Monthly Archives: May 2009

Recuperation and Recovery

Sunday morning with coffee, the New York Times, and conversation with Yael and cousin Amiyah. What am I writing here for? No plans, no workouts, no agenda. Go outside and enjoy the sun. Lie on a couch. Read something interesting. Plan for the week ahead. Fold laundry. Whatever. Life is good.

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PUC Day 23. CFA Teamwork WOD. Rafting the Pigeon.

Sleep was long (9:30 pm to 6:30 am) but interrupted about 3-4 times by Lena, including a 3:00 am nightmare, which brought her into our bed for 40 minutes. Food was adequate yesterday, and my choices were, on the whole, good. So I feel good this morning. Coffee, milk, 1 block breakfast, etc.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 23

I decided to do the Pull-Up Challenge first. 23 reps today. So I set my watch to a 75 second interval, and determined to do the whole group of 23 in a series of short sets spaced at 1:15 intervals. It would be 1 set every 75 seconds, first 1 set of 3, then 10 more sets of 2, for a total of 11 sets. This process worked well. On sets 9 & 11, front grip sets, I began to feel fatigue which made me worry I wouldn’t complete the second rep, but I got them. Reverse grip remains stronger than front grip.

Reps #1-23: done in 11 sets (1×3, 10×2), alternating grips, performed one set per 1:15, total time: 12:45. From 6:58 to 7:11 am.

After breakfast and more coffee, I headed to the CrossFit Asheville 9:00 Saturday workout.

Warm-Up

Agility drills warm-up. Sampson. Hip mobility. Calf/Hamstring stretches. Overhead squats, Shotguns, Supermans, Hindu Pushups

WOD: Teamwork: Weighted Run, Tire Flip, Pull-Ups, Burpees, Kettlebells

3 Rounds for time of:
200m 45lbs overhead bar run
10 tire flips
20 pull-ups
20 burpees
30 Kettlebell swings

To be completed by teams of two. Work together to hold the bar overhead for the run and teams may work together for the tire flip, but for the remaining exercises only one person works at a time while the other rests.

My partner was Mike Peterson. Results: 23:48, 45# kettlebell.

It was a whole lot of fun, a good sweat. The workout was followed by a bit of playing around with rings and other stuff.

Rafting the Pigeon River

Yael’s cousin Amiya is in town from London, UK, for a few days, and had the brilliant plan to go whitewater rafting. I am a fan of this sort of thing, so I said, “heck yeah, I’m coming with you!”

We went on a half-day trip on the Pigeon River with Nantahala Outdoor Center (NOC) and had quite a blast. Our guides, Charlie and Chris, were complete sweethearts, and the Pigeon half-day, with class II-IV rapids, was a fine couple of hours on the river. Highly recommended.

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Squat Clean. PUC Days 21 & 22.

Didn’t get enough sleep, but still feeling quite ready for the workout after yesterday’s good and moderate eating and restful activity level. I had a very small, less than 1/4 block, snack and coffee, and went to the 6:00 am CrossFit Asheville workout, without knowing beforehand what it would be.

Warm Up

Agility drills. Shoulder openers. Sampson stretch & hip openers. Calf and ham stretching. 1 round of: Hindu Pushups, Overhead Squats w/ PVC pipe, Shotguns, and Supermans (10 reps each).

WOD: Squat Cleans

Squat Clean:
Step I: find your 1 rep max
Step II: take 80% of you 1 rep max and complete 1 squat clean approximately every minute for 5 minutes.

Results:
in pounds
One rep each of: 45 / 65 / 75 / 95 / 105 / 115 / 120 / 125/ 130
One rep every minute at 80% of max: 105 / 105 / 105 / 105 / 105

Pull-Up Challenge: Days 21 & 22

For reasons of fatigue, etc., I skipped day 21 on Wednesday, and then took my regularly scheduled rest day on Thursday. So the plan is to complete the reps from Wednesday (Day 21), and today, Friday (Day 22) all today. Or to get as many of the 43 as are practical today. Tomorrow will be day 23, and Sunday will be taken off.
Reps #1-2: 7:10 am. Front Grip. At the gym.
Reps #3-4: 7:12 am. Reverse Grip. At the gym.
Rep #5: 7:13 am. Front grip. At the gym.
Rep #6: 7:14 am. Reverse grip. At the gym.
Rep #7: 12:45 pm. Front grip. At home.
Reps #8-30: 23 reps in 22 minutes, one every minute on the minute, from 1:48 pm to 2:10 pm. Alternating grips.
I was going to do all 36 remaining for the day in a series, but my daughter “woke up early from her nap,” so to speak. (You don’t want to know, but let me say only that it involves poop and an angry spouse).
Reps #31-43: 13 reps in 12 minutes, from 2:56-3:08 pm. Alternating grips.

This method, of using a stopwatch and doing a fixed number of reps at fixed intervals, proved to be a really good strategy for completing a lot of reps relatively quickly. I plan to use variations of it again in the future. For instance, tomorrow, I will do my 23 reps in 1 set of 3 followed immediately by 10 sets of 2 executed at 75 second intervals, so that the entire thing will take only 12.5 minutes! I am confident I can do it.

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Contemplating Intentionality and the Divided Subject

I’m not feeling great this morning.

Yesterday I was feeling over-tired and deflated. Then — this may be related — I lapsed in my self-control, and overdid it with food and drink. Around 5:00 pm, I began a binge. I ate way too many calories in too short a period at the end of the day: almost half the day’s calories (1305/2658) were between 7:45 pm and 9:30 pm. This process started with a shot of tequila, which was followed an hour later by half of a second shot (it would have been more but I spilled half of the second shot). Dinner was filling chicken and root veggies, and during dinner, I drank about 10 oz. of wine. Then I ate “dessert” right after dinner (it was, comparatively, a friendly dessert of watermelon, cheese, and 2 very small raw and organic chocolate truffles, but still, it was too much).

Of course, it’s almost a joke to call this “overdoing,” when I compare this kind of “binge” to the real binging I know I can do. I have years of experience with eating and drinking over 3700 calories per day. Many times have I downed massive hunks of meat with bread, chips, pasta, potatoes, and gooey cheese, stuffed myself with countless quantities of Oreos and ice cream, and swilled great vessels of booze. So compared to these times I have to admit that I remain comparatively “in control.”

But it’s like the apostle Paul says: “I know and am persuaded … that nothing is unclean in itself; but it is unclean for anyone who thinks it unclean. […] …whatever does not proceed from faith is sin” (Rom 14:14 & 23). For me, I realize that yesterday my awareness was blunted. I lost the sense of being “intentional,” or using my “will” or “control” in eating and drinking. In this sense, my behavior did not proceed from “faith,” and hence, today I feel regret.

Every gain I have made in the past six months has come through being intentional. In my life, I moved away from a long period where either my behaviors lay almost entirely outside of “intention,” or they were the result of a war of conscious and unconscious intentions, and into a life where I suddenly felt in control. I had been experiencing my life as a series of blurry days where I didn’t consciously choose my behaviors. But I found will-power.

After yesterday, at first I worried that I’d lost it. I remember a time when I could not achieve my best intentions, or they were actively and rudely interrupted by my worst.

In his recent book on the apostle Paul, atheist philosopher Alain Badiou points out that the apostle Paul may have intuited this existential dilemma 2000 years ago (see Saint Paul: The Foundation of Universalism). Paul also regarded the subject as being a divided structure: our being is divided between an impulse towards death, which comes from something he called “flesh” (although this is for him not the physical body so much as it is our socio-historical being outside of Christ) and an impulse towards life from what he called “spirit” (which is for Paul the transcendent, God-given part of our being). As he puts it: “the intention [Gk: phronema] of the flesh is death, [but] the intention of the spirit is life and peace” (Rom 8:6, my translation; I owe my citation of this verse today to Badiou).

In secular terms, this idea suggests that a part of us inevitably fights against every ideal that we embrace. We tend to resist every force seeking to constrains us, and also every law that we ourselves make. This is what the psychoanalysts refer to as the divided subject. Freudian psychoanalysis sees the human psyche as divided into separate drives. Especially, the Freudians talk of two opposing forces: an inner “death drive,” (thanatos), which does battle with eros, our drive for life and connection. This is important to remember. I should never again be surprised to find myself at war with myself. Civilization (or religion, or academics, or athleticism, or any self-discipline) requires the repression and sublimation of unwelcome, anti-social, or self-destructive drives and desires. These will inevitably resurface and cause havoc, from time to time.

There’s a tension at the heart of all our efforts of bettering our selves. But we cannot resolve this tension by eliminating the divided intentionality of our being, any more than we can stop dreaming. We cannot overcome the fact that we have an unconscious mind. We also have many unconsciously transgressive behaviors. Because this is natural, it is necessary to be patient and loving with one’s self. I believe this love begins with simply acknowledging one’s behaviors. Admitting them allows them to be observed by one’s conscious mind. When we embrace what we do, confessing it to our selves, and even own it as our own real behavior, we begin to restore unity to our intentional being. And from there, perhaps we can let spirit reassert control over flesh.

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Weighing and Measuring Food

This post is the third in a series of posts on my “Weight Loss Arsenal,” tools and tricks that have been essential for me in the process of losing weight and keeping fat at bay.

For most of us, losing weight requires conscious, sustained effort. If you’re anything like me, a big part of the problem you have had with food is that you’re usually not conscious or aware of how much you are eating. In an earlier post, I suggested that keeping a food journal may be the most effective tool for becoming conscious of your food intake. But a second technique goes hand in hand with keeping a food diary. And that’s weighing and measuring your food. This post is about the very practical skill of weighing and measuring food, which has the side benefit of teaching you the habit of accurately estimating food portions.

Reasons to Measure your Food

It is possible that you don’t need to weigh and measure your food. As coach Corey at CrossFit Asheville has pointed out to me, “cavemen didn’t weigh and measure.” Of course, on the face of it, that is true. But usually, cavemen also didn’t need to lose 40 pounds.

Americans are fools when it comes to portion sizing. Cavemen didn’t have access to the super-abundant food-supplies that we have. One of the reasons so many of us are so fat is that we are used to being served portions that are entirely out of balance with the nutritional needs of a typical human being. As a result, many of us have no idea how to eat moderately. We have never developed a sense of proper portion sizing, because we have never attempted to understand precisely how much we are eating.

Let me state at the outset that this post is about a practical skill. I don’t care what your preferred theory of dieting is based on, you need this skill. You may follow the “paleolithic” or “caveman” diet, or the “Zone diet,” or the theories espoused by Greg Glassman and the devotees of CrossFit (Paleo-Zone). (I’ll explain in a later post how my own experience has led me to believe that this diet theory is the best). You may follow the South Beach diet, or the Mediterranean diet, or the Michael Pollan “food” diet. Maybe you use a super-low-fat and high-carb diet, or the Atkins diet, or even a simple calorie-restriction diet. For all of these diets, one thing is certain: you can follow them, but they really won’t work if you still eat too much. The simple fact is that most of these diets require you to measure or at least think about the quantity of food you put into your system. They require you to meet minimum goals of intake for certain foods, and not to exceed maximum limits for others. The diets will fail if you don’t follow them carefully. But there’s really no way to do that accurately, unless you get in the habit of weighing and measuring all your food.

The Kitchen Scale

My kitchen scale.

My kitchen scale.

If you are ready to weigh and measure, the first thing you need is a good kitchen scale. And what is a good scale? Simply put: it doesn’t need to be fancy. It should be functional, quick, and relatively easy to clean.

In using your scale, you need to be bold. Keep it out on the counter, where you regularly prepare food. Use your scale for any food item that can’t easily be counted or measured by volume, or for any type of food that is usefully recorded in ounces or grams.

There are many different times and ways you can use your scale. If you want to keep track of your actual food intake, probably the best time to use the scale is during the process of “plating” your food. So, unless you have an understanding spouse, partner, or table-mate who doesn’t mind you bringing the scale to the dining room table, you might take up the practice of plating your food in the kitchen, where the scale normally sits. But there are also other times you can profitably use your scale: while butchering meats, prepping food for cooking, etc.

If you use your scale enough, you will probably find that you very quickly develop the skill of estimating food amounts. Before long, you’ll be cutting off 1 oz. or 4 oz. chunks of meat exactly, on the first try. You’ll grab a handful of almonds, throw it on the scale and find that it weighs exactly 1 oz. These skills of estimation will become indispensable to you, as they help you learn about the amount of food you’re actually eating. For example, they allow you to go out to eat in a restaurant, or at a friend’s house, and still limit yourself to a sensible quantity of food.

Measuring Cups and Spoons

My doubly and triply redundant set of measuring cups and spoons.

My doubly and triply redundant set of measuring cups and spoons.

For weighing and measuring, you will also need measuring cups and spoons. But there’s nothing quite so frustrating as wanting to measure a teaspoon of canola oil, or a tablespoon of almond butter, or a 1/4 cup of cooked rice, and finding that you can’t find a clean measuring spoon anywhere. So I recommend having at least three sets of measuring spoons, and two sets of measuring cups, and keeping them in a predictable place, right where you prepare and plate your food.

Once you overcome any residual fears that you may harbor about using these tools—will people think I am a freak because I measure everything?—you will quickly discover that a measuring spoon or cup can work very well as a serving device. You can pull the suckers out while plating. Or you can even bring them right to the table and serve things with them. If you know you are only going to eat a 1/4 cup of cooked oatmeal, then by all means serve yourself with that 1/4 cup measure. If you are committed to limiting yourself to one 4 oz. glass of wine, pour the wine first into that 1/2 cup measure. If you’re planning to eat two cups of strawberries, cut them right into the cup measure, and then put them into a bowl. If you keep enough of these things around, and keep them close at hand while you are preparing or plating food, it becomes second nature to grab hold of them and measure how much you are making, or planning to eat.

The great thing is that, soon enough, as with the scale, you’ll learn what three cups of broccoli or cooked kale really looks like on your plate; you’ll learn to serve yourself exactly 1/4 cup of rice without a cup-measure. You’ll learn how full (or empty) your wine glass looks when filled with 4 oz. of Chardonnay.

For the record, it is also helpful to memorize three or four very simple conversions. 8 fluid ounces = 1 cup. 16 tablespoons = 1 cup. 1 tablespoon = 1/2 fluid ounce. 1 fluid ounce = 28 grams.

The Virtues of Weighing and Measuring

The virtues of this way of eating are many. Chiefly, weighing and measuring helps you be realistic and accurate in the record of your eating you make in your food journal. Secondarily, it helps you achieve specific dietary goals, such as controlling calorie intake, or meeting consumption goals for specific macronutrients (protein, fat, and carbs). Thirdly, and perhaps best, weighing and measuring your food trains you to become much more aware of your eating, and how the quantities you eat affect your body and your progress in your diet.

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Two by Five (Active Rest)

I checked the CrossFit Asheville WOD yesterday before bed.  I liked to see it posted in advance, but I was worried about the workout: “Lynne-Like,” five rounds of max reps of ring dips followed immediately by pull ups, with 3-5 minutes of rest between rounds.  I was already feeling shredded and tattered in my lats, triceps, and shoulders from my workouts on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday, and from my pull-up challenge.  I worried about a new torn callus, injury, or general over-training malaise.

Last night, as I lay in bed, my hand calluses actually were HURTING.  Ouch.  When I woke up automatically (before 5:00 am). with less than 5 hours of sleep under my belt (poor choices last night), I knew in advance I wouldn’t do the workout. But I went in to the 6:00 am class anyway, just to hang out. No breakfast. A bit of coffee. Instead of workout out, today would be a day of “active rest.”

When I got there, I was happy to learn that the coaches were cool with my plan. Which rapidly evolved to include a couple of 500 meter rows for time on the C2 rowing ergometer.

Warm-Up

Judo/MMA warm-up: shoulder rotations, 360/45 lunges, forward roll w/ bear crawl. Shoulder dislocates. Squats, Hindu Pushups, Shotguns, Supermans (10 reps each… taking it easy).

Active Rest: Two 500 Meter Rows

I stood around a bit, then hopped on the rower. I did 500 meters for time. Waited about 15 minutes, and then did it again. That was the extent of my workout.

Results: 1:38; 139.3.

Postponed: Pull-Up Challenge Day 21

I have decided to postpone today’s pull-ups until tomorrow. And I may even put them off until Friday (and then do 43). My body is feeling kind of wrecked, sore and extremely tired. I think I need to take care of myself more than I need to push through this self-motivated Pull-Up challenge. I will continue with it! Just not today.

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Double Trouble. PUC Day 20.

Decent sleep (about 7 hours). Feeling super sore from yesterday, especially in the trapezius muscles. Had a 1 block breakfast. Coffee w/ milk. Then heading to the 7:00 am CrossFit Asheville workout.

Warm-Up

Judo/MMA warm-up (shoulder rotations, 45 x 360 lunges, deadfall practice, front-roll to bear crawl); sampson/hip mobility stretches, various stretches, shoulder dislocates; squats, Hindu Pushups, Shotguns, Supermans (15 reps each).

Skill Work

10 minutes practicing double unders. This was pretty disorganized. I did manage to get about 5 double unders.

CrossFit Asheville WOD

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:
30 double-unders or 90 singles
Suitcase dumbbell healthlift, 12 each side (M-45lbs, W-30lbs)
18 Knees to elbows

I used 45# weights and did single-unders. My results:
5 rounds and 30 single jumpropes.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 20

Reps #1-4: 5:40 pm. Set of 4. Front grip.
Reps #5-8: 6:50 pm. Set of 4. Reverse grip.
Reps #9-12: 7:30 pm. Set of 4. Front grip.
Reps #13-17: 7:45 pm. Set of 5. Reverse grip.
Reps #18-20: 7:55 pm. Set of 3. Front grip.

And that’s my reps for today. Whew.

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“Healthy Chief.” PUC Day 19.

Decent sleep, but only about 6 hours. 1 block breakfast and coffee. Feeling pretty good. AM weigh in: 183.5. Headed to 6:00 am CrossFit Asheville Workout.

Warm Up

Judo/Martial Arts Warm Ups. Hip Mobility / Sampsons. Then: 1 round of 15 reps of: Hindu Pushups, Supermans, Shotguns, Squats.

Strength Work: Deadlift

Find 3-rep max of “Healthlift” (aka, deadlift).

Results: 5 x 135
3 x 185
3 x 225
3 x 255
3 x 275 (PR for 3?)

WOD: “Chief”

WOD: 3 separate rounds of:
3 minute AMRAP of 3 power cleans (135 Rx’d), 6 push ups, 9 squats.
Each round followed by a 1 minute rest. (Total workout time: 11 minutes).

I used 105# for the Power Cleans. Results:
3 rounds & 3 cleans & 3 pushups
4 rounds
3 rounds & 3 cleans & 5 pushups.

Freaking awesome workout. I was drenched in sweat and collapsed on the floor afterward.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 19

I completed all my reps between 6:45 and 7:45 pm, in six sets, spaced every 10 minutes or so:
Reps #1-4: Set of 4. Failed on 5th. Reverse grip.
Reps #5-7: Set of 3. Failed on 4th. Front grip.
Reps #8-10: Reverse grip.
Reps #11-13: Front grip.
Reps #14-16: Reverse grip.
Reps #17-19: Front grip. Nearly failed on 3rd rep.

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Resting Sunday

I’m pretty tired and happy to have a rest day. The CrossFit mothership WOD for today is “CrossFit Total.” I don’t know if I would have been ready for that. Lately, the main-site has been putting the “Total” up there about once per month. I don’t know how likely it is that Randy, Corey, and Shanna will put it into the mix on Monday; it seems more likely that we’ll have a deadlift or front-squat heavy day. Or maybe the Snatch!

The Pull-Up Challenge will continue on Monday with day 19!

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Run and Squat. Parkour practice. PUC Day 17, Part II & Day 18.

Woke up super early. Jet lag. Got to work on the Pull-Up Challenge right away. Then went to the 9:00 am workout.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 17, Part II

As I noted yesterday, I wasn’t able to finish my reps in the Pull-Up Challenge, Day 17. So I left 8 reps for today. I did these 8 reps quickly this morning, all before 7:00 am.

Workout

Warm-Up: Agility drills and 2 rounds of Pull-Ups, Knees to Elbows, Push-Ups, and Squats.

Skills: Pose Running Techniques.

WOD: 4 rounds for time:
Run 400 Meters.
50 Squats.

Results: I was feeling strong. I chased down coach Randy as best as I could, powering through the squats, and finished second, two seconds behind him. Time: 13:12.

Parkour training

After the workout, we went up behind CFAHQ and practiced some parkour techniques, leaping over walls, etc. Very fun.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 18

I began my 18 reps for today (caught up, finally), during the warm-up. And I continued throughout the day. I’m still a little too frazzled to get back into the habit of recording each set and the time. Monday: I promise to do so. The reps were really spread out through the whole day, from 9:00 am to 10:30 pm.

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WOD: nine hour fast in airplane seat. PUC Day 17, part I.

Travel Day

I can’t see calling this a “rest day” since I traveled several thousand miles on foot, subways, train, plane, and car. Most of the day was spent crammed into a narrow plane seat in a “stress position.” And I had only 3 hours of sleep. And had been out late drinking at the Camden Head pub. And I was fasting (between 5:00 am and what would be 10:00 pm I had only one protein bar and about a 1/2 oz of chicken and a few slices of carrot). While driving home I stopped and picked up BBQ pork and Chicken. It’s good to be back in the South.

Since getting home, hanging out with Yael and Lena, and relaxing, I’ve begun to get some rest, and have eaten some food.

Pull Up Challenge Day 17, Part I

Unfortunately, I couldn’t fit all the pull-ups in. I was just too tired. But I did do three sets of 3. So I’ll do 8+18 tomorrow (26 pull ups, yeah).

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Snatches of Bethnal Green.

A strength day, combined with a “rest day.”  Is that possible?  I will rest from the PUC today (and tomorrow will be day 17).  I will of course ride my bike all over London.  I’ve already put in about 45 minutes on it.

Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club

Giles Greenwood, Me, a london CrossFitter, and Andrew Stemler
Me with Giles Greenwood (left),
Andrew Stemler (right) and
another London CrossFitter
at the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club

I was privileged to get in contact with Andrew Stemler of CrossFit London UK before my trip, and after some emails back and forth, we finally arranged a meet. We hooked up today, which should have been a rest day for me, but it was ok. We met at a top-notch hole in the wall facility in the Bethnal Green neighborhood of London. I rode my bike over there. It’s a serious olympic weightlifting gym called the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club. I’m not sure who’s really in charge, but the club was being presided over by Giles Greenwood, an Olympic lifting gold medalist for the UK in 2002 (see this link for a news story on his victory). He was super generous with his time for someone who hadn’t signed up, didn’t belong, and hadn’t paid.

Inside the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club
Inside the Bethnal Green Weightlifting Club

I got a lot of good training advice from Stemler and Greenwood both. Everybody there was very kind to let me crash a regular Olympic lifting class period. They provided me with elementary instruction in the Snatch, and I tried to do a kind of 1-1-1-1-1-1-1 Snatch heavy day, even though I remain, let us say, a virgin. I will post some good pictures here and even some video, when I get back to the states, tomorrow night.

Today’s WORKOUT:
Training progression for snatch w/ 15-25 kg.
Single rep snatches and snatch attempts with 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34 kg.

Thanks Andrew, Giles, and everybody down at Bethnal Green for being so kind to a newbie, and frankly pretty weak, American.

You can see video and other pictures of the day here.

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“Primrose Hill.” PUC Day 15 & 16. Biking in London.

Warm Up

A light bike ride to the gym, and then, having dropped off my stuff, from the gym to the bottom of Primrose Hill, which is the north end of Regent’s Park in London. I made my way to an exercise area called “Trim Trail,” which is a place with permanent installations for pull-ups and many other body weight only exercises. Very nice adult playgym equipment. Personal trainers bring clients there.

Once there I did some sit ups (15), push ups (15), and squats (15), and did hamstring, calf, and hip mobility stretches.

Primrose Hill: The WOD

My WOD:
11 Dead Hang Pull Ups. Take as long as you need.
Sprint up Primrose Hill.
10 Dead Hang Pull-Ups
Sprint up Primrose Hill
10 Dead Hang Pull-Ups
Sprint up Primrose Hill

My results: I got my dead hangs, including one SET OF 5, two sets of 4, two of three, and a couple twos, and a bunch of ones. They took a long time, relative to my normal workouts. Sprint times: 1:50, 1:58, 1:58.

For the record, the Sprint was about 500 meters and includes an approximately 100 foot elevation. It’s burly.

When I finished the whole workout I did another set of 15 pushups for good measure.

Pull-Up Challenge Days 15 and 16

I missed yesterday’s pull-ups, so today I did two days worth. And I combined them with the workout.

See: 15 + 16 = 31.

Biking in London

Heck, I rode my bike for about 3 hours straight today in London, from 4:00 to 7:00 pm, and I also rode it prior to this time. I probably covered 20 miles. Obviously, I was stopping and starting a lot. It was totally awesome. What a great way to sightsee.

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Bench and Row. PUC Skipped Day.

My trip to London has been great. I bought a one week membership at a little gym right on Belsize Park Gardens, about 2 blocks from Gadi and Mimi’s place. They have Concept II rowers and some crappy olympic weights, so I decided to do the WOD from the mainsite that was posted for Monday:

For time:
Row 500 meters
Body weight Bench press, 30 reps
Row 1000 meters
Body weight Bench press, 20 reps
Row 2000 meters
Body weight Bench press, 10 reps
Post time to comments.

Warm-Up

So, I arrived at the gym about 6:45 am. There wasn’t a good place to do warm-ups, so I just did a few squats, push-ups, and sit-ups. I should have done some pull-ups too, but I figured I might get them in for the challenge, later. But now it looks like I have to skip the challenge today. Details below.

Bench and Row

I didn’t have a chance to check the main site, so I had the details backwards. I did bench first, then the row.

I did a few warm up sets with the bench. It’s been a long time since I did this awkward, no fun movement. It hurt my right shoulder. Also, I quikly realized that there was no way I was going to do 60 reps of a full body-weight bench. I did: 20 kg x 10; 40 kg x 5; 50 kg x 5; 60 kg x 3; and then attemted 80 kg, and failed. So, I started my workout at 60 kg. 13 reps into the 30, I backed it down to 50 kg. Then I did my second set with 50 kg. My last set I did 55 kg. Also, the erg was on a totally different floor, so I had to walk through this facility, and up a staircase, to switch stations in the circuit. That slowed me down some of course. And my first set of bench presses was insanely slow.

Results: 47 minutes. First set of Benches: 13 reps x 60 kg; 17 reps x 50 kg; First Row: 500 meters in 1:43; Second set of benches: 20 reps x 50 kg; Second Row: 1000 meters in 3:53; Third set of benches: 10 reps x 55 kg; Third Row: 2000 meters in 7:53.

I got a good sweat going. Had a steam, shave, dressed, and now I am out and about biking through London.

Biking

Yesterday I probably rode 10 miles on my bike. I have similar plans for today. I am out and about, fully clothed, fighting London traffic. The insane taxi drivers, white van drivers, and bus drivers are a serious threat to my life. And the occasional bouts of severe rain (!) are more funny than anything else. I am seeing the city in the best possible way. Convinced of it!

Pull Up Challenge Day 15

Well, I found out where to DO pull-ups: the very cool “Trim Trail” at the base of Primrose Hill Park, just north of Regent’s Park. They have everything for the body-weight only workout crowd there. I saw some truly burly dudes doing pull ups there yesterday. Only trouble is, my schedule today won’t permit me to find the time to work in my 15 pulls. What I’ll have to do is go super early there tomorrow, and do 31 pulls. It’ll probably take me the better part of an hour and a half. That may be my whole workout for the day, that and bicycle riding. So, with that promise to myself, I sign off, no pull-ups today.

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“Camden Roundabout.” PUC Day 14.

WOD: repair a bike, do some sprints, do pull ups, and box jumps, for “time.”

I borrowed Guy’s (Guy is cousin Adi’s boyfriend) broken down “Chicago” brand bike. Fixed the rear brake last night. Then today, walked it up to a petrol station and filled the tires. Then I rode the bike in Camden, up and down Hampstead Hill street. At the bottom of my ride I found a shuttered children’s playground, with swing-sets that had no swings. I did my first set of pull-ups there (3). Then I rode the bike up the hill and into Hampstead Heath. Amazing, wonderful parkland. I did some sprints (20 sec on, 20 sec off, 40 sec on, 20 sec on off) for about 5 minutes. Then, at a small sports pitch, I did the remainder of my pull-ups on a really insufficient little shelter. The pull-up bar was a 1/4″ steel blade. I wrapped my sweatshirt on it. It wasn’t full height so I had to have my legs up. I alternated max sets of pull-ups with sets of 20 box jumps, until I hit my PUC numbers. (I did about 115 good box jumps). Then, I did 20 sit-ups (one set), 20 push-ups (1 set), and 20 squats (1 set). Then some more sprinting and jogging, and rode the bike back to Belsize Park.

On to the tourism! Hopefully, I’ll be adding another 20 miles or so on a bike today. And a few miles of walking, most likely, as yesterday.

Tomorrow AM I will purchase a day pass to a local gym I found, and do today’s official CrossFit WOD (consisting of increasing distances on a rower, alternating with body weight bench presses). RADICAL. It will feel good to get in a proper CrossFit WOD. Then I can perhaps finish up the workout by doing by 15 pull-ups.

Pull-Up Challenge Day 14

Reps #1-3: Reverse grip. At a children’s park. About 8:15 am.

Reps #4-6: Front grip. At a shelter in Hampstead Heath. About 8:30 am. (+15 box jumps)

Reps #6-8: Reverse grip. At a shelter in HH. 8:35 am. (+ 20 box jumps)

Reps #9-10: Front grip. Shelter (+20 box jumps)

Reps #11-14: Sets of one each. Alternating grips. One every minute or so. (+ 3 sets of 20 box jumps)

Biking

In the afternoon, I acquired a better bike. AWESOME. I rode this bike all around London. I mean, all over the place. I probably rode 10 miles at least. What great exercise and what a way to see the city. I probably spent at least 2 hours riding the thing. Yeah, it’s “L.S.D.” training (Long, Slow, Distance) but it’s training. And it burns calories. It’ll help keep me honest while I am here.

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