James can be reached at TwinFreaks CrossFit, where he is an owner and trainer. James coaches barbell lifting classes and CrossFit classes. Contact him by email at james@twinfreakscrossfit.com or by phone at 720-204-2631.

Thursday, June 19, 2014


So on and off, much more on than I would like, I've been getting sick.  The last one in particular was nasty involving running to the bathroom every 30 minutes.

I think I've beaten my immune system to death.

In order to keep up with my BJJ training schedule I've cut back on the intensity, volume, duration, and frequency of my strength and conditioning.  I'm putting a lot of work into sleeping effectively, and I'm thinking more about recovery modalities.

I have a Thai massage scheduled for next week.  I'd have had it sooner, but the practitioner - a hippy perhaps not surprisingly - is in Telluride for a week for the Bluegrass Festival.

So I'm figuring it out.

And the upshot of all this recent shitting is that I weigh 193.6 pounds in a gi now.

I'm not sure yet what weight I want to fight at at the World Seniors, but I have been casually eyeing 195.

So this should be good except that I have a tournament June 28.  To avoid fighting one of my team mates we made an agreement that he would take 195, and I would take 205.

It's a weird situation to be in a week out from a tournament, but I guess I'll have to go on a diet.

Pure Anabolism

Monday, May 19, 2014


The people who have been around a few years now know that I'm trying to stay young until I die.

Today, as seems to happen every year, I had my birthday.  I have never been big on New Year's, so I am in the habit of using my birthday to reflect on where I am, where I've come from, where I'm going, and for the last few years, I've tried to prove to myself that I am still alive.

It's always January 1 at my place anyway.  I have never been able to work a calendar.

I had planned to climb the Incline this year, but as of today I have been sick about one week and I simply have no energy.

I hate being sick largely because I almost never am.  Lately I have been a couple times, and I wonder if I am doing something wrong that's wrecking my immune system.  I hate to think that I'm training too much, so I've decided to think that it's because I have extra stress from relatively large life changes.

Yes, I quit sucking.

So anyway last night I texted my intrepid partner that the Incline was a no go, and I woke up today wondering what will it be like when I get old?

I got up about 5:30 and studied Linux for an hour or so because that is a big part of not sucking.  I knew I wouldn't do any conditioning, but I also knew my buddies would be at the gym at 8 am to work, and even if I could do little or nothing, I wouldn't miss the chance to support them.

I ended up, no shit, doing some light curls and then benching 225 so that I could at least prove I wasn't any deader than a 22 year old fraternity boy, and then I sat on a bench and worked the timer as my friends proceeded with the more serious work of power cleans, push ups, and pull ups.

Sitting and working the clock.
I went home exhausted and slept half an hour.

I decided then to do a nice slow, flat walk around Mcintosh Lake, an old stand by.

not the Incline but not bad
And I did walk slowly and shirtless.  I reflected that when I get old things will probably be like they were today.  I'll do as much as the 22 year olds, and I'll encourage the older ambitious people to do more than I did at their age.

And then I started visualizing how I want my match to go at next Saturday's Colorado State BJJ tournament.

I'm not sure how young I am anymore.

I'm merely sure I'm not dead yet, and I'm bringing my best next weekend.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Answering Anonymous

One thing I always hated about teaching CrossFit was that rarely would anyone ask me questions.

Another was that some trainers never got any better at their craft than they were the Monday after they finished their weekend certification course.

I'm sure some people will disagree with me, but I think I improved substantially over the five or so years I was a CrossFit trainer. Because I'm aware of my own evolution, I am very forgiving of the weekend cert people as long as they don't intend to stay weekend cert people, and I'm also capable of laughing at some of my own stupidity.

There was a time, not all that long ago really, when I was sure lifting should be done in the five repetition range unless there was a compelling reason to deviate from fives, and it didn't occur to me that anyone - whether they had ever touched a barbell or not before - would not know that.  I'd demonstrate a squat then have the new person try it out.  I'd watch perplexed while they did 15 or so reps and show no sign of ever stopping.

Eventually I figured out that they thought I knew what I was doing, and they were waiting for me to tell them to stop.

So okay.  I am stupid.

I'm biased, but I always thought they were stupider for not asking me how many reps to do if they didn't know.

Anyway over time I got better.  That's one of the glaring mistakes I fixed, but largely the CrossFitters never did ask questions.  I think for the most part, yes, it is a cult, and I never aspired to lead cult members.

I was delighted then to get a question on a recent blog post, and I answered it as soon as I saw it.

  1. I greatly enjoy your blog! What do you do during your 10 minutes of conditioning?
  2. Hi Anon. Among other influences I count Coach Rutherford from Max Effort Black Box http://www.bootcampfitnesskc.com/about/history/
    so we draw from a fairly small pool of crossfit like workouts. I like to keep the movements low skill and high power output, so we do tons of pull ups, push ups, and burpees. We're big fans of the kettlebell swing, and lately we have been loving farmers walk variations. In short I don't make conditioning an ordeal. Choose two or three low skill high power output movements, start the clock and go like a maniac.
  3. First, of course, I should have thanked Anonymous for reading my blog, so thank you, Anonymous.
Secondly, it's probably worth elaborating on my answer here.  I don't consider myself a great expert on any of this stuff.  To me it's all a fairly well informed experiment.  

I find someone who is successfully doing whatever it is I hope to do.  I study his philosophy and methodology, implement them to the best of my ability, and see what happens.  In so far as it works, I keep doing it.  In so far as it doesn't work, I think about what changes might get me closer to the results I want.

I just don't understand not being fairly well informed, nor do I understand pretending to know everything and not experimenting.

It's worth noting too I think, that somewhere between the overwhelming majority and all of the guys who are successfully doing what I want to do don't think they have all the answers and keep experimenting.

Look, I knew a CrossFit trainer who had all the answers.  She liked long - over twenty minutes - conditioning work because she knew that like her everyone was training to do yard work.

No, I am not kidding.

And forgive me please, but this is fucking retarded.

If you need to train to do yard work, you should just pay someone $150 a month to rake your leaves while you avoid CrossFit and stay inside watching reality TV.

But I, or perhaps CrossFit, digress.

I am training for BJJ competition.  What I am doing is mostly working, but I am considering changes.  Lately it makes sense to me to perhaps shorten some of the conditioning work and do heavy barbell complexes.  Secondly, though it hurts my ego, I'm considering dropping lifting everyday and going to two or three sessions a week on BJJ training days.  This, if you're fairly well informed, conforms to the principle of concentrating training stress.  It would allow me to have actual rest days and hopefully expedite recovery.

I hate it, but I'm showing some signs of inadequate recovery.

I'm getting fucked up.

And a lot of people who train as a game never ask this question, but I'll answer it anyway.

Getting fucked up means you're doing it wrong.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Form, Function & Traffic Cones

I said quite a while ago now, publicly, that I am going to get ape shit fuck jacked at least one more time in my life, so that's what I'm doing.

I make a lot of jokes about eating bear claws constantly, so I want to say, again publicly, that I average less than two a month.  That said I've found bear claws to be among the most androgenic substances legal.

Androgenic by the way refers to a hormone or compound that controls male characteristics; if you get enough androgens, you quit CrossFit, get rid of your ridiculous little two-door, four cylinder car, start squatting heavy, and keep conditioning work under ten minutes.

Actually I've never owned a carlet, but the squatting and conditioning are exactly what I'm doing.  I go to the gym six days a week.  Tuesday, Thursday, and Saturday are pure lifting days, and those sessions take me about twenty minutes.  Monday, Wednesday, and Friday are lifting followed by conditioning, and those are about forty minute sessions.

The lifting is abbreviated, and that is because I have built a decent level of strength - as one should - and I am trying only to maintain as much 1rm strength as possible while I pursue other goals.

I eat mainly meat and root vegetables with the occasional bear claw, stack of pancakes, or Reeces Peanut Butter Cup.  I don't bother to weigh or measure anything currently.

Beyond that I train as much Brazilian jiu jitsu in a week as my body can sustain, which sadly seems to be only a few hours.

And all this is because I am training to function as a World Senior BJJ Champion in October.

I really don't care what I look like.  Everything now, except I suppose the bear claws, pancakes, and peanut butter cups, is directed towards performance.

It's a work in progress of course, but I am starting to get ape shit fuck jacked as a side effect of training to perform.

The worst thing in the picture is the liquid soap. My crew and I have discovered that using Lava exclusively raises 1rm.

And it is, perhaps, funny that the people who know what they're talking about have been preaching this form and function thing for years, and almost everyone keep blowing it

So despite the androgens, I keep going back to my stupid menial job.

A couple anecdotes from today:

Awesome Co-worker II told me that Spherical Co-Worker was trying to lose weight.  Apparently Awesome Co-Worker II and some others advised her to quit eating tortillas and drinking soda.  Spherical Co-Worker said that she can't quit eating tortillas and that she only has a little soda because she dilutes it with water.

I said, "well, maybe she'll be a little morbidly obese."

Then while Awesome Co-Worker II, who really is a good kid and at least considers what I tell her, and I continued to talk about diet, Stupid Co-Worker interrupted and said, "I don't get it.  According to you, you can't eat anything.

I replied, "Stupid Co-Worker, you incomparable buffoon, when have I ever advocated eating nothing?"

And I just don't understand these negative, part Humans who abdicate volition and are powerless to do anything.

I looked at their forms and thought that if they would wear orange they would function quite well as traffic cones.

Friday, May 2, 2014


Really I don't like amateurism.

That has cause a lot of problems over the years because I lot of people just can't understand it.  They think I don't like amateurs.

Look, I love amateurs.  I am one, and it's unlikely I'll ever be anything else.  Now that I am wholly into Brailian jiu jitsu again, I sometimes try to remember my record from my previous attempt at competition some years ago.  I can never quite do it.  I remember that I won two, but I can never remember if I lost 8, or 10, or 12, or 14.

So I'm an amateur.  If I knew now at the start of my second attempt that I would eventually finish with a career record of 2 - 138, I'd still pursue this path.  I love training; I love my training partners; I love the process.  If nothing else I have a reason to wake up every day, and I'm not getting fat and diabetic.  I also think that someday I'll get it figured out and start winning, but whatever.

So I love amateurs.

But I hate amateurism.

That's why this morning when my pseudo random work out generator served up a five minute burpee test, I got it done without either my regular partner or the reserve partner I lined up who cancelled at the last minute.  I won't report my score. I'm embarrassed that I didn't do as well as I did the last time I tried a couple months ago.

The important thing is just that I'm an amateur who avoided amateurism.  I looked around an empty room, tuned out the bad music, started the timer, and hit the floor.

Today was doughnut Friday at work.  I had just finished my burpees 15 minutes before I walked in.  I was in a good mood, and I knew that tomorrow would be 90 minutes of competition team training at Dark Horse BJJ, so I decided to be a pro doughnut eater.

And all of this left me appalled to see the work of probably amateur and definitely amateurish dieters.

Half Doughnuts Scream Amateur

So being the guy I am, I said to those assembled in the break room, "you'll never get fat on half doughnuts."

I then took that beautiful, chocolate, unmolested doughnut, and since I work in a commercial kitchen, I took about a quarter pound of bacon out of the refrigerator and added it on top.


I ate that.

And I'm pretty sure that before I quit or get fired there, I'm going to have to walk into work with a box of a dozen doughnuts and ask, "would anyone like to split one of these with me?"

When an amateur says, "yes," I'll set the box down in front of him or her, take six doughnuts out and walk away.

I just don't see the point of amateurism.

Squat, leave, eat, and above all remember to be polite.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

the Grinder

Excuse me. Maybe it's the endorphins.

Or maybe it's that I did everything right today.

Or maybe I got the endorphins because I did everything right today.

I had been sick for nearly two weeks which for me is devastating because I rarely get sick.  Most of those days I didn't feel horrible, but I knew if I went to jiu jitsu at some point my nose would run on my unfortunate partner, so I didn't train.

So yesterday I felt almost but not quite good enough to train, and I was sure I would wake up today ready for anything.  That actually did happen, but with my sometimes terminal insomnia, I woke up ready for anything at 4 am, and as is usually the case when that happens - although my nose was clear - I felt like dog shit by about 8 am when I had to go to work.

And so I did go to work.  I performed my  menial job competently, and I dealt with my co worker's ignorance without undue strain.  Nonetheless I was ebbing by the time I had to go to school.  School unfortunately is always draining.  While I can and do learn there and sometimes even enjoy it, the class is usually dominated by the incessant squeaking of a few 20 year olds who don't understand their chatter really doesn't prove how smart they are.

So when I left school I was tired and had a headache.

I had not squatted yet at that point, and I tried momentarily to rationalize skipping a session.  I knew I was out of food, had to go to the grocery store, and I had about two hours before I had to train jiu jitsu.  Further I knew that after jiu jitsu class, there would be a grinder, a lengthy match against an opponent for the competition team, which I assumed from past experience would be 20 minutes.

But I squat everyday, which means that if I skip a day, I do not squat everyday, so I more or less have to squat.

So I squatted the minimum,a 315 double, and left.  As a friend of mine asked about the Squat Everyday Program, "how do you finish watching Sex and the City without elliptical time?"  I don't.  I have the squat and leave routine down to 8 minutes, so it really isn't a hardship once I give in and make myself go to the gym.

And then a couple hours after that came the Grinder.  It turned out to be 25 minutes, and I was paired with a new but decent blue belt who at least approximated my own weight.

I can't really write what happened there.  I know that my guard broke down very quickly, so the Grinder turned into 24 minutes of training from atypical positions I don't seek out.  And it happened, somehow, that I flowed.  True at my age I flow like a glacier, but all the same I flowed.  I was doing snake mounts and break dance passes, and I think probably I did a toreando pass which I never do.  I just know that at some point I had a double pants grip and then I found myself on top of side control which usually describes a toreando.

I could tell you how many submissions I caught, but I won't.  The point is that I flowed like a glacier.

And too in the middle of this day that started poorly and ended perfectly, I got texts from people who want to pay me to train them.  That seems, in part at least, to refute criticism from those who say I didn't do CrossFit right.

And so all of this makes me love the people who love and forget the people who don't.

And here, maybe, are the endorphins, but right now I want to eat raw meat and sleep outside.

So once, right now, everything is perfect with the world.

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I do Smile too

I rarely read my own blog.  I just do it and put it out usually without any editing other than fixing whatever mistakes would embarrass an English major who managed a lower GPA than I did.  I realized though that in my last blog I strongly insinuated if not outright said that no one understood what I was doing.

Someone did, and it went like this.

In the last few weeks I was accused of driving away gym members.  I was reasonably sure this was untrue since I actively socialize with many of those people, I routinely text most of the rest of them, and there is a grand total of two people who I do not know why they left the gym.

And one of those people I text, I lost.  I had to get a new phone, and I didn't have her number.

It happened one night that I saw her.

She asked me what was new, and after explaining that I changed phones, I told her I was selling my half of the gym.

She looked at me with the jaw dropped utter horror look usually reserved for movies.

And after a suitable dramatic pause, she said this:

"Where are you going to train?"

Of course I had figured that out some weeks ago.

And so she knew that I knew that the only thing that matters is training, and I knew that she knew what I do.

And it happened, yes, that I smiled.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Freebirds & Bear Claws

Yes, I'm a freebird.

I no longer have any association with CrossFit or any of their affiliates.

I'm not sure if I'll ever disclose publicly much of what went into that over the last five or six years.  I've realized few, actually no, people understand what I was trying to do, what I did, or how I did it, so a post mortem wouldn't be particularly helpful to anyone.

Some parts of the story are ridiculously funny, like that one time I had a stalker for a couple of years or those  times I was completely financially broke for a while, and it might be irresponsible not to eventually report those in case anyone needs the entertainment.

And I know too that, "what do you think of CrossFit?" is not a real question.  I'd have to ask my interlocutor what session at which CrossFit was under discussion.  I've done this long enough to see the good, the bad, and the ugly. Some of that, too, is ridiculously funny, and I'd be remiss not to report on some of those like the 100 bar roll outs.

But for now, and for once, I get to think of me.  I have some specific, ambitious yet attainable goals that I will report here.  I'm fortunate to have been accepted by a perfect team to help me reach my goals.

But look, I can't think of me for very long without thinking of you, the people who helped make me during this time.

A few years ago I developed a fascination with Mongolian culture, and I especially liked the story of Genghis Khan being pursued accompanied only by a handful of remaining loyalists and being forced to hide in the mountains.  The men were compelled by necessity eventually to drink brackish water, and thereafter for the rest of his life Genghis Khan took care of those who drank the black water with him.

I didn't do any of that.

I took the 7:30 am crew to Winchell's Donuts for bear claws.

The point though is that figuratively a lot of you ate bear claws with me.

All of you have a piece of my heart.

One of you only got a bit more.

And what good is all that?  I'm not sure other than that I'm doing pull ups and squatting and stuff like that and I hope you are too.

Some of you have me on text and you'll find I'm free with help.  If you don't have me on text and you want to find me, well, start looking for a place where people do pull ups and squats and stuff like that.

Lastly and most importantly, I want to sincerely thank those of you who understood some of what I was trying to do, some of what I did, and some of how I tried to do it, and who gave me much and needed support over the last few weeks.

You guys can find me at Winchell's.

Monday, March 31, 2014

the Rationale Curve, Arm Bars & DQ Slam

So there I was squatting.

That in itself is not unusual since I squat everyday.

But then a guy said to me, "this guy asked The Trainer why he was supposed to do this, and The Trainer said, 'that sounds like something James would say.'"

And yes, I would say that, so I decided the guy was probably okay.

And I think The Trainer's reply, apart from evading the question, was an implicit critique of me and what I do.  Now some people would agree with The Trainer.  They might well say that they work out for fun, and they don't need a reason to perform a certain movement or work out.

Fun is a great goal.

I'd suggest sex.

Hopefully it costs less than a gym membership, to the best of my memory it is fun, and I'd guess it is as effective as Zumba.

So maybe they're not actually training for fun.  Rather I'd suggest that they have no well defined goals, and they have limited time to train what with families, careers, and all.

I get it.

I do.

And this is precisely where you need a rationale for everything you do in the gym.  You have limited units of training time, and using them efficiently should be prioritized.

Actually I am the one who while insisting on a rationale for everything doesn't always need one.  I put in enough hours a day, for enough weeks, filling enough months to be divisible by 12 thereby yielding years, that I can afford some degree of inefficiency.

Look, my rationale for squatting everyday is basically that my arms don't work right now.  I get to retain most of my strength, increase my mobility, have energy left over to do more intense conditioning and still do BJJ.

Now let's suppose that my rationale is faulty or worse yet I don't have one.  In that case, because of my experience and training time available, I'd get to retain most of my strength, increase my mobility, have energy left over to do more intense conditioning and still do BJJ.

Someone training two or three times a week would be fucked without a sound rationale for using those hours.

Okay, maybe that's fun.

I'll be uploading video from the Colorado Super Cup as I have time available.  I'm back to training again despite no arms, and I hope to compete again in May.

Ashley's Second of Three Arm Bars

Michael J Machine Gun wins by DQ after a Slam

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Arm Bars & Triangles

My elbow has improved enough to do pull ups again, but I thought it was too early to compete in the Colorado Super Cup in Colorado Springs, so I went to help out the Dark Horse BJJ Team.  I think someday I will be good because I get to train with these guys.

Ashley's Third of Three Arm Bars for the Day

I probably train with Ashley more than anyone which might seem weird unless you were to actually watch us.  Our guard games map to each other fairly well, and I have the most technical rolls with her.  Yes, I weigh 50 pounds more than her, but it tends to work unless I'm on top of side control too soon after she's eaten a waffle.

Machine Gun Triangles

Michael J Machine Gun is a sometimes pro wrestler, and is another great training partner.  Here he has a much better coach than me in professor Andrew Dudderar sitting across the mat, but he works closer to my side, so I try to help.  He gets into a good position where coaching becomes pretty easy.

I seem to say, "here we go," a lot now.

Friday, March 28, 2014

14.4,14.5 & Dust in the Wind

Probably I should have written about 14.4 sooner before I largely forgot it.  I remember it was an AMRAP 14, but for most normal humans it was really a chipper.  I remember I did some of it - the 50 toes to bar in particular I remember- but I didn't finish a complete round in 14 minutes.

So I did some of it, and frankly I think that's pretty good.

14.5 was 21-18-15-12-9-6-3, 95 pound thrusters and bar facing burpees.  I was pretty sure I had no real intention of finishing it, but I had my pre work out drink and decided to at least try it.

pre work out, actually four of them
As it turned out, I lost interest in the work out and did not finish.  

Given my lack of success in the Open, I seriously considered retiring from CrossFit, but I'm not sure how to retire.

Well, if wrestlers leave their shoes on the mat...
Actually this work out showed me that I really like CrossFit.  In fact the whole 7:30 am crew liked this work out enough that we're running it again properly, which is to say as a 12-9-6-3.

I sometimes get criticized for not taking CrossFit seriously, but I'm never sure what the critics are taking about.

I get results.

Non starter on Main Site, but it works on Main Street

I wonder what I do.

Periodically too you have to see what is on the USB drives collecting dust on your desk.  I just did that, and I have a lot of pictures from 2010, 2011, and 2012 of people doing the stuff I do.  Most of these people I haven't seen since 2010, 2011, and 2012.

I guess they're dust in the wind.

And I get criticized for that kind of observation.

I'm not sure why.

I'm also dust in the wind.

I just became lodged in a squat cage for a few years.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Virtue II

A little
Over a few years
let intimacy
ripen naturally-
the number of friends will be small
but the quality will be very large

- Yamaoka Tesshu

I'm not claiming infallibility.  Once in a while though, I'm reminded that I do a lot of little things correctly, and maybe the accumulation of that counts for something.

On the other hand, I've never really been into quantity.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Virtue I & Music

I think psychologists call it recency.

Sometimes you find yourself walking Main Street, maybe you have an extended short term memory, and recency causes you to think about the last five years.

It just works out that today I find myself at the end of the five years that started five years ago.

I've changed a lot over five years, and now more than anything I enjoy those closing moments of the day when I find tranquility and can meditate on Virtue.

Enough casual readings of Proverbs, and here you may choose proverbs or Proverbs as they're all edifying, and I realize I have memorized large excerpts of Proverbs without having consciously tried.  Actually if on
Main Street I were stopped and queried about the true business of a man, I could quickly provide an imperfect but close answer along with supporting citations from proverbs or Proverbs.

So, you can do that, or you can say, "don't be an asshole."

At the University of Iowa, I found a Rabbi professor.  I did not like him, but it was obvious that his intelligence was prodigious, so I usually went to his class.

This is where I learned that sometimes tests at a state university serve to test your understanding of a teaching assistant's misunderstanding of the material the professor covers.

And one day the Rabbi professor summed up his vast credentials placing special emphasis on the scholarly tradition of Rabbis, and then he told us he would explain the essence of Judaism.

After a suitable pause, he said, "don't be an asshole."

So there you go.

And then I have these defined abdominals I just don't handle well.  Maybe I can be forgiven.  I think the problem is that I'm too old to be ape shit fuck jacked.  If I had done it at twenty-one, things would be different now, but I'd have missed the last five years.

So I was at work, and Not Okay Coworker Two, being, well, spherical, interrupted Okay Coworker to explain that she had lost five pounds and she had half a slice of pineapple for lunch.

Man, I just don't know what is supposed to happen there.

So I did that thing where I lifted my shirt and said, "do you know how much you have to eat to do this?"

Here one sophist might say I joyfully helped her in her quest to stop being spherical, while another sophist might say I'm a vain and pompous asshole.

Leaving sophistry aside, maybe I can meditate on Proverbs tonight.

If that doesn't work, one has recourse to music.  I cannot explain this, but lately when meditating slides into sophistry I listen to this, with special enjoyment of the prelude, and this.

I squatted today.

Sunday, March 16, 2014

14.3, Conditioning, & OtM

A somewhat lightened 7:30 am crew took on CrossFit Open wod 14.3 last Friday.

Complete as many reps as possible in 8 minutes of:
135-lb. deadlifts, 10 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
185-lb. deadlifts, 15 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
225-lb. deadlifts, 20 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
275-lb. deadlifts, 25 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
315-lb. deadlifts, 30 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch
365-lb. deadlifts, 35 reps
15 box jumps, 24-inch

I did and didn't like this one.  Dead lifts have to favor me as much as anything ever will but I was worried about the box jumps because I rarely use the prescribed 24 inches anymore favoring instead 20.

I don't know.
I just have this thing where I don't want to rupture my Achilles tendon.

 It was entertaining to watch the pro CrossFitters at the games announcement fall apart on the dead lifts, and I figured I and their more or less gifted imitators around the world would also start rounded back dead lifting by the second round.  I thought that because unlike several of their imitators I actually strength train I probably wouldn't get injured pulling 275 ugly.

Based on my own assessment of my current fitness, I set a goal of getting at least one 275 pound dead lift.  I got a little bit more than that.


At this point I should probably provide a photo,but I'm not, so you'll have to trust me that I have visible abs again.  I don't think any blog about getting shredded is forthcoming because I'm not trying very hard to do it, and so I don't have any new suggestions.  I eat the same as always; I have merely upped the intensity, not duration of my conditioning work.  I think maybe it's working because against all  odds the experts are right about building muscle mass to lose fat.

So that's it.  I squat everyday, and I approach my three conditioning work outs a week as though they mattered.

I have yet to impress a single female, which is probably good, but having abs is fun anyway.  

Last week I was at the part time job I do to augment the sporadic income I get from owning a gym, and I was talking to Okay Co-Worker about diet.  For whatever reason, Not Okay Co-Worker who resembles a large marsh  mellow with toothpicks for limbs kept interjecting unsolicited input.  At length I've learned people think it's rude to
tell someone to shut the fuck up no matter how well justified, so I turned to Not Okay Co-Worker, pulled up my shirt to reveal what I have recently wrought,and said, "hey, Not Okay Co - Worker."

He shut the fuck up which alone, in my opinion, is reason enough to stay on top of conditioning.

I trained BJJ with some intensity for the first time since I popped my elbow.  I had forgotten how great it is to hang out, talk, and roll with those in a world so largely filled with jerks.  

My left arm didn't work as well as I'd like, and I had to give up on some positions I'm normally good at.  Still I had some good rolls and taped a few of those great guys.

I looking forward to training harder and more frequently.

God willing I'm still going to World Seniors in California this year.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

CF Open 14.2 & Squatting

So then, I quit facebook for Lent, and it's been good, but I worry that it might be a gateway to quitting CrossFit.  I'm not sure there is a point to some of these work outs besides showing off, and I've removed myself from a highly available show off platform.

I've probably mentioned somewhere in this blog that quitting training is not consistent with my goals, so I'm still training, and since I train at a CrossFit affiliate, I at least claim to do CrossFit.

It follows, I think, that if you claim to do CrossFit, you might as well actually do it, and if you go so far as to do it, you might as well do the CrossFit Open.

I did 14.1 last week, and while I'm not releasing my score unless someone pays me $20, I will say that I was a magician with double unders.

14.2, overhead squats at 95 pounds and chest to bar pull ups seemed more palatable to me except that I wasn't sure if my elbow would allow me to do pull ups at all.  A couple guys were warming up with some nice kipping chest chest to bars, and since I couldn't show off online, I thought I'd show off my chest to bar butterflies live.  As soon as I hanged from the bar at full extension, I was rewarded with the pain I expected.
I made a nice pain face, and the guys advised me to save any real attempts for the work out.

Since I squat everyday now, I squatted the day before the work out, and I felt good but I didn't want to go heavy, so instead I tried a back off set of body weight x 20.  The day of the work out I squatted the usual easy 315 x 2, and when I started the wod the overhead squats felt trivial.

Then I got to the pull ups.

What can I say?

I refuse to be unable to do a chest to bar pull up so I did.  Then I did another, and since I wanted my final score to be a prime number, I did more.  It was a bitch as it was taking me two or three pull ups to get one chest to bar.

In the end I did too much work for the low prime number I finished at, but if you're going to do CrossFit, you have to do CrossFit, and so on.

Today was also a day, and since I squat everyday, I squatted today.

I hit a ridiculously easy 400 which I haven't done in quite a while, and 400 is again over twice my body weight, so I'm happy.

I think I'll just keep working and not worry too much about how very few people know it.

Monday, March 3, 2014

Every Cloud

My woes continue.  I feel like shit, and I've concluded that's because every cloud has its thorn.

All the same I've finished one week of squatting everyday, and I have nothing but good to report so far.  Of course most days I have only hit the 315 double, but I've gone above it a couple times hitting a fast, easy 375 double at most.

I wanted to time myself, so Saturday, an especially shitty day, I started the clock and tried not to hurry.  I hit the double in 8 minutes, 8 seconds feeling in no way rushed.

Eight oh Eight
I thought that was a decent time.

Look, if I had to train at a CrossFit where I was expected to do 25 minutes of mobility work and a 25 minute wod, I could still get my work done.

Or again, if or maybe more likely when I get kicked out of all the CrossFits and have to train at 24 minute fitness, I can still get 15 minutes in the tanning bed.

True, 315 is light and a double certainly isn't much volume, but it's more than a lot of people will do in their careers.

So again, it's been great so far, and I have the following to report:

On some otherwise horrible days, I did my thing and so avoided feeling totally useless.  I suppose though that this point might be countered with the observation that people who don't squat any day also never feel totally useless or they would squat some of the days.

I don't waste any time on warm up or mobility work.  Most days I just start with 45 x 5, but at least one day 135 was sitting on the bar, and I'm a  guy, so I hit that shit.  Before squatting everyday, I usually couldn't hit an air squat to depth in the morning without some preliminary work, and now it's no problem which makes me wonder if perhaps in general we spend too much time on mobility work, and not enough time on moving.

I don't waste time changing my shoes.  Dude, it's about 70% of 1rm, and the whole thing  takes less time than ordering Reebok gear online.  I guess if one my shoes falls off someday, I'll take the other one off to be symmetrical, but then again maybe not; it's 70% dude.

I wondered if I could avoid wasting time with a belt and wrist wraps, so I tried it and the answer appears to be yes so far.

I have very little soreness.  Until I quit breaking myself, I have to train BJJ conservatively, but in my limited trials squatting has not interfered with rolling.  Likewise I condition three days a week, and I do double unders and box jumps like a boss.  It seems like squatting, as I long suspected, is the ultimate warm up.

I don't worry about eating before, during, or after training.  I doubt I'm getting all catabolic with my volume.

Really I have nothing bad to say.

 I might eventually get bored, and then I'll put my bodyweight on the bar and see how many reps I can do in 5 minutes.  This came up on facebook lately, and at least one expert said it's a stupid thing to do which is all I need to do it as soon as I need a challenge.

I suspect my top end strength will rise slower than it would on a 5x5 or some such thing, but right now I can live with that.

Hopefully it continues to snow. I watched a documentary on Mongolian Judo players.  Apparently they like rubbing snow over their bodies after running up mountains, so I tried it myself the last two days after squatting, and it seems reasonable to me.

Be right, be wrong, but keep trying and training.

Saturday, March 1, 2014

True Colors

Maybe two or three people know that since about last October, I have slowly been bringing my conditioning up, and I was happy this week to test myself against the CrossFit Open wod 14.1.

I'm still at best amateurish at double unders, but I thought I could do well with proper dress and pre-workout nutrition. I didn't have enough long socks for everyone, so I went with one only to avoid any other athletes getting jealous, I put on my PR t-shirt, and I had a pot of Death Wish coffee.

Team Show Tunes

The small but oh so passionate 7:30 am crew attacked 14.1, and on the whole we were happy with the results.

We will release our scores to anyone who cares, but we are charging $20 for that information.

I felt so good after training in the morning that I decided to train jiu jitsu at open mat last night.  About twenty seconds after I started rolling, I found myself on bottom of a Toreando guard pass.  My partner flanked me low and leading with the head, so I tried blocking the pass with my face and caught a skull in the eye socket.

First Line of Defense

These things happen; it's my second black eye in five or so years.

So my elbow is still angry, and I have a black eye.

I'd say I'm not mad or dejected, but competition team training is starting in under a half hour, and I recently lost both of my mouth guards.

I'd like to train today, but I'm not ready for chipped teeth.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Squatting Every Day

And then sometimes you have an idea.  You can't be sure if it's good or bad, so eventually you have to try it.

For two or three or four or five years, however long I've been serious enough about lifting to check up on the generally unreliable reports about what the Bulgarians are doing, I've been fascinated with the idea of squatting every day, and I knew eventually I'd try it.

I thought that I would train for the 2014 USAPL Raw Nationals in July in much the same way I've trained the last 18 or so months, after which, what the hell, I'd experiment with squatting everyday.

But then last Saturday I popped my elbow.  While it looks fine on the outside, it's still very angry, and it doesn't like to go to full extension.  I find I can do slow push ups, and I did a pull up today which I won't try to repeat soon since it made my elbow feel worse than it did Saturday.  I'm almost, but not quite, stupid enough to try any pressing.

A lot of guys, I fear, would take a couple months off here.

Earlier this week I saw an article headline which claimed men's self esteem is lowered when doors are held open for them.  I didn't read the article because I don't read articles like that, but I know I don't care about doors.  Sometimes people hold doors for me because they're genuinely great people, and as I have observed, sometimes they do so because they find me intimidating which makes me laugh.

But if I didn't train, I'm certain that my self esteem would take a bigger hit than it did in my latter teens when I happened on porn and what passes for average genitals.

So I decided to squat everyday.  By far the most reputable source I've read on this, James Steel, recommends hitting at least 70% of 1rm everyday, and going over 80% a couple times a week.  I don't know exactly where my 1rm is these days, so I don't know what 70% is, but 315 is close enough and it's easy to load.

I might improve some of my physical attributes doing this, or I might die, but I was going to do that eventually anyway.  Besides, I've been listening to a lot of what I call drug rap in training lately, and if those guys can ball until they fall, I can squat until I rot.

Thus far though, I feel great.  Obviously my lifting density is way up, but my volume and intensity are both down.   If I were to guess what happens eventually, I'd say I'll get a little bit stronger and a little bit leaner while feeling great all the time and having plenty of physical resources left over to train jiu jitsu with regularity.

And so there are some more ideas I have, but I'm not taking a couple months off anytime soon.

Well actually I've never had that idea, and I still slam doors on people who do.

Saturday, February 22, 2014

BJJ Blues

Again I'm processing a loss.

Of course whenever you compete you can be adequately prepared, but you can't know whether you'll be a winner or loser.

At the urging of my younger training partners, I decided to compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu again after a four or five year break from competition.  I think it's a matter of integrity to walk the walk, as is commonly said, and if nothing else I set out to show that while I am aging, I am  not in any way enfeebled.

I was happy with both my physical and technical preparation going in.  I believe my guard has improved tremendously since returning to BJJ, and while my top game is rudimentary, it's serviceable. 

My team mates at Dark Horse BJJ and the guys I lift and condition with had me in good shape, and while I fought nerves for days, I was ready to return.

Waiting to warm up,

Without recounting the fight in entirety, I lost by submission to an Americana from mount.  I felt like I was in no real danger; I was carefully monitoring my shoulder which the Americana attacks, when quite unexpectedly my elbow popped and I tapped  right as the referee was moving to stop me.

My elbow.  Abraded but neither swollen nor discolored.
Obviously I'm not happy about losing.  I've been listening to music and playing one minute Internet chess which has me feeling tolerably well, and I'm not taking this loss nearly as badly as I would have in my previous competitive career.

Actually I have several things to feel good about going forward:

While I was nervous for days leading to the event, I have never been so calm on the mat.

I implemented my game plan of jumping closed guard with no problems.

I stayed active in guard. I nearly swept, I replaced guard after a near pass, and I had a good early submission attempt.  (Why oh why oh why oh why did I try a triangle when I almost certainly should have kept turning an omoplata?  I'd be writing a different blog now.)

I maintained my composure and kept fighting when the position turned against me.

I successfully defended my back and escaped a bow and arrow choke which normally is kryptonite for me.

My conditioning was superior.  Until my elbow popped, I was feeling very good while my opponent was panting.  Until the elbow gave out, I thought I would be able to escape and turn the tide.

I was fully present during the fight and was able to monitor my opponent's energy level.  I was particularly happy about this because I had been working hard on it in competition training.  (It comes in handy when you have to train with younger guys.  I work hard on feeling them wane and only then taking my shots.)

At this point my elbow doesn't feel any worse than it usually does with tendinitis, and unless it does something strange overnight I'll be training tomorrow.

I have to get serious now about the World Masters in October.

If it were entirely up to me, maybe I'd take another four years off.

But I have integrity, and it's not only about me.

God willing I'll be in Long Beach in October for my family, for my friends.