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Archive for April, 2010

That’s “WU,” as in “Wake Up.” Used often in the military as you’re counting down the days ’til you leave, as in, “I’ve only got 12 days and a WU, man, and I’m outta here!”

I’m using it here to denote a morning PT used to start your day. 🙂

Today’s wake up was a casual jaunt over to the Y for a quick sauna and jacuzzi, preceded nicely with some quick stretching and 10-15 minutes on the bike for literally, a warm up for the day.

I started on a recumbent stationary bike, a new one I’ve never tried before. It’s so sophisticated that it actually has armrests–like a sofa! And it’s got some complex button scheme for punching up a workout. After a few minutes of that I hopped over to the bike next to it, one of those “spinning” bikes. Nice and simple. Got some good breathing going on and cleared my ears a little bit. That’s always seemed to happen on a bike, when I’m going good. My ears sort of pop and open up. It’s a great feeling.

Then, like I said, a quick sauna and jacuzzi session (no steam room today). Shower, shave, and style (the hair… 🙂 ), and then I’m off to work! Wheee!

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Keeping my promise to myself, I did the PT thing this morning, after a morning hot tea (white jasmine tea–the last bag).

It was fairly intense; I definitely was spouting sweat and getting some breathing in.

Simple Tabata protocol for kettlebells and some bodyweight stuff. At first, I thought my GYMBOSS had had it. It was blank, and wouldn’t turn on–I put a new battery in it, and it still wouldn’t turn on. Then I happened to notice the little “REBOOT” indent in the side. I took a paperclip and applied it, and voila! It turned right back on. Makes me think I wasted a battery… 😦

So, I had that going for me…

Started off with eight rounds of 20 seconds doing jerks with the big bell (32 kg). You know the drill–20 sec left hand, 10 sec rest, 20 sec right hand, etc. for eight cycles. That only really amounts to four cycles a hand. But, oddly enough, you still feel it… 🙂

That was the first total round. Took a minute rest, then I took the medium bell (24 kg) and did the same operation with LCCJ (long cycle clean and jerk). Minute rest.

Took a break from the kbell thing and did the same protocol for abs, starting with V-ups, then crunches, then alternating crunches, etc. finishing up with four sets of alternating side planks (20 sec each). Minute rest.

Finally, back to the bells for eight cycles with the baby bell (16 kg) doing simple one-handed swings (alternating). I really paid attention to my breathing pattern for this, esp once I hit my groove about half-way through the round. “Leading with the breath,” as the Systema people say. In other words, starting the breath action slightly ahead of the rest of the physical action: start to inhale–swing the bell up… at the height of the swing, start to exhale–drop the bell into the low part of the swing. Repeat. Interesting experience.

At the end, do the cool-down/stretch thing, and it was good. Nice way to start the morning! Again, continuing the fast from yesterday was no problem (broke fast for lunch today).

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Ahhh… back to my first real PT since I had LASIK a couple of weeks ago. The day after the surgery, I went right to the gym and hit the sauna/jacuzzi/steam room combo. I asked the doc if it would be okay. He wasn’t happy with it, but said, “Well, just make sure you don’t get anything in your eyes. You know, sweat and stuff.”

And so I took it really carefully, esp when showering afterward. A few days later, I repeated the performance. But tonight, I made it home in time for the Y to still be open, and took advantage of that. My hair was getting shaggy (didn’t have the nerve to risk getting hair bits in the eyes ’til now), so did the haircut first, then went to the gym.

As today is a fasting day, I didn’t know if I’d be too hungry to go for it, but actually, as usual, the workout blunts the hunger. (So did the cigar I had later this evening.) 🙂

Today’s was simple: Started off doing dumbbell clean and jerks, very light (only 20 lbs dumbbells) to warm up, then did the de Vany progression, heavier and heavier for fewer reps. Jumped on the bench for some V-ups.

Then I dropped a couple of the 115 pounders on the ground and proceeded to do dumbbell deadlifts. Granted, 230 is pretty light for DLs, but I didn’t want to bomb out first time ’round. Then I switched it up and did several sets of single side DLs (like lifting a suitcase) with the 115s. Did three reps one side, then switch sides, rest, then go again. Only problem with those is that they are hard on the hands because of the deep knurling, and I don’t use gloves. Ow.

Then back into the main weight room for some more leg work. Went relatively light on the leg extension and leg curl machines. Basically just jumped back and forth for three cycles on those. Then a little bit of stretching and–done!

Back to the locker room for the steam/jacuzzi/sauna cycle; ahhhh! Shower and done there, too. I made sure and put some lubricating drops in my eyes after the PT and before hitting the steam, etc. Which reminds me, I ought to do that again… the good thing is that I’m past the stage where I have to put in the medicated drops, and my eyes don’t get gritty and burny like some people seem to get. I’m not even particularly light-sensitive either (though I always have been a bit, and retain that).

It has been problematic getting my workouts in with the way my work sched has been going. By the time I’ve been getting home, I’m either eating, or doing other stuff, and I don’t feel like getting it on with the PT. I’ve never really been a morning person; I typically get up around 0600-0630, and when I get up, usually the last thing I feel like doing is going down and crushing the workout. But maybe it’s time to start doing PT in the morning more often. We’ll see. I feel so good when I do it.

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Good striking training day on Wednesday with Chris and I.

We started off with lots of fist-pushing, where you press your fist into the other person. That gives you feedback on whether your strike would have any strength and/or penetration into the other person, due to body positioning. It lets you know if you are in a power position or not, and if you are in a position where might actually hurt yourself.

If you’re aligned you will move the other person, and if not, you won’t. Simple, but effective training.

After that, we ramped up the velocity to actually strike each other. This is very important for both the hitter and… “hit-tee.” Again, as the striker, you are given feedback on how well you’re doing, but perhaps even more importantly, you’re learning to be struck, and not phased. As I explained to Chris, there are a couple of points here that bear thinking about.

1) There is actual physiological toughening occurring when you’re being struck repeatedly. But that’s not nearly as important as preparing the nervous system to take physical shocks. As a wrestler, and more importantly, a football player (American-style), you learn to take impact to the body as just part of the game. Impact occurs in every play, and it doesn’t stop you. Watch a football game sometime and you’ll see this.

2) You have to de-personalize the hits, as in a football game. Once you stop taking impacts personally, you will fare much better, though I would almost say that it’s harder than with say, football. Your ego wants to take this personally, because it is a personal, one-on-one hit from someone. But the moment you see it as just a physical act of nature (“this thing just happens,” without emotional context) then you don’t have to have any emotional response such as anger or embarrassment or “why is this happening to me” type feeling sorry for yourself, then you don’t actually feel attacked and can easily shrug it off.

The problem comes when you mirror aggression or whatever, instead of projecting a strong confident frame. If you take it personally, you will project aggression or fear or some other destructive emotion, which will feed into the other person and create a feedback loop that ends in destruction for the both of you.

Instead, smile, laugh and literally shrug it off and not only will you do better handling the strike, you may de-escalate the whole confrontation.

Here’s a pic of a pressure-point that Chris was pressing on at one point in the practice. I call it a “badge of honor.” 🙂

Badge of Honor

Badge of Honor

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This was a fencing night, and after walking all over Alexandria today, I still got to the University in time for two decent bouts. In my new NationKilt. I went up to Alexandria for a kilt fitting. I had been interested in Utilikilts for sme time now. Finally, i decided it was time to strike, so I found a place that does the measuring, and had some there to boot, to try on.

The proprietor of The Kilted Nation, Brad, also makes his own, inspired after his wearing of Utilikilts for some years now, and has thought about some things he’d like to do to them to make them more livable for him. I tried on some Utilikilts, and some of his “Nation Kilts.” I liked ’em both, but the improvement that I really liked, and what pretty much decided me is that his are adjustable in the waist and hip area,which is something that worried me about the Utilikilts. They require precision-fitting, and I’ve would just rather have the adjustable feature when you’re shelling out so many bucks for a garment. Aaaaaaand the Nation Kilts are a bit cheaper right now. Don’t get me wrong, though–still like the Utilies, and make get one of those in the future.

But the attraction for fencing for me is mobility. I usually fence in shorts that are about as long as the kilt, but having an inseam has caused me a problem. I can lunge pretty deep, and I actually ripped the whole inside of on of the legs and crotch out last year on a pretty energetic lunge. Test-fencing with the kilt today, I can see that that’s gonna be no problem. Very free, very comfy.

My brother Dave was with me; we did brunch at the Union Pub awaiting the opening of the kilt shop, then he proceeded to get one, also. He “lamented” that he may never be able to wear shorts again, the Nation Kilt was so comfortable.

But yes, after walking all over Alexandria today (in our kilts!!), the fencing proved to be a nice capper of a workout, short though it was. To jump back to Friday, that was also a fencing night, but of the historical variety. German longsword. Good little practice, learning “flourishes,” which are kata-like routines for practicing moves and more importantly the flow from position to position. Also, training in “aggressiveness,” meaning going to the fight not to just stand around and tippy-tap each other, but as if you were actually doing a battle, and trying to get the deciding hit in first.

The quote Chris said he’d heard was something like: “Step One is to go up and cave the other guy’s head in. Fencing is what happens when you fail Step One.” So going up and seizing the initiative was the drill set for the day.

Saturday was the run, run, run away part. It was such a beautiful day that I had to get outside. So I went out to the soccer fields up the hill behind the local Y. The intent was to do Tabata sprints sets of 20 second sprinting followed by 10 seconds walking/recovering, but my GYMBOSS ran out of juice, so the session was completely untimed. I don’t even know how long it lasted; somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour and a half.

Without timing it, I just started walking, running, sprinting and walking/recovering, using that basic cycle for however long I was out there, before finishing off with some decline push ups (hands in various positions) from a bench beside the track. By “track” I’m not talking about a track like the track and field track in a stadium. I mean a dirt/gravel path that winds up and down around the whole set of soccer fields. The fields themselves were more or less level up on the top of the hill there, but that’s about it.

As I did it completely barefoot, I mostly stayed off the gravel and stayed on the grass. Most of my sprinting was done up the little hill from the bottom-most point of the whole thing across the set of fields (basically cutting the whole area in half) to the other side, and then walk/running to recover.

After all that goodness, it was to the jacuzzi and sauna inside the Y. Alas, the steam room was Out Of Order, so no extra steaming for me. But the other stuff was great! Oh, and it was a fasting day from a late snack Friday night to late dinner (2000 or so) on Saturday night (before going to see Clash of the Titans–good motivation for workin’ out, lemme tell ya!). 😀

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Been laying low in the workout scene for an unusual amount of time; around three weeks. Except for a fencing practice and a heavy bag session or so, and a couple of trips to the gym strictly for sauna, steam and jacuzzi. And some walking around D.C.

Today, I broke that workout fast. Funny thing, I felt pretty good without a lot of PT, though I had a nagging feeling I should be doing it. On the other hand, due to whatever factors, I felt pretty unmotivated about doing any of it. Thinking something must be up, I respected the lack of mo, and held off until I felt it was time.

So I sort of made up for it today. Started off with Systema warm-up and breathing practice for a while, then went to town on the heavy bags. Every which way. High, low, from the floor. Elbows, knees, hands, thumbs… yep, thumbs. Paid a lot of attention to my breathing when striking, etc. For how long? Well, I sort of lost track of time. I *think* it was somewhere between 30 minutes and an hour of that, but I’m not sure. It might be more. I wasn’t officially timing it, I just sort of noticed that it was a lot later in the day on the wall clock than when I had started. That ever happen to you?

Then I got into the workout part of things…

Simple Tabata protocol with the kbells this time. All the way, baby, for three rounds.

Started off with the baby bell (16 kg), doing 20 seconds of snatches left hand, 10 seconds rest, then 20 seconds right hand snatches. Moved up to the medium bell (24 kg) for long cycle clean and jerk (LCCJ). Again with the 20 seconds left hand, 10 seconds rest, and 20 second right hand.

Moved on two sets of swings with the 32 kg kbell. Thought I was done for that round, but mis-counted and actually had two more 20 second sets to go to complete my eight. Oh, well, I’ll catch them next time. Waited for a couple of minutes, then repeated.

This time, though, I added just jerks for two sets after the LCCJ (right, then left hand–24 kg), before the two swings sets of 32 kg. Got my eight.

For the last round, I started heavy, doing 20 seconds left hand LCCJ with the 32 kg, followed by the same for right hand after the 10 second break. Then jerks for either hand, same pattern, with the 32. Then two sets of swings with the 32, same pattern. Followed by LCCJ with the 24 kg bell, same pattern. Getting ready to pick up the baby bell, the GYMBOSS beeped it was done. Guess I was so into it, I didn’t keep very good count and was ready to do more. Anyway, then I finished off with a good round of active stretching/cooldown, and was done. This evening was a fasting evening, so I didn’t have any post-PT meals or anything. That’ll be lunch tomorrow. Yum!

Pre-Fatigue
30-60 minutes
Systema Breathing (including bodyweight push-up, sit-up, and squat work)
Heavy bag work

Core

Round One
20 sec, kb snatches, left hand (16 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb snatches, right hand (16 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb LCCJ, left hand (24 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb LCCJ, right hand (24 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb two-handed swings (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb two-handed swings (32 kg)

Rest Set
2-4 minutes

Round Two
20 sec, kb snatches, left hand (16 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb snatches, right hand (16 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb LCCJ, left hand (24 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb LCCJ, right hand (24 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb jerks, left hand (24 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb jerks, right hand (24 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb two-handed swings (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb two-handed swings (32 kg)

Rest Set
2-4 minutes

Round Three
20 sec, kb LCCJ, left hand (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb LCCJ, right hand (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb jerks, left hand (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb jerks, right hand (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb two-handed swings (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb two-handed swings (32 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb LCCJ, left hand (24 kg)
10 sec, rest
20 sec, kb LCCJ, right hand (24 kg)

Post-Fatigue
Systema active stretching/cooldown

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