I refuse to watch such a blatant chick flick as “How Stell Got Her Groove Back”, but if there’s a lesson to be learned from it, someone please lay it on me.
I think it’s time that I confess that I’m having a little bit of a hard time getting back into high gear. It’s not a matter of not wanting to, but trying to figure out the right routine and schedule. November of last year through August of this year, I’d been working out with a coach for all my workouts. This made my job the following:
Pay the man
Do what I was told
The man’s full time job is training athletes (with a few slouches like myself on the side), so I let him worry about what he was good at (achieving my fitness goals) and all I had to worry about was showing up.
Man was I spoiled.
So now that I’ve been released back into the wild, I’ll admit that settling upon that oddly comfortable grind or routine has been a challenge. I’m used to going straight from the office to the gym, and getting after it: never waiting for a rack, or equipment.
Now I’m back to the Gold’s Gym thing, and going to that place anytime during the week between 4 and 9pm is an exercise…. in futility (I feel like I could’ve done more with that).
Anyway, so I’ve been doing my running outside to build up the cardio slowly, and then lifting at Gold’s at night time, usually around 9pm. However, my body doesn’t seem real stoked about that schedule, and often times I find myself dragging my ass to Gold’s and not having nearly the workout that I’d had pictured in my head.
So today I joined my alma mater’s gym (nice and cheap) with the hopes of going there for all my triathlon and lifting needs, and am going to give the lunch time lifting thing a try. It’s literally only a mile from my office, so one would think I could pull it off if I dust off my old cutthroat parallel parking skills.
I hope this works out, because the Gold’s Gym thing at 9pm or later is really not working out. I’d like to be in bed about the same time I’m hitting my target heart rate. Not the ideal situation, and I need to find that groove again, to the point where I find myself at the gym at a particular time without even thinking about it.
Let’s make that happen VCU gym. Let’s make. it. happen.
Man, things keep going down that try to keep me from getting this blog back on track, and it’s starting to piss me off. This post was originally entitled “Top 10 reasons Bangladesh can go and f#%* themselves”, then I calmed down a little bit and it was “Top 10 reason we should invade Bangladesh next”, and then I read through my list and, while hilarious (to me), it was extremely non-PC and I realized that someday I may in fact want to visit Bangladesh, and since I’ve had a few visitors from there I would hate to be stoned during a vacation….
But let me explain…
I recently attempted to login to my blog so I could write something wonderfully insightful and profound for the world to feast upon (as I’ve been known to do), only to be greeted by this:
I like how these assclowns have a copyright for their impressively creative group name: "underground hackers"!?.. At least throw a z on it like any legitimate group of 30 year old mamas boys would: "hackerzzz".. Now that demands respect
Awesome…. Turns out my whole ISP got hacked, so at least I wasn’t alone in my victimhood. We all got PWNED by what I’m sure was some 32 year-old Bangladouche living out of his grandmothers basement, pissed as hell that he recently got fired from his job at a Dell call center for playing World of Warcraft on the clock.
Good news is, I’m back online. Unhacked, and ready to rock and roll.
I gave myself last week off. I hope you’re okay with that. We’ll call it a “de-load” week. I ate whatever I wanted, I only worked out once, and I didn’t write a single word for the blog.
So now that I thoroughly feel bad about myself for such a completely unproductive week, it’s time to get back on the horse. Not that I don’t think a week off here and there isn’t a good thing. I think it is, and I’m sure I’ll do it again. But any more than a week, and I start to feel like I’m making what’s supposed to be a healthy break into a bad habit.
So why the break?
Well since last November I’ve focused almost 100% of my physical exercise towards one thing: getting stronger. I hired a coach to train me week in, week out, and I’d say he paid off big time. I hit my deadlift goal in a couple months time, eventually hit my clean goal, and made considerable progress towards my front squat goal. Realized early July that some of my favorite lifting sessions revolved around the strongman style lifts, so went ahead and decided to give the RCSC 2011 a shot and made that happen a little over a week ago….
However, if you’ve read this blog for any extended length of time (probably just a month or two is enough for anybody for a lifetime), you’ve realized by now that variety for me is absolutely the spice of my fitness life.
So what does that mean? It means I’m changing gears again. My next two “events” will be the Tough Mudder (which I had to move from October to the end of February in SoCal, due to my jerk friend deciding to get married on the same day) and a triathlon. So I’m moving from focusing on strength based events to cardiovascular endurance type events. I figure training for a triathlon and a Tough Mudder simultaneously shouldn’t be too difficult, since the most challenging thing in each (for me anyway) will be the cardio.
PROOF… that I paid.
However. The last thing I’m interested in doing is losing the strength that I’ve worked almost an entire year to build. Endurance sports are notorious for eating away at muscle and making men look Project Runway ready, and I’ve already got a metabolism and body type that shies to the leaner side anyway. So thanks, but no thanks.
What this means is, I’m going to continue to lift, and lift to get stronger. Not just for giggles, but keeping in mind that come next year, when the River City Strongman Competition 2012 comes around, not only will I do it again but I’ll be stronger than I was the first time.
That kicks things up a bit and mean I’m shooting for a pretty lofty target: expand my cardiovascular ability while gaining strength (and hopefully retaining mass).
How am I going to do it?
…I have no idea… yet. I’m pretty sure it’ll involve eating a lot of food, and being extra smart about the length of my cardio training sessions at any one time. But hey, it’s just the next leg of the journey. I look forward to doing the research on how to make this work.
Haven’t picked out the triathlon yet, and I don’t have a bike (which are damned expensive), but I’ll be sure to lay it on you as I figure it out!
Well…. I’ve got good news and bad: The good news is I didn’t come in dead last. The bad news is, I think the one guy who I “beat” dropped out of the competition due to bird flu or something… or may never existed, but all I know is there was somebody on the list who’s name was below mine.
But I’m getting ahead of myself here, let me rewind back to the beginning. I feel like Friday was the beginning of everything that made up my strongman experience, so we’ll start with that…
Friday was an interesting day: Obama was about a mile from my house speaking at U of R, and Sir Richard Branson was speaking at a conference that afternoon and they were having an after party at the Virginia Museum of Fin Arts that evening. Thanks to a friend, I was able to score free tickets to both events (thanks again buddy).
The conference was pretty uneventful, though the talk on Virgin Galactic was pretty cool, and I have absolute certainty at this point that I’ll be going to space at some point in my lifetime (assuming I don’t die in the next 20-30).
Anyway, the after party was what I was real excited/nervous about. Why? Because it was an open bar event. Usually I’m pretty good about being smart and not drinking the night before something important, but when there’s an open bar I always feel like I’m missing out on a once in a lifetime opportunity by not taking part in that, so I did drink a few. However I am proud to report that I did not drink too much.
….At least that’s what I thought, until I woke up on Saturday morning feeling hungover like a jackass.
So getting to the gym just in time to hear the end of the rules, I start to warm-up with a little bit of trepidation about this minor hangover and the fact that I had just been told we’ll be flipping a 520lb. tire three times. The most I’d ever done was a 500.
We had about an hour to warm-up, and I spent most of that wandering trying to figure out where things were and what I wanted to do about it. An hour seems like a long time, but it flew by pretty quickly, and next thing I knew we were starting…
Initially I was pretty nervous, but even before I had to take on the first event, I realized that the environment for this type of thing was a lot different than other competitive events. Back in my baseball playing days, or even professional grade beerpong days (don’t doubt me), there’s always been the “us/me vs. them”. There’s always somebody pulling against you, talking trash about you, trying to break you down and take the wind out of your sails.
Interestingly, the attitude at the strongman was completely the opposite. Sure, everybody wants to win, and you’re doing your best to beat the other guys, but it’s interesting how you all feel like you’re on the same team. Everyone high fives everyone else, cheers each other on, and is all around full of encouragement. It was completely foreign to me, and completely awesome. It’s a great feeling to be surrounded by a crowd of people yelling and cheering for you, even if they have no idea who you are. My theory is, everyone has a high level mutual respect due to knowing exactly what it is you’re going through, since they just did it or are going to be doing it shortly after you. It’s very much an “us vs. the weights” mentality.
Anyway, I hit the first challenge, and I’m happy to say that I accomplished 2 of the 4 lifts. Successfully clean/pressing the 180lb. axle, and pulling 350lb of the floor without any trouble. I was really hoping to get the 180lb log, since I know I have the strength to do it but have a really hard time getting the technique down. As far as the 500lb. off blocks, I’m not going to lie, I never really thought that was going to happen, and like an idiot I tried several times and ended up jacking up my lower back only 45 seconds into a day long competition. I am well aware of my tendency to round my back like a jackass on the deadlift when the weight gets heavy, and unfortunately this was no exception and I paid for it.
After the power medley was the yoke walk. The most I’ve ever done was 450lb., and I wanted to get some numbers on the board early, so I started with a relatively light 360lb.
Hitting 360 with ease, I bumped it up to 440 for my second attempt, and got through that without any problem and 0 drops.
At this point I learned that you get a total of 3 drops over your 3 attempts, so I made a ballsy call and decided to skip over 480lb. and go straight for 520lb…. Well, this ended up being not a very good call, and I ended up making the fatal 4th drop about ⅔ of the way to the finish line. Oh well, I figured if you don’t push yourself to the point of at least a few drops, you’re being a pansy about it… I didn’t want that.
After that was one of my favorites, the farmers walk. I was confident I could do this without any problem, which ended up being true, however something I need to work on is how quickly I walk with the weight. I ended up not doing so well as far as placing since everyone was able to complete the event without dropping, and a couple guys practically jogged with the weight.
Then came the tire-flipping/sled pulling medley, and the 520lb tire that I was so worried about proved to be the easiest implement of all, and I flipped it 3 times without much trouble, followed by a sled drag for ~45ft. I have no idea how much was on the sled, but it wasn’t too bad.
Sadly, the last event, the Atlas stones, which I was super stoked about, proved to be my worst event. After watching the women do the stones, I was feeling pretty good about my chances, when all of a sudden they cleared away the ~48” platform, and pulled out a tiered platform that blew my mind with the height they had picked for some of the lifts. If you watch the video below, you can see that I wasn’t able to get past the seconds stone, which is 215lbs of pure, infuriating frustration.
Thankfully, the next 2 or 3 guys couldn’t get the 2nd stone up either, so that made me feel quite a bit better. Not that I wasn’t pulling for them, but if I had been the only guy unable to get it on the platform, I’d have been pretty pissed.
So having finished the last event, I packed it up and headed out, roughly 8 hours after stepping into the gym: bruised, battered, and my back already sore as sh*t.
Am I glad I did it? Absolutely. Do I think I’ll do it again? Probably. I now know what they’re like, and what I need to work on. Having seen where I’m at, I know I’ve got tons of room for growth, and I believe I can make substantial progress if I put my mind to it.
However, I think it’s time for a change in the training regimen… More on that later. For now, I’m still tired, sore, and it’s time for a beer…. I think I’ll take a couple days off. DONE.
Coming off of a week of hurricane recovery, and only having lifted a grand total of 1.5 times during that week (with a jog somewhere in there), I’ll admit I wasn’t feeling real good. I’ve discovered that much like a crack addict without, well… crack, when I take several days in a row off from serious exercise, my mood and overall sense of well-being just goes straight south. Compound that with the fact that I’ve switched back to lifting on my lonesome (sans coach), so I’m all on my own as far as programming.
Take all this, and considering I’ve got a strongman competition this coming Saturday, I was just not feeling that awesome.
Until last night…I went to my old faithful, Gold’s Gym, and decided that it’d be a good call to do two of the core lifts in the upcoming competition: deadlift and overhead press.
Well I’m not sure if it was my long rest, or the sweet knee-high snowboarding socks that I was rocking at the gym for the first time to keep myself from bleeding all over Golds, but not only did I clean and press 185lbs without too much trouble, but I hit a 15lb PR in my deadlift, pulling a 1RM @ 400lbs.
Talk about a weight lifted-HEYOOOOO. Sweet joke…. seriously though, a weight was lifted off my shoulders, and now I can take it relatively easy the rest of the week up until the event, allowing myself to go in fresh (may do a little tabata type work just to get the body sweating a bit).
Event is only a couple days away, and I’m excited. You know I’ll be writing about that mess when I’m done!
Evidently, post natural disaster is not the most enjoyable time to work for a utility company. Many people don’t seem to understand that folks in our company are working around the clock (currently doing 12 hour, day/night shifts) to makey things go workey again, and some even get angry that things aren’t getting fixed as fast as they’d like and it’s our fault… like we made the hurricane happen.
Also, just in case folks weren’t aware, we don’t make money when you aren’t using our product. So obviously it’s in our best interest to get everything resolved. Get it? No ticky, no laundry…. Always wanted to say that (Departed reference).
So as a result from the long work hours and lack of electricity at home, this week my sleep, diet, and workout routine have all gone straight to sh*t. Not very good timing considering the strongman competition is one week from today, so I’m less than ecstatic about that, but I’ll just have to make due and hopefully get after it pretty aggressively over the course of the week to feel good about Saturday. Either way, as long as I successfully complete one event, I’m going to chalk it up as a W for the team.
Alright, back to work, here we goooooo (Saturday 12 hour shift… The things I do for you people).
This site is a living documentation of my journey to Yokehood. Along the way, I hope some of the things I write about will encourage you, entertain you, and maybe even educate you. Please feel free to leave a comment sharing any knowledge or opinion you may possess on Yokedom, as I am far from an expert on the subject (...for now).