Little Bird Fly

On a field in Warner Robins, Georgia this Sunday past a group of thirteen 12-year-old girls from Charlotte, North Carolina made a date with destiny. The newly crowned state champion, Rowan County All-Stars were 2 and 0 in the Little League Softball Southeast Regional tournament, set to play the returning championship team from Tennessee, also undefeated in the tournament so far.

Solid, back and forth play from both teams found the score tied, North Carolina at bat in the bottom of the sixth and possibly last, inning with two outs and a runner in scoring position. At bat was my grand-daughter, number 16. Lovingly referred to as ‘the softball warrior,’ she ate, slept and bled softball, playing basketball, volleyball or anything else at a high level to kill the time in between softball seasons.

Living as we did a laundry list of interstate highways apart I seemed to retain the images of our last meeting several years back even in the onslaught of hundreds of social media posts and regular barrages of school portraits and sporting events. She ever remained the small, slender waif with round, rosy cheeks and long, beautiful, brown hair, the apple of her papa’s eye. Watching her team progress through this tournament showed something new, something unexpected.

This wasn’t a child with a bat, a ball and a cherubic smile, but a practiced team player, snagging string-straight liners and making 6-3 putouts with ease. She took practice cuts with the bat as she settled into the batters’ box, ignoring everything around her except the pitcher, 43 feet away. If I was guessing, she never heard the contact but felt it as the ball sailed over the first baseman’s head, landing in fair territory several steps in front of the right fielder. The runner on third had scored well ahead of the fielder’s throw to home and she looked at the crowd gathering around the plate as they and the rest of her team began running towards her, not yet realizing that her hit had won the game.

I stared blankly at my TV as an epiphany began to wash over me. At that moment she would never again be thought of as a child. She had led her team that day, led by example, with singular purpose and fervent resolve. I would forevermore be the student, she was now the teacher. She had flown high up into the clouds and would never be satisfied with the ground again. I chuckle to myself when I think of her older brother’s one word summary of his little sister’s performance, ‘Clutch.’

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Crunching the Numbers

306.4

runners

 

Rule 34 states that ‘If it exists, there is porn of it.’  I believe that in the realm of health and fitness, if one person has had an idea, two other people have figured out how to count it, collate it, and quantify it.  One such idea is the Banister Impulse/Response model.  The idea was at first to figure out if, by recording all training efforts, an increase in fitness could be calculated by means of an ordinary differential equation and the answer given in the form of positive training effect, or PTE.  It almost worked.  For every positive training effect there is a negative effect, that being fatigue.  Rather than shoot down the original hypothesis however, this little fact seemed to have perfected it.  When the PTE is plotted against the NTE over time along with actual performance an interesting and quite repeatable effect is shown.

F6.large

Skipping all of the math, we see that at the beginning negative effects, basically fatigue, outweigh the positive effects of training.  As performance starts to improve the positive effects become substantially greater than the negative.  This model has been tested for many endeavors, running, cycling, swimming, and seems to work similarly in all of them.  More here.

 

I have a confession to make. I fell off the wagon, yes, stopped making fitness a priority and forgot about eating right and it got me. On top of not making weightloss goals and feeling pretty low from the lack of endorphins, I got a chronic hip pain. So I am back at square one, actually square zero, I have lost the ability to squat temporarily. I am slowly rehabbing the range of motion while I try to catch up in other areas.

It is iced tea season once again, there is 3 gallons of the stuff in the refrigerator right now, good hydration is one of the very basic things I am concentrating one as the summer progresses. Purging useless carbs, refined flour and sugar, and getting back to fresh greens and such. Baby steps, the goal is not a ‘diet’ but a lifestyle change, a permanent one.

Prying myself away from the computer screen is underway. Walking the dog a mile at a time, up to 3 times a week now to mobilize the hips and get the wind back. Weight training again starting with Bench, Deads, Lat pulldowns and Power cleans until the squat comes back.

Workout:

Dog walking= 1 mile, large dog, his pace not mine.

Food:

8 oz, sausage, 6 eggs Calories 1376 Protein 81.8 g. Fat 95.8 g. Carbs 0 g.

10 oz. Grd beef+ 2 med onions 518 cal Protein 45 g. Fat 31 g. Carbs 11 g.

Chinese buffet Don’t judge me.

 

Cardio-Like it Or Not

bann1305#

As I have mentioned before, respiration is the primary mechanism for removing fat from the body. Cardio training is the best way of elevating respiration to a level that will effect this removal.

The best method I have come upon is HIIT, High Intensity Interval Training. The acronym may be new but the general principles remain the same, small sessions of extreme effort broken up by short rest periods. How does this work? A story to illustrate…

In 1954 Roger Bannister had decided to break the 4 minute mile. To do this he broke the race down into laps, 4 quarter mile segments. Each day that he trained he ran 10 quarter mile laps at a pace just under 1 minute each. By doing this he, in effect, ran two sub-4 minute miles every day for a month or more. His purpose in doing this was to engrain in his muscle memory the pace that he needed to maintain in order to achieve his goal. At a track in Oxford on May 6, 1954 he finished the mile in 3:59.4.

HIIT works by elevating resting metabolism beyond the amount of time that you actually exercise. If your workout is 30 minutes long you don’t have to workout at maximum intensity for the whole 30 minutes, the work/rest cycle follows the formula ‘2x’ on/’x’ off, typically 30 seconds work followed by 15 seconds rest repeated 10 times without stopping or some variation. Movements that lend themselves to this model are sprints(run a distance and walk back), burpees, box jumps, jump rope, bear crawls, tire flipping, you get the picture.

My workout today was a 1 mile run, in 15:38. Before you average guys(5’10”, 150#) start talking smack, think about this, I weigh in at 305, if you think you can run a quarter of that with a 155# barbell on your back then good on you. Rome wasn’t built in a day, neither was my ‘ab’ but I’m working on it.

Day 49- New Training Challenges

284.7

bulgarian-split-squat-zapoli

One way to fix an imbalance in the core area is one-leg bulgarian split squats.  Adding these into a weight session will help train the quads without adding dangerous stresses to the back.  If you train a back squat of 200 lbs. your split squat can be done with 100-115lb. to great effect.  Over the course of several weeks most athletes will even see a gain in standard two legged squat numbers.

You are working the quadriceps group(vastus medialis, vastus intermedius, vastus lateralis and rectus femoris), the gluteus maximus, soleus, adductor magnus with the gastrocnemius, gluteus medius, gluteus minimus and hamstring stabilizing the movement.  Quite an impressive group for a simple exercise, this is why compound exercises are so good for you, full recruitment of the posterior chain.  The basic movement can be varied by utilizing a front rack, resting a barbell across the back, holding dumbbells in each hand or even weight plates.

 

my food

4 eggs(320 cal.)P28F21.2C1.6
1 can tomatoes and chilies(50 cal.)P2.5F0C10
1 tsp. coconut oil(40 cal.)P0F5C0
total=410 cal. P 30.5 F 26.2 C 11.6

16 OZ. chicken breast(496 cal.)P104.4F5.6C0
4 jalapeños(16 cal.)P.4F0C4
1 onion(64 cal.)P1.4F.1C15.5
1/2 cup lentils(339 cal.)P24.8F1C57.7
4 tbsp. sweet chili sauce(400 cal.)P0F0C100
total=1315 cal. P 131 F 6.7 C 177.2

2 clif bars(480 cal.)P20F12C86

total=2205 P 181.5 F 44.9 C 274.8

my workout

5 minute trainer hill climb

10 minute trainer hill climb

 

 

Day 10- Knowledge Is Power

296.6

Muscle fibers and how to maintain them

We have two kinds of muscles involved in physical movement, fast twitch and slow twitch. Put simply muscles we use for strength and muscles we use for endurance. Slow twitch, or endurance muscles, rely on our cardiovascular system, fuel and oxygen in the blood keep them working. To train endurance, these muscles are stressed over and over so that the number of blood vessels or capillarity is increased and the efficiency of the actual transfer of oxygen and fuel to the muscle fibers is increased. With fast twitch muscles, adaptation occurs once a stimulus or load on the muscles is so great that all muscles of a given group are recruited for the movement. These muscles grow in size as a response. This is a really simplified explanation but I will go into detail later. Basically when it comes to training, bodybuilders don’t run and marathoners don’t deadlift.

So what does that have to do with anything? Being older, my body reacts to stimuli a lot slower than it used to. I recover a lot slower and I need more time for muscle growth to catch up. The thing is, the body will still atrophy at the same rate unless you exercise regularly. In order to keep the type I muscles healthy, cardio has to be done on a very regular basis. Training the type II muscles has to be done as well but scheduled around an extended recovery schedule. A regular endurance program should keep the type I system at a high level of fitness and at the same time optimize the pathways that will lead to growth in type II muscles whose training is properly adapted for effective recovery.

HIIT(High Intensity Interval Training) should be ideal as it tries to operate at or close to VO2max, the limit of the bodies ability to supply oxygen to the muscles. At 40% of VO2max, you would have to workout for 2 hours or longer to get the same stimulus as you would by working out at 100% of VO2max for 15 minutes. The thing is, very few people can get to VO2max much less maintain it for any appreciable amount of time, but the closer you get the better. When Roger Bannister broke the 4 minute mile, he didn’t train by running the mile over and over, he did it by running a series of 10 sub-minute quarter miles every day for months. At the end he was able to mimic his stride and cadence in the quarter for four consecutive quarters, and become the premier miler of his time.

My food:

Breakfast Rellenos

4 eggs(320 cal.)P28F21.2C1.6
1 can tomatoes and chilies(50 cal.)P2.5F0C10
4 oz. queso fresco(353 cal.)P22.8F27.4C0
4 Anaheim peppers(21cal.)P4.5F.45C21.3
total= 744 cal. P 57.8 F 49 C 32.9

Roast chilies whole under broiler, turning once. Slit longways and seed, reserve, do not remove stems. Finely crumble cheese into eggs and tomatoes, scramble egg mixture as desired. Stuff peppers fully with egg mixture, enjoy!

Chinese for lunch

1/2 cup rice(90 cal.)P6F0C72
1/2 tsp. Turmeric
1/2 onion(32 cal.)P.7F0C7.8
10 oz. chicken thigh(590 cal.)P73F30.8C0
2 Jalapeño peppers(8 cal.)P0F0C2
2 tbs. peanut butter(180 cal.)P7F16C6
2 tsp. coconut oil(80 cal.)P0F10C0
1.5 oz. sunflower kernels(250cal.)P10F21C7.5
total=1230 cal. P 96.7 F 77.5 C 95.3 2 portions/660 now

Rest of chinese for dinner

1 can Dr. Pepper(150 cal.)P0F0C40

My workout

1 mile walk
100 single-unders

 

For those following along:

one mile walk for warm-up

25 single jumps with jump rope

 

Day 9- Motivation

297.4

Motivation is so much more than ‘I want to.’ Motivation is doing, it is taking the action, it is moving forward. Motivation is a habit. To always act with motivation makes you a force, it makes you powerful. One interpretation of Newton’s first law is that once moving it takes more energy to stop than it does to keep going.

I  f I allow myself to think about something too long I will end up not doing it. This has been proven by me over and over. I truly believe that no one can change another persons thoughts and actions but by small, subtle pushes in the right direction, I can change the way I think about and do things. Sometimes I have to trick myself.

One morning I woke up and was going to go for a run and was sitting on the end of the bed and caught myself thinking about running. I realized that the more I sat there the less likely it was that I would ever get out there and run. instead of sitting still I began to get ready, putting on socks and shorts, finding a t-shirt, putting my shoes on, grabbing my stop watch. Now, even though i was still thinking instead of running, my little ruse had allowed me to be in a position to simply walk outside and start running. It worked. Many times since then, when I don’t really feel like working out, I will get dressed to work out and more often than not, I go on out there and get my sweat on.

Motivation is where you find it. More often than not, it is right there inside you.

So what are all of the extra numbers about in the food lists? The protein, fat and carbohydrate numbers or PFC’s are what are referred to as macronutrients. When you zoom out on what you are eating, say in an entire week instead of just one meal, you can get a good idea of where your calories are coming from. Once you know that it can be easier to make small changes that will add up down the road. For instance, I notice that I use a lot of oil when I make eggs. I use the oil to keep the eggs from sticking, to a teflon pan! I eat eggs about 5 times a week, using no oil saves me 200 calories and 23.5 grams of fat a week. That doesn’t seem like a lot, but if that becomes a habit, I consume over 10,000 calories less a year, that’s 3 pounds or 12 chocolate milkshakes.

Small changes over time make a big difference as you can see. Changing the way that we look at what we eat and making little tweaks here and there will bring us closer to the goals we seek. Does the notebook begin to make more sense now?

I am going to start making up recipe cards for some of my favorite meals. That way I can concentrate more of the calorie and macro information in one spot and spend less time writing everything down and figuring it out over and over. But until then:

Breakfast
4 eggs(320 cal.)P28F21.2C0
14g. coconut oil(40 cal.)P0F4.7C0
1 Can tomatoes and chilies(50 cal.)P2.5F0C10
Total=410 cal. macros P30.5 F 24.9 C 10

Lunch salad
9 oz. imitation crab(330 cal.)P18F4.5C54
4 oz. spinach(28 cal.)P3.2F0C4
green apple vinaigrette dressing(399 cal.)P.3F35.5C4.9
total=757 cal. macros P 21.5 F 35.5 C 62.9

chicken and rice
7 oz. chicken thigh meat(413 cal.)P52.7F21.7C0
1 1/2 cup rice, boiled(90 cal.)P6F0C72
sweet chili sauce (300 cal.)P0F0C75
total=803 cal. macros P 58.7 F 21.7 C 147

My Workout

Jump rope 100 singles
Push mowing 2 hrs.

Your workout
If you want to get to wearing out that new jump rope, walk a mile to warm up and try doing 25 single jumps today. Jumping rope is a very complex movement that happens so quickly that to do it well you have to use muscle memory, that is the body needs to be able to do it without thinking. This takes practice. It feels like it will take forever to learn, it will not, trust me.

If you have questions you would like to ask or a blog topic you would like me to take a stab at, feel free to message me.

P.S. The CrossFit Games are now streaming live on YouTube, check these people out, they leave it ALL on the field.

Day 7- Limits, Expectations and Goals

300.2

Limits, Expectations and Goals

Let’s talk for a moment about limits. I know that I am getting older, I get it, I don’t like it but I know that there is nothing that I can do about it.  I take that back, I can’t stop getting older but I can change the definition of aging as it pertains to me.  ‘Old people can’t’, ‘People your age shouldn’t’, these are artificial restraints that may apply to some, but do not necessarily define me.  I don’t view life and a continuous, inexorable crawl towards the grave.  Life is for living and for the living.  I don’t view limits as absolutes, I see them as challenges.

My expectations likewise are constantly changing.  As I grow I see new opportunities every day. Things around me change and I try to change with them.  To resist change is to be left behind.  I like to think of change as adaptation, of better fitting in with new surroundings.

I try to set realistic goals.  Goals that can be reached maybe not today or tomorrow but within reasonable times.  Time is on our side if we learn how to use it as a tool instead of an impediment.  When we were younger we thought, “I can’t wait to be older,” because age was a limiting factor in the way we viewed what could make us happy.  Now we wish we were younger, I wish I would just make up my mind.

Back when I started going to the gym there was a sign posted on one of the walls titled, “Benchmark Movements.”  There were things listed there that most of the people in the gym could do some if not all of.  I could not do any of them. I was too fat or too out of shape or too inflexible.  Always some reason and that bothered me.  It still does.  These things are some of my goals.  Pistol squats, pull-ups, double unders, hand stand pushups, all of these things that fit people should be able to do.  These things are going to be addressed in upcoming installments, they are achievable goals.

Using What We Learn About Ourselves

My workout today involved two concepts, moving explosively and moving with strength.  The first part of the work is a variation of a CrossFit ‘girl’ workout called Grace.  A classic rX Grace is a 135# barbell floor to locked out overhead, 30 times for time.  My best PR is 9:10.  I haven’t done Grace or any Oly lifting in a while so to get the benefit without potential for injury I’m doing 1/2 Grace, rX weight, 15 reps for time.  That is the explosive movement portion.

Overall strength is expressed in the squat.  It uses the most amount of muscle you can recruit in a single, compound movement.  One of the first ‘programs’ I followed when I started training myself is called 5×5.  5 Basic lifts, 3 per day, 3 times a week using a linear progression.  Each time you do an exercise you add 5 pounds more than you lifted the last time, easy.  If you are 25.  My squat stalled out at 175# and I stopped for a time rather than risk injury.  This is smart.

I am starting this series of lifts again but this time I am going to allow for a longer period of recovery by altering the progression.  Instead adding 5 pounds each time I squat I am going to a weekly progression.  Starting today at 20# off of my last weight of 175#, Monday will be 155#, Wednesday will be 160# and Friday 162#.  The following week, Monday will go down to 160#, Wednesday 165# and Friday 167#.  This will allow me to progress at 5# a week and really modify the recovery process.  My thinking is this, by allowing the recovery to catch up to increased stress more adaptation or growth of new tissue can occur as body resources that were used for recovery are freed up.

Do not attempt anything like this yourself, yet. The workouts I post are ones that I have personally done, I only record them here to document my progress.  There is a substantial learning curve both physically and mentally involved in doing this sort of workout.  I have been doing CrossFit for four years on a daily basis, I have done several versions of Grace at least 8 times and have been coached in the specific movement many hours by professionals, thanks John.  The weight that I am using in the squat was worked up to over a seven week period by squatting three times a week, you simply cannot jump into a weight like that without getting hurt.  I personally have hurt myself weightlifting, using too much weight while doing a movement that I did not understand.  It took three weeks to recover from that injury and I was very lucky.  I would not wish that amount of pain on anyone, please be careful.

WORKOUT
1/2 Grace

135# Barbell Floor to Overhead 15 Reps for time 4:36

Back Squat

155# 5 sets of 5 reps

FOOD
Eggs and Chorizo with Cheese
3 eggs(216 cal.)
4 oz. chorizo(285 cal.)
2 oz. queso fresca(160 cal.)
16 oz. 2% milk(244 cal.)
total=905 cal.

Post Workout Recovery drink
2 granny smith apples(206 cal.)
1/2 cantaloupe(75 cal.)
1 cup water
total=281 cal.
Recovery Protein
1 can tuna, drained(90 cal.)

This combination supplies 74.3 g. carbohydrates and 20 g. protein to aid in recovery.  Recovery drinks/foods need to be consumed within 1/2 hour of the end of the workout for maximum effectiveness.  Do not forget to hydrate before, during and after your workout.  This particular smoothie has a lot of fiber in it.  Metabolizing this amount of fiber may take additional fluid, keep this in mind during the day and drink some extra water to compensate.

Lunch Salad
4 oz. spinach(28 cal.)
5 oz. cucumber(16 cal.)
1 avocado(180 cal.)
1 oz. sunflower seeds(165 cal.)
2 Tsb. thousand island dressing(90 cal.)
total=479 cal.

Dinner
Chicken and peppers(447 cal.)

For those of us just starting out, today’s workout is:
1/2 mile walk, this is the warm up, then
Burpees-Stand up straight with hands at your side. Get down into the pushup position and then get back up and clap your hands over head, that’s one.
3 sets of 10 Burpees

Links:
Grace: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydeCu7W1VRc
Burpee: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dhJ3nQH-y9M
5×5 System in all it’s glory: http://stronglifts.com/5×5/

If you have any questions please ask, I would be happy to answer them if I can, or suggest someone who is smarter and better looking than I am to give you the answer you are looking for.