Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Game Planning for the remainder of the year

I should be getting my new Kettlebell soon, and my theory is that I will be able to accomplish 200 snatches in 10 minutes with the 24 kg. While I don't consider this out-and-out mastery, I do think it would mark a significant improvement in my wind and endurance.

My idea at that point will be to begin incorporating some of Ross Enamait's finishers from Infinite Intensity and Never Gymless. I will be quite heavy on burpees, sledgehammers, and other kinds of work. My presses will continue in the "Enter the Kettlebell" fashion until I can press about 1/2 of my bodyweight. Due to the ease and convenience of dumbbells over kettlebells, I'll be buying a dumbbell handle once I'm ready to start working with weights over 40kg. At some point, I will probably get a 3 pood/48kg, but it's very much outside of the current budget. So I will stay with the military press/pullup schedule until I can press 110 lbs. At that point, I will proceed until I can do 20 straight pullups/chinups, probably by changing the focus of my workout slightly.

Meanwhile, I will develop my burpee skill until I can do the minimum 20 descending sets as described in a Completely Criminal Exercise Program. This has been one of my goals since I first read the article, and burpees are a nice mix-up from snatches--a pushing "finisher" vs. a pulling finisher. I may have to add in some more lower-body work to compensate for what I'm losing from the swings/snatches.

This would represent a good move forward in terms of upper body strength and wind. Added to my pulling strength, I will have a good base moving forward.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Grave Peril/Summer Knight by Jim Butcher

I was pleasantly surprised and pleased by Grave Perilby Jim Butcher. I finished it in about a day, the fastest I have read any of his books so far. The action is brisk and unflagging, and the danger quotient is high. Dresden, Butcher's hero, is appealing as ever and creative in dispatching much more powerful (in terms of raw power) baddies than himself. The series, however, begins to stray somewhat from the private eye with magical powers initial setup into a more Shadowrunstyle. This isn't necessarily bad, as it's a natural progression from what comes before. This is my favorite book in the series so far.

Butcher keeps up the pace with the fourth book, Summer Knightby continuing some of the previous plot threads, but not taking up some of the more important ones. This leads to a feeling of this being a transition book: the previous book was so compelling that you just want to get back to some of those story threads. I am looking forward to reading the next book.

So far, I am very satisfied with this series.

Grave Peril: 9/10
Summer Knight: 8/10

Sunday, January 27, 2008

Workouts this Week (1/27/08)

Tough week, extra days off, but on my heavy day, worked up to 5 x (1,2,3,4) presses, so I'm graduating to the hardest version with this weight. 5 x (1,2,3,4,5). I barely got in my medium workout on Friday, so I'm running about a day behind.

Everything is progressing as planned, though.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Variety Tuesday--Workout 17

Rolled up a four. Gym Jones: opened up their workout for the day and I was like: WTF? I don't even know what those exercises are. I already got called back into work tonight, so I didn't have a lot of time.

... so I went back in time to Sep. 22 2005 and did top-to-top tabata push-presses: 35# for 4 sets, then a break, 3 sets, then a break, and finished with 5 sets. Worst set was 7, so we'll go with that.

Not bad, but I'm tired, work was exhausting today, so I ought to hit the sack. I still owe two book reviews, as I'm getting ahead of myself--my blogging's not keeping up with my reading.

Also to look forward to: some posts on my diet theories, reviews of my new fitness stuff, my progress to date, reviews of the video games I've been playing, some metrosexual man-care advice, reviews of the TV shows I've been Netflixing and more links to more things that I find interesting and amusing. I'm also wondering if people reading this are confused about what exactly I'm doing (just as I was confused by Gym Jones today), so there may be some clarifying posts. There will definitely be edits to old posts, as I consider everything to be a work in progress. So stay tuned.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Weekend Workouts and Fitness Game Update

Another week of Pavel's training. I have to say that this is pretty effective, as I hit a milestone on my hard day. Though I didn't hit all of my pressing sets (did only 32 reps total) I did hit 200 swings with the 20 kg bell in about 8:20. This is pretty impressive to me.

Today, I hit some snatches and presses. And I bought a ton of products.

First, over to Biotest where I picked up some Metabolic Drive, Hot Rox, and Chad Waterbury's "Muscle Revolution".

Then I picked up a new 24 kg/53 pound

I finished my mad purchasing spree with all three of Ross Enamait's products--the "Grand Larceny Pack (TM)". I heard about Ross through Lean and Hungry Fitness, a fantastic blog that isn't updated nearly often enough.

I plan on reviewing all of these products and getting back to you about them.

Fitness Gameupdate:

We remain in a dead lock:
Kaliden: 22
Parker: 21
Thalayli: 20

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Workouts 13-14

Workout 13: Wednesday
45 minute walk: too exhausted to try lifting.

Workout 14: Thursday
Medium day:
5 x (1,2) 32kg press alternate with close grip chins 5 x (1,2) (rolled a five)

Good workout. Almost done with my next book, review up soon.

Music: This American Life Episode 334: Duty Calls

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Workouts 9-12

Workout 9, Saturday

Heavy, more of the same, worked up to 5 sets x (1,2,3) reps + 6 minutes with the 20kg 'bell. 60 reps per hand plus 10 two-handers because I tore my hand a little bit.

Music: Kodo, Sai-so

Workout 10, Sunday
Light, and again, 5 singles with the 32's plus pullups. 4 minutes easy with two-hand swings, did sixty without much of a problem. Would have liked to work technique, but I think with a bit more training, I'm totally there for this "Rite of Passage" thing.

Music: Led Zeppelin, Mothership

Workout 11, Monday
Walked for 45 minutes or so, doing a quick and easy set of 6 pullups in the middle. Created a new pull up rotation during my walk that goes like this for each KB workout:

Roll 1D6 (one, six sided die)
1: Narrow pull ups (palms away)
2: Medium pull ups
3: Wide pull ups
4: Mixed-Grip chins (one palm facing, one away)
5: Narrow Chinups (palms facing and touching)
6: Medium Chinups (just wider than shoulders)

Workout 12, Tuesday
Variety workout: rolled a 12 and did a sledgehammer workout, 15 minutes of Shovelglove and 30 minutes of stretching and movement exercises. No music tonight.

Update on Fitness Game

Kaliden: scored 8 for a total of 15
Parker: scored 8 for a total of 14
Thalayli: scored 8 for a total of 13

Very close at this point.

"IV" by Chuck Klosterman

Chuck Klosterman is probably the world's smartest Rock/Movie/Sports Critic. So what if he's probably the only one? Klosterman is all about drawing unexpected connections and critical thinking. He perfectly merges stoner philosophy with serious, mindboggling inquiry.

It's too bad, then, that IV has three parts, only one of which really brings these strengths to the fore. Part one features some pretty straight-forward personality profiles with Rock/Movie/Sports stars, while part three is a lukewarm novella with no real ending. Part two has all the strength in it: good article after good article, most of which (unfortunately) I had already read in Esquire.

So, basically, what this review is going to come down to are the following four points:

1. If you haven't read Klosterman, and you're 18-40 years old with a thorough grounding in pop culture, you should read Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs.
2. If you read, and liked Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, you should read IV in the following order: part 3 (optional) part 1 (good) and part 2 (great).
3. If you read and disliked Klosterman, you should be shot. Sorry.
4. If you liked Fargo Rock City and Killing Yourself to Live you should disregard my advice, as you probably already own this book in hardback. There are new essays in the paperback though, so you may want to check these out.

Part 1: 7/10
Part 2: 9/10
Part 3: 4/10

Overall, 8/10 and well worth the read.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Workout 8, Medium Day

4 x (1,2) 32kg press alternated with 4 x (1,2) pullup
7 minutes of 70-80% effort swings -- did 20kg for 65 reps per hand

Good workout. If these numbers translate, I'm getting pretty close to passing the "rite of passage" with the 20kg KB. After I do that, it's pretty much a done deal that I can do it with the 24kg.

Music: "The Matrix" Soundtrack

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Workout 7, Variety

I rolled a six today, which gave me windsprints/intervals. It's currently 32 degrees and my girlfriend already had dinner ready to go, so I did Tabata swings using a 12kg KB (light) and this Tabata timer.

My score was 13, where you take the worst set of the eight and count that as your score.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Workout 6, light day

A1: 4 x 1 32kg press
A2: 4 x 1 pull up
B: 20kg snatch, sets of 5. 50 reps per hand in 6 minutes (about 50%).

Music: Hatebreed, The Rise of Brutality

Monetizing Blog

At this point, I know I don't have an audience to appease. That's all right. This is probably the first and last time I'm going to talk about this.

Here's why I'm monetizing my blog:
It was easy.
I'm curious.
And it will give you, dear (future) reader, a way to purchase all of the products I'm talking about.

Now we all know that you can rock a google search as well as anyone, otherwise you wouldn't be here. So it's not like you have to buy through my links. But I'm only recommending products that I myself use, through retailers that I, myself, use. It's not like I'm a pro blogger or anything, but it certainly doesn't hurt. And if you're going to buy something anyway, might as well help Parker out, right?

Anyway. I consider this discussion closed, so if you think I'm being a shill, you can comment on this post.


Sunday, January 6, 2008

Workouts This Week

M: Off
T: (Variety)
A1: Bodyweight Squat 5x5
A2: 32kg row (each hand) 5x5
(Warming up and regreasing grooves)
W: Off
R: (Medium Day--still regreasing grooves))
A1: 3x(1,2,3) 32kg military press (each hand)
A2: 3x(1,2,3) pullup (wide grip)
B: 6 minutes of 12kg swings @ 70%
F: 45 Minute Walk
S: Off (A lot of DOMS and a poker game delayed my Hard Day)
U: (Hard Day)
A1: 4x(1,2,3) 32kg military press (each hand)
A2: 4x(1,2,3) pullup (wide grip)
B: 2 minutes of 20kg swings @ 100% (about 27/hand)

My two roommates and I are playing the Fitness Challenge, with probably a baker's dozen house rules. I've chosen the more advanced of Pavel's "Enter the Kettlebell" workouts as a general template for my workouts. The two "Variety" workouts each week, I roll a pair of dice. The split works as follows:

M: very easy/off
T: Variety
W: Medium Presses/Pulls
R: Variety
F: very easy/off
S: Heavy Presses/Pulls
U: Light Presses/Pulls

Presses, Pullups, & Swings as defined in Enter the Kettlebell

Variety: roll dice (or choose)

Chance Dice roll Workout
2.8% 2 sandbag training
5.6% 3 Burpees/Prison Workout + rows
8.3% 4 W.O.D. from Gym Jones
11.1% 5 5x5 rows and 5x5 Squats
13.9% 6 windsprints/interval training
16.7% 7 bent pressing, windmills, turkish get-ups (various grinds)
13.9% 8 Grip training - beginner training (Clay Edgin)
11.1% 9 Heavyhands + rows
8.3% 10 W.O.D. from Crossfit
5.6% 11 beach workout + rows
2.8% 12 sledgehammer training

This gives the approximate chance of each workout. I tried to put things that I thought I could benefit from quite a bit (e.g. windsprints) in the middle of the distribution curve, and things that would be more of a variation (or really... just too hard to do on a regular basis) on the outside of the curve. I could probably rewrite this a little bit and write a whole freaking book off of it. You fill most of those books with exercise descriptions, anyway.

I got a set of "Perfect Pushups" from my girlfriend for Christmas, hence the "beach workout". Also, since I don't have rings, if the WOD from Crossfit or Gym Jones has ring pushups, I'll be subbing the perfect pushup. And the weird split is because I work four tens (four ten hour shifts) at work, so I try to hit two big workouts on the weekends. So there you go.

My diet is pretty basic. I have just under 15 more pounds that I'd like to lose--lost about 17 since March last year, basically with diet only--so I'll keep with what I've found works best for me: a TNT/Anabolic/NHE carb-cycling with a distinctly EVFit/Intermittent Fasting approach. What this boils down to is: low carbs about 90% of the time, with as much green vegetables as I want. One meal a week, I eat out and have whatever I want (carb loading) and I try to get a little fruit in there. Sometimes, I go hungry on purpose.

So I guess my diet's not so basic after all. I'll have to make a whole post on that sometime.

Anyway, I lost the first week of the exercise challenge.

Kaliden: 7 points
Parker: 6 points
Thalayli: 5 points

Also, there's a clear call for some links to help explain my workout and diet regime. So those are most likely upcoming--I might just edit this post or I might make a new one, haven't decided yet. And blogger ate my formatting, so it might be tough to discern the method of the dice roll thing. Oh well.

"The Thunderbolt Kid" by Bill Bryson

I don't know if I'm supposed to be the prototypical Bryson fan: for one, I'm under thirty, and I imagine that there's supposed to be a generation gap between Boomers and Generation Y. The problem is that he's so damned funny that it's difficult to describe to people what his writing is like. The best comparison that I can think of is the teacher that makes learning about things fun: he tricks you into learning about things. And you laugh out loud, more than once, when you read his books.

The Thunderbolt Kid is about Bryson's childhood in the fifties, and it really makes you realize how absolutely different, how transformed our little world has become in the last hundred years. His perspective allows a backward look with the two room farmhouse where his grandparents lived, the cavernous schoolhouse where he reads Dick and Jane books in elementary school, and the enormous theaters where he attends Saturday matinees. He compares these things to the miracles of technology that are sprouting all around him: the automobile, the atomic bomb, and the television set. You can't help but think about all the things that have come since then that have transformed life even more.

Really, though, Bryson could write about shopping for socks at Wal-Mart and it would probably be worth reading. Really, picking up any of his books is a ticket to a good time.