I’m not a gamer.  It requires too much of a time commitment and usually I try to make my time more productive when I have it; the exception being whenever a new Assassin’s Creed comes out or that time I played through The Last of Us.

But THIS.  This was awesome.

Like 5 hours of gameplay max.  Spread that out over a period of a few weeks in 45 minute blocks and it’s the perfect way to spend your relaxation period on your breaks.  This wasn’t a particularly difficult game.  The main reason I played it was for ALL THE FEELS.  Coupled with the historical facts littered throughout the game, the emotional music and fluid art style it felt fun and engaging while still paying respect to the heavy subject matter of WWI.  A nice departure from the regular beat-em up shoot-em up and big budget recycled material.

C&K Vid.

September 22, 2014

Here’s a video summarizing my meet prep and lifts from the C&K Invitational.  I’ll post a write-up later.

This week, the team is completing the first phase of their mesocycle building towards the American Open.  The way I format my team, we all follow the same schedule as if we’re all competing at national meets.  I e-mail them each a copy of a 4 week lifting block and an 8 week individualized squat cycle.  Actually it’s not a squat cycle.  In general, I’m not a fan of squat cycles.  They play a part in a lifting program as a whole, so I send them “squats within a lifting program” cycles.

Usually these cycles will be a combination of “daily max” and % based work.  For the percentages, I go through the effort of plugging in their actual max and the program will automatically subtract 10% of that for their training max and then all their working weights for the next 8 weeks will automatically fill in.  I’m strict that my trainees stick to their target weights for a number of reasons, but mostly because it makes it easier for me to track progress.  My philosophy is: “you’re welcome to do less if you’re feeling banged up.  But if you want to do more, lets have a conversation about it.”  For this particular cycle, we (I took most of it off) did 3x a week of back squats and no front squats.  I wouldn’t say that’s common and if someone were to ask me, “hey, if I want to get good at weightlifting, should I just back squat only?” I would say no.  But it made sense within the context of our training schedule and I saw fantastic results with the majority of my trainees, both with the lifts and back squats.  I’ll post some video of some recent training PRs made by my athletes when I get some time.  Over the next 8 weeks, we’ll again shift focus, including front squats.  Less back squatting within a program opens up room for other things like more accessory pulling work, so I’ll most likely include more of that.

I’m 3 days out from competing at the 2nd C&K Invitational at McClellan Airforce Base.  A team functional fitness event will be taking place throughout the day and the weightlifting invitational session begins at 4:30 this Saturday.  If you’re in the area, come check it out.  Spectator admission is 5 bucks but honestly it is well worth it as 25 of the best lifters in the country will be competing.

This meet personally means a lot to me.  It was here last year that I was able to turn my weightlifting career around, getting a PR total and then following it up with my most productive training cycle ever.  I’m not at my peak, but obviously I’m hoping for similar results this year.  At the very least, I’m excited to be competing again and sharing the platform with some of the best.

I hit 140/170 this past Friday which is the most I’ve done since Nationals.  Honestly, that’s a huge relief because I don’t have it in me to open up with any less.  I’m not so much concerned with what everybody else is doing, so I’ll go ahead and say that at minimum I’m looking for a 320 total and at maximum I’ll be looking for 335.  Anywhere in the middle will represent a decent day for me.

I recorded a good chunk of my meet prep over the past 3 weeks but I think I might go ahead and save the footage until afterwards so I can throw the contest lifts at the end of the video.

Wish me luck! I’m gonna need it!

Training Update: C&K Prep.

September 11, 2014

Yesterday is the first day that  I’ve been able to hit my 90%s on the same day since my break from lifting (135/165).  It took longer than I wanted it to but as we all know progress comes when it decides to.  Plan all you want, but your body doesn’t understand (sets X reps = progress.)

I actually wan’t supposed to hit 90%s yesterday.  Generally, I’ll never deviate from the training schedule because it sets a bad example for the team.  Why would they believe in something that I don’t believe in myself.  The last two weeks I felt have been an exception from this rule because I basically had 3 weeks to get  back in contest shape. I did my squats at my target weight in the morning. 2×1 bsq at 240kg.  It’s a weight that crushed me on Monday as I went for a daily max x3.  Then in the afternoon I went in thinking if I was physically able to stick to the plan, it would be a success.  The plan was 10×1 snatch at 120kg and 10×1 clean and jerk at 145kg; both are my 80%s.  I hit 5 of each at my 80%s then hit 3 more at my 85% and a couple at 90%.  I only missed one snatch at 85% and one jerk at 90%.  I went for an eleventh rep on clean and jerk at 170kg which I clarked but overall I was happy with how the day went.

My long lost training partner, Alex Lee came back.  He’s kind of like Batman because he only shows up when you need him the most.  I took his presence as a sign.

Live Music Review: Earth.

September 9, 2014

I saw Earth play last night.  They played like 5 songs over the course of an hour and a half.

This dude is awesome.

This dude is awesome.

It was a great show.  I’m really digging the NEW MATERIAL.  If you’re unfamiliar with the band, they formed in 1989 and are considered pioneers of drone metal.  From what I understand, the band has a rotating line up of many contributors with the one constant being lead guitarist, Dylan Carson.  Their musical direction shifts from album to album, taking elements from Americana, Jazz and Folk.  Probably my favorite release from them is “Hex; or Printing in the Infernal Method” which really gravitates towards country and americana influences but their album “The Bees Made Honey in the Lion’s Skull” is probably the best received.

I don’t expect everybody who reads this blog to be into this kind of music because honestly it’s not for everybody.  But if you’re into zoning out or like something in the background while you’re writing blog posts, check this band out.  If you’re into it, I have other band recommendations.

I decided to take the majority of August OFF from training.  It drove me crazy.  In 9 years, I never willingly took time off but I honestly got to the point where I was over reaching into other parts of my life, including business and coaching.  The weights weren’t moving and I lost my drive so I figured it would be best to take care of a few things outside of weightlifting, including my mental health.  It’s not easy trying to separate yourself from something that is part of your identity but I highly recommend it if you find yourself in the position I was in.  It’s not like I had more time on my hands but I did make it a point to do a few things for myself including some hiking and I even began practicing yoga (I’ll write more on that later).  

This is my first week back to real training.  I’m the same as I was a few weeks ago except a little weaker, happier and more focused on my own training.  I found out on Monday that I’ll be competing at the Caffeine & Kilos Invitational on Sept 20th so basically  I have 16 days to get back to full strength.  I’m actually really excited.  I’m not contest ready right now, but I feel like I can bounce back pretty good in a few weeks given my renewed focus.  This meet was a really special one for me last year.  It basically turned my weightlifting career around.  After the 2013 Nationals, I thought I was done.  All of my efforts were focused on Cecily and the rest of the team and I was getting more and more comfortable with taking a back seat and just coaching.  I lost her and a few others so I once again felt the drive to show my skill through my own lifting.  The rest of the year was the best training cycle I ever had.  Since then, it’s been a delicate balance of focusing on myself and the team but we’ve really grown a lot and I couldn’t be happier with our progress.  

I’ll take as much video of my training that I can over the next 3 weeks to document my progress.  Just yesterday I was able to hit my 85%s for 5 singles each.  I expect to be able to hit my 90%s tomorrow.  I’ve decided to stop doing yoga temporarily though it’s something that I’m going to continually include in my lifestyle.  I’ve got one more outdoor adventure planned for this month.  It will be an overnighter but a really mild hike so it shouldn’t take too much out of my legs.  

Here’s my lifts from last year.  Credit goes to Hector and his badass camera for getting some great shots.