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!!!