Monday, July 19, 2010

253, 142.4, 7.0%, 200

Six years ago, a routine physical and blood workup showed I was 20lb overweight and had a cholesterol of 230.  I changed my diet and exercise and dropped 20lb, 100 triglycerides and 50 cholesterol over the next year.  Six months ago, I was exercising with Russian kettlebells regularly and another 5lb lighter.  A cholesterol screen in a bloodmobile reported 253, and I was just beside myself.  I should have gone right to Quest or somewhere and gotten retested, but I was just outdone.  I wanted to come back for one more blood screen with a point to make and an axe to grind, to leave no doubt that I had done my due diligence.

Today, I'm another 5lb lighter (lighter than high school graduation).  I'm flinging kettlebell 3 or 4 times a week.  A local gym brought a machine by the office today to do BMI and body fat measurements.

Age = 40
Height = 5'8"
Weight = 142.4lb
BMI = 21.7
Body fat = 7.0%
BMR = 1551kcal

This deserved a celebration.  A few get-ups, a few presses, a few pullups, and a snatch test.  The Secret Service Snatch Test (SSST) is 200 reps in 10min with 24kg.  I'm not up to 24kg yet, but I snatched 12kg for 200 reps in 10min today for the first time.

I'll get my blood lipids retested again by the end of the month.  If my cholesterol's still high, then it's genetic and I'll deal with a doctor who knows more about exercise and nutrition than prescribing statins to perfectly healthy people.  I've known two people on statins.  They both suffered liver damage and chronic muscle pain.  I'd almost rather take my chances with cholesterol and 7.0% body fat.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Insight from a Kenneth Jay Workshop

Saturday was spent with Master RKC instructor Kenneth Jay and about 15 comrades in iron.  The title "Presses, Pistols and Pullups" became a bit of a back-story in favor of a discussion of movement therapy and nervous system behavior.  The techniques applied toward PP&P were deconstructed with the idea of training the brain to accept these movements as "safe" instead of "threatening".  Little hitches in my normal motion are actually unfamiliar movements where the brain briefly blinks or hesitates, and those hitches must be re-learned until they can be completed without stuttering.  It's time for me to scale back to a lighter weight and do my reps slower, fewer, different, "right".  I have read this on two or three other trainer's blogs in the last few months, Rif, Jordan, and others.  Now it's my time.

I've been fighting an inflamed radial nerve for about two weeks now.  It just happened, almost overnight.  My armpit and tricep ache all day, and I occasionally lose some sensation in my hand.  I've seen two different trainer-therapists, and the exercises and drills prescribed have given some relief.  There was no attempt to explain how this happened, and rightfully so.  Something KJ said yesterday, at least 3 or 4 times, finally clicked with me this morning in hindsight.  Asked about putting on muscle mass, he answered, "sure, there are guys who put on huge muscle and got really strong, but they're walking around in pain".  It's about muscles getting thicker, either by inflammation from a workout or growth over time, and pinching the nerve bundles that run through them.

That statement of KJ's didn't click with me until this morning.  Check my last couple posts.  I started a program about a month ago that's designed to put on muscle mass.  Lots of two-handed overhead lifts and lifts from hang to shoulder, heavy lifts, with really short rests.  I've definitely put on bulk, such as it is on my puny frame.  I have to wonder if I caused my own neuritis?  I've scheduled a few days of rest and a return to more movement-drill training to perfect my form. Some of the bulk should go away because of the change.  It'll be very interesting to see if this nerve condition tracks my size.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When you least expect it.... 'poof' up in the air

I've had a goal of completing a strict Military Press on each arm with my 24kg kettlebell.  I own a pair of 12kg and 16kg that I nicknamed Frik and Frak some time ago.  When my new 24kg arrived, I was briefly out of four-letter "F" words for training equipment.  I had one other suggestion that didn't "fit", so it's been "Frank the 24" ever since.  That title phrase has been on my lips for some three months now.

When you least expect it, Frank... 'poof' up in the air.

I managed to snatch Frank a couple reps on each arm about 10 days ago.  That was barely unsafe, but it was fun beyond measure.  I pressed Frank with my dominant right arm on March 25.  The last two months have been swings, snatches, and left arm therapy.

  • Waiter Presses: could barely do one with 12kg the first time.  Can do sets of 5 @16kg now, and have even done some ladders.  Military Presses got cleaner and quicker, but not all that much stronger.  Arm is more mobile and healthy for the experience.
  • Bottom-Up Presses: still can't BUP 16kg left-handed, but that may be neurological instead of muscular.  Long-term goal.
  • Overloads:  I started adding incremental weight last weekend, which is doing me a world of good.
Tonight, just screwing around, I completed the following.

2 @18kg (41lb) on each arm
2 @20kg (46lb) on each arm
2 @24kg (53lb) on each arm
2 @24kg later with less warm-up

I lowered each rep slowly, like there was a cup of water on top.  The last time I tried that on the left, the bell didn't come off my shoulder.  Literally.

I've been watching Rif's technique of progressively loading his swings and presses for some time now.  I'm liking what this does for me.  I'll try some sets of 5 and 3-rung ladders at 20kg for the next 2 weeks, pressing 24kg in singles as the mood strikes me.  The goal is to condition up to a set of 5 straight @24kg by May 31.

What a relief!

Friday, January 1, 2010

Basic Welcome Message

First, thank you for following along.  This will be an ongoing conversation about health and physical training that began for me in the Summer of 2008 at age 38.  There was a catastrophic injury and a long rehab.  That rehab was the first commitment I had made toward my own fitness in some 15 years.

I am a kettlebell enthusiast and certified instructor of kettlebell skills.  My training on shiny white machines stagnated until I found a new motivation in moving myself and simple pieces of iron in the Summer of 2009.  What followed has been an exciting and interesting discovery in strength and well-being that continues to this day.

Every few months some men's magazine or website will present "15 physical skills every man should have".  15 pullups, 25 pushups, run 5 miles, carry someone your weight up two flights of stairs, that sort of thing.  Useful stuff for getting out from under a motorcycle or into an open window overhead or carrying an injured comrade to safety.  There are strong, rippling monsters of manhood that cannot do a pullup or touch their toes.  There are people who can run a marathon but cannot carry a heavy load up stairs, and vice versa. The day I handed my walker to my nurse and clambered up two flights of stairs because the elevator was broken, I committed to be more physically fit.  Here we go.