Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Tracking Santa

It is 1447 and according to NORAD, Santa is delivering stuff in UAE. W Only time will tell. NORAD sponsors the website and it fun.

Speaking of traveling around the world, this is exactly what I did with my kettlebell swings this afternoon. I did several combinations with different size bells. Really freeked out the CNS and it is a great way to work the core. Wow, yesterday's fun snuck up in the middle of todays.

Jog 1/2 mi. w/ ruck
Swing 16K x 100,
Goblet squat: 32k - 5x5
Clean and Jerk 32k - 5 x 5l,5r no rest
Swings - (I'll call this around the world);
16k 20/20,
24k 20/20
32k 20/20
16k + 24k 10/10,
24k + 32K 10/10
32k x 20
24k x 20
16k x 20
Concentrate on overspeed eccentric movement on last 3 sets. I was flying when I hit the 16k
Jog 1/2 mi w/ruck

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Website update

I have updated my website with a fresh look and updated content. I am still working some issues, shooting some video etc. so it is a work in progress. Check it out periodically for updates or subscribe via RSS.

10 min NWU
Swing 16k x 50
Swing 24k x 50
TGU 16k 5x5 no rest
rest 5 min.
Here is what we did at tonight's class:
Swing 32k x 50
Snatch 5l rest 5r x 10 ea (100 reps) rest was while the others snatched. I used 24k.
Ab - figure 8, sling shot, figure 8 with stop, Punch matrix

Monday, December 15, 2008

Whew! I'm ready for R&R

This time of year is tough to get anything done at work. It is also tough to train. I have been getting off the couch and managing to squeezing in the workouts errrrr; practice. I must say that practice is the easiest thing to do right now and it is better than nothing. With enough practice strength comes.

Pull up 3 x 10
Swing: 16k x 100, 24k x 100, 32k x 50
Clean and Press 24k 7 x 5
Front squat: 32k 5x5

Bike: 30 min trainer
Card tearing 4 x 35 cards - ouch time to back er back down.

Pull up 1 x 12
Jerks: 32k - 5 min. (1arm)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Martial Culture

I came to a realization earlier today that my outlook on training has been wrong for the past few years even though I have made fantastic strength and endurance gains. I have been a little skewed in both my actual training approach and the way I’ve trained some clients. I’ve also figured out why I feel repulsed by other service members and people faking the funk in the gym.

I’ve overlooked the aspect of martial culture. Cultures like the Spartans, Zulus and Aztecs were martial cultures. The cultures exclusively existed to produce warriors to defend or acquire new land. Everything about their existence was present in a warrior ethos. Similarly, the Marine Corps physically and mentally transforms citizens into a martial culture.

It may be difficult to understand or embrace and I don’t expect you will. You can read books, watch movies like the 300, train like a warrior and study martial arts and you will not be part of the martial culture. You will not live, eat and breathe it; it will never truly be your way of life.

So, I will train myself slightly differently. I will still have some goals and expectations but not like in the past. In the Marine Corps there is a standard and we adhere to it. No questions. In fact, adhering most often means searching for perfection within the standard. The minimum is unacceptable.

In the RKC system there are new standards for the level I and II certification. As a professional, I am adapting and evolving my training to comply with the party’s instruction. As a Marine, I do the same. The Marine Corps has added the combat fitness test, not a problem, I own it.

As a few clients have found in the past few weeks, I will smile and nod at excuses only a few times and provide some encouragement. Eventually, I can quickly become curt; and treat you like a young Marine. I WILL get your attention, make corrections and move on. I don’t have patients or for clients that don’t do their homework and refuse to hear what I say. Why pay someone to ignore them?

So you can expect great instruction and a great training. I will ensure you get the same TLC that the warriors receive at my day job!

Here is the caveat; I am now only accepting clients that are serious about training and learning.

Practice Today:
-- Taking it easy today. Very tired.

Practice Yesterday:
Clean and Press 16k 5x5
Windmill: 5x5
Clean and Jerk 32K x 5 min.
Wheel roll outs x 5

Card tear: 4 x 30 cards

Monday, December 8, 2008

Combat Fitness?

My question is this -- For a combat athlete (Marine, soldier, sailor, LEO etc.) shouldn't all training be preparation for combat in one form or another?

Just checking! I think so -- absolutely. It can be GPP but it also calls for GPP kicked up a couple notches.

We have designated Monday for combat fitness preparation training. Often, we training specific to our test but, it is good preparation none the less. Today's exercises provided a good assessment of my fitness.

First, I must say that the events provide the feeling in my gut that I thought they would when put together. YUCK. Second, going anaerobic over and over pretty much sucks. Third, I'm pretty fit but I should change my training a little to improve weakness. Specifically, going hard while anaerobic.

Bent Press 32k 1x5/5
Pistol: 5 x 1 each leg
Clean and press 24k 5 x 5
Swing - 5x20

20 min rest

Sprint 200m, jog 200m
Press #30 for 2 min. (91 reps) -- I can hit 100 - 110+ easily, I rested and yelled at others.
MANUF practice. (crawling sucks!!!!!)
Run 400m

Swing: 100
Clean and Press - 5x5

JM --ankles, knees, hips shoulders wrists, elbows (Egyptian) neck.
Some other misc. lifting - worked with TSL. on ETK basics.
This was very fun, Thanks for driving down Sir!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

On the trainer

I finally hopped on the bike. My plan was to hit a quick session then head out for some kettlebell work, followed by working with some people. Things change and I changed my plan. Instead of short intervals I opted for longer intervals and a longer ride.

I was playing with my HRM while on the bike. I am curious to see where my RPE is compared to the actual work I'm doing. It is a little skewed at the moment. I will make adjustments.

The intervals I chose for the ride are 4 min. on and 4 min. off. I repeated 4 times. HR on rest got down to 120. During the intervals I maintained around 172 but popped up to 179 for a while during the 3rd interval. I was able to sustain this pace for the full time.

The issue is with the calculated MHR, this puts me at or above 90%. That is probably not such a good thing. So I have will change it up a little.

ZNWU slow.
Ride: 10 min warm up.
interval 4 x 4 on/4 off.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Real Recovery

Today was actually a recovery day. Not a light day, or an easy.

Tonight I worked on card tearing again. I broke my 'max' back down less than 50% and started work. 15 cards halved x 2. Then I halved those halves for a total of 6 x 15 cards. I tore both directions. I think this was just the right amount of volume at this time. I can feel some fatigue in the fingers but I also feel as though I have 6 more left in the tank.

RPhase slow.
Card tears (see above)

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Recovery Day...Sorta

Fatigue was prevalent throughout the day. I decided to skip my AM ride and take it easy. Suprisingly, I had less of the usuaul muscular pain than I normally have after a run! The pain kept moving from place to place in my body. Eventually, I was teased by mild back pain for a while.

Today's cure: About 45 minutes before PT, I started with the ZNWU, moved on to rifga. I felt fantastic after this combination. I worked some swings and presses then off to an easy day of pt.

Before my Tuesday evening kettlebell class (1830 every Tuesday at my garage let me know if you are interested), I did some kettlebell practice lots of TGU, Bent Press and Swings.

Class tonight was fun. We started with joint mobility, covered basic techniques for swing, clean and press and squat. Then the fun really started.

Class workout:
  • Clean, squat press ladders - 4 rung
  • 1 arm swing 5,10,15 l/r
  • windmill lrlr
  • 2 arm swing (bigger kettlebell) - 30,20,15
My practice today:
  • ZNWU
  • rifga
  • clean and press24k: 2,4,6 x 5
  • MCMAP (martial arts)
  • TGU 16k 5x5/5
  • Bent Press: 32k 5 x 2/2
  • upside down windmill with #5 ball (this is medicine for the shoulders - feels good!)
  • Swings - 32k 2 arm - 3x20, 1 arm 2x10/10
  • I'm getting some excellent cross training.
  • Maybe I should ride a bike one of these days!?!
  • Class was a blast - thanks for coming out guys - don't forget to practice your swings!
  • Swings rock.
  • Did the fitness test on my new HRM. According to the device, I am in elite condition. Who woulda thunk that? Heck, I'm actually a little deconditioned compared to 3 - 4 weeks ago. This makes me chuckle. I wonder what it tells LA? He's now riding the TDF. He looks freakishly strong and lean for someone that took 3 years away from the sport. (stay tuned for more on the LA workout!)

Monday, December 1, 2008

What did you do today?

What did you do to get rid of some of that Turkey and Pie? Moi? I started off December with a bang.

1. I tore my first phone book today. Nothing special a 1" white pages. This is a start; a few more practice sessions on the technique and I'll be good to go.

2. Z R phase and ZNWU.

3. Run 3 ish miles boots and utes with buddy. We carried 2x30# ammo cans back from the beach (1mi).

I anticipate some pain in a few days at L4/5 but nothing yet. I will take 2...and hit some rifga and RPhase in the morning. I'm contemplating a bike ride in but don't want to over do anything.

Clean and Press 24k 5 x 1234
Pull UP 5x8
Wheel roll out 3 x 5
Card Tearing test day: 1 x 15, 1 x 20, 1x 25, 1x30, 1x35 cards. I think I can do more but no need to hit failure. I will back down about 50% from the 35 cards and do some volume adding 5 cards per session. Probably do 2 sessions per week. Will back off periodically.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Progress on the David Whitley Thanksgiving Challenge

I like the online training log/blog because it is very simple to search the past workouts and comments to see what worked and what didn't. It's a great tool. Exactly 9 weeks ago I took SR.RKC David Whitley's challenge and decided to work towards my snatch numbers.

The bad news is I have been complacent, I haven't worked 24k snatches nearly enough 4 times in 8 weeks to be exact. I have worked the VO2 max and boost protocols during this time. The good news is that I have made several other gains in overall health and fitness. I set a performance goal and a nutritional goal as David prescribed. While I still need some work on the performance goal and have extended it until Christmas, the benefits of working towards it have worked wonders!

Body Composition: I have lost 12 lbs and 2 inches from my waste.

I lost the majority of the weight during the first 2-3 weeks of the challenge and have been strict in my food choices. I did add some treats into the diet here and there after the first month. I have learned about the timing of such commodities.

After turkey day, I plan to restrict the treats again until the Chirstmas Holiday and shed the last few pounds before the new year. No sense in waiting!

Tidewater Kettlebell Club

The new and improved TKC will begin meeting again on Dec 6 at 1300.

More details are on the TKC blog.

I want to show you the proper use of kettlebells. They are very beneficial when proper form is executed. Most of the videos on youtube are great examples of how NOT to use them.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Still here

I've been terrible with this blog for the past few weeks. This blog is my training log and I will update the workouts soon.

Be assured, I am training. Nothing terribly new or fancy.

Kettlebells - - Enter the Kettlebell program minimum. With some VO2 max for variety.
Bike - Riding but nothing over 30 miles yet. Mostly intervals on the trainer (it's cold).
Something new: Marine Corps Martial Arts - too much fun!
Z Health R Phase

Monday, November 10, 2008

Happy 233 Birthday Marines

General John A. Lejeune's message:

On November 10, 1775, a Corps of Marines was created by a resolution of the Continental Congress. Since that date, many thousand men have borne the name Marine. In memory of them, it is fitting that we who are Marines should commemorate the Birthday of our Corps by calling to mind the glories of its long and illustrious history.The record of our Corps is one which will bear comparison with that of the most famous military organizations in the world's history. During 90 of the 146 years of it's existence the Marine Corps has been in action against the nations foes. From the battle of Trenton to the Argonne. Marines have won foremost honors in war, and in the long eras of tranquility at home. Generation after generation of Marines have grown gray in war in both hemispheres and in every corner of the seven seas that our country and its citizens might enjoy peace and security.In every battle and skirmish since the birth of our Corps Marines have acquitted themselves with the greatest distinction, winning new honors on each occasion until the term Marine has come to signify all that is highest in military efficiency and soldierly virtue.This high name of distinction and soldierly repute we who are Marines today have received from those who preceded us in the Corps. With it we also received from them the eternal spirit which has animated our Corps from generation to generation and has been the distinguishing mark of the Marines in every age. So long as that spirit continues to flourish Marines will be found equal to every emergency in the future as they have been in the past, and the men of our nation will regard us as worthy successors to the long line of illustrious men who have served as "Soldiers of the Sea" since the founding of the Corps.

Semper FI

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

1st Class == Update

Tonight we had the first class. Although the turn out was low, neither I or the attendees were discouraged. This meant more 1 on 1 instruction. We started out with joint mobility, worked on wall squats, box squats, swings and then on to the Turkish Get Up.

The swings are looking awesome! The swings we built and tweaked look better than many people that show up for the RKC cert. Of course with a little tweaking, they look perfect! What I'm telling you is this -- -- -- QUIT WASTING YOUR TIME WITH THE VIDEOS AND KETTLEBELL INSTRUCTOR WANNA BEES. The problem is you are learning technique that is substandard, it is weak or just wrong. You may be missing key cues that make an exercise effective or make an exercise safe. You should NOT feel any pain - ANYWHERE - using kettlebells. Your back should not hurt; your knees should not bow; wrists should NOT be black and blue.

Seek a currently certified RKC Instructor (like me)! It will be well worth your time and money.

Practice Today:
Clean and Press - 24k 5 x 123 ladders.
Snatch 24k on the minute - 3 x 10/10, 2 x 5/5 - 80 total. This was more difficult than I thought it would be. Hitting 100 in 5 is easily in my grasp. This is also the first time I've snatched with the 24k bell since September.

Pull up - 1x14
Turkish Get ups

Pull up x 12 (boots and utes)
6x6 Sand Bag protocol x 15 min

Monday, October 27, 2008

Tuesday Night Kettlebell Class

I’m pleased to announce a kettlebell class starting Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 6:30PM.
The class begins Tuesday at my garage or very near to it. This is a short term location.

Format: 1 Hour, We will start with Joint Mobility, Fix some kettlebell skills, then do a 15 - 20 minute workout.

This class requires a 5 week minimum commitment. The Cost per class is $15.
Please make arrangements to pay me (accept Pay Pal) prior to the class or bring cash. Beginners will need to attend some additional training so I can ensure you are practicing safe and effective

Bring your kettlebell to the class. Get used to using it. I have some kettlebells and will
advise you if you need a more appropriate weight.

Please email me for directions or call me at (757) 667-1537.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

More ETK

Yesterday I hit some ETK for a light day. It was good to just practice presses with perfect form. I was able to concentrate on tension without worrying about fatigue and the potential for poor form. I will need the perfect form later when the intensity increases. As Master RKC Rif says, "It's all easy til it's heavy."

Today is the variety day and I needed some time on the bike. I didn't really want to spend the entire day out on the road. I've done that for the past 2 weekends and will do again next weekend. Besides, I bought a new Cylo Ops fluid trainer this afternoon.

I warmed up with swings and windmills then hopped on the bike for a Tabata interval session. Four minutes later, I felt worse than riding for 10 hrs! LOL

Rifga x 5 min.
Swing: 24K 1x100
Windmill: #10 ball x 5/5, 16k x 5x5
Bike: Tabata intervals -- 20 on/10 off x 8 reps.
Cool down 5 min
Fast and loose drills x 5 min. (really needed this after the intervals)

Tonight - Stretching concentrating on legs and shoulders. I'm still having some issues with tightness from the run 1.5 week ago.

Swing: 50
C/P 5 x 1,2 ladders

Thursday, October 23, 2008

No Failure

This is supposed to be a heavy day for on the ETK program. It was not quite as 'heavy' or have as much volume as I planned. Of course I haven't really worked any real volume work for several months. I wrote in Monday's blog that it would probably be a week or 2 before an actual heavy day happens. I performed what I could today.

This is the important lesson. Do as much volume or weight as you can leaving some in the tank. Remember training to failure is training to fail. Your body remembers repeated failure.

My original plan for today was 5 sets of 5 rung ladders. During the first set, I decided to adjust fire. The 4th rung wasn't as easy as it should. I ended up completing 5 sets with 4 rung ladders.

Clean and Press - 24k 5 x 1234
Swing - 100

Monday, October 20, 2008

Back to ETK

I was feeling really good physically after the weekends festivity then I began my workout with some swings. I went down hill from there. After 100 swings, my legs hurt deep down to the bones. Ok, I'm not recovered.

I did my medium day presses. This felt ok. I think it will be a few weeks before I'm ready for some actual 'heavy' days. I'm most certain, I will ignore the previous sentence and go heavy sooner than later.

I thought I would finish up the workout with several sets of swings but my body did not agree. Too much fatigue. I parked the kettlebell and called it a day.

Swing 24k x 100 -- 50l then 50r
Clean and Press: 5 sets x 3 rung (1,2,3)
Swing 24k x 50 (2 arm) hardstyle overspeed eccentric

Sunday, October 19, 2008


I just returned from another weekend on the bike. Yesterday we rode the Black Creek 200k from Raleigh to the small town of Black Creek. A full write up will be posted on the TR blog soon.

Followed the plan Rx on Wed.

Ride: 125 mi
message -- releasing trigger points and flexibility. This was not foo foo!


Thursday, October 16, 2008

Execution of yesterday's plan

Yesterday, I stated I would rest, drink water, do Z etc. It seems to be working pretty well. I still have some swelling in the L ankle but most of the pain has gone.

One of the Gunnys had a STICK sitting at his desk today so I stole it for the majority of the work day. This is a good piece of gear! I've had this on my wish list for a few years. I was able to work out some pain in my quads and a knot I had in my left calf for 3 days. I'm sold and will get one in the near future.

Today was a rest day. Of course I did some swings, snatches and presses but just enough to GTG and demonstrate a protocol.

Tomorrow, I'm off the RTP, NC for a 200k ride on Saturday. Also plan to continue with the plan.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

What a Dilemma

Dilemma -- a situation requiring a choice between equally undesirable alternatives.

What is the situation?

I need to run more. Not because I want to, because I would become a more efficient runner (faster). I can't run because it is...well...kinda bad for my degenerative L4/L5 discs. So I do what I have to do to get by. I am getting faster by the way...Go Kettlebells!

Today was the semi annual PFT, I improved my run time by 10 sec. and I could have been faster but I felt physically (sick) off and had to slow down for 1/2 mile or so. I have maintained my other events for the entire year. I am just status quo. Not for long, I will improve.

The aftermath of the run is pain and fatigue. I should not be this tired! My back isn't killing me...Yet but there is potential. Why? Because the ankle I tore apart a few years ago is killing me for the first time in more than 3 years. This is NOT good. I feel some soft tissue damage and it is swollen.

What will I do? Yes, I have a plan. UM, kinda.
  1. Lots of water
  2. Sleep. I plan to sleep on it and see how it feels in the morning.
  3. Z. Please correct me if I'm wrong but how about some ankle circles, toe pulls and ankle tilts. Of course it could be something with the wrist, so how about wrist glides/circles and some hand figure 8s? Or, I could just do everything!
  4. Rinse and repeat.
3 mile run: Down to 24:00 (I was in the 27s pushing 28:00 just a few years ago)
Pull ups - max: Slipped to 14. (Time to work these again. It was already in the plan)
Crunches - Max: 100 (yea, Hanging leg raises, evil wheel, and swings/snatches)

Not stellar but I will take it. I keep improving on the run and I can live with that. It's time to put the pieces together. Of course it is just an indicator of fitness not the end all. I do have other goals I'm working. Next week I will officially begin my quest for a turkey day weekend SSST or during the Tidewater Kettlebell Club fun time in early December.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


This is a testimonial from Michael. He is preparing for the February RKC certification.

Michael had pretty good form and has had some good strength improvements with kettlebells. We tweaked his form and I gave him some queues that you can't get from watching a video or reading a book.

"I left your place with enthusiasm oozing out of me everywhere.

I practiced yesterday (heavy day) -- and my swings had that crispness that is much more fun --- and I think my body just likes it better. I squatted. I cleaned. I played with the TGU back and forth at all the transition points. This is just great -- the 'shot in the arm' you can me is powerful stuff. And I want more!

Thank you so, so, so much for helping me." Michael G.
Michael, it was a pleasure working with you. Keep working and things will be fine in February. See you next month!


I've just updated the my other blog about bicycles with the write up from the weekend's Road 2 Recovery ride.

Today was rest day as PFT is tomorrow morning. Of course, I'm not 'ready' for the test. Come to think of it, out of more than 36 semi-annual PFTs, I may have been ready for 1 or 2. LOL. That is how it should be. Just do the stinking thing already!

I do have a prediction about the test, I will score lower than the last test. Just a fact. I will drop a few more pull ups from my total. They haven't been a focus this year. I'll fix it and crush them in the spring.

Ride: 80 miles
Kettlebell Class --- demonstrate all basic lifts several times.

Ride:65 miles


Swing: 24k x 200 reps. -- I felt lazy! It's still comparison. LOL

Friday, October 10, 2008

Boost Protocol - D7

This morning, I had to make time to squeeze in day 7 of the Boost Protocol. We had a short day and I had a bike ride to do starting at 1200. So shortly after I arrived at work, I hit some Z then got to work (training). The format for Day 7 is the same as 6 but I chose the Viking Push Press as my choice of torture today.

After work, I headed across the street to the gym where the bicycle ride began. I am participating in the Road 2 Recovery events here in Virginia Beach this weekend. It is an event sponsored by R2R and the USO. I must say so far, this has been a great event. It was very fun to ride with these guys.

I will post detailed reports on the Tidewater Randonneur.

VO2 Boost day 7 - 5 sets
Ride 40 miles

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Boost Protocol - D6

On to Day 6!

Ok, I figured this would get more difficult and it did today. Not sure if it was a fitness thing or a lack of movement on the left side. I performed the boost with snatches today. I felt really weak on the left for the entire session.

Here is what I think happened, I was pressed for time and needed to get this workout in before I left work. So I set up my timer and just jumped right in with both feet. Notice, I didn't do anything for a warm up. I did do my morning ZNWU and JM. That was several hours before the workout.

Lesson learned:
Warm up, Get plum and aligned with the RIFGA, JM and Z!

The lack of mobility in the left made the workout difficult on that side. The right side was cake. Amazingly, I didn't feel winded or fatigued during the protocol again. I do feel it now. The protocol has a cumulative affect on the CNS. The long breaks between sets make it deceptively easy. The fatigue is a later time.

To Kenneth Jay ... this is 'EVIL.' Thanks I'm digging it!

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Sparks part II

In a post in January, I asked the question, What makes you tick?; What is your spark?

I'm back to that question again. This morning, I was reminded that some people will never achieve their goals and dreams because they aren't willing to put forth an effort. It is just a flash bang. In other words they hit something hard for a few weeks or a month then....QUIT.

There are too many people sayin', 'Some day I'm gonna..[fill in the blank]..'

This drives me up the wall. It inspires me to come up with a goal and achieve it. It drove me to join the Marine Corps more than 18 years ago. I couldn't stand sitting on the prairie listening to all of the people talk about doing this and that. Many of those people are still sitting on the prairie. Some of them with regret because they probably been doing the exact same thing for the past 18 years. It drove me to finish my bachelors degree, begin graduate school and to become a trainer.

At work, I offer some good training advice to people on a daily basis. Some take it for a day. Most often, I get a big smile (*$%# eatn' grin). They are basically telling me where to go. My patients is gone and the free well of advice and free training has dried up! Why?

Frankly, it is a waste of my time and energy! You can only help people that are willing to receive help. Now I understand sales. If you hear no enough, pretty soon someone is going to really ruin your day and say yes. But this ain't about sales, it is about helping someone that needs help and won't accept.

Self improvement is difficult.
Training is difficult.
My friends, look around, life is difficult.

What you need to do is grab it by the horns and take control.

It is 8 weeks until Thanksgiving. Set a goal. Work towards it. It is that simple. It doesn't have to be a difficult goal. Set a goal to walk around the block every day for the next 8 weeks. Heck you will have walked about 12 miles in that time! This is more than many do on a daily basis. Just pick something and do it.

Get off the Couch!

Here are my goals:
Well, I've decided that I will actually do the Secret Service Snatch Test (SSST) during the Thanksgiving weekend. Why haven't I done it yet? Good question. I just haven't felt the need to try, it is that simple. Since I haven't done this test before, I will shoot for 200 even. I actually suspect that I will do 220+ snatches in the 10 min time limit.

The stipulations of the test are outlined in Pavel's Enter the Kettlebell. There is a link on the sidebar. Last week, Pavel mentioned, the act of preparing for this test will result in improved strength, stamina and weightloss. ---- Yes, it is that easy!

A few weeks ago I cleaned up my diet. No garbage. The result 10 lbs; I've lost 15 since mid-Aug. The plan is to continue to keep it clean and see what happens. I have a few numbers in my mind that I would roughly like to see but that isn't the point of the goal. CLEAN DIET that's all.

That sucks because I really like cake, ice cream, donuts, brownies and cookies!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Boost Protocol - D5

For some reason, doing the protocol with the snatch is waaaayyyy easier than with the viking push press. Perhaps it is the the shear numbers of snatches I've done in the past 3years. I'm certainly in the groove and the exercise just keeps feeling better.

The viking push press is a relatively new exercise for me. The first time I tried it was this past June and I really haven't worked on it, until now. I can say with confidence that I'm not comfortable with this exercise. Nothing a lot of practice won't cure.

Boost: VPP, 4 rounds ea
Pull up 3x11

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Boost Protocol - d4

On to day 4 today. Felt good. I don't really feel fatigued during the protocol. About 20 min later, I have been feeling rather wasted. I'm sure there is more good pain in store.

Goblet squat - narrow stance 16k 5x5 -- all about form.
Boost Protocol - snatch 16k - 4 sets of each round @ 8 & 16reps

Pull up 2x10
Wheel roll out: 5x5

Friday, October 3, 2008

D1 VO2max Boost

I'm trying something new that I learned at the RKCII. It is the VO2 max boost protocol by Kenneth Jay. The protocol was used to help train some of his olympic athletes. If it is good enough for them, well, you get the picture.

At the certification, we actually did day 1. I put it in the tool box for a later date and it is later. The protocol calls for either snatch or Viking push press. My hands are a little beat up and tired so I chose to do the VPP today. I will probably alternate the two exercises.

I didn't exactly know what to expect today but I did do the VO2 max protocol yesterday and I can say that day 1 of the boost is waaaaay easier than the actual the original VO2 max protocol. I will not let it fool me. I'm pretty sure there is a reason there is 2-3 min rests. Not to mention the protocol gets progressively harder...really quick! Oh yea, KJ also mentions the protocol can only be done about 3 times per year as it is very difficult; physically and mentally demanding.

I probably should have started the protocol last week or on Monday so I could finish before my PFT. As it is right now, I will probably finish after the PFT but that is ok I'm not training for that event. It is just another day in the training life.

What am I training for?
I am defining what my real goals are at the moment.

I am training for some super GPP. The ability to leap small buildings in a single bound. To be faster than a rolling O. The ability to play with my daughter! To be resilient. Fix my body composition; must have 'shredded muscle fibre and freakish vascularity,' or wiry Pavel strength. It's all good.

Z - assigned exercises
swings - 100
Windmill: 16K 5/5
Goblet Squat: 24k 5x5
VO2MBP - Day 1
Viking push press: 24K 6 reps/14 reps -

Thursday, October 2, 2008


SR RKC David Whitley sent his newsletter today -- very interesting. David puts up a challenge for the next 9 weeks. This is exactly what I have been working at for the past 2 weeks. Of course now I have to define my goals a little differently.

From David's blog:

It is 9 weeks until Thanksgiving.

Thus begins the American cycle of overeating, oversoending and skipping workouts, sliding into the New Year in fatter, weaker, more broke and more miserable than ever, only to begin anew come January 1.

Does it sound familiar? This doesn't have to be you. Not this year. You can break the cycle. If you have already successfully broken this cycle, then I applaud you! If not, I would like to help you.

How am I going to do that? By issuing a 2-part challenge to you:

Number One: I want you to set at least one performance goal that you want to accomplish by Thanksgiving. What is a performance goal? It could be something like doing 50 consecutive push ups, or hitting 200 reps of kettlebell snatches in 10 minutes. It's important for you to know that I DO NOT mean weight loss goal, like "drop 15 pounds." I'll explain why in a moment.

Number Two: Set a nutritional goal. Decide on what your nutritional strategy will be and follow with tremendous purpose. I don't even care which plan it is so much, just follow it to the best of your ablitlity for nine Straight weeks. Don't wait until Monday to start. Decide NOW. Begin TODAY.

Pistol:GTG #30 - 1/1 x 4

VO2Max Protocol: 16k 15/15 x 36 sets
Pull up: 5x5
Hanging Leg Raises: 5x5

The VO2 protocol went well today. I nearly doubled my work from last week. I noticed some interesting things during the snatch. It is almost like a new groove than I've felt in the past. Not exactly sure what is happening but it results in more power so I won't complain. I will note how it feels next snatch day.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Time to practice - done resting

They say that rest is just as important as training. After the rides this past weekend I told myself and some people at work that I need 2 days to recover. At that point I could ease into some training then hit it hard again. In the past, I've done too much in the couple days after ultra weekend rides and hurt for more days. It is difficult to know exactly how much rest is good.

I actually felt pretty good yesterday but decided to stick with my plan. This is exactly what I did.

During the day today, I practiced some odd object lifting, 30-50 lb sandbags. We are getting ready to play with these at work. I filled some up yesterday and dropped them off in the CP, the 3 and the 4. They all played all day long.


lunch time: pistol (30-50)sandbag - 5 sets of 1/1, presses 1arm mp, side press, bent press.

5 rounds of:
TGU 24k 1/1
Pull up - BW - 5
Swing - 24k 20 (2arm)

This workout is getting easy, I will do it 1 more time then move to 32k and add weight to the Pull ups. Of course, RIF says, 'It's all easy 'til it's heavy.'

My focus with all swings have been on perfect technique. Power breathing and snappy hips. Tonight I observed that the more I concentrated on the breathing, the easier they became.

Breathing technique? There is a technique to something natural?
YES! Stay tuned for a breathing class!

Monday, September 29, 2008

Wounded Warrior Unity Tour

See my Tidewater Randonneur blog for the Wounded Warrior Unity Tour report.

The trip took me from Ft Eustis Va (near Yorktown) to Walter Reed Army Medical Center in Washington DC.

Total Ride: 220~ Miles
Day 1 Ride time: 6hrs
Day 1 Avg Speed: 18.2
Day 2 total time: 9hrs (it was stop and go, esp in DC traffic)
Day 2 Avg Speed: 15.5

Lessons Learned:
I went into this ride with 1.5 weeks off the bike. I felt fresh for most of the first day but a few more miles prior to the ride would have made day 1 a little better.

On day 1 I had some stomach pain and leg cramps. Not exactly sure why.

My nutrition plan worked perfect. I tried a new on the bike fuel and I really like it. I will post more about the nutrition later.

I didn't 'carb load' so to say. I tried to keep the calories from carbs at a normal level and increased my fat intake. This was good as I didn't gain several pounds prior to the ride.

***On day 2 I began feeling a little patela tendonitis in the R knee. This happened only when pushing bigger gears up large hills. Probably overuse related. I plan to rest for a few days before I attempt to ride.


I just ran across an this amusing and I feel important blog post on Modern Forager called Eight Ways to Lower Your Testosterone Levels. The article (blog) shows steps to really strip yourself all testosterone.

If your goals are good health you should read.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back to the Grind

I returned to work after my little vacation. It was a good day to practice some RKC skills. Once again I am hitting the basics and programming them into an effective program. Actually this is right out of Pavel's Enter the Kettlebell. Sounds familiar eh?

I don't need anything shiny or new to have an effective workout. Heck, I've read the book at least 15 times and the last time was about 3 weeks ago. I continue to learn from the book. I've also read the RKC instructor's manual 4 times in the past 2 weeks as well.

Lesson here? Do the program it works. Do it again and again. You will achieve results.

Pull up 5x5

10 min:
24K - TGU 1/1 + Swings x 30 (I completed 6 rounds)

6 min:
Swings 30 sec on/30 sec rest

Monday, September 22, 2008


This weekend , I participated as an assistant instructor at the RKC certification. It was a great honor to be asked to represent myself, the Marine Corps and my strength coach...Pavel. The first correspondence I received from the party stated I would work for (now) Senior RKC Doug Nepodal but plans changed.

I did not control the destiny as the most 'hated' RKC assistant ever. HAHA.

The biggest and most honorable change to the training schedule included me as Pavel's assistant. This meant I would the equivalent to the RKC Company Gunny. What? Did you say? Yes, in a nutshell, I was the Co Gunny for an RKC Cert. That is how I see it! Here's how.

My responsibilities included assisting any manner Pavel thought necessary to include keeping the training schedule on track, assisting all of the instruction teams as needed as a roving instructor, assisting some VERY weak students (that didn't pass), ensuring all the responsibilities/duties of the other assistant instructors were complete and organizing all of the 'victims' into teams for the RKC candidates instructional period. Last, I set my Gym Boss for 10 minutes. Every time it beeped, I would tell the instructor or announce that it was time for swings. Pavel would announce 'because Bob said,' or 'give Bob 30.'

With huge smiles, many of the candidates stated they wanted to choke me every single time they heard the Gym Boss beep! Folks, let me say everything is done for a reason. The candidates swings were terrible until Saturday afternoon. The thousands of repetitions worked wonders. While they hated me, they also thanked me. Everything is done for a reason.

I did manage to get some small workouts in during the weekend.
Thursday - Snatch test and lifting hundreds of kettlebells in a farmers walk.
Friday - demonstration of all the RKC core lifts, swing, squat, clean and press, TGU and snatch.
Saturday - 20 min VO2 max protocol with 20k sets of 8 (I need one of these!)
Sunday - Z Health 1 hr session with Mike Nelson.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Good Comedy

This is good comedy. In fact it is about the only good piece from the last SNL.

Found some new training partners today at work. The best part is they were already trained by an RKC at their last duty station. SWEET. Let the fun week.

RIFGA (lots)
Swing 24k 200

Ride 30
Cindy (WOD)

Sunday, September 14, 2008

The Surry Century

You can read about the Surry Century at the Tidewater Randonneur.

Here are some facts not included in the other blog.

I rode hard and had fun until it wasn't fun. It seems I made some mistakes that I should have learned from earlier in the year. I actually had a great day until about mile 60. That's when things went south fast. I bonked and couldn't get out of it. Once again, I'm sure it was related to the heat. it was HOT and steamy.

Perhaps I should laminate these lessons into a check list:
Wear Sun Screen
Eat all your food
Drink all your drink
Ride your own ride.

The last one is simple. I rarely have a problem riding my ride. For some reason, I felt strong during the first 45 miles and went hard. In hind sight, it was a mistake. It's debatable had I followed the lessons above, things may have been different.

My mindset from the start was to have fun and get in some hard riding prior to the ride at the end of the month. I believe I accomplished this!

This will be a short training week for me but I will get in some riding on Mon - Wed and some kettlebell stuff on Mon and Tuesday. Thursday will be a test of my skills at the RKC and unloading all 3000 lbs of kettlebells from a truck.

While at the RKC, I plan to get in some swing and snatch (VO2) workouts.

Ride: 75

'cindy' (doing this the day before a long ride is not wise)

Swing - 200

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

A little test

I was thinking about riding the Surry Century as a training ride for the Wounded Warrior ride from Ft Eusits VA to Walter Reed Army Hospital at the end of September. It will be the last opportunity for a long ride before back to back centurys. Next weekend I'll be in St Paul assisting at the RKC and won't have a bicycle.

Sounds like a good reason to have a Bike Friday, eh?

I decided that if I could hit my RKC snatch test numbers today then I will allow myself to ride the 100 miles on Saturday. Not sure this is a good bargin or not...sounds like punishment. Doesn't it?

I turned on a fan in my office. Hit the Z Neural Warm up and some swings. All systems go!
Snatch with the left arm 35, two more than I need.

Switch to the right. A few reps. Rest at the top for the first ten reps. Need to relax, lower the heart rate. Continue rep after rep. Focus on hip drive. Man it is hot in here! Focus. Somewhere around 27 or 28 I started noticing some black spots on the wall in f ront of me. Not good. Breath, you only have a few more reps. 29, 30, more black, breath. Finished with 34 on the right and set the kettlebell down. Total reps: 69 only need 64 Good to Go.

I have to tell you, there is a reason that the kettlebell snatch is the 'Czar of Kettlebell Exercises!' They are HARD! I guess if they were easy then everyone would be doing them and I wouldn't.

I walked around and shook it out for a minute. Because 1 set of snatches isn't manly enough for me even with seing black spots on the wall, I decided to do some swings. 200 swing did the trick.

Are you still following long, I'm still doing a party approved program following the Enter the Kettlebell protocol.

Ride: 20 - stupid fast tempo with the 'racers'

Swing 16k 1 x 50
Snatch 24k 35l, 34r = test style, 1 hand exchange, do not set the kettlebell down.
Swing 1 x 50, 1 x 20,20, 1 x 50, 3 x 10,10 - 200 total

Monday, September 8, 2008

Practice on a Monday

This morning I received the current RKC manual. This is a great resource but you have to be an RKC to get one. During lunch, I began reading the materials. The RKC certification keeps evolving. The innovations of my fellow instructors make teaching all of the basics easier. This incarnation of the manual is no exception and this manual is SUPERIOR to the RKC level I manual from 2 years ago even though it is basically the same thing.

I would love to tell you that there is some miracle exercise for gaining strength and loosing fat. Something new and 'shiny.' There is nothing NEW. What will work is a quality diet and hard work. The kettlebell swing would be a great place to start. This exercise is the basis of all RKC drills.

Benefits include:
  • Back endurance
  • Abdominal endurance
  • Hip flexor flexibility
  • Glute recruitment
  • Grip Strength/endurance
  • Core endurance
  • Hip Power
  • Fat Loss
Folks, this is a full body exercise that can be tailored to everyone from elite athletes to grandmothers. I have read about NFL teams using them and I have read articles about 70 year old grandmothers from Tennessee. If it is good enough for them, what are you waiting for?

Ride 15 miles (tabata) My legs were jello at interval 7, I could barely stand on the pedals!

Swing 2 x 20
Turkish Get Up -(16k) 1 x 5l/5r working on form
Clean and Press 24k 5 x 123
Swing (1arm) 24k 5 x 10/10

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


I just read a fantastic blog post by Steve Maxwell. I worked with Steve at my RKC certification. He is an excellent example of fitness!

The post is titled 10 Ways to De-sissify Your Kid. The 10 ways seem logical to me but I can see where so many parents go wrong. Read this article and get rid of the video games.

My daughter and I do several fun exercises regularly. We crab walk, bear crawl and skip around. We do summersaults.

When we go for walks, there are retaining walls 8in wide. We always stop and do a 'balance beam' routine with jumping, balancing, piroettes and some ballet stuff.

When I fix my bike, she is there to assist. When I get ready for a ride, she grabs her helmet and rides her trike around the house.

If I play with kettlebells in the house, she will grab the smallest one (4k) and walk around; she always tries to pick up the big ones but the result is a grunt.

We race to check the mail every day.

Everything is a game and it is fun!

Ride 20 - 6 x 45 sec + 2:00 rest

Snatch 24k: 1x10/10, 1 x 20/20, 2 x 15/15, 2 x 10/10
Swing 32K: 5x25

Ride 15 (tempo first 8 miles)

Clean and press 5x1,2 (no rest between sets)
Swing 24k 5x10/10

Explain the kettlebell thing.

This is a great video that says it all. I was at the RKC II with Diane.

Working out with kettlebells

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Around the Blogs

Mike T. Nelson has a great video example of olympic athlete vs average dude. Funny...

Master RKC Kenneth Jay...the Dane of Pain has an excellent post about generating power in the snatch. Interesting!

Training Today
Z nwu
Ride 70 miles

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

More scoop

It is official, I'm headed back to St Paul MN to be an assistant instructor at the RKC instructor certification in September. This is going to be an honor.

Here is another bit of information that I missed the first time I read ETK.
"For our strength-building purposes, it makes little difference whether you have hake 15 minutes, an hour or a whole day to do your five ladders..."(Pavel)
Strength isn't only building muscle. It is also training the nervous system to improve movement skills.

Read Enter the Kettlebell and learn more!

Follow Me

I finished reading Pavel's Enter the Kettlebell (again). As usual, I have learned more things. This time it was more about the Right of Passage program Pavel introduces. Let me start by saying, this program works! You will build become stronger physically, develop strength endurance and imporve your ability to endure pain. HAHAHA. I know it works because I jumped on board with the program as soon as the book was shipped to my house just over 2 years ago.

I continued on the program for about 18 months. Then I became complacent, lazy and started messing around with different things. You can see that in this blog's entries. After screwing around, I have lost some of my hard earned gains. That is to be expected when the CNS has been focusing on the other end of the physical spectrum -- endurance.

I decided to revisit the ETK program again. This time with a different focus and more knowledge. How long will I stay the course? Here's what Pavel writes in ETK.

"Stay with this routine until you can one-arm press half your bodyweight and snatch a 53-pounder 200 times in 10 minutes and become a man among men...It does not matter how hard you are training...if you quit a month doen the road. And switching to another workout is quitting, period (Pavel)."
[insert Rocky music here] I will stick with it until I get where I need to be and then I will probably do it some more. Why change something that works.

Follow along and find out how long it taks to gain the strenght I had last summer.
How long will it take to reach the new RKC II standards? I can't wait!

Practice today:
3 rounds, 24k:
Get ups 3,2,1
Pull up x 5
Swing 1 arm - 10/10

Clean and press ladders 24k 1,2 3
Swing 24k 1 arm 5 x 10/10

I noticed yesterday and today that I have lost the strength endurace. I need it back so I can add intensity.

Ride 25

Ride 40

Thursday, August 21, 2008


I've been feeling some deep muscle fatigue all week on the bike and walking up stairs. Along with this I had loss of some leg strength. I had a difficult time doing pistols yesterday. It took nearly half of my commute today for my legs to finally start feeling normal.

I eased into the ride struggling to maintain any speed and thought, well here we go again. Instead of doing super intense intervals I decided to modify the morning's training plan. I kept the gears at the same gear I was warming up with and did spins. The goal was spin the cranks as quick as possible. I topped out at 148 RPM on every spin which brought me to 28-31 mph on the Coho. I felt great after these spins and feel fully recovered. The rest of today's riding felt pretty strong.

Ride 30 - 8 spins up to 148rpm - long recovery in between

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

I tried it!

This afternoon, I was talking to a couple of my mentees. Yes, I am entrusted with the honor of mentoring young Marines. (Insert Evil laugh here) One of them picked up the 16k kettlebell and began doing 1 arm presses just as I instructed him in a 10 minute period of instruction back in June. He did a fine job. I told him to park the weight and shake it out.

I asked him and the other Marine if they wanted to try the overhead press part of the combat fitness test (CFT). This portion is a 2 minute overhead press with a 30 lb. ammo can. Well, I don't have an ammo can in the office but I do have 16k (36lb) and 24k (54lb) kettlebells sitting by my desk (You never know when you will get the itch). Well after watching them both do a couple reps...I got the itch.

I said, "Let's race. I will use the 24k and you can use the 16k. We will race to 45 reps."
It was an agreement. I raced the Lance Corporal and the Private First Class counted reps. Ready, Set go! We started going at the same pace until around 30 reps. Then things got interesting. He slowed way down and was having issues. I paused a moment to show him the resting postion. I hit 45, and the LCpl had 37ish and I called it a day. Good thing too, the kettlebell was getting slippery. We didn't time the event but I'm most certain we were at about a miunte.

I'm pretty sure I don't need to practice this event.
I will continue working towards the heavier 1 arm press, jerks, Viking push press etc.
The young Marines need to work on this event. The LCpl I raced is probably one of the strongest Marines in the student population. If he was sucking wind...It's gonna get ugly.
This was fun.

Ride 25
Clean and press - 24k 5x5
2 hand overhead press 24k - 1x45 (I used a combination of strict press, viking push press and jerks when the lactic acid was flooding my shoulders)
Jerks 1 arm 24k 3x10

Monday, August 18, 2008


Photo by Branson K.

Saturday was the RUSA 10th Anniversary 200k. Click here to read the day's recap.

Ride Stats:
125 mi.
Time: 950. 1 hr stopped time.

No NSAIDs! Before during or after the ride (even now). This is the first time I've done one of these events without this aid. GO Z!

2 pkg cliff shot, 2 gatorade, 6 bottles water, 3 peanut butter and honey sandwiches (need to make them bigger), 1 ham and cheese sandwich, 1 Cliff Bar.
I did have some bonkage but it could be more fitness related than food intake.
Weight Loss: 5 lbs =~3 body weight. This is acceptable. Of course this weight is after a picnic.

Note: I did Z 10 min warmup with some added lower body drills and 10 min RIFGA pre ride.

Ride 6 miles
Foam roller 'fun' begins shortly!

Thursday, August 14, 2008


I've put it off long enough (a few years). It is time to do intervals. I need to get faster. I've made some average gains on the bike by just riding the bike. The adaptation result from this method does work but there is a better way - increased intensity.

I plan to increase intensity significantly, keep strength training and get in at least one 3+ hour ride on the weekend. I also have to balance this with added combat conditioning but the instructor is a real pain in the you know what!

The problem is that interval training sucks! If it were easy, everyone would be doing it. The results are worth the effort.

I have been messing around with some sprinting and hill climbing for the past few weeks.
Tues - ride 15
Wed - ride 15 with 6 miles of hill repeats
Thurs - ride 30 - 7 x 36sec speed/36 sec rest. this was difficult. I tried to keep the RPM at 85. This proved to be very difficult. I need to figure the best gear combination and cadence for this workout.

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Hammer Fest

I just returned from a hammer fest on the bike. We cruised up to Ft. Story and did a few loops with the rollers and wind. This quick ride has left me pretty much DUN!

I've been doing 2 Z sessions each day. The 10 neural warm up and the R phase movements later in the day. In addition, I've continued the Z homework from Mike Nelson. In a conversation I had this afternoon with a colleague about supplement, mainly multi-vitamins we debated supplements and multi-vitamins. Here are the questions I'm left with.
  1. Do you really need a multi-vitamin or are the claims a marketing gimmick?
  2. What is really in multi-vitamin? Are the ingredients safe?
  3. Do we really get enough essential vitamins and minerals from food?
What do you think?

My colleague also mentioned that he was taking a certain multivitamin (GNC Sport) and had severe headaches from them.
  • I said, "you mean like a hang over?"
  • He replied, "exactly."
I haven't taken this particular vitamin for a few weeks as I try to switch brands every other bottle. I too get a severe headache with this vitamin. For the past few years I just thought it was the pollen in the air. WTH? So, I ask you this, have you had this experience with a vitamin (or this vitamin)? I think it is interesting and need to know if there are others that experience this.

________Other News_______

The much anticipated USMC Physical Fitness Order was disiminated today. The order explains how we will be tested for physical fitness (PFT) and for combat fitness (CFT). To summarize there are 2 different tests that will be administered semi annually. I did the math and that is 4 fitness tests per year. The order also states that ALL Marines will participate in physical training for 30 min 5 days per week. Judging from the new CFT, doing pt 5 days each week is a really good idea.

In short order I was assigned as the Combat Conditioning Instructor for my command. I have some work ahead of me. The important thing to remember when training or introducing this training to the average Marine is to take it slow and build the intensity over a few months. Even though all Marines should already have a good fitness base it is still good practice to work into it. Add volume with common sense. It does the Marine and the Marine Corps to hit it hard for 30 minutes to failure everyday. You will get overtraining and injury.

Here is a fact, the introduction and testing phase of the CFT has yeilded a 30% failure rate. Marines, Get Off the Couch and PT.

--------More to Follow--------

Last, an update about last months remedials. Both of my pull up projects are now off the remedial pt program. This morning Schmuckatelli did 3 pull ups on a PFT like he owned the bar! GO front planks!

Ride 20 mi. - Several sprints and hills.

Viking Push Press VO2 protocol 6 reps x 20 sets 15 on/15 off

Ride - 30

Thursday, July 31, 2008

Lunch time fun

Today I sucked up the heat and headed outside. I quickly found a pull up bar sitting in a small shaded area near a very large tree. I didn't have as much time as the workout required but I made the best of it.

In about 25 min. I warmed up, worked on some skills and almost made it through a VO2 max session. I had to stop 5 min early as I ran out of time. Better than nothing!

Pistol 16K 1 x 5/5, 1 x 4/4, 1 x 3/3 alternated with
Pull Up 16K 5 set of 3 reps
1 leg DL 3 x 5
VO2 max Snatch - 9 reps x 30 sets

The first 10 sets or so seem so simple it is like a nice warm up. That ends really quickly. LOL.

I have to confess I actually planned to do this 2x per week all month. I blew it off. Now I will pay for a few weeks as I adjust to the protocol.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008


I keep going back to the old Army recruiting commercial...'Some people do more before xxxx in the morning than most do all day. Actually it has been true for the past 18 years but this past month has been crazy.

I was up at 0330ish, after a snooze, to get ready for a bike ride, the gym with the fat-bodies (actually only 2 are fat, the others are just weak) and then my own workout. All before 0700.

The best part is the reward, a fantastic meal at the best chow hall (galley) in the Navy for $2.10. The best chow hall must be a relative term. I tend to think it is an oxymoron. How can something so terrible be the best? I can actually stomach breakfast at the place. Some bacon, toast (that I cook), hard boiled eggs, glass of water and a large cup of 'truck driver' coffee.

Z drill
Ride 20
Z 10 min warm up
DL - 135 x 10, 295 x 5, 245 x 5
Bench Press 135 x 5, 185 x 5, 155 x 5
Pull up BW 5 x 6 reps + 5 hanging leg raises.

At lunch, misc. kettlebell exercises for demonstration/instruction.

Note: I still dislike the bench press but I am very weak at it so must keep working it.

Read some more PTTP last night. I learned more new stuff.

Remedial UPDATE:
One month of supervising this program:

The fat people are still..FAT. I can't control all the twinkies, pizza soda they eat! They probably drink Gatorade too. Because it is healthy -- another blog post in the making, yea?

The two Marines that were struggling with pull ups showed huge improvements.

One Marine started at Zero Pull ups. I saw him do 4 sets of 3! He should be off the program in a few weeks as he has to do at least 3 on the PFT.

Core strength and the pull up are friends!

Saturday, July 26, 2008


Perhaps it's not wise to do heavy deadlifting the day before a scheduled long ride. On my ride this morning, I felt lethargic during the whole thing. The pace was a little quick for me and I feel every mile ridden. I turned of and took a short cut home cutting off about 10 miles from the total. I'm not over trained but I am tired. Heck I was tired yesterday AM when I got up after sleeping through the alarm.

Either way, I plan to change my weekly lifting schedule a little so I am rested before I attempt to ride longer distances. I will do my Friday workout on Thursday and do some 'light' work like the VO2 protocol on Friday. The good news is I only have 1 more remedial day this month and I can get back on a regular sleep schedule.

Ride 30

Friday, July 25, 2008

Read it again...and again

It never fails, I always manage to get something new out of Pavel's books. The next time I read the same book, I learn more and so on. This week I found a copy of Power to the People sitting in an envelope by the door that I borrowed long ago. It has been sitting waiting for me to send back under a pile of mail. When I started purging the advertisements, and clearing the bills, it was there.

OOPS, sorry Dan, I can assure you it will arrive soon, I decided to purchase my own copy.

I thought I may as well read it one time more before I take it to the post office since it was in my hands; calling me like Tolkien's Ring of Power. 'Read ME.' So I did and I learned some new stuff. In fact I am amazed. This time when I read the book I noticed it talked about low volume. How low? 2 sets. That is very low. I could have swore it said 5 sets, my mistake. Perhaps I just didn't read the chapter on cycling and volume the last 5 times I read the book.

So LESS IS MORE! Keep reading, it doesn't say do 2 sets of light weight. What PTTP says is do a set that you can do 5RM. RM means that you do 5 reps barely but leave some in the tank. This is some real weight. I tend to think that if I struggle to get the 6th rep, I have a 5RM. PTTP also states that the second set should be 90% of the first set.

Today I applied my new lessons from PTTP. The second sets probably aren't right at 90% but I will adjust. I'm sure the weights are fairly close. I will actually do accurate math before I do the workout again next week.

DL: 135 x 5, - 275 x 5, 225 x 5
BP: 135 x 5, 185 x 5, 165 x 5 (185 was difficult)
Pull Up: #25 x 5, #25 x 5, BW x 5, BW x 5
Hang Leg Raise: 5x5

Couldn't resist some added sets of BW pull ups as I believe volume here is a good thing.
.....Remedial PT update.....

Here is the update on the remedial guy that couldn't do any pull ups. In 3 weeks he has gone from 0 - 2 easy pullups. It will be another few weeks before he hits 3 but it will happen soon enough. The planks have helped. Here is how we've broken down his training for this event.

Planks 5 sets x 30 sec - 2 days per week

Pullup GTG with 1 pull up. When he couldn't do any, he jumped and held himself up as long as he could. When we do this at remedial, I let him take a 3-5 min break between sets. Going to all out failure is not allowed. He is doing pullups 6 days per week.

Today we started some pushups between sets. This will not be done the day before the PFT which the students take every Wednesday (by order of the CO). The frequency of this event has worked wonders.

On Friday AM we do Tabata sprints at the track. This is 20 sec run, 10 sec rest x 8 sets.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008


During chow today I gave a fellow Marine a class on kettlebell basics. This was a pleasure for several reasons:
  • Open mind
  • Positive attitude
  • Willingness to learn
  • No complaining
Let me say that he is going to continue to work on his skills as he decided to add this to his toolbox. This is what I am looking for in a student. I will no longer accept anything less.

wall squat
military press
get ups

Not sure how many sets or reps.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

FInding the Groove


This morning, I finally started feeling the correct groove in the bench press; it's about time. I was concentrating on keeping my shoulders packed which is by far the most stable position for any pressing. Not sure why it took me this long to remember this fact. The stability certainly makes the lift feel better.

What do I mean by packing the shoulder?

Put your arm out in front of you, palm down. Extend your shoulder out - forward. This is not packed. Now roll your shoulder back into its socket. Think of pulling back with your scapula. With your shoulder packed, you can emulate a bench press or push up by bending the elbow and moving your hand towards your chest. Keep your shoulder packed in the socket. It is the same when you press or move your hand back out. Keeping the shoulder packed, move or press out. As I said earlier, this is a strong and stable position.


Z 10 min
Dead Lift - 135 x 10, 225 x 10, 310x1, 225 x 5, 225 x 5
BP - 135 x 10, 155 x 10, 175 x 5, 175 x 5
Pull up -- BW 5 set x 6 reps
Hanging leg raises - 5set x 5 rep

Z drills, through day
Coc Grippers No.T - 1 x 10/10
No. 1 - 2 x 5/5
No. 1.5 - 1l, 1r (actually closed them)

Monday -
ride - 20 miles

Saturday -
Ride 50 miles

Friday, July 18, 2008

"Do you want one of these plates?"

I walked into the Gator Gym this morning and headed for the platform. I noticed HM1 from the physical therapy clinic sitting on a bench under the rack. Heck, I couldn't miss him, he is huge -- thick. I thought to my self, this is going to be a good day.

The amount of weight Doc had loaded on the bar for his bench work was impressive. He layed on the bench and lowered the sagging bar and pressed 5 times. I just calculated and it was #495.

I did a warm up set of dead lifts and was looking for some weight to add to my bar. Doc asks, "Do you want some of these plates?" As he strips off 90lbs for the next set. He has a plan and will execute it which is more than I can say for others pushing 'metro' weights this morning.

Unfortunately, I didn't even use the plates DOC set aside for me. I turned around to help a Marine with his pullups. In that minute, someone took the plates and mounted them on another bar. I simply improvised, adapted and overcame with some other size weights.

Z 10 min
Z drills
Dead lift 135x5, 185x5, 185x5, 5(245 x 5)
Bench 135x5, 135x5, 5(155x5)
Pull up BW 5x5 + hanging leg raises 5x5

185 feels really light and 254 feels like 225 did earlier in the week. Too fun.
The bench still doesn't feel comfortable. I will continue to ease into the groove day by day.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Gym Story

Tuesday is a remedial PT morning for the month of July. So up before the birds. While I didn't even hear a bird this morning, I did see 5 fox along the road on my morning ride.

Z Drills
Ride 30 miles 15 am/15 pm
Z 10 min warm up
Front Plank 5x30 sec. -- (with the remedial)
DL - 2 sets 135 x 5, 2 sets 185x5, 5 sets 225 x 5
BP - 135 - 5 sets x 5 rep
Pull up 5x5
Hanging leg raise - 5x5

Lunch time: Z drills/RIFGA

The Deadlifts are coming along quickly. The weight feels good with each pull. My grip was the first to go. I'm easing into the bench press and the DL. Notice the past few entries. I haven't gone above 135 in bench and I will probably hang with 225 for a while. It is not because I can't push my body beyond these numbers. The fact is these lifts are very form specific. I need to find a groove, spend considerable time in the groove and then move up the weight.

It does NO good to toss some weight around with improper form. More gains in strength are made using correct form.

This reminds me, I HATE the gym on base. There are a few people that know what they are doing and do it properly. These guys are usually from 'the teams.' Then there is everyone else; the other 90% of the gym patrons. They read some propaganda from latest metrosexual fitness magazine and hit the gym. If I was counting reps for any of these people, I would still be on 1.

My friend and former training partner Dan (MGySgt Ret.) used to laugh at my disgust every time we went into the gym. He was wise and he usually helped me avoid the gym with the exception of inclement weather. Here is story from one rainy afternoon in Feb 2007:

Dude and two buddies hit the gym one afternoon because the Chief said. They obviously had never taken to the iron and Dude volunteered his "expertise." Dude lifted some in his sophomore year of football and now 5 or 6 years later, he is the duty expert. His knowledge of weight training surpasses everyone else in the gym. The testosterone is thick in the atmosphere as Dude loads the barbell at the squatrack with 225. He gets under the bar and lowers himself and the weight about 5 inches, grunts, repeats 3 times and rams the weight back to the rack. Next dude pops on 310 and tells his buddies he needs a spot.

Dan and I look at each other but say nothing. Nothing needs to be said. I am thinking that the emergency number on base is x4444. We diligently keep working on our Deadlifts.

Now dude gets under this weight with his buddies on either side of the barbell. Like a powerlifting world record attempt. Mind you, niether of the spotters has ever spotted before. He takes a step back and grunts his way down about 4 inches and back up. Dude chants,"YEA, that's how you do it."

I received more exercise (abdominal) from laughing at this dude. Dan and I finished our workout in silence. Other than a few snicker here and there. As we walked out of the gym, Dan was still laughing.

Friday, July 11, 2008

The Plank

Someone said the early bird gets the worm. I guess it's only true when you don't get up before the birds. This month I am monitoring the remedial PT program. It is a program designed for those that are fat, weak or both. The political correctness and niceness with this program went out the window at 0330. This is the time I have to wake so I can ride my bike to the base and have a training program of my own.

The good news is I get to test my RKC teaching skills on these people. It is nice to have a few guinea pigs to hone my skills. We have been working on pull ups this week. One person can't do 1 pull up. OOPS the minimum standard is 3! Another couldn't do any but is now up to 4 he will be off the program soon.

One of the assistance exercises in the RKC II manual for the pull up is a front plank. While working the front plank this morning, a light bulb went off in my head. Check it out:
  • All 4 subjects I worked with this morning are very weak with the pull up.
  • All 4 subjects struggle to hold a proper front plank for more than 20 seconds. Their bellies begin sagging and back arching down.
  • I conclude that the inability to do pull ups is directly related to core strength.
I have to ask, why in the world would someone do lat pull downs and arm curls to get better at pull ups?
Wouldn't time spent improving core strength (back, belly, hips, shoulders etc.) be more useful?

Here's how to do a plank.
  • Get in the push up position on your elbows.
  • Tighten your entire body, thighs, butt, back, abs.
  • Your pelvis should point towards your belly button (kinda).
  • Look at the ground.
  • Take shallow breaths.
  • Hold the position for time.
  • Start with 30 seconds and do it 3-5 times. Increase the time as required.

Practice today:

Ride 30 miles - 15 am/15 pm
Deadlift 135 x 5 - 5 sets: 185 x 5 - 5 sets
Bench Press 135 x 5
Pull up / hanging leg raise 5x5 each

See, I work my core and have no problems with pull ups.

Z drills/NWU
Rest day

Ride 30

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Keep Practicing

(Photo of Combat Center Band 2005: Courtesy of Kevin Follis) I am left front.

With the release of Mr. Gallagher's book, I predict a large number of people abandoning their basics and jumping on a bandwagon of barbell exercises specifically the DL, BP and SQ. I say this for two reasons. First, it is a very fascinating and motivating book. Second, it is a "shiny new thing" for some people to try. Why not? A different modiality isn't always a terrible thing.

Here is some advice:
Keep doing and practicing the basic exercises that keep you mobile, agile and flexible . Stuff like the kettlebell swing and turkish get up. Practice them often. Practice them until mastery. Practice them until you master teaching them. Then practice them some more with a different point of view. When you think you have them mastered, keep practicing, teaching and learning. Eventually you my achieve complete mastery of the movements.

Ponder this:
When you think you have something simple mastered and stop practicing it, you will quickly loose mastery. WITHOUT FAIL!

The musicians in the symphony orchestras ARE masters of their chosen instrument as most of them are progedies. With all their given talent, they still practiced all of the simple things millions of times for million of hours. Nearly all of them will say the following:
  • If I don't practice one day, I will know.
  • Two days, the person next to me will know.
  • Three days, everyone will know.
I can tell you from experience that all of the above are true. When I was a working musician, I could not take even one day off the Horn.

Three time Tour de France winner Greg Lemond wrote something like this (this is not exact): If I take a day off the bike, it takes me 2 days to get it back. If I take two days in a row off, it takes me three days to get it back. If I take 3 days off, it takes weeks to return to form.

This comes from an elite athlete. There is truth to what he said.

During a long bike ride in the begining of June, I decided what type of training the second part of the calendar year would entail. The plan is to get strong before I start adding to my cycling base in the fall. So, the logical choice is to spend a few months practicing the deadlift, pull ups and the bench press. Not to mention maintaining some cycling fitness and kettlebell form. Thus the small break after RKCII.

Practice: (as you see, it is a PTTP set up)
ride 20
DL 135: 5 set x 5 rep, 185: 5 set x 5 reps.
BP 135 5x5 - I'm taking this really easy!
PU BW 7x5
hanging leg raise 5x5

Z drills x 4

Sunday, July 6, 2008

Rest and Z

Since I was "rained out" I finished my rest period with some more RIFGA and Z Drills. Things are coming along on both fronts. My flexibility is improving slowly and with consistent practice, I may even be able to walk properly.
"We were able to get both of his glutes to fire (via Z Health ankle work) and both hamstrings (ankle and elbow work) and I did some hands on work on a scar on his left ankle..." Mike T. Nelson
I've also been reading my RKC II instructor manual. There are some hidden training gems in the manual that didn't get covered at the cert and they aren't in any other book. In addition, I've been reading Marty Gallagher's book, "The Purposeful Primitive." Stay tuned for more information from both books and a review of Mr. Gallagher's book.

Speaking of Z Health, Mike Nelson put my testimonial on his blog. He also describes what we what he did for me.

Z Health is amazing and so simple to do. It takes very little time out of the day. Maybe I should not tell anyone about it; I can have a competitive advantage. Actually I really want to have full mobility and I don't want to take any NSAIDs because I have pain due to immobility.

There is one caveat of Z Health and now that I think of it, everything else. In order for a system or a plan to work effectively, you have to do it consistently. Nothing works without consistent practice. The rewards are great for those that are consistent in practice.

Saturday, July 5, 2008

July 4 & 5 Training Update

Quick note:

The smoke has been pretty thick so no bike for me. Perhaps I should check out a gas mask from the CIF, dawn - clear - ride! This would get me on the road. I do know from experience that running with the gas mask is NOT too comfortable. I don't think riding 2-3 hrs on a bicycle with it on would be too much fun. It is tempting though!

Both days -

assigned Z drills x 4
Z 10 min warm up

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Z Session last week

Last Thursday shortly after I checked into the hotel in St Paul, I headed up to White Bear Lake to work with University of Minnesota PhD candidate, RKC and Z Health practictioner Mike Nelson on some Z Health. My goal was to ensure that I was doing the drills correctly.

We discussed my injury history (all of it) and Mike watched me walk back and forth across the room about a dozen times. This assessment told Mike several things that were confirmed with some other tests. I have several problems, some were simple others were unknown to me.

I had a hammie not firing, an ankle locked, an elbow with less than full ROM and I could go on. After a few drills, my ankle and hammie were unlocked. Just what I needed after spending the day on an airplane. As an added bonus, my back was pain free for the first time in a month.

This was all fixed with some ankle tilts, toe pulls, wrist rotations and elbow rotations. I will be doing prescribed movements several times per day for the next month or so. Then I will get assessed again.

If you haven't tried Z health you owe it to yourself to try.

Recovery D-3

I am calling this week the recovery week. Not that I'm tired or even sore. The fact is my hands are done and need the time off to heal. It goes back to the mantra take care of your hands! Keep the callous in check and there will be no worries. I attempted to do this and failed so went through 2 days of RKC II with torn callous and blisters. I must say, it makes lifting kettlebells and doing pull ups very difficult!

Z 10 min warm up
Ride 30 miles
Practice Z drills 4 times

It was nice to get back on the bike today. I'd only ridden a few times in the past few weeks. It was a great ride but tiring.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Train Your Weakness - Fix the basics

It is easy to say and harder to do. I often tell people to practice the stuff they suck at. It is also one important lesson from this past weekend. TRAIN YOUR WEAKNESS. The other lesson that was drilled was the basics.

It is difficult to improve and have balance in all areas if you only work on the things you are already good at. This goes for anything and it goes for everything. In music, it is essential to practice the most basic things attacks, long tones and scales. In kettlebell training, the basic thing is the swing. It is the basis for all other movements and techniques.

In the RKC II Instructor's Manual Mark Rifkind writes,
"Chek's progression of training went like this:
1. Mobility/flexibility
2. Stability
3. Strength
4. Endurance
5. Power.
Skipping any of these steps or being deficient in one and trying to jump ahead would result in problems or deficiencies eventually."
I am focusing on the first two in the coming weeks.
Z 10 min warm up
other perscribed Z drills 3 times today.

Foam Roller


I completed the RKC II certification this weekend. It was a great time and I learned so much that my head is spinning. Not such a bad thing. I am sore phsically at all. My ability to recover keeps improving!

The course covered the basic level I skills including swings, clean, press, snatch, TGU and squat. We spend most of Friday reviewing these skills as some participants clearly did not spend any time honing these skills. It was disappointing.

Pavel taught in depth classes on the pull up, pistol, bent press and windmill. These skills are very challenging! In fact they are nearly impossible to do without basic strength and mobility in all joints.

Other classes were given in the FMS (functional movement screen), muscle length and tension, working with special popluations and of course Kenneth Jay's VO2 max protocol and boost program. Of course we went through first day of the protocol. TOO FUN.

You can read more about the cert from these blogs:
Kenneth Jay
Brett Jones

What's next for me? I am working on the plan for the 2nd half of the year.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A Week of Testing

The past week has been spent doing some light training and some testing. I've been steadily adding volume to the snatch. I did 2 different physical tests in the past 5 days.

Saturday I did a physical assessment the measured BF, HR stress test, strength (push up and situp) and flexibility. It turns out I am very fit. I should work on flexibility and lowering BF. I could have diagnosed those results without the testing. At least I have a baseline.

This morning was the semi-annual physical fitness test. I am pleased to say I improved again. It was even more pleasing because my GPP has not been tailored to the test at all.

I look back at the test from 1 year ago and while I dropped 2 pull ups, I ran more than 3 minutes faster and +2 min faster from the December test.
Run: 24:08
Crunch: 100
Pull up: 15
Score: 238

Tuesday, June 10, 2008


It is time to split this blog into two separate forums one specifically about strength training and kettlebells and the other about bicycles and randonneuring. The Tidewater Randonneur is the result.

The purpose of this blog is to discuss and promote bicycles and riding bicycles especially randonneuring.

If you read this blog for the bicycle chatter, please set your RSS feed and or link to the Tidewater Randonneur blog.


Training Today:
Z neural warmup
Swing 32k - 50 reps
Snatch: 24k - 20l/20r, 15l,15r, 10l,10r - NO REST - 90 reps
Tabata swings - 32k - Tabata interval is 20 sec on, 10 sec off x 8 reps

Ride: 20 miles

Friday, June 6, 2008


Yesterday was a planned rest from the kettlebell mainly for my hands to recover a bit.

Of course I did some riding. The morning had a little treat for the Coho and me. The hilltopers were on their Thrusday morning training ride and they caught me at a stop light. I decided to hop in the group and see what happened; of course I was eventually dropped. The good news is that I hung with them for about 6 miles before I waived the people riding behind me on up. I was really happy with my performance on the ride.

I need to make it a point to ride with these guys for the first part of my Tue and Thurs ride. It will pay off!

Today started with another ride on the other bike. The speed is still there. I am feeling fast. Surely it is all an illusion; I can't be riding this well. I haven't ridden this well this year. Too bad I wasn't feeling like this a month ago. Of course, I did change some training on the bike a few weeks back. Looks like it is starting to do the magic.

Ride 35
Pull up 2x12

Swing 24k x 100
Ride 25

Wednesday, June 4, 2008


My body and mind are quickly awakening. I think my ketttlebell muscles and joints have been dormant for a while. I feel them now. I'm not sore but my bones are sore. I may have become soft; if this is true, it will be short lived.

Today's training was quick, down and dirty.

AM: Z neural warm up
Ride 30 miles

Military Press: 24K -- 5 sets x 5 repetitions
Overhead hold: 24k -- 2 set of 30 sec ea. arm
Pull up - 2x12

The overhead hold is exactly what it says. Press the weight and hold it with your arm locked out; ensure your elbow is straight and your shoulder is rolled back in the socket. -- enjoy.