Wednesday, November 13, 2013

To Train or NOT to Train...

Dave here…

One thing that I think is a HUGE factor, particularly as the season winds down to and end and a long season of training takes its toll on a body, is training when you're not feeling well.  There's a fine line between benefit and taking a turn for the worse when a slight illness arrives, and you've got to think with your head over your heart.

Today I'm sick.  It's been brewing for a few days and I'm not at all surprised it's got to this point.  Anne and I did a long ride this past Sunday, and I put in a lot of threshold work toward the end (in the 5th and 6th hours).  It felt great at the time and I'm sure I've benefited from the effort, but I didn't allow enough time for my body to actually absorb the training.  Monday I hopped back on the bike for a recovery ride, which was all well and good, but Tuesday, still not feeling up to it, I got back onto the road bike for some hard, steady-state work.  I knew from the get-go that the body wasn't feeling up for it, but I pushed on anyway.  All my times were off, my heart rate was probably way too high (I don't know for sure because I wasn't wearing a HR strap), and I just generally didn't feel like being out there.    Looking back, of course, hindsight is 20/20 and I can see that had I just chilled out a bit, I wouldn't be in the predicament I find myself in now.

With the final race of our season coming up in a little over a week, it's time to shut things down for today.  I'm being pro-active in NOT being active and hoping that my body will come back around in time for a training session tomorrow.  At this point in the season, the cards are already pretty much in place.  Not a whole lot will happen in the time left before the race, and my only hope is that I'm smart enough to realize that for me, it's probably better to go into it being a bit more rested than trying to be a hero right now.

Nevertheless, even with this little illness, I'm feeling overall strong on the bike and looking forward to racing.  Getting back into endurance mountain biking this year has been great, my only wish being that I'd planned it over last winter instead of hopping on the wagon mid race season.  Still, it's great to be back doing something I love, and I'm super excited for what's to come next season.  There's a lot in the plans and when it's finally cemented, things are going to be lots of fun next year.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Maintenance Time!

Loyal readers (I know there is SOMEONE out there), as you can tell, we're doing a bit of upkeep on the blog.  Not sure what the final format will be, but this space will be changed to accommodate our most newest thoughts, ideas, and generally anything related to what it is we do-most notably, endurance mountain bike racing.

Both Anne and I will be posting here on a consistent basis.  Hopefully having a "partner in crime" on this blog will keep things up to date a bit more than they have been in recent past.  

Anyway, we're both looking forward to sharing some of our adventures and we hope that whoever is interested in reading about a crazy and wacky couple will enjoy it!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

So this is what it feels like...

Training hard on the bike(s) for the first time in I can't remember when.  It's not like i've been unfit in my time away from endurance training.  I've done plenty of strength training and trail riding.  I wasn't off the bike for anything more than a few days, but still, it was not focused, "time in the saddle" type training.

It feels good to be back. I'm still a bit hesitant though as I don't want to give up my (to me) much more fun trail riding, full of jumps, drops, and technical sections.  I will say though, there is an aspect to feeling very fit that drives me to push a bit more and scratch the itch of longer distance XC racing.

So the race schedule, even though small, looks right now that it will include 2 Xterra races (the first of which is next weekend), and a 6 hour endurance race in late November.  The Xterra's will be nice little tune ups, nothing overly long, just more for fun, with the 6 hour race being the focus.  The last time I did said race I came in fourth.  With the way things are going, I'll be disappointed with anything less than that.  My technical skills have grown in leaps and bounds, and by the time late November comes around, I'll be just as strong if not stronger from a fitness point of view than I was years ago when I raced.

One of the oddest things, from a training standpoint is how quickly my body has adjusted to riding for extended periods of time.  I've lost a pretty substantial amount of weight in the last few weeks, and I'm looking "skinny" like an endurance racer again.  When I last raced seriously, I was 168lbs.  This past spring I was tipping the scales at about 205lbs.  I'm not about 180lbs 'ish, and feeling faster by the day.   Fun to see that my body is following in line.  Almost as if saying, "Ok, if this is what we're gonna do..."

Equipment wise I'll be rocking a Niner Air 9 29er XC hard tail for my adventures.  It's odd riding such a big bike after being used to the long traveled, 26 inch wheeled variety for the last couple years.  While I enjoy the smaller wheels and the more cushioned ride much more (not to mention I feel like I ride those bikes much better), there is nothing better suited for XC riding and racing that a 29er, hands down.  I'm not going to say I love the big wheels, but it's a necessary evil for what I'm choosing to do.

So that's about it for now.  I've just been stuck into my training, working as much as I can, and trying to keep my wife happy. :-)  Hopefully the future will hold more time for writing and sharing some of my adventures as they happen.  Time to head into work!

Monday, July 1, 2013

Rest Day

Pretty self explanatory really.  Rested today.  Put together a solid three days of riding at the end of last week so, as my custom in the past, Monday is a day to catch up on life stuff and give the legs a rest in order to prepare for more training to come.  Did I totally need it today?  Probably not, but I think it's a good habit to get in the mode of taking at least one full day of rest-weather I feel I need it or not.

Tomorrow is back on the XC bike.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

False Start

Not exactly the start I wanted to get off to regarding my endurance training.  I've gotten in a couple good road rides the last few days, a sluggish run, and an ok weight training session, but my lack of adequate rest has already created a bit of a road block.  Simple fact is, you can't train what you don't recover, so I had to take a bit of a step back this morning and sacrifice good free time I planned to use for training in favor of getting some well needed rest.  Once I've got the sleep part of things figured out, I'm sure I'll hit the dirt spinning.

On an exciting note, I should be getting my new (new to me anyway) race rig tomorrow.  Though I said I'd never straddle another 29er, I'm getting a great deal on an Orbea Alma Carbon bike from a really good friend.  The frame is a smaller size that I'd usually ride, but in checking out the geometry and fitting standards on the Orbea website, it should just about fit.  Either way, the deal is so good it's not worth passing up, even if after getting it I need to make some other arrangements to get a larger frame.  Nothing like getting some new wheels!

Focus wise, it's really interesting swapping over, back to endurance.  The good thing, as I see it, will be that I'll be fitter for any downhill/enduro races that I do.  In addition, my bike skills are the best they've ever been, making for what will be an interesting combo if I can get my fitness back to where it used to be.  After my last stint in XC racing, I realized that though I was fitter than most other racers, my skill were seriously lacking.  In fact, that's what got me into the whole downhill thing.  I had so much fun trying to improve my skills for XC, I fell in love with DH and just kept it moving from there.  Now though, in deciding to pull off a piece of the pie from every angle, it's going to be a whole new ballgame.

At the end of the day, I'm just at my happiest when I'm riding bikes.  I've got a long travel bike, a dirt jump bike, and (soon to have) and XC bike.  Why in the world would I choose to limit myself to riding and racing just one???

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

And here I am again...

I can't even begin to share the adventures I've been through on this blog just yet.  Everything has been a blur for about the past three months but the speed seems to be slowing to a comfortable pace.  Things are getting settled and new adventures are on the doorstep of beginning.

I've decided to throw my hat back into the endurance mountain biking ring once again.  Following Anne around to all of her races has got the endurance bug biting me in the ass once again.  I won't go the triathlon route again just yet (not quite ready to get back into the water), but I'm excited to get back onto the bike and put in some miles in the dirt.  The plan isn't to focus ONLY on endurance though, as I'm still quite keen on racing enduro and downhill before this years season comes to a close.  Maybe it's silly to be a jack of all trades on the mountain bike, but I can't see (in my head anyway) any way in which I'd be at a specific disadvantage.  My bike handling skills are back up to snuff, and I've spent two years working almost exclusively on riding fast down hills.  Now I've just got to get back into that pedaling thing.

I'll write more as I've now begun "formal" training, and update more regularly before the first endurance race, the Wilderness 101 (NUE series)-which was oddly my last endurance race completed. Looking forward to the new journey!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

And the beat goes on...

Not much in the last days.  Great workouts and lots of "life stuff" going on.  Looking forward to the warm weather and FINALLY being able to spend some time with my beautiful fiancee Anne, who will be here on a visit while we wait for her visa to come through.  We haven't seen each other since January 3rd, so this reunion is well overdue.

Today will be a rest day from exercise, but not from cleaning and preparing the house for her arrival.  Women, funny as it may seem, often have a different definition of what constitutes a clean home.  Now that I'm closing in on my last moments as a bachelor, my window of chaotic living (my apartment being dirty) is coming to a fast close.  It's been a good run, but now it's time to harden up and CLEAN UP.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Such a busy day I forgot I worked out!

In these days of trying to grow my business and prepare for the future ahead, more times than not I'm trying to find inventive ways to fit in a workout in the midst of running back and forth from wherever to wherever.  Just about every day of this I remember my workout, not always because of how hard it was, but merely for the fact that it's a HUGE priority in my life and I ALWAYS make time for it.  Today though, the workout just sort of fit in.  It wasn't the "event" of the day, but rather just another cog in the machine of movement that went into making today what it was.

I had to get in something quick.  By the time I got into the gym I had about 30 minutes to not only warm up (which I almost never do), but also complete a tough workout, and get changed and ready to meet with my next appointment.  Long story short, after a quick warmup of some push ups, sit ups, and pull ups, I completed the following:

3 rounds of 2 minutes work, 1 minute rest of:
5 Burpees
5 Pull ups
6 Sandbag shouldering (alternating)
3 rounds of 2 minutes work, 1 minute rest of:
Sandbag getups, alternating sides on the "stand"

In comparison to the workout I did Saturday, this looks like nearly nothing (at least to me).  But, and that's a big "BUT", when done to max effort, this little nugget becomes quite the female dog.  It's easy enough to allow you (me) to continue work without interruption, yet tough enough to let you know you really did something by the end.  Also, it's convenient in the way that it takes up little time as well as uses little equipment.  Nothing but a pull up bar is necessary, and if that's unavailable, sandbag bent over rows can be substituted.  Simple, basic, and unconventional-everything that I believe in!

When I first found kettlebells I thought that would be it for me.  I loved them (and still do), but have found a real gem in sandbag training.  There's nothing else that I've ever come across in all my years of being in the fitness industry that challenges you in a similar way.  To me, sandbags are the closest thing to grappling (or wrestling) as you can get-and THAT, my friends, is one of the hardest things you can physically do.  When you actually "fight" another human being, you're bringing yourself to entire new levels of strength and conditioning.  It's no wonder that combat athletes are some of the fittest people in the world.  The human psyche, in most instances, doesn't quit.  Our survival instincts kick in and we're literally fighting for our lives.  Pain and "the burn" kind of become secondary when someone is trying to choke you unconscious.

So, with sandbag training, you're "fighting" that dead weight in a similar manner as you do when grappling.  It's moving an object that's got it's own idea of where it wants to go.  No dumbbell, barbell, or even kettlebell demands the absolute control of a sandbag.  While kettlebells are a close second, they are still second.  Long live king sandbag!

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Easter Nothing-day

First and foremost, Happy Easter! Now that that's out of the way...

Happily deciding to do no exercise today.  I got a bit cocky last night and blew things out of the water with a combined kettlebell/sandbag/bodyweight interval workout.  I piggybacked the workout from the website, an AWESOME site, focusing on unconventional training-something I'm hugely in favor of.  As I get into my 30's now (save the sighs for later), I'm putting more and more of a precedence on functional training and strength.  It's paying off as I've never felt more "all-around" fit before.

For years I've been focusing any training I do toward a specific athletic event.  Be it, ice hockey, lacrosse, football, MMA, triathlon, cycling, mountain biking-whatever, I've trained to mimic the movements in those sports and strengthen my performance on the field/trail/road/etc.  With my athletic career coming to a close (figuratively speaking-it's not like I'm getting paid to compete.  I'll compete for fun now and for the challenge, but I wouldn't say it's the overwhelming priority at the moment) I'm switching the focus to training for life.  Everything I do in the gym is dedicated to making me a healthier and happier individual for the LONG TERM.  For example, I lost a lot of strength when I concentrated on endurance sports.  Yeah I was strong on the bike/run, but I was no good at picking things up and putting them down.  Even if you're not a meathead, you've got to admit that many of the tasks we face each and every day in life involve picking up objects and putting them down.  It's inevitable.  Therefore, moving into a different phase of my life-one that will be focused more on building a life and family with my future wife, as well as all the things that come along with that, it's going to be important that I be a strong individual in ALL aspects, not just in riding a bike.

Going back to what I said before, never feeling so well-roundedly fit in my life is really defined as being a jack of all trades.  To me, the importance of physical strength, mixed in with stamina (or endurance) is huge.  Yeah, it's impossible (if you want to be at the highest level of either the endurance game or the strength game) to have both.  People will argue with me, but you've never seen a Kenyan marathoner in a powerlifting contest have you?  And likewise, you don't see those big dudes and girls in the Olympics with hundreds of kilos over their heads winning the local 5 or 10k right?  Anyhow, for the vast majority of us "regular" folk, having a good combination of both is perfectly achievable and in many more ways, much more of an advantage as we progress further in life.  Longevity is much more likely with a healthy body that can perform all the tasks put before it, than with a body designed specifically for one, and only one purpose.

Accordingly so, this is the workout that I did last night.  Again, it's one that has modified from an existing workout.  I added in some sandbag work to mix things up, as well as made it into an interval workout so that I could use my new Gymboss ( timer.  Sometimes new toys give you good ideas!  The workout is meant to be done Heavy and paced well.  DO NOT SUBSTITUTE FORM FOR WEIGHT!  Here goes:
5 rounds of 30 seconds at each exercise followed by 15 seconds of rest before moving on the the next.  Take 1-4 minutes to rest between rounds.  1 round consists of:
-2 Hand Kettlebell Swing
-1 Leg Alternating Deck Squats
-Sandbag Cleans
-Air (Hindu) Squats
-Double Kettlebell Cleans
-Alternating Low Lunges
-Kettlebell Figure 8 (Slingshots) to hold
-Sandbag Shouldering (Alternating)
-Clapping Pushups
-Kettlebell Snatch (left)
-Kettlebell Snatch (right)
-Long Cycle Double Kettlebell Clean and Jerk

All together this workout should be, if done to 5 rounds, 30 minutes of actual "work".  Of course your heart rate will stay up for the entire duration, and I won't get into the science of that, but if you're fit, you'll find the "work" to be WORK, and the "rest" to be REST.  You can adjust the rest periods accordingly (15 seconds can be more or less, that's just what I suggest and used), but remember that the idea here is heavy weight paced accordingly.  Again, if you're fit, the 15 seconds should be ample time in which to recover from the previous effort.

For me, this workout felt great.  I completed the 5 rounds in good shape and didn't feel overly cooked by the end.  This, of course, is a sign that I'm nice and fit.  I was honest with myself about the weights, actually surprising myself with the amount I could use for the duration of the workout.  I was fully prepared to be humbled with my original choice of weights, but was happy to find that I never broke form.

Today, as stated before, will be a rest day.  I pushed hard at times this week, taking my normal "once a week" rest day, but am feeling a bit more like I need another day in which to rest my body a bit.  These strength and conditioning workouts are much different than the traditional weightlifting and endurance work I've done the last few years, so I tend to be a bit more on the cautious side when programming my weeks.  In all, though, I'm stoked with where I am and looking forward to continuing this trend.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Keep Calm, Everything is Fine

Lots going on this past week.  Work, though not too busy is still the first "taker" of my time.  Of course not in a negative way, just a real way of leaving me with less time to pursue "hobbies".  Still managed to get a lot done, and with Anne coming in less than a week, this is a good thing.

There's some house-stuff to get done: Sheetrock, flooring, painting, and tiling all to get started, in addition to just THROWING SHIT OUT! It's all a big cleanse though, and having a chance to "begin" my life with someone who I love is a great motivating factor.  I've found in my life that when things really matter to me, they have a way of getting done in the timeliest of fashions.  Maybe there's something to that...

So, in an effort to keep this short (and God knows I've got enough to keep me busy and updating my blog isn't exactly one of them!), that's about all that's going on.  Lots of work to get done, trying to exercise, ride my bike, and skateboard if I can (although exercise IS a priority and time WILL be made for at least 30 minutes no matter what!).  So that is all.  It was a short one, but hey, at least I got one up here!

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

You know you're tired when...'re crankier than a 2 year old teething; you crave sugar all day; and all you want to do is sleep, even after getting a full night's sleep the night before.  I am all of the above today and have, in keeping with being smart (some of the time anyway), decided to take the day completely off from exercise.  That is, of course, with the exception of doing some "physical work" while teaching my kettlebell class later this evening.

If there's one thing I've found with the higher intensity weight training and unorthodox methods that I've been using lately, it's that you've got to make sure your programming is intelligent.  It's an absolute MUST that you layer workouts correctly and a MUST that you take ample time to recover.  The problem, in my opinion, with programs like CrossFit, is that they do not (in many cases) program accordingly.  Clients get burned out, injured, or just plain unmotivated to kill it every day.  For a highly motivated person, burnout might take longer, but regardless of anything, the body is going to break down.

I'm getting the hang of this myself.  As I alluded to in yesterday's post, I'm finding these high intensity workouts to be quite useful given my lack of time and general rushing around type of lifestyle.  Things will eventually settle down, but I'm learning a great lesson in terms of my own fitness goals.  I'm now more well rounded than I've been in a while-combining strength and muscle while still maintaining a certain (albeit less) level of endurance.  For me, and for my goals this season, it's a worthwhile compromises.  Enduro races combine the best aspects of DH racing and XC racing, all on the same mountain bike.  You'll ride a lot, so I'll need the "legs", but the real races is on the declines, and that's where the extra muscle will come in handy.

So all in all things are going good with my personal goals.  I've been big into making whole food juices (more on that in another post), and my diet in general has not been this good since I can't remember when.  I'm noticing much greater energy levels as well as recovering much better from these workouts. I'd always thought that protein was the most important part of muscle recovery, but now I'm convinced that on the whole, getting in veggies and fruits in ADDITION to solid protein is equally important.  When these stars align, things are gonna be groovy.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Sorry goes out to all two of my blog readers! It's not that there's been nothing happening, it's just that there's been TOO MUCH going on to actually concentrate on updating what I'm doing from day to day.  This bums me out a bit because I haven't been taking the time to exercise my brain-muscles and write as much as I'd like to-but it'll get least I hope!

I've really been killing things with work.  It's a funny thing, but when you get motivated and put your mind into something you enjoy and have a passion for, success is just a happy bi-product.  I love what I do and I love learning more and expanding my repertoire.  I've made the decision (as suggested in a very interesting blog I read on the RCK-Russian Kettlebell Challenge-website) to concentrate my personal training efforts on one specific form of exercise.  Due to my sports background and love of "skills" training, I've migrated to bodyweight training and "unconventional" methods and tools to get people fit in a "real world" sort of way.  Functional training is a term that's thrown out way too much in the fitness industry (one of those ever-happy BUZZ words people like to use but don't know the true meaning behind).  It's my belief that for true functional training, and training that will help you when the zombie apocalypse kicks off, unconventional methods such as sandbag, kettlebell, steel club, and sledgehammer training (in addition to a host of other "primal" things) will help you much more than any dumbbell, barbell, or fancy machine you'll find in your local health club.  Yeah, this isn't for everyone and I don't want it to be.  I'd much rather spend my time truly improving the quality of people's lives rather than helping them just to look good in a bikini by doing exercises that have little to no real world value.

The happy bi-product of all this wacky training-swining clubs, kettlebells, sandbags, etc-is that you not only get a great workout, but you get fit in a useful way.  And, of course, you WILL wind up getting an attractive and desired physique, based on the fact that you're using your body as it's MEANT to be used!  Pretty easy and simple to understand really.

So, as not to continue on my "Personal Training Manifesto", other than working and developing a new angle on my personal business, I've been changing my lifestyle as well.  With more work comes a bit less time to ride my bike.  I still have the desire to rock up to some races this season, so training time has to be utilized as effective as possible.  For me right now it's all about quality, not quantity.  I'm not actually getting out on the bike as much as I'd like, so using my sandbags, kettlebells, and other tools, I'm attempting to mimic the skills I'll need for riding and racing the specific races I'll be choosing.  There's absolutely no substitute for true trail riding, but some amount of fitness can be gained off the bike, and that's what I'm banking on.  Between the weather and my time constraints, I'm really only getting on the bike for a handful of hours a week.  I can usually fit in a good gym workout on most days, so combining those two facets of training must be spot on.  I'm not experiencing much of a decline in skills or fitness, so I believe I'm doing the job right.

That's really about it. Looking back at what I just wrote, it's a bit of a shock to believe I couldn't have updated this blog in over a month!  Didn't take much time and pretty much gave a decent summary of what I've been up to in less than 10 minutes!  Pure laziness!!!  Anyway, hopefully I'll get a bit more of a chance (and not be so lazy) to update thing a bit more. This blog has never been about people actually reading, but rather an outlet for me to get what's on my mind out into the universe.  Best to all!!!

Monday, February 11, 2013

Not to be a downer, but...

...snow sucks.  I know, I know, always keep a positive head, right?  Well I'm going to make one negative statement and then shut my mouth: Snow sucks!

Today, even though it was Monday, felt more like a Sunday than anything else.  Usually weekends are my time to recoup, get some good riding or other fun stuff in, and then get ready for my week ahead.  I'd imagine most of the population is similar in this way, so you know how I felt today when after a weekend of digging out and sleeping in the cold with no power I had to get back to work-somewhat..

It wasn't a crazy day at work, but the roads here are so bad that it makes everything just that much more difficult.  Really makes me miss the warm climate and blazing hot summer days of the time I spent in Spain this year.  Nevertheless, I saw a couple clients, had a bunch of others cancel, and ran some errands.

Physcially, today was more needed recovery from the digging and sloshing around. I don't think it was the actual work that killed me from the weekend, but rather not being able to sleep in a warm bed after Saturday's high level of exertion.  Aslo, I don't think drinking with the neighbors all week benefited me in the least when it came to recovery.

So today was just a simple hour long ride on the trainer, in addition to doing some more shoveling.  I managed to keep things exciting on the indoor ride by swapping out easy spinning on the trainer with harder efforts on the rollers.  Swapping back and forth between the two really made the time go by-nearly allowing it to be pleasurable.  I'm still amazed, even after having been away from doing indoor workouts like this for some time, that an hour inside seems to take FOREVER.  It's just so damned boring.  Getting it done, though, is a reward in itself.

Tomorrow I think I'm going to try and get back to a bit of strength training in addition to another hour or so ride on the trainer.  The trainer session (though I haven't designed it yet) will be a little more specific. I'm thinking of some longer intervals and decent rest time in between.  As for the strength session, I'm thinking all kettle bells and body weight.  Lots of push ups, pull ups, and good 'ole snatches, cleans, and jerks with the KB's.

Hopefully the next couple of days will see a return to some normalcy after all this snow.  Of course, just when it clears I'm sure we'll get another snow storm... Such is life!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

That was a bitch...

We got absolutely POUNDED with snow this weekend.  Blizzard "Nemo" as they have called it, smashed us every which way and wound up knocking my power out for the better part of 48 hours.  The town dealt with it sloppily, and I was stuck in a cold house trying to keep my dog warm as the inside temps hit close to 30 degrees.  The only good part was that my folks were able to get to the safety of the neighbors, with warm beds, warm showers, and plenty of booze and food (of which I must admit I enjoyed as well!)

Anyway, PRE-storm, I got in a great trainer workout on Friday night.  I guess that's actually DURING the storm technically, but I'll just call it my "pre" storm workout.  Basically I did a workout I used to do, mixing some endurance in with some short intervals-1 minute of work followed by 1 minute of "spinning" rest.  All in all it was only about an hour and a few minutes in the saddle, but damnit if it didn't hurt.  I'd forgotten how much a short time on the trainer could totally wreck you, provided you're working hard.  For a much as I'd rather be outside on the bike, I have to admit I was happy with the work done Friday night.

The next day, Saturday, exercise was dictated completely on how much shoveling there was to be done.  After getting 33 inches of snowfall, shoveling was ALL I did.  Admittedly, I LOVE shoveling.  I love the workout I get from it and I love the fact that you can really see the result of what you're doing as you're doing it.  A lot of my personal training philosophy lies in the idea that you should be "practicing" in the gym for real life.  In other words, what we do in the gym (i.e. lifting weights, swinging kettle bells, hoisting your body around) is preparation for what we may NEED to get done in the real world.  If you go to the gym and work out, but can't shovel your driveway without your back giving out, you need to readjust your thinking.  What are you doing?  And more importantly, is what you're doing going to help you when you're back is against the wall and you've got no other choice but to get out the shovel and move through a couple of feet of snow so you're family can get to someplace safe and warm.  In my eyes, I've got no respect for the people who just work out so they can look good in a bikini when they're on vacation.  They're wasting their time.

So, off my soap box, I was happy that I was able to get done some "real" work this weekend and not just practice.  Yeah, this weekend was hard.  I don't enjoy sleeping INSIDE and being able to see my breath, but in the end it's not that bad.  You get through it.  What matters now is that the power is back, my family is warm, and I can go to bed knowing that we made it through together and everyone did the jobs they needed to in order to get here.

Tomorrow will more than likely be another indoor ride on the trainer.  With the weather forecast we've got and the amount of snow that's fallen, I think it's going to be a bit before I'm riding outdoors again.

Thursday, February 7, 2013


I rode my bike today.  It rocked.  I felt good.  That is all.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Snow Ride Tuesday, Road Ride Wednesday

It was my birthday yesterday and to celebrate the occasion I took advantage of the light snow we got and ventured out to the trails with a couple buds.  One of the things I like a lot about racing the Enduro format of races this year is that I can still get in rides with friends that are slower than me.  Being able to relax and just pedal on the "regular" sections of trail and then focus my efforts on sprinting the downhills is great and, in my eyes, very conducive to enduro racing.  Sure, there's more to enduro racing and training than just 'sprinting the downhills',  but on days when I out with people who's skill and/or fitness level isn't up to par with mine, it makes the rides much more enjoyable.

The snow yesterday was about an inch or two and perfect for riding.  Nice and grippy, yet fluffy enough to throw up a nice roost if you hit the swoopy bits hard enough.  After getting over the initial cold hands, the three of us had a great, relaxed ride in some awesomely quiet and beautiful woods. Nice one for sure.

Today was a bit more 'training' focused.  Snow had continued to fall last night, so for all intents and purposes I fully assumed I'd be relegated to my first indoor trainer ride in God knows how long.  Waking up and heading into work, the roads were wet, icy, and not exactly good for riding, but as the day wore on, the sun came out, the temps came up, and the roads were good to go by around 2pm.  Happily I got in a short (90 minute), but hard ride with some "natural intervals" included.  I say "natural" because I just went hard when I felt good, and spun when I felt like I wanted to spin.  I like to keep things pretty fluid and unstructured, especially this time of year and especially with this type of racing.

For the first time since I got the road bike, I felt truly strong today-back like how I used to when I was racing XC.  I'd say the biggest difference between my strength then and my strength now is that I'm a bit more hefty these days then I was then.  I feel the extra weight, of course, on the climbs, but also in the way that once I get going I keep going.  In other words, there's a lot of power in these here legs, it's just applied slightly different with the extra 20+ pounds on my frame.

From a bike riding standpoint, the rest of this week is in limbo.  The weather over the course of the next few days is going to be unpredictable, with a chance of a "major" storm hitting us on Friday.  Allegedly, we're going to get anywhere between 2 and 38 inches of snow!  Either this is a freaky weather system or the weatherman is getting lazier by the minute.  I'll try to stay on my toes, check the forecast frequently, and be at the ready with either bike to get in some saddle time.  Otherwise, and more likely, it's back to the gym with me for a bit more frequency over the next week.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Make-up Monday

So for whatever lack of motivation I had yesterday, I was all in for some good exercise today.  The day started bright and early for me with a 4am wake up and a 5am first appointment.  Having been the day after the Super Bowl you can guess I didn't get much sleep.  Three and a half hours to be exact.  Still slugged some coffee and got the day underway.

Originally, I had planned on doing another road session today, but because of time slipping away from me (thankfully from being busy with WORK, hence "making money"), I opted for a last minute, race the sun mountain bike ride.  As I've explained in the last few posts, I've been trying hard to get out on the trails, but with weather and trail conditions not working in my favor, I haven't been able to make much of my fat-tired best friend.  So, with that in mind, I jumped at the chance to get in the dirt this afternoon-and almost forgot how stoked I am to be riding my mountain bike!  I've been so 'stuck' in training mode for the last couple weeks (really since getting my new road bike) that I nearly forgot how rad riding my mountain bike is.

I'm not going to go back on what I said about riding on the road, and how great it is to have rediscovered it, but I will say that riding a mountain bike-particularly a 6 inch travel bike-allows you to be creative like no other bike.  Yeah, you could rock up on a 200mm downhill bike and be creative going down hill, but it's not going to allow you the versatility of climbing rather efficiently, hoping up step-ups, skidding over wed roots, and generally getting to the top almost as good as a straight up XC bike.  I've missed this creative side of riding, and I'm so excited to have it back, if only for a day in between "getting fit" again for race season.

And that's about all she wrote for today.  I'm tired, I'm spent, and I'm ready for bed.  I've got another early start tomorrow (my birthday) before I hopefully get out on my road bike in the afternoon.  Let's hope all goes as well and as smoothly as it did today!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

(Not Exactly) Super Sunday

I've done no exercise today.  Apart from some practice skateboard tricks in my bedroom (yes, I said "bedroom") I've done nothing physical.  I had plans on riding today, yes.  And as mentioned yesterday, those plans included getting out on the trails, but by the time I was able to get out, they would have been soupy, muddy, and just generally shit.  Ride the road then, you say?  Well, because of the snow, they were a mucky, salty, sandy mess.  The above freezing temps of the day served to make things pretty crappy.  Not exactly conducive to anything I really wanted to do today.

I could have found the motivation to hit up the gym and lift weights.  I could have even found the motivation to get a kettlebell workout in at home.  The fact is, I didn't feel like doing much of anything. I slept well for the second night in a row, and that was enough.  Today has been designated an impromptu rest day, and that's all I have to say about that.

Tomorrow is another day and I'll be excited and ready to rock and roll again.  I WILL NOT get into the same cycle of forced training that I've always subjected myself to in the past.  I'm going to have fun with it and push nothing (well not exactly "nothing" but you get the idea).

Anyway, let the Superbowl festivities begin!!!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Ride and 'Bells

Kind of a lazy start to the day workout wise.  I slept like an absolute ROCK last night.  The two prior nights I'd slept about a total of 8 hours so I was due.  I usually don't have consecutive nights of bad sleep, nevertheless anything really less than about 6 or 7, so I suppose I was due.

Again, I'm going to say, as much as I would never have imagined it, I'm really loving getting back into a 'training' mode again.  Hard physical work on the bike feels good, and even though I'm only a shadow of what I was the last time I was serious about riding on the road, it'll come back and I'm already feeling it.  It's only a matter of time before I start getting my kick back and really putting down some serious power.

I haven't been riding off road much, though tomorrow I will.  The trails should be back to normal for this time of year-frozen and fast.  I'd love to get up to some of the better riding upstate in the actual "mountains", but I'll make due with what we've got here on the sandbar that is Long Island.

After the ride this afternoon (which was about an hour and a half-I got a flat about 20 minutes in that forced me to shorten things because I was losing daylight) I got in a great strength workout with my kettlebells.  The sets were as follows:

2 sets of 5 reps of:
Cleans with 2, 24 kg bells
Clean and pushpress w/ 32kg bell
Long cycle Clean and Jerk w/ 2, 24kg bells
40 continuous one arm snatches w/ 1 24kg bell

All strength and all good.  I'm working a lot on my grip technique.  As I've moved into the "heavier for me" bells, I've found that my grip sucked.  I've been constantly ripping blood blisters and calluses on my palms-not good if you want to work on longer, endurance sets.  To combat all this, I've focused a lot on the "hook grip", using my thumb and index finger to do a lot of the actual grip work while the other three fingers on each hand concentrate on stabilizing the bell as it rotates.  It's more difficult that it looks, and requires actually letting go of the bell in mid flight as you re-grip.  Like all things kettlebell, it just takes patience and practice.  I'll get it, just have to keep working.

So that's it for today.  Sitting down to enjoy a nice beer (or 4) and watch the UFC.  Tomorrow I'll try and get my ride on the trails before sitting my ass down AGAIN to watch the Superbowl.  Not a bad weekend by any means.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Tapping Out

Ok, so yesterday I put up this great post about how I was going to stick with the "big boy" gearing of my standard crank and 11-23 cassette for my road bike.  I was talking all this smack about how I'll just get used to it and since, back when I was strong, I was riding that gearing easily, I was just going to go with it.  Well screw that!

I decided to take a recovery spin today and realized that with that gearing there was no such thing as a recovery spin.  My legs might have been fresh yesterday, but damnit if they weren't tired as dead wood today.  So, with my tail between my legs, I'm admitting to being a meat-headed pedal masher and succumbing to the lighter gear setup.

Maybe I was a bit too ambitious and maybe I thought I was stronger than I was, but at this point in my newly re-discovered like for road riding, I'm just not up to pushing gears that big.  My knee started to hurt a bit and my legs felt like they were dead.  I had no pop, no get up, and certainly no go.  It's the right decision, it's just a little humbling having to make it.

Because of my lack of money, as well as my desire not to let anything go to waste, I'm gonna go back to the 12-27 cassette for the time being.  If I had the cash, I'd spring for something like an 11-25, but for the moment, I'll just have to deal with it.  At the end of the day, 12-27 isn't such a bad gearing, and still affords me plenty of range to push things when I want to, or lay off and spin up hills when I need to.

As for my ride today, it was nice.  A little to hard but nice.  Temps were just above freezing and the wind was howling, but it was nice to be on the bike even with the cold weather.  I'll probably wind up riding again tomorrow on the road, and then hopefully enjoy a nice, snowy mountain bike ride on Sunday.  We're looking at getting a dusting to 2 inches of snow, which will be perfect on the already frozen ground.  I'm looking forward to getting back on the mountain bike and back on the trails, but right now the priority is getting fit again-meaning plenty more road miles to come.

I've been a little lazy in the gym this week.  Work and life stuff have just taken so much of my time up, and getting back into regular riding had got me pretty tired-moreso than usual.  I'll take this week as an "off" week from the gym, and start back to hitting it hard again next week when, hopefully, my body is a bit more acclimated to everything.  I need to stay healthy and injury free, so being careful is the name of the game right now-at least that's the plan anyway.  I'm sure I'll find a way to push it again!

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Road Bike Thursday

I should just label this week "Road Bike Week" and call it a day.  The trails are a soupy mess as a result of the crazy bipolar temps we've been experiencing, so really, the only choice is to go with the lycra and skinny tires.  Not that I'm complaining though, I'm thoroughly enjoying my time back on the saddle of a road machine.

Today was about a 90 minute ride, high on power output with less spinning.  I don't want anyone to think I'm actually training though.  The resultant 'high power' ride from today came at the expense of changing the gearing on my bike.  You see, the stock crank and stock cassette was a Compact, 50/34 chainring set, and a 12-27 cassette.  I'm not saying that I'm putting out pro-level power, but I do happen to be a very strong rider and at my strongest rode a setup of a standard 53/39 crank and an 11-23 cassette.  Coincidentally, that's exactly what I set the bike up with today.  I pulled the stock crank off, threw on a sweet "new to me" Dura Ace (bought from my good buddy at the bike shop for a shockingly low price), and stuck with the 11-23 cassette I'd put on there when I was trying to make the compact crank useful.

Again, back when I was strong (and not to mention about 30lbs lighter!) I was killing it with this setup around here.  The rolling hills were no match for my legs, and I had no problem riding that gearing.  Today however, after a year plus off the road bike, I'm strong, and can still push those gears, but have a much smaller amount of muscular endurance.  The good news is, I wasn't too beat up by the end of the ride and actually finished much stronger than when I started.  The bad news is it was only a 90 minute ride and I've got some work to do before I get out there and start riding hard.  My plan for the bike now is to keep the gearing as is, and keep my intensity low and work on building up my endurance.  I'm not all into the fancy, scientific training thought right now, I just reckon if I ride more I'll get strong, even if the gearing is a bit steep for me at the moment.

Overall it's been a good week back on the road.  The weather's been cooperative and looks like it will be for the next few days.  The temps both yesterday and today were unseasonably warm and nice, but it'll all get back to winter starting tomorrow and going through the weekend.  I'm hoping to get a mountain bike ride in by the weekend, and if things go well perhaps both Saturday and Sunday I'll get the chance.  If the temps can stay below freezing, the mud should freeze up nicely and give us some great, hard, and fast trails to enjoy.

Road Ride Wednesday

With the temps reaching Spring-like proportions, it was anything but silly not to go out for a ride on the roads yesterday.  Yeah, there was a lot of much and sand on the roads-probably a little bit of salt out there too, remaining from the snow over the past weekend-but who the hell cares when you can go out in long sleeves, knee warmers, and glove-less?

Like I've stated before, I got the "bug" to ride the road again.  After picking up the new road bike and enjoying the warmth yesterday, I'm stoked to be getting fit and riding on the road again.  I'm not going to lie, in no way, shape or form do I get the same "rush" riding on the road as I do bombing down a rocky, rooty trail, but it is somehow therapeutic and very satisfying to be rolling along and just pedaling.  There's the sound of the tires on the road as well as the sounds that you don't hear from the bike.  It's just smooth and fast.  Power from your legs goes directly into the bike and from there in to the road.  There's no suspension to suck some power, and not jostling of the bike to get around obstacles.  What you put down is what you get out of each pedal stroke.  Without getting too poetic about it, things are just simple on the road: You pedal and you go.  That's about it.

I say all this keeping in mind that mountain biking is still (and probably always will be) my preferred style of riding-particularly Enduro style riding. I love the aspect of having to pedal to the top only to get to bomb the descents.  Getting through rocks, roots, mud, drops, and other obstacles is what makes things for me on two wheels more enjoyable than anything else.  But, and it's a big BUT, there's something to be said about the road.  Even though I spent most of the last year discrediting everything "roadie" (see lycra, shaved legs, etc.), it's pulled me back in like a drug.  Having the right mix of both will, in all likelihood give me a balance I've missed out on most of my athletic life.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Rest Day

Some days you just have to much shit to get done to worry much about working out.  Today was one of those for me.

From 5am onward, I've been moving and moving and moving.  Personal training clients, doctors appointments, bootcamp classes to teach, and the list goes on...  I like these days because usually it means I'm being productive.  Usually it means I'm making some money and getting things done-but today I somehow wound up spending more money than I earned.  Hate days like that.

On a good note, the temps have warmed up a bit and the weather is looking nice for a good road ride tomorrow.  I'd love to get out the mountain bike for a trail ride tomorrow, but A)the trails are going to be a soupy mess, and B) I need to continue to build up my fitness.  I haven't dropped many pounds yet since the holidays (which is perfectly fine at this time of year), but I need to keep my head down and keep plugging away so that when the Spring and races come, I'll be fit and ready to go.

On ANOTHER note my stomach hurts so bad from the sit ups I did yesterday, I thought I was coming down with the stomach flu when I woke up this morning.  Alas, what I thought were stomach cramps was actually just DOMS.  Kind of a good feeling to know that I worked hard enough to have to "stretch" to actually stand up straight, but at the same time kind of sucks to know that I haven't been keeping up enough with my abdominal work that it hurts so bad after just 100 sit ups.  Still, I'm encouraged.

Finally, I'm really getting stoked on skateboarding again.  It's been a good 10 plus years since I actually attempted a trick or two, but I'm picking things up again and it's a fun and creative way to goof around when I'm not trying to be serious about fitness.  I think it's a necessary evil to have some kind of an outlet that's not "fitness related" when your pushing the envelope training for a particular sport.  It's nice to be able to concentrate on creativity but still be somewhat physical at the same time.  I will say though that I wish I'd played soccer in school-makes me think I might have a bit more coordination with my big as floppy feet if I did!

Tomorrow is a bit more of a relaxing day and one in which I can concentrate a bit more on riding and getting back in the saddle.  It's going to be warm and rainy-a nice Spring-like day.  Looking forward to turning the cranks!

Monday, January 28, 2013


I was going to make this a hate-filled, negative post about what I hate in the gym and the humility that is non-existent in so many parts of life, BUT, I thought better and realized that it's all about the positivity that we spread in the world.  Karma is a real thing and if you're positive in the way you live your life, you welcome positive things, events, people, etc. in as well.

So instead, I'll just talk about my workout today.  In an effort to get my strength back I've been hitting the weights pretty hard.  And, because of this, I've caused myself to plateau a bit-which isn't a bad thing, just a regular occurrence in any training program.  To me, it's these plateaus that allow us to learn and progress in the end.  The key is to know what to do when you reach it and to have the guts and discipline to actually do what you should (i.e. rest, recover).

I've been dead lifting a lot of weight lately, getting my 5 rep max up to 335lbs.  This by no means is 'world class' or even close to where I used to be.  But, it is a step in the right direction and I'm happy with the results I've achieved.  After my last dead lift day, however, I was spent and wasted physically for about 3 days.  No good.  Because of this, I took a step back for this week  on the weights side of things, and am concentrating in stead on "feeling" my way through workouts and not trying to be Superman.

Today, I did the following, all with a 32kg kettle bell:
Warm up-1 and 2 arm swings and shoulder stretches
Then- 2x5 of one arm:
Long Cycle Jerk
Snatch (I actually did 3X5 of this because it felt so good)
Then- 5 rounds of:
10 Push ups
20 Sit ups
10 Strict Pull Ups w/full range of motion-starting each rep from a dead hang
2x5 1 arm Front squats on each arm with the kettlebell.

On the volume end of things this workout was just about perfect.  The strength work in the beginning was all quality, and the bodyweight stuff in the middle (push ups, etc.) was great-tiring, but great.  I threw the front squats in at the end for shits and giggles, as well as to round out the workout and give my legs something to do.  A workout like this is perfect all around and can be done in about 45 minutes providing that you're giving yourself ample time to rest in between sets of the strength work in the beginning.  I'm a big fan of resting fully between lifts like snatches, cleans, and jerks, so a lot of the time spent in the gym today was spent pacing in between that early stage of the workout.

I'm trying, also, to keep my lifting volume to a minimum this week and focus solely on strength and quality movements.  For the past few weeks I've spent too much time trying to tire myself out from gym workouts and have expectantly seen a slight decrease in my performance.  It's important to remember that the gym is a place where you build strength, not tear it down.  Working too hard or with too much emphasis on volume is a surefire way to see performance dip and then continue to decline until you decide to train properly.  From this point onward I'll worry about tiring myself out on the bike, not in the weight room.

Tomorrow, hopefully, will be another day on the bike.  I'm not sure if it's going to be on the road or on the trails though, because of the crappy snow and rain we've had the last 24 hours.  My guess is that the trails will be a sloppy mess of half frozen dirt and slush.  Hopefully one way or another the bike I ride will be decided for me by the elements, because I'm so stoked on both right now it'll be hard to decide.

Ahhhhh.... Now that felt much better than being all negative.  :)

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Bug

I got the road riding bug again.  I mentioned it in an earlier post this week, but I woke up this morning once again thinking of going out for a road ride.  It's cold, miserable, and the roads are shit full of sand and salt from Friday's dusting of snow, but for some reason all I wanna do is bundle up and push the pedals.

It's funny how things go in (pardon the pun) cycles.  I have, personally, about a 2 year attention span when it comes to sports.  Since I stopped playing lacrosse-my longest run at a sport, spanning nearly 20 years-I've been hopping around and back to different sporting endeavors.  From Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, to Triathlon, to Mixed Martial Arts, to road cycling, to downhill mountain biking, I've pretty much done everything I can do on two wheels.  Even now, getting into dirt jumping and some small attempts at trials and street riding on my dirt jump bike, I've had a hand in everything.  Hell, I even started skateboarding again.  Then, if you combine all that with the fact that I'm back into being a gym rat again, you'll probably figure out that I'm just an activity junkie.  And honestly, I can't say that I'm the type to sit still for all too long.  I need to be on to something, have some kind of interest, and more times than not it has got to be physical.

So what's the lesson in all of this?  What is the take away that I can use to improve my life and learn a lesson?  I don't know.   At times I feel like this addiction to switching things up has been a downfall of mine.  I get just good enough at something to really give it a go, but then I grow tired of it and things turn stale.  Just at the point where I'm about to advance to the highest level I can achieve, I burn out.  I'm not psychologist, and I honestly don't believe there is a deeper meaning in any of this, but I'm sure that someone sitting me down on a couch would say that I'm a non-commital person.  Maybe so, in the sporting part of my life anyway, but I think the real meaning behind this is that I'm just a very "interested" person.  I see something cool and I want to do it.  Sure there have been times in my life when I would have liked to master something, but at the end of the day, what's the big deal?  I can have just as much fun being proficient in something, and maybe even more, than if I spent months and years of my life trying to perfect just one thing.

The idea of perfection and mastery is deep rooted in our culture.  We're told to look at all the great thinkers, performers, and especially athletes and try to emulate what we see in them.  Why?  Why can't we just learn different skill sets enough to experience the joy in each and then find the next thing?  After all, those skills will be there when we want to call on them again-maybe a bit rusty but they'll be there.  I'm not saying we should just strive to be mundane, rather, we should strive to be well rounded.  Learn different skills, ask different things from different aspects of your personality.  Not everyone has to be Michael Jordan or Tony Hawk.  It's ok to be the "other" guys (or girls), just make sure you're having fun while you're at it.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Not Up for Much

Kinda wound up spinning my wheels a bit today.  I guess it's probably from being a little overzealous this past week with my training.  It's dawned on me that I'm going to have to go a little less hard in the gym if I'm going to want to give it a go on the bike for this race season.  My endurance on the bike has always been a strength, so I'm not too concerned with that at the moment.  The nature of enduro racing being what it is-with high intensity periods followed by low intensity periods-is forcing me to think about my training differently than in the past when I was just an endurance racer.

So far, my training has been high intensity, really hard but short gym sessions.  My thought is to have most of my intensity come from that early on, and then start to incorporate specific hard sessions on the mountain bike once the season comes closer.  I say "season" more referring to the Spring right now as I've yet to plan any actual races.  The planning part will have to come a bit later when Anne and I can sit down and figure out what races are going to work where in our calendars.  Her races have a higher priority than mine, so we'll have to plan accordingly.

Back to training, I'm toying with the notion of cutting my gym sessions from about 5 a week to 3 a week and ramping up my riding volume.  Last week, I did a couple double day sessions that worked well, but left me tired and quite fatigued.  I think it's best if I let my fitness come around first before doing too many 2-a-days.  Also, while you can compliment what you do on the bike with what you do in the gym, there's really no substitute for getting in good saddle time.  Spending about 3 solid sessions on the road and the rest on the mountain bike working skills should be a good plan moving forward.

The ride today wound up being a little more of a "fun and adventure" ride than anything else.  We got about an inch of fresh snow covering the trails from last night's snow that provided quite a bit of fun.  I haven't ridden in the snow in ages, so getting my wheels underneath me required a little bit of patience. Also, having not really ridden in the cold for over a year didn't give me the best idea of what to wear when the temps were well below freezing.  The long and short of it was that I dressed too little and got cold early.  It's tough to come back from being cold nearly as soon as you start, but I did my best to get in what I could.  Tomorrow is another day and I plan on getting in some more quality riding time then.

One other thing that has been on my mind a lot has been rest.  I posted a few days ago about making sure I get proper rest, and since I haven't been terrific in doing so.  I've done alright to get a good nights sleep, but there are other things such as foam rolling, stretching, and getting to bed even earlier that I could be actively doing but I'm not.  Also, my diet still needs to be gotten under control, and that's something I have absolutely no excuse about.  I've always got the "tomorrow" idea going in my head, but it's just something I've got to take the bull by the horns and control for myself.  After all, no one can have more control over what I shove in my mouth than I do!

Friday, January 25, 2013

Overdun it a bit...

I got in my disciplined 'rest' day the other day, and that was good.  Yesterday I woke up with a migraine but still pushed myself to do hill reps for 50 minutes on the road bike followed by a light but intense kettlebell workout later in the evening.

The hill reps went fine.  Hard, but fine.  On my new bike I have a compact crank (50 teeth on the big ring and 34 on the small), something I've never used before but am experimenting with.  The original cassette on the bike was a 12-27, something that would have been a bit too 'spinny' for me with even a standard crank, but with the compact it's just way too small.  I got a new 11-23 cassette from a friend and put it on the bike yesterday before the hill reps and it seemed just about right.  I'm still gaining back a lot of my power on the road, but this particular cassette is just about what I want to be on when I'm riding with the compact.  It shifts smoothly and I don't get a lot of gaps inbetween gears.  I'm not a huge math guy, so I can't give out exact ratios and whatnot, I just know that it feels just about right and just about what I'm used to.  

For the kettlbell workout I went with something I'd done last week (see the 1-2-3-4-5 workout I posted last week) but scaled the weight down using two 16 kg bells instead of two 24 kg's.  That's a HUGE difference and allowed me to save some energy and just work on my lungs and heart with that particular workout.  Oh, and while I kept the 1-2-3-4-5 scheme the same, I did do the following changes (kind of on the fly):
Renegade Row
Pull Up

I like throwing the burpee and the pull ups in there to spice things up a bit and 'get away from just holding onto the kettlebells the entire workout.  Part of the reason for doing it while holding the bells the entire time is to work on grip strength, but with only the 16 kgs of bells I used yesterday, I didn't really think it would benefit me much.  Rather, I thought I could work in some other stuff and give the workout a bit more variety.  Seemed to work out well.

I started this post this morning and now, by this evening, I forgot what the hell I was writing about and I'm too lazy to go back and actually read through what I wrote.  Anyway, I finished the day off with a light, recovery-ish ride in the cold.  I've really got the bug back when it comes to road riding, and it's been a great way to not only pursue my fitness and potential racing goals for the upcoming season, but also a wonderful new rediscovery of something that was very important to me.  Yeah, riding mountain bikes will always be my number one, but there's a certain calmness that comes from just turning the cranks and riding in a straight line.  Nothing is more fun than jumps, berms, roots, and rocks, but there's certainly something to be said about the smooth liquidity with which a road bike moves.  The efficiency and the low hum that you get from your tires moving on the pavement.  Again, it won't take over as number 1 in my eye, but it sure is a close second.  Road bike, my friend, it's good to have you back.

The weather tomorrow is going to determine what I'll do for exercise.  The forecast calls for snow overnight and if that's the case it would be great to get out on the mountain bike and hit the trails before it's gone.  I'm not a HUGE fan of the snow, but riding in 2 inches of fresh powder is super fun-just as long as it doesn't turn to slush and mud.  Either way, I'll find a way to ride or lift.  Gonna be a good weekend.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

I did it!

Not exactly the groundbreaking "I did it!" as in finished a specific race, or achieved some amazing goal, but I did manage to stick to my plan and actually REST yesterday instead of training myself further into the hole of being dead tired.  I even got to bed a bit earlier than the last few nights, so I guess that's the cherry on top of everything.

Today is going to be played by ear.  The temps are super low here and have been for the last couple days, so it's going to be tough to harness the motivation to get out on the bike-either road or mountain.  If I am to ride I'm leaning a bit more toward the road, but only because it's "new" to me again and I'm enjoying something a bit different.  

I woke up today with what I think is a migraine I had in my sleep last night.  It's one of those "grab you on the side of the head" type of headaches that hurts only with sudden movement or exertion.  Coffee's helped a bit, but I think if I can get a chance to get out into some fresh air and move my legs a bit I might be feeling better.

If I do opt for some gym work, it'll probably be a light kettlebell session.  I've been lifting quite heavy of late with the 'bells, and while it's making me into a beast, it's also breaking down my body a bit more than I'd like.  I deadlifted very heavy this past Saturday and I can still feel it-not in pain or injury, but rather in a shock to my central nervous system.  Today I think is the first day I'm fully recovered and I don't want to push any buttons to slow down my strength building process.  

Regardless of the type of exercise or "training" I do today, there will be some physical movement involved with this body today.  Maybe a sub-freezing ride on the cold roads is just what I need right now to get my motor going.  We'll see.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013


I'm gonna rest today.  I swear.  No exercise, not even a "recovery" spin.  Nothing physical other than what I have to to at work and what I've got to do at home.  Chores as they're usually referred.

I read somewhere that rest is over 50% of the puzzle when it comes to training and general fitness.  In my experience, this has been true more times than not.  I, like all athletes, have refused rest, pushed my limits, and often gone overboard with training.  It's not because of some internal need to be better (well, in some cases it might have been), but in thinking about it, the incidence of such overtraining is much more related to the fact that it "feels good".  Yeah, at a point in my life, I had goals-be them weight loss, muscle building, going faster on my bike, etc-but it all comes down to the fact that I feel better after a hard workout, and especially when I'm in a fatigued state.  In my sick head, I don't feel that I'm doing anything relevant, physically, I've I'm not spent by the end of the day.  And the cherry on top is when I'm pleasantly sore the day after a hard weight workout.

As I've shifted my focus more and more into the gym and lifting weights these days, it's easy to get carried away.  As well, the feeling of soreness is easier to achieve, further pushing me through the revolving door of being over trained and under rested.  I'm at the point now where I'm seeing changes in my sleeping patterns because I'm too wired from my workouts to settle into a good night's rest.  I've GOT to work on this and today will be the day.

As I started this post, I HAVE to rest today.  There's no other option.  No easy ride on the rollers and certainly no "fun" and "light" kettlebell session.  This day will be all about healthy eating, sitting when I can, laying down when I can, and even taking a nap if it's possible.  For as hard as I've been pushing my body, I owe it a little bit of a layoff-at least for 24 or so hours.

Monday, January 21, 2013


I've found through the years that the more motivated I am in my own training the more I write on this page, the more I finish things I started in my personal life, and overall, the better I feel.  There's something to be said about being organized, and in life, like in sports, the one who's got the most specific plan is usually the one that succeeds.

I decided to throw my hat back into the racing ring.  It's not that I had been pondering it for long hours, or losing sleep over it.  Rather, I got myself a road bike, remembered that I'm not a bad bike rider, and thought, "Why the hell not?"

I'm getting married in the next few months and my beautiful wife-to-be competes as a professional athlete.  In every way, she motivates me to be a better man-a "superhero" in my own movie.  She's awesome on so many levels and athletics is just a small part of that.  Seeing the focus that she brings to her workouts gives me chills.  Laser-like precision would be an understatement.  With that in mind, I decided if I could harness just a bit of that, I might have some success of my own.

It's not wholly that I'm getting back into racing for success.  I want to be competitive again to have a goal, a focus.  I love riding bikes and I love being fit.  Why not combine the two and throw in the objective goal of racing?  Seems to me like a pretty straight shot and one that I've done before.

So what does this all mean?  I don't exactly know but I'm excited.  When I think about my training I get the willies and the tingling excitement that I haven't felt in a long time.  Having a plan is awesome, but having something to shot for (i.e. a race) is even better-at least for me.

So here's to another (my second in a row!) week of being back in training mode.  Let's hope I rock this week just like I rocked the last!

Sunday, January 20, 2013

One of the hardest workouts I've done to date

And I'm not kidding.  This was the mother of all "short and painful" workouts.  As I've stated before, I'm not a big fan of crossfit, and I don't condone most of the workouts they put together.  While the following workout is "crossfit-esque" it's much more of a thought out plan, staying strict with movement and keeping the volume low on olympic type lifting.  This is what I did yesterday:

Warm up- Range of motion ballistic movements.  Light kettle bells and light deadlifts.

Main- HEAVY dead lifts for 2 sets of 5 reps.  Plenty of rest taken between sets and form had to be just as good on the last rep as on the first.

Then- 1-2-3-4-5 reps with 2 24kg Kettle Bells of: Clean/Squat/Jerk/Man Makers
      This portion of the workout was done for example, on the 3rd set, 3 cleans, 3 squats, 3 Jerks, 3 man makers.  (1 man maker is a push up on the kettle bells straight into one repition of a row-in push up position-on both arms....*note: a "true" man maker includes a clean and push press/jerk after the rows are completed on each arm)

Then- 2 sets of 10 one arm Kettle Bell snatches on each arm with the 24kg bell.

The thing that made this workout hard was not the heavy dead lifts, but the 1-2-3-4-5 of the clean/squat/jerk/man makers set.  Two 24kg kettlebells get real heavy real quick, but because of the low rep counts, you're able to keep the form good while blowing out your entire body.  At no point in the set was I so fatigued that my form suffered, rather my heart and lungs were screaming out!  This fits my philosophy of training quite well, and it's something that I'll use not only with myself, but with my clients.

This was just one small part of my workout week, but a really important one.  I've been striving to gain strength and the dead lift is my most important tool for doing so.  In the weeks since I've started (about 5 or 6) I've improved drastically and gained back much of the strength I had when I weighed 250 lbs, but without the bulk now at 198lbs.  I plan on riding my bike and racing a bit this summer, so while keeping my weight down isn't the most important thing, it is a big consideration.

As for today, it's a toss up.  The weather is beautiful so I'm thinking a road ride might be in my best interest.  It's going to be cold this coming week so I'd rather spend that time in the woods where it's warm rather than on the windy pavement.  No matter what, though, a ride is going to happen for sure today!

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Body Weight Fun!

I've stated this before, but I'm NOT a fan of Crossfit.  I am, however, interested in some of the things they do with bodyweight exercises.

In every way, I LOVE body weight exercise-squats, push ups, pull ups, sit ups, jumps, etc.  You can do anything you want, any way you want, and get a great workout without going to a gym, investing in equipment, or risking injury (more times than not).  In regard to Crossfit, while I'm strongly against many of the "weighted" workouts they do-forcing athletes to perform high volume workouts with exercises that were never meant to include more than 5 repetitions-I am, however, a big fan of what they do with bodyweight exercises.  Using your own body weight to do timed and/or high volume exercise is a great way to push yourself while avoiding serious injury.  Doing timed deadlifts makes you an idiot, but doing timed rounds of push ups, pull ups, sit ups, and the like, makes you tough, hard, and in many ways, a better athlete than the next.

So, in keeping with my beliefs, I did a workout today containing the following:

Warm up:
Playing around with a light kettlebell.  With this, I concentrated on warming up my shoulders, back, legs and chest.  Plenty of ballistic movements to get the blood flowing.
5 rounds for time of:
5 Pull ups (strict-full extension)
10 Push ups
15 box jumps (24 inch box)
20 sit ups
400 meter run

I've done this one once before.  It's my modification of a Crossfit workout.  I like it because it forces you to use every part of your body in explosive ways, while still challenging you aerobically.  Done correctly, it's not a sprint, but more of a paced session.  I get the same "feeling" from this workout that I'd get from running a hard 5k.  It's difficult if you push yourself, but not so hard that you'll be throwing up.

In the end it took me about 20 minutes to complete which was right about where I wanted to be.  Not too fast, not too slow.  Felt good and tired, but not so much so that I'd ruin the rest of my day being too exhausted to move.

Great workout, great day, and great life.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Back at it

It's been a while since I've had consistent postings here.  I feel like the "blog world" on the internet is declining.  Maybe among some folks it's still super popular, but for me it's been something that I'll get to from time to time, more often forgetting or neglecting to post rather than sit down for 10 minutes to share the experiences from my day.  While I'm not promising that I'll update this blog every day, or even every week, it will remain a place where I share my thoughts and experiences as well as a place to get things off my chest.

With that being said, I had a fairly big event in my life occur yesterday.  No, I didn't get married yet (though that's only month's away at this point!!!), but more simply, I got another road bike.  Back in the Spring of last year, I sold my one and only trusty road bike before I went to stay in Spain with Anne for the summer.  It was a decision I later came to partially regret, not because I didn't get what I felt was appropriate for the bike, but rather because I lost a part of my love for cycling in that sale.  The truth is, I got completely burned out on riding the road, so much to the point that I completely discounted anything road-related.  I started to make fun of "roadies", triathletes, and anyone that wasn't a mountain biker.  Kind of dumb and immature when you look at it, but in the end it was more my own demons coming out than anything anyone else had done to me.  I immersed myself in all aspects of mountain biking-xc, downhill, and most recently dirt jumping and urban riding (think bmx).  Through all this I've realized that I love ALL parts and aspects of riding on two wheels-even road riding.

So it was with all this in my mind that I sold an old mountain bike frame and took the money to buy a decent road bike again.  Is it carbon? No.  Is it top of the range? Not exactly.  What I got was a very nice Cannondale CAAD10 frame with simple Shimano 105 components.  Just what I need to get back into riding the road and get fit again.

I'm not looking to do any road races, but I am dedicated to getting back into racing this coming season. I'll focus mainly on Enduro racing, but perhaps throw in a few 50 mile XC races just for the hell of it.  Anne's races will be the top priority, but if and when I can find something that works inside of her schedule for me, I'll take it.  I'm excited to give racing another go, and after a solid year's layoff, I think it's time to be competitive again.  As a great "blogger friend" once told me, "racing will always be there."  The dude seems to have his head screwed on and so far anything that he's said on his blog or offered me in my comments section has been 100% accurate.  Here's to brining in a great race season for my Fiance and I in 2013!