I’m a pretty avid reader. I would rather read than watch television for the most part. One author whom I’ve read over the past decade was Lee Child. The main character in all his books is an ex-Military Policeman by the name of Jack Reacher. He’s a bad ass, never loses a fight. Though I bet Mitch Rapp from the Vince Flynn’s series of books would smack him around. Reacher is famous for being 6 foot 5, and drinking about a gallon of coffee a day. He’s a good character, but I’ve given up on the books for the most part after reading 3 of the novels in a row. I just got sick of the story line. Lo and behold, Hollywood is doing a film based on the character. Now let’s face facts, with the exception of the Godfather, Hollywood does not do a great of a job translating literature onto the screen. This film will be no exception and it’s not even out yet. Jack Reacher is going to be played by…..DRUM ROLL PLEASE….. That Lilliputian actor, the former Mr. Katie Holmes, ex-Mr Nicole Kidman, once married to Mimi Rogers, Tom Cruise. How can this be so miscast? It’s almost akin to having Hugh Jackman cast as the title character in Ali. I’ll take a pass on this one.
Speaking of reading I did complete a goal of mine this year. Since high school, I’ve had the Today’s English version of the Bible in my night stand. This year, I decided to read it. It took me 11 1/2 months, but I finally finished today. I would read 5 or 10 pages three or four days a week. It was a great way to start the day on the right track. What’s funny is I have not set foot in a church since just after my youngest son made his first communion. I don’t feel guilty about it either. Not one place in the Bible does it say to go to Mass on Sunday. I’m proud to say I’m a Catholic, but I’ve been struggling for the past few years with “man-made” laws vs. God’s laws. Priests should be allowed to get married. It shouldn’t be a sin to eat meat on a Friday. You should be able to receive communion if you miss Mass for example. It seemed like every time I went to Mass, I’d be asked to give more and more money. Two collections plus more fund raising. What bothers me is the Church has plenty of money.
Anyway, I started with the New Testament which contains the 4 gospels and tells tales of Jesus. It’s about 350 pages long and for the most part is wonderful. St. Paul pontificates a little too much in his letters to EVERYONE. I always wondered if they wrote back. However for the most part the letters are good. The book of Revelation, the last book in the New Testament is INSANE. Just really out there. The New Testament took about 6 weeks to read. Then it was on to the Old Testament.
The Old Testament is 1041 pages. It starts with Adam and Eve in Genesis, then goes to Exodus and the settlement into Israel. From there it starts to drag. You learn how every clan is related, how God wants them to set up the temple, what to sacrifice, as well as the rules of Jewish law. From there it’s pages upon pages of the Books of Kings and Books of Chronicles. The four books repeat the history of the kings of Israel, how they would worship other gods, etc. God was an angry deity in the Old Testament. He was not happy with the way his chosen people behaved. A lot of the misbehavior today existed back then. For about 400 pages, God threatens and exiles his people to Babylonia for 70 years. Then brings them back. The highlights of the Old Testament are Genesis, Exodus, Job, and Proverbs. In my opinion Proverbs is the best book in the OT. It is full of wisdom on how to live your life. Toward the end, a lot of the books of the prophets are only 3 or 4 pages long. It finishes in the 5th century with the prophet Malachi. I’m glad I read it, but in the OT, only 300-400 pages were worth it. My older son was being 13 one night, and I made him read passages on honoring your parents. It might have been one of the best punishments I have given him.
My workouts have been excellent. I’ve been lifting barbells 2 days a week, heavy kettlebells 2 days a week and Metabolic Conditioning with kettlebells once a week. I’ve been doing a 5×5 workout with the barbell. Do two warm up sets of 5, then take a weight, do 4 sets of 5 and then on the last set, do as many reps as possible without going to failure. I start with Back Squats, then Deadlifts, then I alternate Pullups and Bench Press,. I finish with heavy one arm rows or farmers’ carries. For the squats and deadlifts, I’ve moved up from 225 to 245 as my work set and have been able to get 10 reps on the last set. A couple of things are nagging me. First the back squat has been bothering the back of my shoulders when I reach back for the bar when it is on my back. Secondly, my glute is still not 100%. Once in a while, I can feel it coming up out of a movement. I also need to start chalking my hands more in order to keep an overhand grip. I forgot my chalk Saturday when I went, and had to switch to an alternate hand grip to finish the deadlifts. My pullups are still a weak link, but I’ve been doing 35-40 in a workout. I switch between a close grip pullup and a wider neutral grip. I do sets of 5 until I can’t anymore than drop to 3. I’m not great at them, but always game to do them. Hanging out at a weight of 190 I’m sure is making it harder. For bench, I’ve moved up from 165 to 170 doing sets of 5. My finishing set on Saturday I did 7. When I get 8 I’ll move up. The key I have finally learned to bench pressing correctly is to make it a total body exercise. Crush grip the bar, lift your ass up off the bench and try to push your feet through the floor. So those of you who are benching with your feet up off the floor, you’re doing it wrong.
For kettlebells, I’ve been using my double 70′s. 5 ladders of 1,2,3 doing military presses and rows. Then I’ll do front squats and deadlifts, 5 x 5 for squats, 5 x 10 for deadlifts. I’ll rep out once in a while. I finish with double swings, 5-15 sets of 10, rest to the top of each minute. Last Thursday, I was too sore for the 70′s so I used my 55′s and did 5 ladders of 2,3, 5. MetCon is just a fun day doing kettlebells lifting and conditioning. I keep these workouts to a 1/2 hour and just get a good sweat going. I use mostly 45′s, when I can find one of the 45′s. My wife has kettlebell fever. She is doing the Turkish Getup/Swing challenge for the month of December. She completed it two years ago and decided to do it again. She is doing 7000 swings as well as the getups. For the swings she is using a 45. For the getups she is using a 26. She can do a TGU with a 35 with each arm, but it’s on loan to my buddy Billy in exchange for his 45. She tried to do a TGU with a 45, but just missed it. She is doing the challenge her own way. She is averaging about 260 swings a day and has been banking getups. Doing extras earlier in the month to alleviate things later. She is also running 3 times a week. She runs 5 miles twice a week with her friend Sabra and then does a 3 mile run with our dog, Daisy. I try to refrain from telling her to move up the weight on her swings to a 55 or making other suggestions. What’s funny about her is when people start doing kettlebells, a lot of them love the variety of exercises there are and try to make everything a priority (I’m guilty as charged even now of this). Not her, just the basics. Turkish Getups and Two hand swings. It’s working, I’ll tell you that much. If it’s not broken, don’t fix it.
If I’m not inspired to write the rest of the year, Merry Christmas to all.