I’m Back

I think this has been the longest stretch since I’ve been blogging without a post, and with good reason.  I’ve been coaching two baseball teams, working full time, and getting ready to move.  Those addends create the sum of zero time.  I have been doing More Kettlebell Muscle using 4 different workouts.  One focuses on the clean, one on the jerk, one on the lunge and one on the row.  I’m in week 4 of them all, but I’m going to cut the programs to two.  Throw in an emergency trip to Florida for 6 days to see my father in the hospital, add a trip to Denver next week, and you can appreciate the insanity.

With the kettlebells, I’ve put my ego aside and am using the 45’s.  The complexes are great for conditioning as I ran 5 miles twice down in the Florida heat with no breathing issues.  The issue I’m having is all the programs have the squat in them.  I’ve been squatting too much and my knee joints have been barking a little.  So yesterday, I decided to do an old standby workout.  200 snatches, sets of 5 each side, resting to the top of each minute for 20 minutes.  Form was rock solid, the 55 was going up nice, conditioning felt great, until…set 18.  3rd rep dropped from the top, pinched the callous below my index finger, did another rep, felt the skin get loose but not break and put the bell down. Blood blister, and an ugly one too.  It doesn’t hurt but quite the eye sore on the palm of my hand.  Taking today off.  My upper back behind my traps are sore so I did something right.  I’ve learned the error of my ways, high volume snatching in humid weather requires a lot of chalk.  Chalk completely dries out your hands which makes the skin a little vulnerable.  I’ll be back at it tomorrow.

My son’s 11 year old all star team got knocked out yesterday and the season is finally over.  He came into pitch with a 6-3 lead and gave up 3 runs.  Walked only one, just got hit.  One of the other coaches asked me if I was nervous watching him.  “No way, I’m thoroughly enjoying it.”  He’s 11 and tried his best.  He has no control over what happens once he lets go of the ball so why not enjoy?  I wasn’t able to make a lot of the all star games because I was head coaching a 14-15 year old Babe Ruth team, but I saw enough.  We blew a 6 run lead.  The other team put in an 11 year old that was literally 6’1” 180 lbs.  Threw gas and threw strikes.  My son fouled off a couple and then took strike 3.  I said, “you had him timed, why did you take strike 3?”  The opponents fans were obnoxious, chanting, singing, etc.  I started getting worked up when we lost, but thankfully, didn’t lower myself and express poor sportsmanship.  One of the other team’s mothers started lecturing me during a pitching change when I was coaching first base about pitch counts, and how could we let a kid throw over 100 pitches.  i said, “why 100?  what is so magic about that number vs, say 90 or 110?”  No answer for me, then I told her we watch the mechanics and can tell whether the pitcher is getting tired.  I didn’t tell her that on my Babe Ruth team, pitchers finish games.  One kid struck out 15 and threw 121, another has thrown 110 and 105 and another threw 112.  I’m like Billy Martin with the 1980 Oakland A’s.  I feel it lets the kids know I have faith in them and it teaches them how to pitch the right way.

In my opinion, the reason there are so many injuries is 1. Kids pitch all year round.  You need to rest, just like working out.   2.  Because of pitch counts, they don’t pace themselves.  So instead of using your fielders, every pitch is max effort.  That’s why there are a lot more strikeouts, because, everyone throws hard these days.  The pitch count is the problem not the solution.  How in 1974 did pitchers well over 250 innings a year, pitch on 3, not 4 days rest, smoke, drink, carouse and get in shape in spring training?  And even though there were arm problems, there were a lot less.

The Babe Ruth team has been a blast.  The kids are funny, we’re good 11-3, my son has been hitting well and I enjoy the banter.  One kid whom I’ve coached for years was sitting the first couple of innings.  He then says, “Coach, my self esteem is hurt sitting on the bench while my friends are playing.”  He also spent $80 on his girlfriend for her birthday.  I explained to him, 8th grade girlfriends are for catching your lips on their braces when you kiss them, not spend $80.  He’s also the best cross country runner for his age in New England, yet has a bad back from running.  I told him he should take the month off.  His track coach has different ideas, I said, “what’s he going to do, bench you?  He’ll be a freshman for goodness sake, with back issues?  Towards the end of the season, I told the kids, go out to a position, and play it.  My older son pitched and caught for the first time since little league and enjoyed it.  Has a nice curve and a knuckleball.  Surprised me, as he played tennis this spring.

Went down to Florida, my father was seriously ill.  Thank God, he’s better and going home today.  He still needs a procedure, but it will wait for a month.  Seeing him in that state was a shock.  In spite of the bad circumstances, actually had a good time, went to the beach with my brother.  Out drinking and to dinner and golfing.  Surprisingly, I still really suck at golf.  I was done by hole 14.

Was delayed on the plane trip to and fro. That’s 11 flights this year, delayed on 8.  Ah domestic air travel.  Jet Blue wanted me to pick my seat, all were $70 upgrades, so I waited to get assigned at the gate.  Last row in the middle next to a 300 lb. dude.  Good times.  Non-stop, unless you’re going to a remote island, the word “connection” shouldn’t be in your vocabulary.  On a plane to Denver a week from today.  Then in mid August going with the Misses to Aruba.  The Goldman Sachs Guide to Air Travel is a good internet read.  One of my other favorite lines is if you’re afraid of flying listen to Britney Spears before the flight, no one is destined to die like that.  

Have you noticed there are commercials that are so annoying, you’d never buy the product.  I can think of 5 that come to mind that I would rather go without than give them my business just because they’ve annoyed me.  

I’ll take the Germans today in the World Cup thank you.  Holland completely outplayed Argentina but lost on kicks.  Brazil absolutely quit on their fans in the 7-1 game.  

Stated reading Leon Uris’ Trinity in Florida.  100 pages in and just terrific.  I had read QB VII 20 years ago and just haven’t picked him back up.  I grabbed Battle Cry and Exodus while I was at it.  

Why Sunday is the Best Day of the Week

I’m sitting here on a quiet Sunday morning knowing I have to post something for you: my subscribers and readers whose workouts and lives are predicated on every word I write  While enjoying my 8 o’clock coffee (black, the only way to drink it because you get the full taste of the beans), I realized how much I enjoy Sundays.  Yes, tomorrow is Monday, but it’s Memorial Day and that means 3 day weekend!  Sunday is the best day of the week, as long as you’re not too hungover from imbibing on Saturday.  Also, living in the present Sunday is supposed to be a day of rest and leisure, so why even think of Monday?  Lionel Ritchie and the Commodores had it right singing “Easy Like Sunday Morning.”  I just can’t figure out, how he has such a messed up troll like Nicole for a daughter.  She literally gives me the chills when I see her.  Anyway let’s stay positive.

Here are some reasons why Sunday rocks

1.  It’s a beginning: Last week is over, you can start a whole new life and make resolutions that you’ll never keep just like New Year’s Day (I’m succeeding so well in resolving to quit swearing and being more gentle and patient)

2.  No rush:  Unless you’re one of those parents who have your child in AAU sports or hockey, you can get up, relax and think about what you can do today.  For me, at 8:30, I have the WHOLE day in front of me.  And there are plenty of options to choose from.

3.  Celebrate the Lord:  I haven’t been going to Mass, just not feeling it, plus, I was more of a Saturday afternoon and get it over with.  I have always had this family fantasy of going to Mass then going out to dinner from there.  it’s never happened.  I guess some fantasies are best left in your mind.

4.  Sunday Paper:  Yes, people are getting away from it and using the internet.  But I’m not a great internet reader.  More of a skimmer, and you can’t take your laptop to the can to read the Sunday Baseball Notes.  Plus you get the Sunday crossword puzzle with great themes and clues.  A few weeks back there was a puzzle with a song/kitchen theme.  Here are a couple that stood out.

Clue 22 Across

Paul McCartney singing that he doesn’t care how you cook in the kitchen?

Answer

Live and Let Fry  (I shouldn’t have to explain it, but instead of Live and Let Die). Clever no?

Or Beach Boys singing about the San Francisco Treat?

Answer

Wouldn’t It Be Rice (Wouldn’t I be Nice)

Coupons, I found my new house in the Open Houses section.  The bride doesn’t like the ink stains I leave.  The paper is also good for firestarter for the grill and fireplace.  (As much as I love the smell of lighter fluid, I’ve gone to a charcoal chimney)

5.  Sports:  NFL in the fall, baseball in the summer.  Final rounds of golf tournaments.  Tailgating at the Patriots, going from coffee to beer at 9 AM.

6.  Grilling Sunday dinner:  I love sitting on my patio, and cooking on the grill.  Steaks, brisket, ribs, anything.  I’ve been souping up the bride about getting a ceramic or steel kamado cooker like the Big Green Egg.  She’s not amused by it.  Weber Silver Charcoal grill $89, Big Green Egg, $1200.  Man needs his toys.

7.  Sunday afternoon cocktails:  As my buddy Billy says, the best beers are on Sunday afternoon.  And they really taste good after a Patriot win, or on the patio or in front of the fireplace while spending time with my wife or reading a book with a glass of scotch

8.  Playing sports with the kids:  Baseball, basketball, getting spanked in tennis.  Their basketball games were on Sunday afternoons.  Coaching and watching.

9.  Workouts:  I like using Sunday as a free form day.  Doing exercises or activities that aren’t in the rotation.  Running with my wife and dog, sprints, jumping rope.  Farmers carries, maybe do a snatch test (that’s kettlebells) get your mind out of the gutter.

10.   Impromptu get togethers at my next door neighbors’ pool:  I’m going to miss this when we move.  They are great people and give us carte blanche on their pool.

11.  New episodes of Mad Men and Game of Thrones:  If you’ve watched either of these shows, there are no explanations necessary.

12.  Beach day:  Newport, Naples, Wellfleet.  What’s more fun than a Sunday at the beach?

And on Sunday night, there shouldn’t be any dread of Monday.  If your job stinks, change it.  I did, and am much happier.

For my workouts I went back to basics and am doing Escalated Density Training.  Workout day on, next day rest.  On rest days I’ve been taking the dog for a walk.

20 minutes

Double Military Press (Use 70’s) alternated with Double Rows (Use 88’s)

Rest 5 minutes

Double Front Squat (70’s) alternated with Double Swings (88’s)  I’ve started swinging inside the legs again to mix it up.  Again, get your mind out of the gutter, not that type of swinging….

Rest then do Turkish Get Ups with the 88 or Farmers carries.

The other day I do

20 minutes

Floor Press 70’s alternated with Pullups

Rest 5 minutes

15 minutes

Double 55 kettlebell reverse lunges alternated with Double 55 Snatches. This workout is an absolute body burial.  190 heartbeats per minutes when I was finished last time.

EDT has gotten my workouts back on track.  I’m in the second week of it.  I was completely having Kettlebell ADHD.  What did I want to do?  Cluster training? 5×5? MetCon?, Rite of Passage?  HIIT?  Russian Bear? Ladders?  I finally just said to my self, BVK, which program has always given you the most bang for your buck?  (Snatch, bang, swinging, who said kettlebells aren’t sexual?)  EDT, so I’m starting off the week with a bang doing EDT.

Enjoy your Sunday, because that’s my fun day, my I don’t have to run day….Was Prince a poet or what?  I know it’s the Bangles, but he wrote the song…

Back to Strong and other thoughts

It’s been over a month since I posted which might be kind of a record.  I ended up going on vacation and taking some time off from working out.  A well needed mental break.  I ran a couple of times to move some calories, but basically relaxed, ate steak, drank beer on the beach and didn’t touch a weight.  From Florida, I had to go to business in Dallas.  Had to fly American Airlines, which is the worst.  The last day in Texas, got out of our seminar early and tried to catch an earlier flight to Boston.  No seats, my buddy and I sat in the Dallas Fort Worth airport for 7 hours.  On top of that, the plane was delayed and our gate was moved from terminal  A to D which is a 10 minute tram ride.  Got home at 2 AM.  The good news is I slept the whole flight, but still, no seats on any flights, delayed departures and cramped planes.  American stunk in the mid 1990’s, they were one of the airlines on September 11 and it’s even worse today.  But it was the only direct flight out of Fort Myers.

I gained about 6 lbs. which I haven’t taken off yet.  My diet hasn’t been great lately and on top of that, I’ve had a hard time getting back into working out.  I’m doing it, but it’s a chore, not fun.  I switched after 9 weeks of More Kettlebell Muscle to going for strength.  Working with my 70 lb  and 88 lb. bells.  The first couple of times were tough.  The bells felt HEAVY, but I’m adapting now.  We’ll do this for 6 weeks and then go back.

Big news is we’re moving across town to a bigger house after 17 years.  Since I work from home now, our house has gotten smaller.  I don’t have an office and there isn’t central air and one full bath.  With the kids home for the summer it’s going to be hard to concentrate.  Saw an open house in the Boston Globe in a desirable neighborhood.  Went Monday afternoon, made an offer Monday night.  Turnkey, the only thing we’ll have to do is paint 2 rooms, (my wife will do that, she wouldn’t give me such a high level of responsibility), get a shed and a basketball hoop for the kids.  Very excited, even though i was completely against the idea for the longest time.  We were going to refinish the ceilings, knock down a wall and put more hardwoods in 2 rooms and landscape the side of our house.  Probably 8k in reparis and renewals.  Now, we have to get our house ready and THROW STUFF AWAY.  It’s amazing even if you’re not a pack rat how much stuff you amass over the years.  You also realize how cluttered your house is, even though it’s not.  It’s going on the market Wednesday so it’s all hands on deck.  Yard and garage today, probably the basement and another room tomorrow.  Hopefully, it moves in a hurry.

The new Jack Daniels commercial with Frank SInatra stinks.  He wasn’t the man.  That stuff is beneath my palate.  Scotch is better and more refined.  Though, why is bourbon being pushed so hard lately?  I like it, but not as much as scotch.  Not that I mind Jack, it’s just not my first choice.

Donald Sterling has been an churl for 80 years.  I don’t know how they can take his team away legally, but the NBA is better without him.

I read where Adam Dunn has less than 40 home runs to 500.  A few years ago, if you hit 500, you were in the Hall.  Adam Dunn is the worst regular in big league baseball.  All he does is hit home runs he hits .200, strikes out 180 times a year, can’t run, throw or field.  Actually, Dan Uggla and BJ Upton stink too.  Why don’t guys choke up and hit the ball to right field with 2 strikes?  Way too many strikeouts these days.

Derek Jeter’s bat looks like Marty Barrett circa 1988.  Hitting flares to right field.  I know he’s trying to salvage last year, but he’s hanging on too long.  Yastrzemski did the same thing.  Played 3 years too long.

I find the hype and the coverage of the NFL draft highly entertaining.  I love reading the opinions of the picks, the grades, hearing the stupid cliche, “football is important to him…”  No one has any idea whether someone will be any good.  Injuries occur, big money changes guys, etc.  Mel Kiper has made a 30 year living out of this.  I like his radio show on ESPN radio, but still he’s wrong as much as he is right.

I’m watching the Bruins, and know I’m in the minority, but playoff hockey doesn’t do it for me.  It’s soccer on skates.  Okay Chris, call me an idiot,  Every insult is $50 off your wedding gift…

I’m watching the old Bobby Orr highlight and I see the puck better on an old UHF screen than on high def now

The NBA playoffs have been highly entertaining.  Loved the block by Paul Pierce to beat the Raptors.  One of the top Celtics of all time.

Speaking of which, how would this matchup go.  All Time Laker team vs.  All Time Celtic?

Lakers                                            Celtics

Magic Johnson                              Bob Cousy

Jerry West                                      Dennis Johnson

Elgin Baylor                                    Larry Bird

Kareem Abdul-Jabbar                    Bill Russell

Kobe Bryant                                   Kevin McHale

George Mikan                                Paul Pierce

Wilt Chamberlain                           Bill Sharman

Shaquille O’Neal                            Dave Cowens

Slater Martin                                  John Havlicek  (he’s in the top 5, this is a random list)

Gail Goodrich                                Tommy Heinsohn

Byron Scott                                   Robert Parrish

Michael Cooper                             Sam Jones

(i know where is Sedale Threatt or Jamall Wilkes for the Lakers?

You also realize everyone on the Celtics list is in the Hall of Fame except Pierce who will be a no doubt about it.

I love Game of Thrones but why can’t I get through an episode without either my wife or I falling asleep?

The best Van Halen album is Diver Down.  Had Little Guitars blaring through my head today.  “Senorita I’m in trouble again and I can’t get free…”

Where was the quality control on Glory Days by Bruce Springsteen?  A speed ball is called a fastball.  Why didn’t anyone pick up on this error of a lyric?  He could throw that speed ball by you,  NO NO NO…

What’s up with the 5 day, Don Johnson/Miami Vice beard being fashionable?  I can’t stand more than a day beard growth.  Then again if you looked like me, you wouldn’t be hiding your handsome face with scruff either…

Good drinking contest, every time Erin Andrews says “you guys” on Dancing with the D-Listers, do a shot.  And no I don’t watch the show, my wife DVR’s it and it blares through the house.  She might be the only person still watching American Idol as well.  I love that Jennifer Lopez is a judge.  The only thing she knows about singing is she can’t.

Trying to figure out which insurance commercial I hate the most.  Geico, Progressive, Aflac or Arbella.   The Geico commercial just reinforces my hate for the Australian accent.  I hate Flo, (loved Flo from Alice), the Duck sucks, and so do the people gushing about Arbella.

Warren Buffet can go back under the rock he came from.  If you post a quote about him on LinkedIn, your connection from me will be hidden or removed depending on whether I need you.  I cleared out about 100 connections a couple of months back.  It was emancipating.

Why can’t the Republican Party get their shit together nationally and especially in Massachusetts?  I used to love calling people who were looking for a job, tap the mouthpiece of the phone and say, “hear that?  that’s opportunity knocking…”  Same concept.

I’m not tagging this blog, too lazy, too many, are you really reading it to learn about my opinions of Adam Dunn?

The Red Sox have been anti-climatic after last year.  Jackie Bradley Jr. is vanilla at the dish.

I love interleague play.  The Red Sox fatten up on their record every year.  The AL is more competitive because of the DH.  It’s a much more difficult transition going from the NL to the AL as a pticher because of it.  The Reds came to town, the Sox took care of business.  Every year the worst they to is 11-8.

My NBA obsessed son just asked me if Dennis Rodman was one of the 50 best players.  No

Stuff/things/people that suck:  Toyota ( a silver Toyota has all the soul of a shopping cart), Facebook, Corona, Bud Light (love Bud or Bud toughs as one of my friends says), Toro lawnmowers (had one, what a piece of junk and with a white bag.  How stupid, recently learned you should never bag your clippings by the way), bad accents, American Airlines, my leaky power washer, dandelions, weeds in asphalt, Dell computers, Warren Buffet, Oprah, Chris Brown, Elizabeth Warren (or any Democratic senator) Paul Krugman, under seasoned chicken.  Dunkin’ Donuts coffee, way too thin for my taste.  Gum chewing adults.  Saw a sales woman speaking with her new boss while chomping on gum.  Could you be less impressive?  Humorless fitness people on forums.  Kettlelbell lifting is just lifting weights, not brain surgery.  Lighten up.

When I’m in a restaurant, and you’re telling me the specials, just stop as soon as you say salmon. You’ve lost me.   I had it once, hated it then 10 years later, found out I was allergic to fish.  Don’t miss sushi either.

Love Chinese, Mexican, Hibachi Japanese, Italian, almost anything else.  I have the appetite and enough bad eating habits, that if I didn’t watch what i ate, I’d be a solid 215-220.  No doubt about it.

Cheerio!

 

 

 

More Kettlebell Muscle + Kettlebell Burn Extreme = ?

Going to Florida on Easter Sunday and decided to do a hybrid of Kettlebell Burn Extreme for 2 weeks before I went down.  Vanity, vanity vanity.  Other than blinding everyone with my epidermal hue, at least I won’t have a paunch.  Since finishing Extreme two months ago, I probably gained maybe 2-3 lbs. back.  I have not creeped up over 186, mostly staying in the 184-185 range.  Respectable and my diet  has not been great.  A fast once a week has been keeping it off.  For a workout, I have been doing the Long Haul which is fat burning kettlebelling at its finest.  I’ve also traveled for my new job to San Francisco twice and the last month, and my diet was a free for all.  As in free to eat everything!  I didn’t work out there either.  Just walked 5 miles a day and ate and drank what I wanted.  Love that Anchor Steam Ale.  Also, we went to Tornoado’s in the Lower Haight and had some Russian River.  Loved that bar. 

I figured Sunday would be a good place to start.  Had a big lasagna dinner on Saturday night and fasted all day Sunday until 1:30 Monday, about 40 hours.  Also had my cold shower Sunday.  Forgot how lovely that experience is.  For Monday, scale said 183.2, which really means around 185. To break the fast I had 2 eggs, 4 egg whites and a 1/2 bag of spinach plus a cup of oatmeal.  Dinner, a porterhouse steak, sweet potato and salad.  Instead of doing 4 meals, I broke it into 2 big ones.

Instead of doing the heavy presses and ballistics from Burn Extreme, I opted for a new complex to partner with the Long Haul after finishing the Wolf.  I picked the Olympian 2.0.  Monday was medium day and I did it as a chain.  Clean, Press, Squat, Push Press, 5 times around the chain equals 1 set.  4 sets.  Rest ratio is 2:1.  I did the first two sets with double 55’s, did the first three chains on the third set as well, but then had to drop to 45’s.  Did the final set with 45’s.  4 rounds, 8:30 seconds.  I was bemoaning that I lost strength, but then I realized that I’m doing 40 reps of presses and push presses in 8 minutes.  That will fatigue anyone.  Did the cold/hot contrast shower for recovery.

Today, I did week 7, heavy day of the Long Haul; 4 sets (thank God it was only 4), Work to rest ratio was 1:1.  I’ve never had two and half minutes go by so fast.  I was able to do each exercise for the full 30 seconds for the first two rounds.  The last two rounds, I did double clean x 10, squats x 5, presses x 5, snatches x 5, swings x 10.  Heart rate was 208 beats per minute.  The misery index was a dime.  The double snatches were the worst part.  Between grip and shoulder fatigue, I had to really concentrate my form.  You tire more when you bear down. 

Finished with a walk up the street with my dog.  Daisy decided the middle of the street was a good place to take care of business.  I had to chase her to the woods.  She knows better, I mean she’s only 9.  That extended the walk when I grabbed the shovel to remove it.  Nothing says king of the road like holding a spade of dog crap extended away from you and trying to breathe as little as possible.  After that, had a cold shower, which wasn’t as unpleasant as Sunday because I was so hot from the workout.

Broke a 17 hour fast with a tablespoon of coconut oil, 1 egg, two egg whites and broccoli florets.  Tonight will be a steak, salad and more broccoli.  Low carb day is tough, but the results the next day are great.  Great debate is whether to see the last two episodes of Breaking Bad or start season 3 of Game of Thrones.  I want to get Breaking Bad over with, but the last episode was tough to watch.  Dark, violent, twisted and sad.  Probably watch Game of Thrones. 

So the schedule for now for two weeks will look like this

Sunday Fast

Monday, Wednesday Friday Carb days

Tuesday, Thursday, No Carb days

Saturday, Cheat days. 

Goal is to get below 180.  Haven’t been down below there in over 6 years.   I don’t have a way to measure body fat so going by scale weight.  Ideally 177-178.  Stay tuned, cheerio

Emptying the Drawer of the Mind

It’s been a while since the last post.  New job, travel, and really having nothing of any value to say have caused the lack of participation on my part.  Feeling ambitious today and as I was reading Sports Illustrated’s Baseball Preview, I could feel everything falling into place.  Let us get to our topics for the post.

1.  Fitness.  My workouts have been consistent, steady and strong.  What I’ve been doing is More Kettlebell Muscle by Geoff Neupert.  I”m doing two programs, 6 days a week.  The Long Haul which is a 9 week kettlebell complex program in which you do exercises for time.  I’m in week 6 and using double 45’s  RIght now the rest periods have been shortened to a work:rest ratio of 1:1.5.  Next week they are being shortened to, gulp 1:1.  There are three different workouts.  Easy Day, which is 90 seconds of continuous work.  Medium Day, which is two minutes, and Heavy Day which is 2:30.  Heavy day is downright torture, because the first exercise is double cleans, which will fry the grip.  The first two rounds are tolerable then it takes a turn down toward the rims of hell.  Oh, and then you get to do double snatches at the 90 second mark.   I have figured out how many reps I can do of each exercise in 30 seconds, so I’m not looking at the clock.  

Results are my conditioning has gone through the roof.  I’ve taken my pulse and a month ago when I was doing it, my heartbeats per minute were in the 190-200 range.  Now it’s around 170.  I cheated yesterday, instead of doing the rest periods, I did a round every hour and threw in pull-ups.  After I finished, I noticed something that hasn’t happened in over a year.  Blister in the upper palm.  Too much chalk.  My only complaint about this complex is the dilemma.  So the theory is, once your form slows or breaks down, you should cut the set short.  However, if you cut the set short, you’re not doing it for full time.   And putting double cleans at the front of the complex will tax your grip, making the double snatch down right dangerous.  I’ve just cut the reps down and held the bells in the rack. Not that, that is an enjoyable process.

The other complex is the Wolf which is a leg program.  I’ve been doing it as a chain.  I used double 55’s for easy and medium day and double 45’s for heavy day.  The reason I’ve dropped down is because of the inclusion of the double snatch on heavy day.  Safety > than ego.   Each workout only takes 10 minutes, but it’s taxing.  Front squats tax your shoulders making the presses during the end of the chain challenging.  You are doing 20-30 reps without putting the bells down.  I’ve been throwing some pull-ups and pushups in for good measure afterward.  This is a 6 week program and I have one week left.  Five rounds work to rest ratio 1:1.5.

2. Travel/Life/Job

I have a new job working out of the house doing inside sales for a healthcare software company.  I’ve finished the fourth week and it’s going well.  As a creature of habit, I’ve been still working out in the morning.  Get it out of the way.  i hate having it over my head until lunch or the evening.  Plus, I can shower and shave afterward.  I don’t miss my old job at all.  Haven’t given it much thought really.  It has been emotionally draining learning something completely new.  I travelled to San Francisco 2 weeks ago and have to go out there again next week.  Then, the family is going to Florida, during April vacation and from there I’m going to Dallas for 3 days.  When in San Francisco, I took three days off.  Didn’t even come close to going to the fitness center.  I walked the city instead, logging 5 miles a day. It’s my favorite city that I’ve been to, and would move in a heartbeat if I could.  On vacation, I’ll probably do some running, sprints, jump rope etc.  Since doing Kettlebell Burn Extreme, I’ve been able to keep my weight in the 184-186 range, mostly on the lower side.  My diet hasn’t been really clean, but somehow, I’ve managed to keep it off.  I don’t think I can hold below 182-183 for long.  What I’m going to do when I get back from San Francisco and all the Chinese food I plan on eating again is to  do the Burn Extreme Program for two weeks.  But, I’ll do the Long Haul and a new complex for my workouts.  We leave to go to”beautiful sunny Naples Florida” as my photographer friend Darren says on all his Youtube videos reviewing camera lenses on Easter Sunday.  Yes cold showers included, which I wimped out on my Lenten obligation.  You can’t stay in a luxury hotel and take a cold shower.  You just can’t.  Diet is 85% of everything so this 45 year narcissist is going to see if he can turn his 4 pack into a 5.  No chance of a 6.

3. NCAA Tournament  My bracket were looking great last night until Louisville blew a 7 point lead with 4 minutes left.  I had them losing in the final.  Even Michigan State cooperated and beat Virginia.  But Rick Pitino, who has made career of over coaching and almost single handedly put a nail in the Celtics coffin, didn’t have the answers to stop Kentucky in the final minutes.  To tell you the truth, I’ve been to two Providence College games this year and other than that, couldn’t name you 10 guys in the NCAA.  The one and done crowd and lack of time has wreaked havoc on my attention span.  My theory was to go with teams that have played together for 3 or 4 years like Florida and Wichita State.  And always bet against Kansas, because Bill Self will find a way to underachieve in the tournament.  Oh well, I still have 3 of the final four but can’t win.  

4.  Baseball preview.  I was reading some of the team previews from Sports Illustrated today and my head started filling with opinions.  Watching the 2013 World Series film Thursday night just reinforced my thinking.  The fawning over the St. Louis Cardinals has got to stop.  If they played in the AL East, they would be a 88 win team.  Their division with the Cubs and Brewers is weak.  Yes, they have good arms, yes Wainwright is a great National League pitcher.  When you see an ERA in the NL, just raise it at least a half a run because of the pitcher.  The lineups are weaker.  Wacha is going to be a good pitcher, but as the Red Sox proved last October, wait until the 2nd or 3rd time around the league when hitters make adjustments.  That World Series wasn’t even as close as it seemed.  The Red Sox lost two games because of errors and beat Wainwright twice.  I love the depth this year in the Red Sox bullpen and think that Grady Sizemore will be a pleasant surprise.  The best way to describe the Yankees is flawed.  CC doesn’t hit 90 on the gun anymore, lots of question marks on in the bullpen.   Up the middle, Jeter and Roberts lack range.  All the performance enhancing substances that  Mark Texeira took have taken their toll.  82-85 wins tops.

SI is drooling over Oakland and pick them to go to the World Series. For all the credit Billy Beane gets from the stat geeks, let’s discuss the number of playoff series wins the A’s have under his leadership.

1.

2.

3.

Oh that’s right, zero.  Giants look good, but I think the Dodgers are better.  If the Giants were smart, they would start thinking about moving Buster Posey out from behind the plate in the next couple of years.  The body and knees can’t take the pounding of catching and by the 7th or 8th inning, your hands are sore from catching 95 mph BB’s.  Plus, throw in foul tips, pitches in the dirt, etc. you shorten the career.  The Nationals have a nice staff but they have to take the chains off of Strassburg.  He has pitched into the 8th inning once in his career.  The Tigers made an incredibly stupid move giving Miguel Cabrera a 10 year contract.  He’s good for another 5 years, but look at all the long contracts and how they’ve fared.  A-Rod, Texeira, Fielder, Puljols, Crawford all signed contract over 6 years and none of them have lived up to the contract.  

I bet Stephen Drew is kicking himself about not taking the 1 year $14 million offer from the Red Sox.  That was a 55% raise from the year before.  Scott Boras gave him some bad advice, and when you tie a draft pick to signing him, he’ll be lucky to get $7 million this year.  

Why do so many young pitchers need Tommy John surgery?  Very simple answer, they throw too hard.  Instead of pacing themselves, every pitch is max effort which causes too much stress on the elbow.  You don’t max out every time you workout, it’s the same with pitching.  So many guys throw 95-100 these days.  I’m sure guys in the past could as well, but they paced themselves.  Throw 92-93 with movement and stop trying to strike every one out.  

5.  Other thoughts.  I don’t get poetry at all. I lose my focus in the first line.  The president of my company put out a poem yesterday and he lost me.  I don’t get the hype surrounding the Grateful Dead.  I like their music, the musicianship is excellent, but not to the cult like status of following them around.  LinkedIn has completely jumped the shark.  It’s turned way too social vs. business.  I don’t need to see banners of inspiration.  Brain puzzles and riddles have got to stop.  I busted a former colleague of mine last week.  He made the mistake of answering the riddle of “think of a country without the letter “a.”  He answered Peru, I thought Belgium.  Anyway, I needed a contact at his company so I wrote him to make better use of his time and get me the name of the Director of Benefits.  He atoned for his sin by telling me.

I also find LinkedIn to be a place where marketing people and internal recruiters justify their existence as key cogs in the corporate machine.  If I could I’d hide the stupid articles from “thoughts leaders.”  What a stupid term.  I still like Twitter, it’s amusing, I wish it would go to 160 characters.  As you can see I’m like a priest in front of a full congregation on Easter Sunday, I’m a little long winded.  As someone who is a believer in proper English, I hate selling out and missing punctuation to get my point across.  People don’t take Twitter personally like Facebook.  No thumbs up buttons, no likes.  Unfollow in a click of the cursor.  As time goes on, I’m not a believer in deleting tweets.  If you put it out there, keep it.  It is a journal of how you feel at that time.  It also will help in being more disciplined on what you throw out there.  

Of course some people are incorrigible.  I have a relative who will remain nameless who on Facebook asked about “breast pump tips.” Over sharing to the level of embarrassment.  I told my brother what he should write back, but he didn’t want to upset the apple cart.  

Anyway that is all.  Cheerio

Ch Ch Ch Ch Changes

It’s been almost a month since the last post.  What’s been happening?  Lots of stuff.  For 10 days, I had a full house with my parents up from Florida and we dog sat for a 120 lb. boxer/mastiff mix.  My house never seemed so small.   After 17 years 3 months and 17 days, I am out of the executive search business.  Why?  Well, first, I received a great opportunity with a growing company in the healthcare software field.  I get to work from home (say prayers for my poor wife), the money will be better and there are a lot of parallels between the jobs.  Second, I was cooked worse than a burnt steak teeming with gristle.  I couldn’t deal with candidates anymore.  The worst were men in their 20’s.  Hiding behind the keyboard instead of making decisions.

I had a great run in recruiting, with two great firms.  Made a lot of friends on the candidate and client side.  But in the end, I became jaded.  At 45, I couldn’t imagine doing it for one more year.  And I wasn’t looking!  It fell into my lap.  I was bored out of my mind, and just numb.  This will be a great and fun challenge for me and I’m excited.

Recruiting is the toughest sell there is.  You’re dealing in human capital.  Here are the steps.

1.  Get a client to engage your service.  (Why they should use you and differentiate yourself)  In my opinion, in a candidate shortage  market the easiest part of the job.

2.  Once you have a job order, recruit candidates for the job.  Ideally, the passive job seeker who is not on the job boards, but interested in a better opportunity.

3.  Convince the candidates to have their resume sent for the job.

4.  Meet candidate discuss their expectations and how the rules are going to go.

5. Convince the client why these people may not have qualifications A-Z, but have A-T and why they are a good fit to interview (an unrealistic client is a time waster)

6.  Prepare candidate for interview

7.  Get feed back from candidate and start closing him if interested and find any hesitations

8.  Give candidate’s feed back and sell him to client.  Then get feedback from client

9.  Repeat steps 6-8 2 or 3 more times

10. Close candidate and client on salary.

11.  Present offer, get them to accept, prepare them how to give notice, and for the 5th time, educate them why they shouldn’t take a counter offer.

12.  Follow up with candidate for the next 2-3 weeks and hope they follow through on commitment

13.  Ah lucky number 13.  Cross your fingers that they make it the 90 days without downloading porn, harassing the opposite sex or embezzling money.

The problem is you can only control so much and everything is on spec.  Yes, you can make great money.  Yes, you’re building companies, one placement at a time.  Yes, it allows you to have a great network across businesses, industries.  I just couldn’t take depending on people anymore.

Anyway, it’s all good, I’m in a new role now and wish I had made the move 5 years earlier.

For workouts, I finished Kettlebell Extreme and have kept the weight mostly off maybe a pound or two.  Feel great and bought More Kettlebell Muscle.  40 different programs that last 6-9 weeks.  Workouts are all under a 1/2 hour and deal with complexes and chains using double kettlebells.  Burn fat and build muscle.  The lightest bells I had for doubles were 55’s.  Fooling around with one of the workouts, I realized that although I can do 5-7 double snatches, I can’t do them in a complex or a chain.  Time to borrow my buddy Billy’s other 45.

These complexes are brutal.  I’m doing the Long Haul and the Wolf.  The Long Haul is doing exercises for time.  I figured out the number of reps I can do of each exercise in 30 seconds so I use the rep number.  3-5 rounds work : rest ratio 1:2.  Meaning if the complex took 2 minutes, rest 4.  I’m in week 3 and had heavy day today which was work for 2:30 seconds, rest 5 minutes 5 rounds.  Heart rate after the first two rounds was 200 beats per minute.  Brutal. I did two rounds of the 5 then dropped the reps down to a complex of 5 reps each exercise.

The conditioning isn’t the worst part of this.  First, it’s the grip.  In 30 seconds, I can do 14 double cleans,  The forearms are fatigued.  Then, squat time.  Ten reps, and the back of the shoulders are tired from holding the bells in the rack.  Then presses with pre-fatigued shoulders, 8-10 reps, followed by double snatches.  Did I say my shoulders were tired?  Finally an oasis!  20 double swings.  Do heavy double swings sometime and let me know how your traps feel the next day.  I can deal with huffing and puffing, it’s grip and shoulder fatigue, plus the anxiety of the next set.  Conditioning here is batting cleanup.  9 week program, on week 3.

The other 3 days, I’m doing the Wolf, which is a chain with lots of squatting.  For easy and medium days, I’m using 55’s, but on heavy day, there’s a double snatch so I’m dropping to 45’s.  Two weeks through, these workouts are only taking 10-12 minutes, but you’re tired after doing 20-30 reps without putting the bell down.

I’ll stick with this for awhile  I have to travel to San Francisco next week, so it might be a good week to recover a little and take some days off.  For Lent, I’m giving up hot showers.  There, I said it, and will stick to it.

Kettlebell Burn Extreme 28 Days and Done

Yesterday was my last day of Kettlebell Burn Extreme.  It was a smashing success.  I lost somewhere between 12-15 lbs. and not much strength.  I might have lost a rep on the press, but because of the lighter weight, the pull-up numbers are higher.  My weight has been all over the place.  As low as 180.4 which is a 15.4 lb. loss to 183.8.  My best guess is somewhere in the 182-183 range.  I took before and after photos, and trust me it’s pretty significant.  My waist and love handles are gone.  I can’t believe how well this program works.  I always knew fitness was 80% diet, but when you really integrate it, it’s more like 85-90%.  The workouts were challenging, but not that hard.  The cold showers were, at best tolerable, at worst to paraphrase Macklemore and Ryan “freaking awful.”  You just had to survive them.  It was all diet.

I learned a lot about how my body works and what works for me mentally and physically.  Here are some personal lessons.

1. The 36 hour fast is more effective than the 24 hour fast.  I’m not talking about the extra 12 hours.  It’s how I would approach food.  When I do the 24 from dinner to dinner, as soon as the 24 hours is up, it was a gastric free for all.  Not bad food per se, but too much.  In the morning after 36, I’m not hungry.  Just black coffee please.

2.  The low/no carb day was harder for me mentally than the fast.  You’re mind is made up to not eat for the day.  At night during low carb was tough.  I was more hungry having not eaten for 7 hours as my last meal was at 2 PM than not eating at all.

3.  Cold showers and alternating hot/cold are great for recovery.  Sore joints have gone away.  As a matter of fact, I started the shower hot today and found myself alternating.  Wanting to alternate as a matter of fact.  I might do the straight up cold once a week for mental toughness and the multiple health benefits.

4.  I didn’t really miss the fruit or dairy as much as I thought.  I like green vegetables in an omelet.  I didn’t use a lot of condiments.  Just straight up.

5.  I loved the cheat days, but didn’t go crazy on doughnuts or chips like a I thought I would.  3 plates of Chinese Food and 3 beers were enough.

6,  I learned how to portion control by eating much slower.

I plan to incorporate the cold water therapy, cheat days and 36 hour fasting into my weekly routine.  I haven’t figured out what to do for kettlebell workouts yet.  Almost there, but not etched in stone.  Probably some complexes and chains, while working on mastering the double snatch.

Today, I took a day off from the gym, fasted until Noon and had two small roast beef sandwiches and an orange.  Tonight, honey mustard pork chops, sweet potato and broccoli.  The issue with following such a strict program is you ask yourself, what now?

Well worth the $47, 5 stars, highly recommend it.  Even if you’re not into kettlebells, you could do the workouts with barbells and dumbbells.