs like Diego Sanchez with the same language as NCAA caliber wrestlers like Rashad Evans and NCAA champion/olympic level guys like Randy Couture or Dan Henderson. Edgar is of that second tier went to NCAAs a couple times good quick takedowns that translate well to MMA.
Also he has fast hands. Penn is used to being able to let the other guy open the exchange and beat him to the punch. Edgar is too fast for that. Stylistically this is a tough fight for Penn: he can't take the other guy down, he has to worry getting taken down, and he is going to get beat to the punch on the feet.

In my opinion (which is meaningless) Frankie Edgar beat B.J. Penn. I had it 3 rounds to 2 with the 2 being very close. For better or for worse MMA judges value controlling the pace of a fight more than they value landing harder shots. Which is why a guy can fight off his back for 14 minutes and go to the club with a loss and his opponent can lay on top of him and celebrate his victory in the hospital. That is just the way it is, and smart people set their fight plan accordingly. Edgar did a great job of controlling when and how the exchanges took place, he set the pace of the fight, and scored a couple of takedowns (even though he decided not to spend any quality time on the deck.. a dangerous place to be sure) Penn has heavier hands, but without wobbling your opponent those don't score any more than a guy that throws pillows, and Edgar landed his pillows more than Penn landed power shots. If you watch the end of the fight B.J. knew that he had lost that fight. I don't think he'll admit it, but his body language showed it... None of which seems to bother his fans who are already claiming that he got "screwed" by the judges.

On to the hot mess that was Anderson Silva vs Demian Maia. Silva clearly doesn't want to fight any more. He had it all over Maia on the feet, but never went to finish him. He got clipped a couple of times by Maia and in his own words was "surprised." At that point he simply ran away the rest of the fight.

Silva has all the talent, and none of the killer instinct. He doesn't want to hit his opponent more than he wants to avoid getting hit. So he bobs and weaves and toys with his opponent until he either accidentally knocks the guy out, or gets stung once or twice and just shuts down the action. It's a matter of gameness. Silva just isn't a game guy. He doesn't want to hurt people, and he certainly doesn't want to get hurt.

The folks at sherdog make a good point Silva making fun of Maia for not engaging whole heartedly on the feet is like Maia making fun of Silva for not wanting to wade into the deep water that is the ground game with Maia.

So what to do? Well if he wants to fight GSP and can make the weight, I say go for it. If not make his move to 205 permanent.. He won't fight Machida, so there is little chance of him holding the division for ransom like he has the middleweight division. Leave him there as a gatekeeper so that you can hand select his fights. At 35 years of age you can simply let Silva spoil on the vine. It's a waste, but the guy just doesn't have a fighters heart.

That said Maia answered questions about his chin. He took some solid shots and kept coming.

This was one of the uglier UFCs in recent history.
I wish that the UFC would acknowledge when they put on a show that stinks like this one and extend the broadcast to show more of the undercard. It would help salve the pain of spending $45.


Friday, April 9, 2010

Don't mean to make you cross..

Ok.. the crossfit thing. I am truely torn with crossfit. I think complexes are a great way to get in shape. I think a lot more people in the general population need to learn to work hard, learn technical lifts and move their body through space. I think that crossfit is a brand name for doing all of these things really well.
However in my opinion there are some real weaknesses with crossfit as it is written on the main site:
As the old saying goes if you don't know where you're going then any road will get you there. This works both ways, if you just take random turns then you could be going somewhere but more than likely you'll end up nowhere. I think once a person reaches a certain level of fitness they should have goals, and you cannot reach goals without specificity. Those folks are avoiding specificity, so then you can't really say you're working towards your goals, you're just working.

For the majority of the population there needs to be a corrective component to exercise. People are unhealthy they are in a constant state of asymptomatic injury, if you load them without correction they become symptomatic very quickly.

Just because something is hard to do, or makes you really tired does not mean that it has physiological benefit. Single legged overhead squats for example. I am all for single leg movements, and I am all for loading them as much as you can handle, but a single leg movement with the center of gravity extended so far above your center quickly becomes a trick and not an exercise.

Which brings us to 'gaming' the workouts. Crossfitters care about 'score' either reps for time, or time for the workout. Not that that is a bad thing, seeking constant improvement and having standards are great things.. however it should never be at the cost of strict form. Excessive kipping on pull-ups, or shortening range of motion is doing a different exercise, and more to the point those exercises have those parameters for a reason. So raise your standards.. even if it lowers your score.

I am all for cross fit as GPP, and it is great for challenging yourself for a day or a month or more, but as a training modality its lows are too high and it's highs are too low, and it Just doesn't get you anywhere.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010


My email was a mess. I subscribe to a bunch of fitness newsletters (of varying quality) along with my favorite baseball team, and a few dozen other spam sources. I had over 8000 emails, and 440 unread emails in my inbox (not to mention hundreds of cataloged emails).
So I have spent the time that I would normally be talking to you folks getting things cleaned up, as well as getting the baby's room ready for his arrival, writing training programs, going to baby school, and getting some work done here and there too.. oh yeah.. I've trained a bit too.
Friday was a rough one:
15 sec prowler intervals at 180
2:1 rest:work for 5x3minutes
along with rope pull and sandbag carry for 2x3 minutes.
then 8x15 sec at 5:1 rest:work.

had a couple good rolls at class then did 8x30 sec on 90 off on the hand bike and went for a good long walk with the easter bunny.

Sunday: I got Parisian macaroons in my Easter basket along with a copy of Sherlock Holmes.

Monday: I taught class. The professor is in Cali for the pan ams. I taught some wrestling back escapes: sit-out, switch, and guinea roll (that's what my coach in high-school called it.. I can't find it anywhere on the interwebs by that name.. sorry)

Tuesday: I was in a major rush between work and baby school (newborn infant care class) So quick warm up.
Deads: 315x3, 350x3, 395x10..
I think it's all pretty much a blur after 7. I damn near passed out.. but it was a good set and a pr. Then military: 115x3, 135x3, 145x8.
Then drop set of 2a dumbbell rows: 65x10, 60x5, 55x5,50x5.
Then off to baby school.

PS CES, I accidentally deleted your comment (there were a lot of spam comments last week, but I did address it) Sorry about that.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April Fish.

One popular theory on the origin of April fools day is that in parts of France early Christians felt that the new year should have more religious significance, so they started their year at the end of March (to coincide with Easter). In 1564 the French government (such as it was at the time) decided to use the more commonly used Julian Calendar (which starts the new year January 1). Those who doggedly refused to change would have pranks played on them. Mostly people stuck paper fish to their backs (the whole Jesus/fish thing) they were called Poisson d’Avril or "April Fish." Which some how became "April Fools." Makes you wonder about those folks with the fish on the back of their cars.

Tuesday's training:
Deads: 10x370
military: 9x140
bent rows: some at 185
chins: some at bw.