Monday, December 30, 2013

New Year's 2014

First, my wife is awesome.

Weight vest, emory tape, chalk and a chalk bag, Kettleguard inserts, and a pack of shammies. Beyond thoughtful. I'm suspicious she just wants me to spend more time with the chalk outside or running around the block, but it's still such a great gesture. Even some #kettleguardlove.

Second, I had food poisoning last weekend. I was barely 1 week off a bulking program that put on about 10lbs. I had reduced the creatine and the constant eating before getting sick, and I came out of the sick weekend only 2.5lbs lighter than the end of the bulk. I've settled 1.5lb over my weight class instead of 8lb deep inside it.

Third, I set some milestones before moving up to 24kg bells again. Moving to heavier bells after 6 weeks off would have torn my calluses and set me back, and the AKA now ranks at 4kg increments. I'm better off moving up over the season than trying to start at 24kg. I wouldn't have said that a few months ago.

I wanted to press double 24kg bells to compete with double 24kg bells. It makes sense to me to be able to launch them and support them with confidence first. I've chased that with no success for over 2 years, barely getting the bells off my shoulders a couple months ago. I finally got that during the winter bulk.

I also wanted to meet rank numbers (50 at my bodyweight) or greater with smaller bells before moving up. Considering I've been back on the bells exactly 1 week and was sick 2 days ago, I was pleased to score 50 reps in 9:00 this Monay. Even better, I did it with a 9:15 playlist instead of a clock. The split was 25/5:00 + 25/4:00, so I finished at pace.

Lastly, I'm maintaining a principle of training strength in the gym and conditioning in my sport. I want to squat my bodyweight for tens and press the 24s for sets throughout this season, strong enough not to fail on technique. I know all the articles and all the Russian champions who only lift bells and run. I'm not a champion yet; I can't go 50 if I can't go 5.

Have a safe New Year's, and I'll see you at West Coast Classic.

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

MMS: The Final Countdown

The training journal that comes with Mass Made Simple advises at the end of week 5 to refocus and cover any neglected areas to finish strong. I did everything but that. I had a friend in the hospital and several nights sleep interrupted. The stress actually cost me a settled stomach, a few pounds off my frame, and a few reps off my training totals. I've managed to maintain 185lb back squats for 15 reps and 135lb back squats for 25 reps, but nowhere close to 50 straight. This was the first long set of Day 13, 135lb for 25 reps at 161lb BW, set to some YouTube stock music for your enjoyment.

Oh, and YouTube, thank you very much for protecting us all from the sounds of life going on around us. Now all my gym videos have to be mute-edited at home between camera and upload or be overdubbed with YouTube stock tracks. Heaven forbid my gym should play classic rock radio, and thank you for extorting me over a few cents royalties instead of allowing these oldies the exposure that may actually sell an album to a reader. I'm sure the artists' grandchildren will appreciate your vigilence.

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Crashing through barriers

There's a quote common to the Iron Radio podcast that I like, "crashing through barriers". One of the show's regulars frequently greets skinny-weak new clients with instructions to gain 20lb immediately, by any means necessary, and maintain that weight while they get strong until further notice. It's radical, but it has worked again and again. Losing weight is just eating less and walking more. Anybody can lose weight, but building lean body mass is expensive and time-consuming and limited by things like age, genetics, and endocrinology.

My weight crept up and down for almost 3 weeks while I (only) slightly overate and my lifts went nowhere. I even spent the week of Thanksgiving with a family member in the hospital, running around, carrying stress, eating cafeteria food. It wasn't until after Thanksgiving that I finally broke the inertia.

March, 2013 - 151lb; 185lb back squats, low bar, 1 set 5 reps
Nov 10, 2013 - 154lb
Nov 17, 2013 - 159lb
Nov 28, 2013 - 157lb
Dec 02, 2013 - 161lb; 185lb back squat, high bar, 5 sets of 7
Dec 05, 2013 - 164lb; 185lb back squat, high bar, last set, 15 reps

Before various readers question why I'm doing full squats instead of half squats for KB jerk (because squats), why I'm outside my weight class (temporarily), why I'm not running (torn calf), or why I'm not following the Lupatin and Rudnev paper (blogged about it) on mass and max strength, just don't. You know who you are. Don't.

I couldn't launch the green bells overhead when my legs got tired. I couldn't straighten my spine and breath in the rack. I was 147lb, against my will, for 5 years. My L5/S1 disc was loose. Today, this session, this bodyweight, all that is drifting further behind me.