Day 6- Recovery: The Real Workout


Recovery: The Real Workout

When we work out to achieve our fitness goals we push ourselves mentally and physically. We are rewarded with a sense of accomplishment and a general feeling of well-being that lasts well after the workout. If we push ourselves hard enough physically, stress adaptations will occur in our bodies. Muscles will be worked harder and longer than they are used to and this will cause some minor tearing of the muscle fibers and also some localized inflammation in the muscle. This is both natural and necessary for us to get stronger and more fit. Discomfort during a workout is normal as well as some post workout discomfort related to the stresses we expose our bodies to.

Lactic acid is formed in the muscles when they reach their aerobic threshold and the body can no longer supply enough oxygen to produce the needed energy. At this point glycogen is recruited to supply this greater energy need and lactic acid is produced as a result. The ‘burn’ that you feel when working at this intensity level is a combination of oxygen deprivation and lactic acid accumulation. As the stresses are removed the oxygen levels return to normal and within a half an hour to an hour lactic acid is dispersed into the rest of the body. Lactic acid is extremely soluble in water so adequate hydration before, during and after a workout aids the natural removal process.

Rule of thumb: Always hydrate ahead of thirst, once you feel thirsty you are already dehydrated and you’ll never catch up.

DOMS or delayed onset muscle soreness is often blamed on lactic acid buildup in the muscles but is nearly always caused by microtears and related inflammation in the muscle fibers due to the stress of working out.  Proper nutrition pre and post workout will help keep this to a minimum and allow healthy muscle growth during recovery.  Sufficient amounts of essential fatty acids in your diet will help reduce inflammation post workout.  B-vitamins and magnesium are also necessary for effective recovery.  Whey isolate protein shakes taken immediately after a workout are a good idea, a 0.8g carbs/0.2 g. protein per kg. body wt. formula is said to be most effective in replenishing the body’s glycogen stores.(150# person=55 g. carbs/14 g. protein)

The single most effective part of a successful recovery strategy is sleep. Plan 7 or more hours of sleep as religiously as you would program your next workout. Some things cannot be rushed and a goodly portion of muscle recovery is one of them. You simply cannot soar with the eagles if you are out all night with a bunch of turkeys.

Eggs and Chorizo with Cheese
3 eggs(216 cal.)
4 oz. chorizo(285 cal.)
1.5 oz. queso fresca(120 cal.)
16 oz. 2% milk(244 cal.)
total=865 cal.

Rare Lunch Out
6 Wing Stop Boneless wings(504 cal.)
1 sm. fries(400 cal.)
total=904 cal.

Cheat snack
Chocolate shake(800 cal.)

Random link about the benefits of coconut oil, of course do your own research:

Active recovery day: Don’t sit around, go to the mall, play with the dog, do sometime fun.

Day 5- The Low Down On Low Impact


Let’s talk about buzzwords, specifically these two words, low impact, as they relate to exercise and fitness in general. Low impact refers to an activity that will not sever your spine, liquify a kidney or cause one or both legs to fall off. I’m kidding there, a little, but seriously there are really 3 low impact exercises: walking, swimming and cycling. Without the interference of an outside force it is almost impossible to hurt yourself doing any of these activities. As long as you start slow and work up gradually to the level you wish to achieve. Let’s say on day one you walked 100 yards and every day after that you walked an additional 100 yards. You would literally run out of daylight before you reached the limit of your endurance. It would take you two and a half weeks to get to a mile a day, which would take you about 20 minutes. At the one year mark you would be walking about five hours at a time, probably less because you will be walking faster now. I don’t know how slow you would have to start out swimming to do the same, maybe 20 or 25 yards but it is interesting still.
I know for a fact that cycling endurance has one limiting factor above all others, that is how long you can stay in the saddle, that can only be trained so much. Cycling uses fast twitch and slow twitch muscles, fast twitch for slow, out of the saddle climbing and slow twitch muscles for the continuous quick pedal turnover of long, flat stretches and down hill portions of the ride. Early on I thought that it was peculiar that fast twitch muscles were used in the slower uphill parts of the ride but it was explained to me that out of the saddle stomping on the pedals was similar to weightlifting in the method of muscle recruitment. Rapid pedal turnover is accomplished by simultaneously pushing one leg down while pulling up with the other, neither one a maximum effort, just quick and repetitive, therefore the recruitment of only slow twitch muscle tissue. Here is the key to longer(more fun) bike rides: if you have to climb a hill, stay in the saddle and get a slower gear, more pedaling less rolling, rather than coming out of the saddle. When you stay in the saddle you force your body to use slow twitch muscles which recover quickly, when you use your fast twitch muscles, they only recover with sleep, once they are gone, they will stay gone until morning. As long as you keep the blood flowing through them by pedaling, the slow twitch muscles will recover with a minute or two of reduced effort or coasting. I don’t like to stay on a bike more than 10 miles at a time, I take frequent breaks, and then I can enjoy the ride. In my favorite ride of the year, the HH100, there are 14 rest stops in the 100 mile course and I stop at every one. It is a major rush to finish this ride but there is no prize for ‘died trying’.

Temperature during this ride was 95F/35C. This is training for the epic HHH century ride at the end of August.

Can-appl-oupe smoothie

2 granny smith apples(206 cal.)
1/2 cantaloupe(75 cal.)
1 cup water
total=281 cal.

Put water in blender. Core apples and blend on medium until you have an applesauce consistency. Halve the cantaloupe, scoop out seeds, cut in slices and then peel, make chunks and add to blender. Another 20 seconds on medium speed and you should be ready to go. This will fairly fill the blender jar. I usually drink one large glass of smoothie right then. I keep 2 quart plastic cups in the freezer with about 3 inches of ice in the bottom for ice water during the day, filling one of these up with the rest of the smoothie mixture makes a brilliant agua fresca!!

Tasty Salad

4 oz. fresh spinach(28 cal.)
4 oz. avocado(180 cal.)
5 oz. cucumber(16 cal.)
1 oz. sunflower seeds, finely chopped(165 cal.)
4 Tbs. Italian dressing(120 cal.)
total=509 cal.

I am here to tell you, this is yummy!  I split the avocado and then scored the inside, turned the skin inside out and viola! Repeat for other side and you’ve peeled and sliced an avocado and not made a big, green mess. I have a cutter for shoestring potatoes, I used the smallest blade and made spiral spaghetti out of the cucumber, it looks really cool. 4 tablespoons is too much italian, maybe half that next time.

Dinner-bad example

8 oz. cooked chicken thighs(472 cal.)
2 Tbs. Sweet Chili Sauce(200 cal.)
total=672 cal.

Had to cook off chicken thighs for coming week, too lazy to actually put together a meal. On the up side, the chili sauce is amazing, it really tastes good on lots of stuff. A note on chicken thighs: the place I shop has chicken thighs for $1.27 a lb. in 5# plus trays. The yield on skinning and boning your own thighs is right around 3:2, for every 3 pounds you bone, you get 2 pounds of boneless which works out to just less than $2 a pound, much better than the price if the store does it, $3.68/lb.

A quick tutorial on deboning chicken thighs. Pull the skin off one side. With a thin, sharp blade follow the attached skin and cut away the extra fat on both sides of the thigh. Next, there is a small piece of joint and tendon left behind when they separate the joint on one end, that end is usually flat. Looking down at the flat end place the point of the knife to one side of the small piece next to the bone and with the blade facing away from you cut under the piece at an angle outwards. Do the same on the other side of the joint and you will have cut out a triangular bit with the small bone and most of the tendon, pick it free and discard. Run the knife blade down the thigh from one joint to the other and with the tip of the knife, start scraping the meat off of the bone until it all comes free. You may have to cut around one of the joints to free the thigh entirely.

Late night snack
chicken, peppers and rice(leftovers)(447 cal.)

Take that dog for a walk, do about a mile and relax, you’ve earned it.

Day 4- Taking A Better Look


Now that we are developing better habits, what are these habits going to do for us? I for one am becoming very aware of what I eat and what is in it. It helps a great deal that I make almost all of the food that I eat and that that food is very basic, that is, not processed in any way. Raw chicken, raw vegetables, of course the sauces and dressings are premade but you draw a line for time and your own ability. I personally would love to make my own salad dressings but I have not one clue how to start doing that just yet. I said ‘yet’. The reason I would make my own dressing is not to reduce calories per say, more to change the type of fat and really, the taste. After all, if I like it, I am going to eat it.

Let’s talk about dietary fat for a moment. Fat is an important part of a healthy diet, the fat that you eat allows your body to function properly. Without going into specifics let me say this about what dietary fat does NOT do. When you eat food with fat in it, that fat does not pass through the stomach lining as fat, enter the blood stream as fat and travel to your hips/butt/abs and get deposited there unchanged. I am no expert, so I am going to stop there, just don’t fear fat, that’s all I’m saying.

Basic Metabolic Rate. This is the rate at which your body processes the calories in the food that we eat. Below you will find a calculator that will take your height, weight, age and gender and give a basic number of calories that your body needs every day. But wait, there’s more. Once you have that number, go to the link that’s right below the form you just filled out and do the Harris/Benedict calculation, which takes into consideration your level of physical activity to more acurately predict your daily calorie needs.

This number is just a guide. It was developed by people doing research that have never met you so it is at best, a guess. Calorically speaking, one pound of fat contains 3500 calories, if you eat 3500 calories less than your body needs to maintain your current weight, you should weigh one pound less. Here is a better idea of why your daily weight number is really just a number. You eat 3500 calories less, your weight did not go down 1 pound, why not?
1)Water retention: You should be drinking between a half and one gallon of water a day. Your bodies biological machine uses water for everything, energy production, food synthesis, it is the oil for the engine that is you. When you dehydrate, it takes more energy for the heart to pump blood, other processes become more difficult, etc. Hydration is not perfect, water in equals water out for the most part but there is no perfect way to tell when that time is.
2)Solid food elimination. Enough said.
3)Muscle building: When you force adaptation through exercise, your body builds/rebuilds muscle fiber, which is considerably more dense than fat. If you eat less and are more active you may gain weight even though you are consuming less calories because the fat you are burning is being replaced by muscle fiber.

My breakfast, lunch and dinner breaks down like this:

Chicken Omelette
6.25 oz. chicken thigh meat, roasted(354 cal.)
4 eggs(288 cal.)
1 tsp. coconut oil(40 cal.)
12 oz. 2% milk(183 cal.)
total 865 cal.
Just something easy that also gets rid of pesky leftovers in the fridge, win/win.

Salad for lunch
5 oz. spinach (35 cal.)
4 oz. tuna, canned (90 cal.)
2 Tbs. parmesan cheese (60 cal.)
4 Tbs. ranch dressing (260 cal.)
total 445 cal.

Lazy dinner
chicken, peppers and rice(leftovers)(447 cal.)
This is from the recipe the other day, tastes great the second time as well.

I spent an hour in the gym doing upper body movements. I call any day without squats a light day. This workout is designed to preexhaust the muscles that assist the pecs in the bench press, so that I can get an adaptation response with a lighter weight and fully work the arms and shoulders at the same time.

3 sets 10 reps French Curl 65#
3 sets 10 reps Reverse Curls 65#
3 sets 10 reps Bicep Curl 65#
Main workout
5 sets 5 reps Bench Press 135#

This took around an hour, got a good sweat on, it was easily 100 degrees in the gym.

Try this, you can hate me later.
Take a one mile walk and after you are warmed up:
Lunges 3 sets of 10 reps(5 each leg)
Step forward and kneel with the rear leg until the knee just touches the floor. Recover and repeat on the other side. Do not try and do all of these at once, take at least a minute rest between sets.

Day 3- A New Body The Hard Way, Change One Thing


At this point, diet is so much more important than exercise a few small changes can show gains or in our case losses almost immediately. The weight that we record in the top right corner of each day’s journal is a reminder only, results will show up in the long-term changes we make to how we approach eating. We will begin to feel healthier long before any visual signs appear.

Breakfast was one of my worst diet meals. You name something that you shouldn’t eat and I would have a ton of it before 8 a.m.. Slowly I am changing that, I have eliminated processed foods and make everything myself. Here is an example:

Scrambled eggs w/ jalapeños on corn tortillas:
6 white corn tortillas(300 cal.)
1 large jalapeño, seeded and deveined(8 cal.)
4 eggs(308 cal.)
1 Tbs. Coconut oil(120 cal.)

Seed and devein a large jalapeño, dice it and cook on medium heat with 1 tsp. of coconut oil. When the pepper pieces start to brown, add 4 eggs and scramble. When eggs are done to your taste, put on plate and set aside. Wipe out pan, add 2 tsp. of coconut oil and heat both sides of each tortilla one at a time.

I use coconut oil almost exclusively, it’s still fat, but it’s good fat. It looks like crisco when cool but turns to liquid at around 76 degrees F. Good quality coconut oil, like LouAnn, is around $7 a jar, I use a lot of it but it still takes several months to run out.

As you can see, better breakfast requires some planning. Fresh vegetables are not expensive but you do have to eat them soon after purchase. Eggs look like they last forever but they do not, still a dozen can be gone through in a week without really trying. 736 calories for breakfast, not bad for a start. Replace jalapeños with any combination of veggies that you want, give your breakfast wings!

4 oz. Spinach, fresh(28 cal.)
2 oz. sunflower seeds, chopped(330 cal.)
4 Tsb. Italian dressing (160 cal.)

I use chopped spinach in my salads, it has more character than the conventional lettuces/lettuci? and it isn’t bitter like kale, the super food. Finely chopped sunflower seeds add good fats and they add a bit of fun to the salad. If I am using Italian dressing then a sprinkle or three of parmesan cheese, with ranch dressing sliced avocado(more good fat) is wonderful. I worked in food service for years and made gallons of guacamole and never even tried avocados by themselves, they are now one of my favorite foods to eat and experiment with.

2 lb. chicken breast, cubed (992 cal.)
4 Jalapeños, seeded and julienned (32 cal.)
1 med. onion, sliced (48 cal.))
2 cups Minute rice (340 cal.)
1 Tsp. coconut oil (80 cal.)
4 tsp. soy sauce (30 cal.)
2 Tbs. sriracha pepper sauce (40 cal.)
3 Tbs. sweet chili sauce(105 cal.)

I don’t have a name for this, I just threw it together one day and it was good and I kept it around. I use brown rice if I have any but any rice will do. When you have the rice and water on to boil add a couple of drops of sesame oil, it adds a beautiful aroma to the rice. Heat the oil in a frying pan on medium heat, prep and add the jalapeños and then the onion. Move them occasionally so that they soften evenly. Dice up the chicken and add it to pan. Season with soy sauce, sriracha and sweet chili sauce. Stir frequently to make sure that chicken sears on all sides. When you can’t see any raw spots on the chicken reduce heat and let simmer about a half an hour. If you do brown rice and start it first, the chicken will be done when the rice is, about an hour total. As written, this recipe makes 4 servings at about 417 calories each.

Take a walk today, get a good look at the outside world and then write it down. Now that you are warmed up, try this. Stand with your feet shoulder-width apart, arms straight ahead, palms facing the floor. Focus on spot on the floor about ten feet in front of you, push your butt out and squat down until your thighs are parallel with the floor, stand up and repeat until you have done ten total. These are called air squats, now do this two more times with a short pause between sets of ten. If you are a stranger to exercise you won’t feel anything right now, you will probably feel it tomorrow. That feeling is your muscles adapting to new stress, get used to it, it’s your new best friend.

Day 2- A New Body The Hard Way, Marking The Trail


Keeping track of the things that you do and the foods that you eat are important to building new, better habits. To use myself as an example, I put my lists out there, not as some shining beacon of perfection but rather as the tool that it is meant to be and to show you how to use it to your advantage.

My foods yesterday:
Roasted chicken thighs, 14.35oz.(847 cal.)
popcorn w/butter, 187g.(984 cal.)
tuna salad w/ crackers, (925 cal.)
2 bananas, (210)

The first thing I would like to point out is, all of the food was prepared in my kitchen, no microwave popcorn was harmed in the making of this list. Chicken thighs are cheap, they have plenty of moisture and don’t dry out in the refrigerator. I get thighs in 5lb. packages and cook them all at once, roasted in the oven, never fried. I like to mix it up with chicken, this batch was seasoned with some hoisin sauce and a little extra spicy barbeque sauce but you can use anything really.

One thing you are learning with me right now is how many calories are in popcorn! It used to be my go to snack until now. Writing down the calories for the first time really drives home the point of this list, not so much eating only certain foods but being able to see in black and white what the calorie impact of each food is on your body. I’m still going to eat popcorn, not every day, and probably not with the butter either.

As well as writing down your food, make a note of your fluid intake, just to make sure you are drinking enough water. Mine was 3 qts. water and a couple of diet cokes, don’t judge me.

I have a small digital food scale I got at WalMart for $15 to measure my food, and I use a couple of different websites to look up calories:

…anything you can’t find there, google ‘calories from food’ or go to the mfg. website. You don’t have to break everything down to weights and calories right now, just look at the foods you are eating and see where you can make changes, it is a marathon, not a sprint.

As far as exercise goes, yesterday was my ‘rest’ day, I try to maintain a day on, day off schedule. I did manage to take my bestest buddies for a dog walk, 1 mile=152 calories burned, sunshine, fresh and happy dogs=bonus! To track the exercise that you do you can go to one of these websites to figure out how you did;

To fill up the blank part of yourpage today, think about things you enjoy doing, or would enjoy doing, walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, etc. Use this list when you feel bored and don’t know what to do, maybe one of these items will bring you an exciting day.

Day 1- A New Body The Hard Way, By Taking Action!

If you have come to the realization that you have to make a change in the way you manage your own health and are ready to start now then you need a few things. Pen and paper, a small notebook will do or a cheap spiral they sell in school supplies.

Make a small square in the top corner of the first page of your notebook and write your weight down there, you will do this every day. The purpose here is to develop the habit of weighing yourself every day, not that it is important to know what you weigh, but it is important to build habits. We are going to begin small and add things as we go. I say we because I am doing it with you, I need to develop good habits, too.

The rest of the page-
This is where you write down everything you eat and drink all day, come back to the notebook as much as you need to and be as complete as possible. You can’t change a bad habit until you realize that you have one. Don’t cheat here and leave stuff off, that can be of no help whatsoever. You will also write down all of your activities here, the ones that are active that is. If you mow the yard, that’s cardio, write down how long it took. If you walk somewhere, write down how far. Try and add a walk to your activity each day this week, even if it is just around the block, then write it down. Concentrate on doing these two things every single day, do them for one week.

Think actively-
When you wake up, get up. Don’t lie in bed and try to go back to sleep, it is exhausting. Do something around the house, tidy up, clean some dishes, pet the dog or cat, just don’t lay back down. Some things that you might ordinarily put off during the day don’t take as long to get done as you might imagine if you just jump in and do it. If you can get one thing done in that period of time that you would normally waste rolling around trying to get back to sleep your day got so much easier. One less load of laundry, one sink of dishes, tidy up the bathroom even catching up on email or surfing reddit, you are training yourself to get active and stay active during the day. This is a good thing.

OK, enough. Good job today, see you tomorrow. There will be a new post and some new information. Take it slow, do things well.

Constant Pressure

So here we are fighting for every pound and the more we work the less we seem to gain or in this instance lose.  Is it possible that I am gaining muscle faster than I am losing fat and the scale is just not able to tell the difference?  My wieight is up over 300# but I am benching more weight than I ever have.

Today was pushing day:


2 sets of 5 @135#


4 sets of 4@155#

4 sets of 3@165#

Back off sets:

4 sets of 4@145#

These sets at my current 1RM of 190# gives a fatigue/recovery number of 2.77 which seems right as my arms are smoked right now.  You arrive at that number by taking each weight, dividing it by your 1RM to get the lift intensity, then divide the number of lifts at that weight by 100 minus intensity.  Add all of the sets together and you get the fatigue/recovery number.  Up to 1.0 for a single workout is good for beginners, 1-2 is good for a loading phase, anything over 2 is just beast mode.  This math model was invented by Hristo Hristov using Prilipin’s table, developed from data collected from weightlifting champions in the 60’s and 70’s, still valid today.

I really wanted to finish the workout off with 4 sets of 2 @175# but without a spotter multiples in the 90% range is just asking for trouble.

I have said this over and over but I will say it again, do something, no matter how small, every day.  Create good habits, even if they don’t make huge differences, they will add up in the long run.  If you have trouble working out every day, just get dressed to work out every day.  You would be surprised how many excuses drop by the way side if you are already dressed to go.  Running every day is a great way to start, but some people can’t run long distances yet.  I was like that for a long while.  The basic run for general fitness I would say is 1 mile.  I’m slow and I can do one in about 12 minutes on a good day.  If I can’t run I would just walk.  Takes just a little longer, maybe 15 minutes.  Do that every day.  There is a great trick I found for making good habits, take an index card and make a 7×7 grid, every day you do your run/walk put an x in the square for that day,fill up one card and start another, this time do a mile and a half.  And on and on. I would stop at 3 miles, not stop running, stop adding distance, then work on speed or add something else fun.  But get started now, today!

When barbells are outlawed…

It nevers seems to fail that when a seemingly perfect solution for a long-standing problem has been found, tested over and over, widely accepted and universally embraced, out of left field comes a black cloud determined to smother the very life out of it.  The long-standing problem, obesity and a general lack fitness in the United States.  The solution, HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training), CrossFit, Starting Strength, 5×5, West Coast Barbell, California Strength and any number of other systems of fitness training.  The black cloud, state licensure, requiring everyone involved in the fitness industry to obtain a license to practice.

Why is this an issue that we should be concerned with?  The proponents of the Black Cloud will scare us with the word safety.  They want to protect us.  From what?  Devil’s Advocacy would say:

1.  Lack of education

2.  Lack of oversight

3.  Lack of accountability

Let’s say for example that we want to get in shape, where do we start?  Ask someone who looks the way we want to look.  What did they do, where do they go?  If we want what they have we do what they did to get it, simple.  So let’s look at the education argument, historically the first trainer anyone ever sees is the school gym coach, the history teacher who blew out his knee playing college football, an oversimplification to be sure but I had 3 in school, so not impossible.  Next would be the college coach, the history teacher that didn’t blow out his knee playing football, but sucked at it and had to take the job to eat.  This takes care of the part of the pie we will call Educational Fitness Instructors.  Then there are specialists in the amateur athletic arenas, Olympics, boxing, martial arts and such, mostly ex-participants in the specialty with skill sets specifically tailored to the endeavor.  Next there are professional coaches, people who are as good as their next paycheck, mostly good managers, able to delegate and motivate but not much else.  Lastly are the voluntary sports coaches, peewee sports, Pilates, Yoga, CrossFit, weightlifting, cycling, anything done electively in a group as entertainment or a hobby, something that requires some instruction to be safe and enjoyable.  What do all of these different people have in common, nothing.  Requiring some global arbitrary education requirement for licensure would be ridiculous, and that’s putting it nicely.  Somebody will raise their hand and volunteer to vet all of the candidates for licensure, for a fee, you can bet on it.  They are lining up as you read this, waiting for their turn in the shark tank to tell why their way is the only way and their fees are the best fees, because that’s what it all boils down to, money.  Your money, by the way.  More on that in a moment.

Oversight?  Whose?  Who in their infinite wisdom could possibly manage to police this entire group?  You can be assured that no sooner than you focus in on this group certain factions will want to opt out and their reasons will be both valid and compelling.  Amateur and Olympic coaches will scream “America” and will be excused.  The ecucational bunch will remind Congress what ‘alumni money’looks like and they will take a lap.  Professional sports, well, that leaves the little guys, the ones that 9 to 5 it trying to keep the 9 to 5ers in shape.  They are not united, they have no common ground, no PAC, they are toast.  Defenseless against a legislative machine that must regulate, tax and oppress so that it may be seen to function, few will survive and those few that do may live to regret such a pyrrhic victory.

Life is not safe.  Life is not easy.  There are no guarantees and there should be none.  We as a society must learn and adapt to grow and part of the growth process is to accept that things happen and that is that.  If you walk in the park and the sky clouds up and rain comes and you are struck by lightning, tough.  Nothing would have prevented that.  No regulation, no legislation, no indemnity or insurance can take it back.  The last part is accountability, who pays if someone gets hurt?  Think about that, we are talking about an elective, voluntary activity, a choice that is freely made.  No policy can indemnify you from stupidity.  If you tell 100 people not to do something it is absolutely certain that at least one person will do it anyway and they will blame it on you.    We seem to think that insurance will make everything all right.  It does, for the insurance companies, a 98% profit industry that pays no corporate taxes.

Well what then?  Regulation would seem like a done deal, what would that look like?  The education criteria could be accomplished through the local community college system, say an 18 month accreditation course, somewher in the $12,000 range on average.  Then there is the state license test and certificate, say another $1000.  State mandated insurance coverage, throw in another $1000 a month per trainer and at least $2500 per month per business.  Let’s say that you were paying $100 a month for gym dues before, to maintain the same profit margin now your gym has to charge you  $175 a month for the same service.  With student loan debt and a huge insurance overhead it is unlikely that even the best trainers will stay in the industry when a great portion of their income goes to useless regulation.

If this regulation is a bad idea then what is the answer?  Inform yourself.  Do due diligence.  Define what you want and determine the best way to go about getting it.  Stop crying and go pick up something heavy, if you do it enough you will get good at it.  You’ll get stronger, faster, you may even look good naked.  Whatever you do don’t think that more government or more regulations or more insurance is the answer.  People are the answer, people that seek out knowledge and teach others, coach others to reach their potential and beyond.  Celebrate these people, don’t regulate them out of their chosen profession, their livelihood.  When barbells are outlawed, only outlaws will have barbells.

Changes and More Changes

The more things change the more they remain the same, or what goes around comes around. Or something like that, at least. I started Crossfit at around 300 pounds, out of shape and desperate. After 3 and a half years I had to quit the box because of scheduling problems and transitioned to a home gym, then to a running regime to fight fat again. The winter cold caused running to give way to weight training and recently weight training is now sharing time with running again.
You see, I was Crossfitting to lose weight, which worked well for a while, but as I trained harder I had to eat more to recover. When I stopped Crossfitting I didn’t spool the diet down as fast and gained back what I had lost. The running program burned calories and kept my level of fitness fairly high but again, more food to recover and weight stays the same. When the weight lifting started getting really intense, the fat was being turned into muscle but net weight remained again the same.
Now that the weather has changed back to tolerable, the morning 3 mile run is back and the weight training continues at a high level, maybe the balance of strength and cardio will force a suitable adaptation. Time will tell. Using tools like Mileaday, 7×7, Starting Strength and rigorous journaling, maybe I can wrap my head around this and get to a weight I want to live with, in the 225-235 area.

Transitioning to the Home Gym…

After 3 years of CrossFit training at an affiliate box I have come to the conclusion that I will be better served in the short term by doing my own programming. You see, CrossFit has a series of standard movements or exercises that form its core prescribed programming, such as handstand push-ups, pistol squats, muscle-ups, double-unders and the like. Lets be clear, I cant do any of these. A muscle-up is a chest to bar pull-up with a full ring dip, I have never in my life done a single pull-up. Same with the rest of these movements, well, I have managed a total of 10 double-unders lifetime, never more than 1 at a time.

Try as I might and with all of the encouragement in the world I could not do any more CrossFit without being able to do any of the core movements of the proper CrossFitter. I hate that the routine of going to the gym every morning and hanging out with my gymrat pals came to an end but hopefully the transition to home gymming will bear fruit and some substantial gains be made. Over the past several years I have developed a lot of love for Olympic lifting and would really like to see some substantial gains here so I am following the StromgLifts 5×5 training 3 days a week, M-W-F to grow and maintain strength with free weights. This program has a strict linear progression that I am going to try and follow about 5 months, the natural end of the beginner cycle. Then I will assess and see where I might want to go from there. On T-Th-S I am following the 50 Pull-up progression to finally get some dead hang pull-ups going. I have just finished the fourth week of this, still doing negatives but feeling really strong. My major hurdle to doing bodyweight exercises right now is my body weight, still hovering around 300#. On the plus side, when I do get some pull-ups I will be a seriously strong dude.

While doing the 5×5 and alternating the pull-up progression, I plan to work in some HIIT work as well, but slowly so as not to degrade my recovery. I am thinking of alternating tabata bike sprints with 5 sets of 10 shuttle runs first and then working in more and more variety. As the first two programs begin to mature I am looking to take on the 1st major hurdle, the benchmark workout Fran. 21-15-9 alternating pull-ups and thrusters, my target is to complete the workout rx in under 5 minutes. Then I will move to mastering double-unders and switching to a Bulgarian method lifting program to get my squat to around 1.25x bodyweight, this will make pistol squatting very easy once I get the balance down. Pull-ups can be maintained by adding to other workouts, so I dont lose any of the gains I have worked hard for.

All of this is far down the road but making attainable goals is part and parcel of moving forward. Slowly I am making gains and avoiding injury and I am OK with that. I would rather have perfect form than talk about making PRs will recovering from avoidable injury. Lift safe and recover, words to live by.