In the past two days I have beat the crap out of my body, not by design it just sort of happened. Tuesday morning I woke up to rain. Rain for me is like kryptonite it ruins my day, as it affects my business. Having a crappy start to our busy season because we don’t have snow, I felt self-numbing medication through exercise would be a good way to go.
Tuesday 6:30 AM
I started with a 6:30 AM Crossfit WoD at PCF. The days work consisted of 3 sets of 5 hand stand push-ups, 4 sets of 2 muscle snatches, and a short 8 minute AMRAP of 10 db ground to overheads and 30 double unders.
Being inverted challenged, meaning I can’t quite get upside down yet, I did seated dumbbell presses. I used 45 lbs dumbbells for 3 sets of 2, and 50 lbs dumbbells for 3 sets of 2, which was all done in 6 minutes. I found with the 50 lbs dumbbells that I had to use my knees to get them into a racked position so I could press them.
With the muscle snatches, I did all of my muscle snatches at 95 lbs. Muscle snatches are tough because you have to use a less aggressive movement from your lower body, to get the bar overhead, instead of trying to get under the bar you are trying to flip it up. I think it’s a drill used to develop the speed to get under the bar and get it over your head.
During the 8 minute AMRAP I finished 6 rounds plus 17 reps, which means I did 10 more ground to overheads, and 7 running man jump ropes. Ground to overheads get exhausting quick, it uses so much of your body that there really is no way to rest or recover especially in an 8 minute time span.
When I finished, the rain started to come down, and I was getting bitter, so I walked to Washington Sports Club to do some Cardio. I was working to do an hour on the Arc Trainer, when half way through a Personal Trainer comes over to me and says hey, you have 5 sessions left that are going to expire, so I schedule a session with him the next day at 11 AM.
As I continued on the Arc Trainer I started thinking I’m never going to use them all, why don’t I do another one today, so I got off the machine and decided to work with this guy so by the end of the day Wednesday I would have used 2 out of the 5 I have left.
I started my session with Abdul doing a short circuit of 90 seconds each of mountain climbers, pushing a 45 lbs plate on the floor of the cardio room, and ropes. He had me do 3 rounds of the above three exercises.
While doing them, I found myself first questioning what I was doing, especially the pushing of the plate on the ground, that shit I don’t get at all, but what I found interesting was that none of it felt difficult. Having done many of these same exercises earlier in the year, and feeling like I was getting my ass kicked, it felt good doing these same movements without feeling tired.
From the circuit work, I asked him to work on doing a core-oriented workout. I found myself doing planks, doing a transition from elbow planks to push-up planks; I did a series of crunches and sit-ups with medicine balls. The trainer got a bit agitated with the medicine balls because he could tell I wasn’t being challenged, the heaviest medicine ball they have at WSC is 15 lbs, and while doing sit-ups while holding the medicine ball over my head and then fully extending myself I think he expected this to be more difficult for me, so when we moved onto the second round of work he grabbed a 25 lbs plate and had me do the same thing, I think if he wasn’t such a pussy he would have grabbed a 35 lbs plate in the final round.
When I finished the session, I felt good, and was satisfied with myself in the progress I’ve made in the last three months. I was for sure starting to feel tired.
After a relatively unproductive day in my Private Bat Cave office, I went home to recover a bit, and prepare for an 8:00 PM intro to yoga class. Clarendon Fitness, a small personal training studio was offering a free yoga class, so I signed myself, and my girl up for the class.
The room where the yoga was being done was tiny, and with 10 people in it, there wasn’t much room to extend your arms out the sides. I found the yoga interesting, and can see the value in it over the large arc of my life.
Unfortunately I am a pervert, and found the yoga instructor very sexy, and with my girlfriend next to me couldn’t get the idea of the instructor, my girlfriend, and me in an extra private session in my place after class…if I can stop my brain from sexualizing the yoga instructor I think I will add it to my routine, by the way with the start of the New Year I would like to thank God for all of the brave men and women who are in our Armed Services, Salt Truck Drivers, and the inventor of Lululemon yoga pants for making the world a better place.
My personal victory here was, when we started to do planks, and then side planks. A few months ago I could barely do a side plank with one knee on the ground, and this time I did them all the way up, and then extending my arm upward towards the ceiling once in the plank.
Wednesday 7:00 AM
I woke up at 6:15, already late for my usual 6:00 Am WoD at Patriot Crossfit, so I decided I would just go to the 7:00 AM WoD. I was greeted with a nice ribbing from Matt R. about defecting to the 7:00 AM, I told him I was trying to sneak in, and he told me I’m a hard guy to miss, I should have responded with something about the “Jerk Store”, but didn’t have a come back because really, I’m an overweight Asian Guy wearing a black Lululemon skull cap, a big reddish-pink sweatshirt that says “Life is Good”, and a pair of Brooks Pure Ugly Neon Green Shoes, I would find myself sticking out in a Sumo Convention, let alone being 1 of a few token Asians in the AM WoDs.
The workout was good; it’s been a few days since I worked on some cleans. The power clean was something that I worked on with Liz a couple weeks back so I feel I’m making progress in my technique. We were supposed to do 5 sets of 3, and I did 3 sets at 135 lbs, and 2 sets at 155 lbs, which was a first for me. Watch video below of my third set of 135 lbs.
I’m still having a bit of trouble with my elbows in the racked position, and as the weight got heavier, I am driving my hips a bit too far forward, causing me to look like I’m pushing my fupa outward.
The metcon today was 5 rounds of 5 clapping push-ups, 10 ring rows, and 15 wall balls. I was surprised at my ability to do about a third of my total push-ups, from a regular push up position, and then the remaining from my knees I did the clapping push-ups. The hardest part of this WoD was the wall balls.
Wall balls suck, especially when a part of the WoD works one of the areas of the wall balls, in this case the push-ups caused a great deal of fatigue in my chest, so trying to push the medicine ball upward was a challenge, and really had to start with your hips and legs. Wall balls are also a huge mental fuck, because every time you miss, it’s discouraging, and if you cheat and don’t hit the target and count it, you feel like shit anyway, yet towards the end you get so tired you start to tell yourself anything upward is okay.
I finished this WoD in 10:42, not a great time, but considering all the other work I had done before this day I felt good.
So I got to Washington Sports Club at about 10:50, I rowed 500 meters to get warmed up, and then was ready to work with Abdul the trainer. He’s an ok trainer, but clearly a bit inexperienced, not good at thinking on the fly, and I hate to sound like a douche but when he got in close he smelled like hummus, it was distracting.
He had me start with a circuit of four exercises which included a shuttle run between four cones, a ladder exercise, high knees over low hurdles, and step ups on a low box. Each station was given a time period of 1 minute to 2 minutes with a 60 second rest at the end of each round. The first round of work I was still warming up, during the second I could feel a bit of my second wind developing, by the third round of work I was warmed up and had broken into a sweat.
What I found personally inspiring for myself, (yes I did just say I inspired myself) was that I was doing these exercises after 5 previous workouts in a 48 hour period far better than I had four months ago, if it had just been one of my weekly workouts. The level of control I have over my body, and just general focus I have to will my body to move is building my confidence. In terms of a mental challenge this was a walk in the park, the real challenge was focusing my exhausted mind into a place to work hard.
After the agility work, I boxed. Abdul sucks at holding mitts, in fact it sucked so bad that I asked him to just put up a heavy bag. I really want to find a trainer who I can hit mitts with because I like to do it, and I would like to find out how much stronger my punches are relative to four months ago.
The final part of the workout involved more abdominal work, and we did a couple variations of sit-ups, including one were you keep one leg straight and the other bent. The final exercise was to sit a decline sit-up chair while holding a 15 lbs kettle bell with one arm extended as I tried to do sit ups. I was surprised to find that I could do about 8 full sit-ups per arm.
Ingrid the god send. Alison recommended to me a great massage therapist who is actually from Sweden. It was exactly what I need, she kept saying to me “you are really tight here”, she said this at least 6-7 times during the one hour of work. It was a nice day to end my two days of increased work.
Various people who are trying to lose weight have been asking me how I got to where I am, and I often tell them focus on making incremental progress, that they need to focus on the moment, that they win in the moment. The difference between obesity and health is not some extreme 80% calorie reduction, even if your goal is to go from eating 10,000 calories in a day to 3,000, you can’t do it in a week. You have to make incremental progress and you do this in each moment of your day, making the choice to drink water over a diet soda, or an apple instead of Doritos, or a fish fillet over pasta.
I have understood the benefits of Crossfit, and also understood it’s limitations, yet this last couple of days has shown me in an exponential way what happens when you take small steps forward in your physical development. Over the larger arc you make significant progress. It’s the simple principle of improving 1% each time you go to the gym, if you can do this over your lifetime you will have achieved growth that is hard to quantify because of the percentage growth that you achieve.
The last couple of days has shown me the exponential result after being frustrated for months, I am in a place of physical strength that I didn’t think I would achieve for many more months, perhaps because I was too focused on body weight. Standing where I am today I wouldn’t go back and do anything differently, as much as I would like to be below 200 lbs and a 32 waist today, I’m pretty content with how I feel today at 270 lbs and a 40 waist, I know the other part is coming perhaps not at the rate I want it to, but when I get there I know I will be in better shape haven chosen this path, as opposed to the one I was on…
When I started to choose Crossfit a few months back as my primary place to workout, I could barely get a 53 lbs kettle bell above my head to do an American Kettle bell Swing. In all of out WoDs I choose to work with the 70 lbs kettle bell, and today when we did the Russian Kettle bell swing, I spent some time after the Metcon to try and play around with it.
I found myself capable of swinging the bell and doing some of the maneuvers that Michael C taught me including, clapping my hands, and touching my shoulders. I tried to flip it, but could not get my hands back on it fast enough, each time I would reach for it too late and have to dump it. In either case this 10 minutes of playing around showed me truly how far I have come, because I could not have imagined even trying to swing the 70 lbs kettle bell back Malibu, which was only in April.
Incremental progress over time yields significant results. Wining moment to moment is how you overcome your personal Mount Everest.