Friday, November 19, 2010

An amazing day of working out

You know those days that get you so excited about life and reaffirm that you are on the path to achieving your goals? Well today was one of those days and my serotonin levels are just JACKED!

It started in the morning with a strength workout. I hadn't done strength for a few days so I was feeling complete and fully prepared to push through my allotted weights for the day.

Squats, push presses and deadlifts were the exercises for the morning and I was blown away at how each rep and set came with ease! My reps were fast, powerful and clean throughout each stage and I was really stoked about how hard I was pushing through the deep portions of my lifts. 

I easily squatted 280lbs, push pressed 145lbs and deadlifted 345lbs each one for 3 sets of 5 reps. I was feeling fresh at the end of the workout which means I really need to add weight next time! We are doing a totals workout of that same 3 exercise day next monday so I will establish my 1 rep maxes and adjust my percentage according to the results. 

I then rocked yoga in the Titanium Crossfit gym and boy was it ever difficult. I was warm to the core from doing strength so I was sweating nicely throughout allowing me to find extra range of motion in my hip flexors. I pushed myself hard through the downward dog phases and I can see that my flexibility is really improving! 

After the challenging yet rejuvinating yoga class I went and picked up an old high school friend for lunch. We chatted about his recent scores on his final exam to become a Dr. and he scored in the top 95%!!! Sick score and all his hard work over the last few years truly paid off. Super happy for him as he can now commit to planning his life the way he wants to. He also has committed to doing a 4 weeks stint volunteering in Haiti before he goes off to do his 42 weeks of residency. What an amazing experience that will be!

I went home, changed and then hit up the tanning salon at On the Darkside Tanning. They have been supporters of mine for a few years and they keep me in the sun even when the snow is falling! Great people there and I am pleased to visit them whenever I can.

I then returned to Crossfit and pumped out a workout called "Dirty Thirties" which consists of 10 exercises done in a row with 30 reps per. It looks intimidating but doing is is something else!!!!

30 Box Jumps
30 Pull Ups
30 Kettle Bell swings (55lbs)
30 Lunges
30 Knees to elbows
30 Push Press (65lbs)
30 Stiff legged Deadlifts (65lbs)
30 Wall Balls
30 Burpees
30 Double Unders

15 minutes and 40 seconds later I completed the workload and collapsed. Holy smokes, this one was lethal! Is it sick that I liked this workout?! I love going into a workout and knowing that I am competing against myself. I pushed hard and was a little more strategic with my execution but in the end I didn't rest longer than 5 breaths during the entire workout and I am quite pleased with my time!!! I am getting crazy fit!

I then rolled to the Vanier School gym where I was scheduled to train with their senior boys volleyball team who are preparing for the Island Championships. They are a strong team and worthy of Island gold so I brought a whole whack of energy to get them jacked. 

Well, after 3 other workouts and being super warm from the dirty 30's I went in there and played really strong. Although I was playing against high school kids I was on fire with blocking and attacking and really added value to the session. I love getting into practices and challenging all players to be the best they can be and execute no matter the circumstance.

It was a great day and I am hyper excited about life and my mission. I LOVE MY LIFE!!!

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Crossfit Day 14/15/16 with my first Muscle-Up!

So I had my sore tummy and it didn't go away. Apparently I contracted a stomach virus and it hurt me throughout the weekend and during my workout on Monday. I just couldn't digest my food and I was burping up breakfast mid afternoon! Worst.

I did the workout anyways with the attitude of powering through it to get over it. well The workout was

15 burpees, 15 knees to elbows and 100 meter lunge walk with 100 pounds over head for three rounds. Bad news cause burpees alone make me want to throw up even when I don't have two meals sitting undigested at the top of my stomach!

After my first 15 burpees I yelled "Marc I am going to need a bucket!" and the rest of the workout was slower than I imagined due to the constant threat of losing my cookies. I got through it and felt faint after but I was pleased I trooped it out.

The next day I felt a lot better and I got into yoga for an hour. I then practiced with Vanier for a few hours and then ripped to Crossfit for an Olympic lifting technique session with a local coach with over 20 years of coaching experience.

We did a bunch of lifts and he critiqued us and then we moved into some exercises to improve our speed moving under the bar for overhead lifts. It wasn't very complicated and we didn't get into the heavy technical coaching because of time but I learnt a lot and next week I will offer even more great technical advice.

November 17th brought a nasty little workout of 5 power cleans, 5 push presses (both with 145 lbs) and then a 200 meter run for 5 rounds.

I found out that I have a strength in running in the last running WOD so this time I pushed myself a bit more and vowed not to rest a second. I did just that and completed the workout in 9:03 without stopping for a single breath. I was definitely pleased with that finish and all my lifts felt good even though I was pretty haggard.

I then played on the rings for a bit as I had set a goal of being able to do a muscle up before leaving for Toronto. I hadn't every tried and Marc told me I needed to be able to do a chest to the ball pull up and then a deep dip on the rings. Well I tried both and nailed them on the first tries so I then stepped right up to the rings and gave the Muscle up a shot.

I was nearly there for the first few and then it all came together on my 5th attempt! I am really excited about this movement because to me it really brings together athleticism, strength, balance and flexibility. Marc recorded the following video of me as I attempted my 5th successful rep. Check it out!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Dengue fever and tummy soreness

November 11th, 12th and 13th were full of sickness. I guess I overreached with my training and pushed beyond the reserves my body had for recovery. All my muscles felt like there were full of concrete and my joints felt as is they had been injected with steel wool. I tried stretching it out but everything was just too painful and my range of motion was horrific. A rest day was needed for sure!

On the 12th my tummy acted up and I was doubled over in pain for the majority of the day. I went to the 4 WOD session but just stretched and did a few light overhead squats before I had to lay down. I don't know what it was but my muscles and joints felt better but I had a serious ache I had never experienced. I laid low yet again and indulged in the tv series "The Wire" which my father and I have taken a serious liking to. Another rest day.

On the 13th my tummy settled a bit so I tested out a workout. I did strength front squats and bench press and kept my rest time long so I didn't raise my heart rate too high. It felt ok and I was able to complete all the exercises and down a protein shake which I hadn't had the stomach to do for the last few days.

Front squat felt solid so I upped the weight by 10lbs so I was at 225. I did the same with my bench press and completed 3 sets of 5 reps for both exercises. I then did technical work on my kipping pull up and was pleased to make some progress. For those of you who don't know a kipping pull up check out this video

Freshies and Crossfit Day 13

It was a pretty serious storm last night and that left one thought in mind, SNOW ON THE MOUNTAIN! My local ski resort of Mt.Washington is an excellent hill and gets considerable snowfall come winter time. With snow stoke running through my veins and what turned out to be a crystal clear day I rocked up the mountain with my good friend Josie Boulding for a day hike and a chill at her cabin.

The sun was out and the snow as light and fluffy. What I didn't really look at as a workout turned out to be one as I broke trail through 60cm plus of fresh snow on a steep run. We hiked for what was about an hour and camped out at the top of the run for a bit of a picnic before we hit the first session. Josie's dog was out with us and Silva was just LOVING running through the deep powder. I wasn't as joyful as her but being outdoors in the first snowfall with my shirt off hiking in the sun certainly forced me to appreciate my life!

The first ride was nice but my bindings weren't in the best position. At the bottom of the hill we hiked back to her cabin for some eats, changed my binding stance and positioning an then hiked our trail again to hit a second ride.

The second hike was quicker and easier as the sun had softened the snow and packed it a bit. Once again it was hot enough to take off my shirt and I laughed as we took photos because I knew my friend were going to call me out for my usual topless antics!

The second run was even more of a peach and with my primo stance I was able to launch some nice airs and really make some hard turns in the fresh snow. Stoked on life and riding is all I have to say!

We packed up and went into town for sushi before I had to get my gear for Crossfit. I was pretty fatigued and my diet that day didn't support recovery but I went for the workout regardless because that is why I am home right now.

The workout was death. As many reps as possible in 20 minutes of 20 backward skips, 20 squats, 20 double under skips and then a 200 meter run for one single rep! I paced myself nicely but I got into a progressive zone where each run was a little more aggressive. I felt really really good and pushed myself harder than I have yet. I didn't rest once and didn't stop for longer than 3 seconds throughout the entire 20 minute workout period. I focused on finding a rhythm and pushing through each round with a steady breathing pattern.

I completed 8 rounds plus 20 backwards skips and 12 squats before time ran out. Fatigue is an understatement but I recovered and then completed my 40 knees to elbows for core.

After 3 pretty full on days I can honestly admit that I was maximally fatigued.

Crossfit Day 12

Today is another triple day with Strength in the morning, yoga after and then a WOD to complete the day's festivities.

For squats I pumped out another improvement and completed 270 for 3 sets of 5. Once again my body has adapted and it seems like I am lifting the same weight of 245 when I started!

I then did push press and my flexibility had improved since the last time so I was able to support more weight on my shoulders than before. I completed my 3 sets of 5 reps at 140 with relative ease and could jump up by 10 no problems. I felt great!

Yoga was another stellar practice and this time it proved to be a little more difficult. I guess doing push press before yoga fatigued my shoulders so downward dog was PAINFUL! A great practice though and my hips loved me for the release.

I then practiced at Vanier with the boys for two hours and then moved in to my WOD at 5.

Today we did 5 rounds of the following; 9 deadlifts, 6 powercleans and 3 clean squats at 135lbs. Another workout that didn't seem all that tough but holy smokes, it was tough! I actually didn't feel comfortable with the clean squats because I don't quite have the flexibility in my wrists to perform the movement perfectly. Since the lift is overhead I really don't want to mess around with it so instead I completed 3 power cleans and then performed 3 wall handstand push ups. This increased the workload substantially and added time to the clock because I had to walk over to the wall and back again to the bar. I am only competing against myself so time is irrelevant and I still got a bomber workout out of it!

After that I worked on 1 arm kettle bell presses leaning back on a bench in bridge position. I used the 75 pound kettle bell and definitely had to work for it! I then completed the core exercise which was 40 knees to elbows on the pull up bar. This was a nice learning lesson because the Crossfit way of executing the movement is way more power based then my experience with just lifting your knees up. They perform it as if it is an ab plyometric movement where you stretch out completely with legs extending backwards and then swinging right up, however, this movement is done with your body at a backward angle rather than straight up. I improved my form a lot and am excited to use this movement when I get to brazil because of the bars they have all the way down the beach!

Crossfit Day 11 "a quickie"

I had a complicated day with a lot of things to accomplish and then I conversed with a trusted friend in the volley community for a bit too long. Sadly I missed my WOD because I was training with the local high school boys team at 5 but I managed to squeeze in 3 rounds of 15 wall balls and 10 burpees for a 3 minute special. It was a great warm up and got me fired to play some indoor ball!!!

The local team at Vanier is ranked 3rd in the province for Senior boys and I am training with them a few times a week to keep my skills. It is a fun atmosphere and man do I miss crushing balls down the line! Beach has definitely increased my indoor control and I am 100% in favour of athletes training in the sand over summer to improve their indoor game. Many coaches disagree with it but I can say with utter confidence that the vision I have been forced to develop in the sand has opened my eyes for indoors as well. No doubt the sports can be used together to develop a well rounded all-star.

Crossfit Day 10

The gym is closed today November 6th because Marc and a few of the guys have gone to compete in the Crossfit competition in Victoria. I wish I could go down to watch and support because I feel I am now a part of a team. Someday I will compete in Crossfit and wreck myself in public in silly hard workouts but that time isn't now!

I went to a local rec gym and prepared for my strength workout. I had done squats and deads at the beginning of the week but we went for them again because I was feeling good. I was feeling really solid and my Jack'd 3D shake had my blood flowing maximally; it was time to lift some heavies.

I pushed my squat up by 10 pounds rather than 5 because I felt great and successfully lifted 265 cleanly for 3 sets of 5 reps. I then went for some extra reps and moved 325 for 2 reps and then 365 for a single power rep but I didn't sacrifice form or depth. I managed to squat deeply and bring it right to the top cleanly; I was pumped! Some kids were working out there and I always caught them in the mirror looking at me while I was lifting over 6 plates a side. They came up to me after and said "You are a beast!" which is something I will never tire of hearing. My skinny man syndrome runs deep and I it will probably never subside because the guy I see in the mirror is never strong enough.

Deadlifts only moved up by 5 and I crushed the reps leading up to the final strength set. I was sweating pretty hard at this time so I asked the gym supervisor if she had any chalk tucked away. Turns out there was some baby powder so I coated my palms with that and went on lifting heavies smelling lovely! I moved my 5 set max to 240 and pumped the reps out clean. I am still increasing my max every strength day and I am showing no sings of stopping. I then bumped it down to 310 for 5 more reps for volume and used my last 5 available minutes a the gym to perform 40 abb roll outs on the little wheel.

A solid leisurely saturday in a tiny local gym.

Crossfit Day 9 - Jackie

Today is another strength day consisting of squats and deadlifts with the added bonus of yoga (actually a surprise) and an afternoon WOD.

Squats I moved through the weight warm up and executed 3 sets of 5 reps at 255 pounds perfectly. I am really finding new strength in my deep squat and that power coming out the bottom is allowing me to finish each lift with authority. My deadlift is coming along nicely as well and I have no added a set to my maximum to add volume. I threw down 335 for 5 reps and then lightened the load to 305 to perform an extra 5 reps cleanly. I am lifting hard and I can't see myself plateauing anytime soon.

I was heading out after the workout but was then asked to join a yoga class afterwards. Marc and his wife were hosting a new yoga instructor so I thought I would test it out. They are looking to offer a few different classes a week and this class was their first of a power yoga series.

The instructor is a lovely woman named Katie who embodies her practice and has one of those voices that you just want to close your eyes and listen to. From her opening sentence I knew she was going to be a fabulous teacher and that was definitely the case. Her sequences challenged all my weaknesses (hips especially) and by the end of it I had a lot more range of motion and my midsection felt elongated and supple. It was a great yoga session and an no brainer in terms of adding it to my workout regime.

My afternoon WOD went by the name "Jackie" and it consisted of 1000 meter row followed by 50 thrusters with the bar and then 30 pull ups.

All of the workouts don't seem all that intimidating on paper but once you are mid workout, fatigue sets in and the reality of the workout humbles you.

The rowing wasn't that big of a deal but the thrusters hit me hard. Doing a front squat and then pressing into an overhead lift uses in my opinion 100% of your muscle mass which truly increases your oxygen requirements. I wanted to get through 5 sets of 10 for the 50 total but wound up doing sets of 5 and then 4 and then 3. I actually did about 25 strict shoulder press reps with the bar before one of the other athletes yelled at me that I wasn't doing the right movement! Oops, I lost about a minute and fatigued my shoulders; I guess I won't make that mistake again!

The 30 pulls ups were difficult as I am not great at body weight exercises. I broke them down into sets of 5 but once I hit 15 I was limited to 3 and then 2 and then single reps to finish the workout. I am pretty sure I finished in just over 9 minutes but I didn't write my score down so I might be wrong. Regardless of time I did my best to complete it as fast as possible so that is all that matters. I am pushing myself hard and I am not comparing myself to anybody else. It is me vs me and I am going to win!

Cross Fit day 8

With my body adapting nicely to the workload of the Crossfit WODs, I am far less sore the following day than I anticipate! A lovely gift seeing as I am working extremely hard!

Today's WOD consisted solely of rowing sprints. Our task was to sprint 500 meters on the rowing machine 4 times with 5 minutes rest in between sets. This workout didn't seem that hard until midway through when I realized I have never done sprints on a rowing erg!

My times were 1:31, 1:36, 1:38 and 1:37 and that laid me on the floor afterwords. I left a little in the tank because I didn't know how hard I would have to dig late in the sets but I definitely pushed myself hard and did my best to power through.

The diversity of the Crossfit workouts continue to perk my interest and I find myself coming into the gym with an attitude of wanting to win my workout! Never before have I had the opportunity to see each workout as a change to engage in a battle of will against myself. I am getting fierce and my ability to push through adversity and pain is certainly advancing. Many thresh holds are extending and I know they will serve me well as I compete on the beach volleyball world tour.

Cross Fit day 7

After a solid weekend in Victoria visiting with friends, partying to amazing electro beats and running some marketing ideas by Bill Sood at Spank It sports on the Monday, I returned home fairly exhausted and took the night off.

I stepped into my strength regime on Tuesday morning and got into some front squats, bench presses and power cleans. I squatted 215 lbs comfortably for 5 reps in 3 sets after a thorough warm up and moved into bench. I then pressed 215 for the same amount of reps and sets and felt strong throughout. Power cleans were a beauty and now that I am up to some pretty heavy weight I am quite careful considering it is a very technical lift. I made sure the reps that counted were well executed and told myself I wouldn't push this lift beyond my comfort zone. I did my warmup sequence and got up to 225 for 5 sets of 3 reps. I took my time and rested well between sets to maximize my form and I came out of the workout with nearly a 100% execution rate. I drank my recovery shake and headed home to recover as the afternoon workout promised to be exhaustive.

The WOD for November 2nd was as follows.

1 full round/rep consisted of 3 power cleans followed by 3 sets of 5 pull ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats. We were to perform as many reps as possible in 20 minutes!

I LOVE that I have had to change my perception of rest as the Crossfit mentality involves finding a rhythm in each movement and performing straight through the time given. When I began I would go hard then rest and then go hard again but I have changed my mentality and goals towards working through fatigue and only taking two breath breaks as rest. I am finding out that I can push through more than I think with less reps than I imagined necessary.

I was able to perform 4 rounds with an extra 3 cleans and 5 pull ups and man was I FINISHED after! A lovely workout medley of bodyweight exercises mixed in with some power lifting. Good one today!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Chris Lake meets Wolverine

After my workout and photo shoot I hopped into my truck and rocked my way south to Victoria. I made better time than I thought and by 6 I was unpacking my gear at Rob's place downtown Vic. As it turns out, the ride Rob had lined up to pick up Chris Lake from the airport bailed so showed in perfect timing! We rolled immediately with Rob's new business partner Christine and arrived a few minutes after he landed. We dropped Chris off at his hotel to check in and once he had done so we capitalized on our reservation at Victoria's prime sushi spot. We had a fabulous meal and I had some sushi treats I had never had before! Amazing meal all round with fabulous company!
After our gourmet feast Chris went for a snooze at his hotel and went back to Rob's to chill for a bit before this monumental evening.
Rob's roomate and good friend goes by the name Joe Girard. He is one of those guys you just want to hang out with because whatever he says is absolutely hilarious and whatever he does is always fun. He was dressing up as "Girls Gone Wild" and he had prepared a video camera with a flashlight on top and had even bought a microphone which he planned to interview people with. His counterpart Mike "Soulfix" (who would open for Chris Lake later that night) we are solid mix and promised to be a hit at the party. We tossed a football around in the dark for a bit and then cruised up to Campus before things got too hectic. We got in the back door, got our all access passes and I immediately went to the DJ booth where friend Ryan Hrechka was shredding the decks early. 

The greenroom was full of costumed up party goers and we all had a blast while hanging to the backbeat of great music. There were over 500 people grooving to the tunes and the anticipation rose the closer we got to Chris' set. My cousin Caitlin was showed so we danced it up on the stage and all over! I love just rocking out to great music and rock out I did. I was all over the place and Rob had to tell me a million times to get off the stage! We partied until 3AM and then went to Rob and Joe's place to after party.

The after party consisted of only a few people but Ryan "RAFH" Hrenchka brought his decks and he spun INCREDIBLE music along with Rob and another random guy until 7am. I was exhausted but I laid on the bed in the party room moving my feet cause I couldn't leave!!! Finally went downstairs to the living room and took a good 2 hour sleep before I had to wake up at 10 to take Chris for brekke. 

Here is my buddy Roxy and I after snuggling all night. Lovely to have her poach some of my warmth.
Now off to breakfast!!!

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Cross fit day 6 Wolverine edition

I have been growing my beard out for quite sometime and it all came down to today! I had been planning to dress up as Wolverine for Halloween for about a month and I came to Titatnium Crossfit this morning in full gear with my homemade claws, dog tags, wife beater, dark skinnies and a pair of chops that would make a burly pig jealous.

The workout was strength based and I had squats, push presses and deadlifts on the agenda.

I started with the classic warm up of double unders and a few squats, pull ups, sit ups and spiderman lunges and got right into the workout.

My squats were feeling solid and I pushed out a progression series and a final 3 set sequence of 5 reps at 250 lbs. They actually felt easy which I can attest to getting used to the deeper squatting range Crossfit encourages.

Me working out in full Wolverine costume!
Push press is difficult for me because of my long arms and limited wrist flexibility at this time. Each day gets a tiny bit better but I am nowhere near comfortable when I am resting the bar on my shoulders while gripping it. I did my progression series and got up to 140 lbs at 3 sets of 5 reps. I completed the lifts with relative ease, however, the pain in my arms and my inability to grip the bar throughout the whole lift will hold me back until I can get it sorted.

Now for my strength of deadlifting. This is one of my favourite lifts and I was feeling AMAZING at this point in time of my workout. The progression series felt light and and I completed my final set of 5 reps at 325 with ease. I then decided I wanted to push it and Jesse (wicked crossfitter) and Marc (owner and head trainer of Titanium Crossfit) were both hitting some big weights next to me so the energy was elevating us all. I threw on 355 for 1 and nailed it, then 395, then 405 then 435 and didn't max out! We decided to leave it at that as I had done quite a bit of work for the day and needed to get on the road to hit up a photo shoot with friend Josie Boulding.

I was crazy stoked on the day and really look forward to establishing my one rep max on deadlift but I have a feeling it will be about 455 or 460!

I took off and met Josie in a choice forest and we snagged a few photos of me in my costume. Here is my fave!

I then ripped home, burnt some road trip CD's and then hit the road because I had a massive event to go to in Victoria where great friend Rob Berkowitz was putting on a Halloween party at Uvic with world renowned DJ Chris Lake.

Let the good times begin, especially after such a great morning!!!