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.

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.