Summah Update

Update:

Weight 188 and steady, have put on muscle as my pants are looser than last year when i weighed 184-185.

Workout 5/3/1 Boring But Big 3 days a week.  Moved training maxes back 2 cycles and hitting personal records. Supersetting pullups at bodyweight between each set.  About 120 reps per week.

Kettlebells:  3 Days a week, using exclusively an 88.  Been doing this workout for almost a month.  Currently in week 4 adding a rep to each exercise each week.

This is what it looks like.  Takes about an hour.

One arm row 3 sets of 8 L, 8 R.  No problem.

One arm front squat 3 sets 6L, 6R.  Staying as tight as possible holding the bell in the rack.  Great for abs.

One arm push press 8 sets of 1L, 1R.  This is actually getting easier, another month or 2 and I think I’ll be able to strict press.  Not there yet, but the knee dip is less and even when it starts to stick, I have found the leverage point to press it.

Turkish Getups 8 L, 8 R alternating hands between each rep.  Takes about 12-13 minutes.  Never easy, I’m so happy when it’s over.

Swings, 300.  sets of 20 between the row, squat and push press sets.

Tennis elbow, gone, actually snatched for the first time yesterday with a 55 and form was nice.  No pain.

Hands getting a little sore.  I use a lot of chalk because I don’t want the bell to slip on a humid day.  They’re dry, I had to bust out the Cornhuskers Lotion the last few days.

Running a couple of times a week, 4-5 miles just for something different.  Felt like my legs were melting when I ran in 85 degree weather on Monday.

I had a de-load week from 5/3/1 and used kettlebells.  5 lbs. melted off me in about 10 days, Haven’t been fasting, just not eating as much.

Have two vacations and a corporate meeting lined up over the next 6 weeks.  Corporate trip was a vote of 3 places.  My original vote was hometown, hometown, hometown.  I mean, I have a WebEx right?   My first choice was Orange County, axed, last choice was Dallas, axed.  My second choice was some third rate city in the Midwest.  Bingo, Good news, 2 hour flight.  It’ll be good to see my co-workers.  Although I love working remotely from home, it does get a little lonely. After being put up in the Fairmont for 6 days in SF and the company flying my wife out for the company gala, and then going to Sonoma, it’s going to be anti-climatic. Though i am hooking up for a couple of beers with an old friend of mine when I arrive. That’ll be next week.

RIP Kenny Stabler.  Great football player, how is he not in the Hall of Fame?  Think of the name of the museum Hall of Fame, The 1970’s Oakland Raider teams were powerhouses and he was the first guy that came to mind.  His statistics for the time are excellent.  They don’t measure up today, but it was a completely different game.  He won a Super Bowl, was the QB on the All Decade team and has an MVP.  Love the stories about his carousing.  One of his quotes was “nothing wrong with reading the playbook by the light of the jukebox.”  In SI.com there is an article on him from 1977.  http://www.si.com/nfl/2015/07/10/si-vault-ken-stabler-oakland-raiders  It opens with him driving around in his pickup in the Redneck Riviera with an open container of beer, his second one before 9 AM.  There is a photo of him shooting pool with a butt hanging out of his mouth.  Could you imagine if they printed this today?  His autobiography, Snake, is an all time classic.  My cousin PJ, who was an enormous Raider fan gave it to me.  I texted him my condolences today.

Russell Wilson isn’t sleeping with Ciara because God told him not to.  Too bad for Seahawk fans, God forgot to tell him not to throw to Malcolm Butler.

As a Patriots fan, let’s enjoy again…https://www.youtube.com/results?search_query=malcolm+butler%27s+interception

Best Boston sports moment ever.  I was screaming “it’s a miracle!!!, running around my basement crying like a pussy, YEAH!

Ciao

20 for 20: 20 Kettlebell Workouts in 20 Minutes or Less

The lamest excuse for not working out is “I don’t have time.”  Everyone has time.  It’s how you manage it. This means being organized. If it means going to bed earlier and shutting off the TV, phone and computer, do it. Ironing clothes and making lunch the night before, do it.  I’ve become more OCD in my old age. I can’t stand tardiness, 5 minutes is fine, but I start getting annoyed at 15. I remember interviewing for a job and waiting 20 minutes. The hiring manager walked by me in the waiting room coming back from lunch like he was Oliver Flipping Cromwell without acknowledging me. Needless to say I punted the offer. I already had my mind made up at the 10 minute mark. I figured if he didn’t respect my time, he wouldn’t respect me. Also, I can’t stand mess and clutter. I have inherited this from my mother. Is it too much to pick the towel up off the floor? Get the toothpaste out of the sink? Put your clothes away? Make your bed? You’ve probably  correctly guessed I have a teenage son who thinks he lives in a hotel. My younger soon to be teenage son is falling into the same pattern.

Rant aside, I’m going to give you in my opinion, the best 20 minute kettlebell workouts that I know. These are the bang for your buck, I’m glad I did them workouts. Why? Well it’s summer time. Usually during summer, I get off what program I have and do total randomness. Not this year however. I’m still doing 5/3/1 with a barbell three days a week and looking to do something fun the other 3-4 days. I need to take more days off. Tuesday after 8.5 hours sleep, I was woozy and tired. Went to the gym, hit my numbers, but it was less than a stellar day. To humble brag, I still can’t believe I got 135 x 3 on the standing barbell military press. I felt lousy. So I took Wednesday completely off. Came back on Thursday and had a great bench press workout and 3 mile run. Felt really strong doing pull-ups.  I’ve also got my running legs back after being dormant for a few years. Sunday, I ran 5.7 miles and sprinted down the end. I was thinking of my friend and the “I could drop dead any moment” was going through my head. Other issue was running up the last steep hill during mile 5, I’m So Tired by the Beatles came on the shuffle. Great tune, but completely inappropriate running up the 5 minute grade. Followed up with a 4 mile run Monday.

Most of these can be done with 1 or 2 kettlebells. If you need to warm up and cool down, total time 30-35 minutes tops.

1. The Helion

This lovely complex was created by Pat Flynn. Set timer for 20 minutes. Do 2 two hand swings, then 2 one handed swings on each arm, then 2 thrusters with each arm. (squat to press).  Now do 4 reps of each, then 6, then 8, then 10!  Now go back down the ladder. 10 again, then 8, etc. Rest as necessary. As many ladders in 20 minutes.  Each ladder is 30 reps per exercise per arm.. Recommended bells for men. 35 or 45

I’ve used 3 different bells for this. First the 35. This one is the, “I have to hustle through this, I might be a little hungover but need to sweat, or I can only do two ladders and I can’t put the bell down.” The last one I’ve accomplished in a shade under 13 minutes. Never put the bell down.  The 45 is a good go to bell because when you get into the upper reps of thrusters it becomes a fatiguing challenge. I’ve used the 55 twice. This is the “I can take on the world” bell.  I remember failing the 10th rep on the way back down the ladder. This is a total body workout.

2. EDT Total Body

Charles Staley inspired workout. Take two same size kettlebells that you can do 6 reps with. Do as many sets of three of this complex as you can in 20 minutes One clean, Military Press, Squat, Double Row.  Record number. Next time you do it, try for one more rep than last time. I like setting the time where, I’m doing a set every 100 seconds.

3. EDT Lower Body

Use two kettlebells. For this one, don’t do as a complex. Rest between each exercise and do as super sets. Clean bells, do 3-5 reverse lunges each leg. Rest to the top of the minute. Then do a set of 3-5 double snatches, rest to the top of each minute. If you can’t double snatch, do a single arm snatch each arm. If your form isn’t good do a set of 10 double swings.  This is also a great shoulder workout because your holding the bells in the rack while doing lunges. Don’t do this workout if you’re not feeling your personal best.

4. Turkish Get-Ups

Set clock for 20 minutes. Turn on Pandora or I-tunes. Do getups switching hands after each rep. My only beef with TGU’s, is you will get floor burn on your elbows and knees unless you wear long sleeves and sweats. But then you’ll sweat so much you will feel like your in a sauna.  Boring, but effective. Once you’ve dominated your heaviest bell then try this

5. Turkish Get Down

Only do this for 15 minutes. It is much harder than just doing getups. Why? Because you never put the bell down to switch hands. I can do getups with a 70 for 20 minutes. For this workout, bell down to a smaller bell. Switch hands at the top by either snatching the bell or cleaning and pressing it into position.

6. Snatches

This is a favorite of mine when I don’t have tennis elbow. I found it an an article on Dragon Door by Steve Freides. Take a 55 lb. bell, set clock for 20 minutes. Do a set of 5 with each arm. Rest to the top of the minute. 200 snatches in about 19:34. If you haven’t done it in a while, expect soreness in your traps and bicep. Once this becomes easy, reduce by 5 seconds and do a set every 55 seconds, and continue. Once this becomes easy…

7. Snatches 2.0

This is a David Whitley workout. Do a set of 10 snatches each arm. Rest a minute, repeat until you finish 10 sets. Never has a minute gone by so fast from the 8th set and beyond. If your form and grip break down, stop and call it a day. Brutal. I’ve lost a bell in the 10th, just flew off my fingers. BOOM under the floor. Chalk your fingers.

8. Ladders

Single bell, heaviest one you can handle.  Snatch to Press to Squat, to One Arm Row. Switch hands Ladders of (1,2,3,4,5) Snatch to press is tough because you have no momentum bringing the bell down from the lockout of the snatch to the rack. Each ladder is 15 reps. As many ladders as possible in 20 minutes. If the snatch isn’t your thing, then do cleans instead of snatches.

9. Two hand swings

I’m not a fan of heavy volume of one hand swings.  They bother my back. 20 reps each minute for 20 minutes.  Or as many sets of 10 in 20 minutes. Or alternate sets of 10 and 100 skips of the rope.

10. Chains

“My baby’s got me locked up in chains and they ain’t the kind that you can see…” All right token Beatles reference from the Please Please Me album aside, a chain is going through a progression of exercises 5 times.  This can be done with single or double kettlebells and they can beat the tar out of you. At first glance, it looks easy but they’re brutal. If you use double bells, you are pushing heavier weight.  If you use a single bell, you have to switch hands so the set is longer.  It goes like this:

Swing, Clean, Press, Squat, Row. Do one rep of each, go through circuit 5 times. That’s one set.

I like chains better than complexes.  Complexes can cause form to break down, chains are only one rep.  That being said, I don’t recommend double snatches when doing chains.  In a complex, sure, but at the beginning of the set while your grip is fresh if you are using heavier bells.

11. One Arm Long Cycle Clean and Jerk

Sets of 3-5. Rest as necessary.  Start with 10 minutes. I tried this with a 70 lb. bell hoping for 80 reps. Epic fail, did 60 and heart was pumping over 180 per minute.  One needs to perfect the jerk form and start with a lighter bell.  It’s like a push press with a duck under.  Practice it without a bell. Push up on your toes, extend arm, duck under. Great back shoulder and conditioner builder.

12. Single Arm Kettlebell Complex

Sets of 5 switch hands, rest 3 minutes, repeat for 20 minutes

One arm swing x 5, Snatch x 5, Clean and Press x 5, Reverse Lunge x 5, One Arm Row x 5.  Which exercise takes the most out of you?  The clean and press.  This will test your mettle.  If it’s easy, go heavier or reduce rest. You can do this with any exercise, mix and match

13. Fitter Happier More Productive

Pat Flynn complex.  He says it sucks. I concur. Recommended bell 35 or 45.  I’ve done this with a 45 in about 9:45 if I recall. Haven’t had an overwhelming urge to try it since. Mainly because it makes my lower back sore. It’s the Helion with the snatch added in after the thruster Like the cherry on the hot fudge sundae. Oh and you can’t put the bell down. 2,4,6,8,10. You’ll be saying no mas when you’re finished.

14. The 300 Kettlebell Meltdown Workout

An oldie but a goodie.  I’ve seen guys do this with a 55, but that’s too much for me. I’ve done it with a 35. Takes about 16 minutes.  The burpees kill you. I have to do them in 5 or 6 sets.

Jack knife/V-Ups x 25 (Sit up touching your hands to your toes as you lift your legs off the ground)

Snatches 25 L, 25R

Pushups x 25

Two hand swings x 50

Burpees x 50

Clean and Press 25L, 25R

Mountain Climbers x 50

15. Stacking

David Whitley inspired, he does it for time. Not me, take a heavy bell and do for reps. 55 or 70, Adjust the reps depending on size of bell

Two hand swings x 10 Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5 Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Slingshot around body x 15 Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Slingshot around body x 15, Clean and Press 3-5, Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swings x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Slingshot around body x 15, Clean and Press, 3-5, Row x 5

Rest 90-120 second and repeat for 20 minutes

16 Conditioning Complex

This baby is my own creation. I usually do 10 sets which is over 20 minutes, but you can still do 5-6 times around the circuit in 20 minutes and get a good sweat.  I do this one in my garage.

Take heaviest bell you have.  For me an 88

Swing x 15, Pushup x 15-20, Skip rope 50 jumps, Sprint 100 yards. Walk back repeat.

17. The Long Haul

This is not the complete program but a workout from Geoff Neupert’s More Kettlebell Muscle. Perform 3 sets, Work:Rest ratio 1:2, you can shorten it to 1:1.5 and 1:1 when you get in condition. It’s basically 2:30 seconds of non-stop work, but I hate watching the clock so I’ve kind of calculated how many reps I can do in the 30 seconds. I remember getting performance anxiety during rest periods it’s so tough. Use two bells, I use 45’s for this.

Double Cleans x 12 (grip sapper)

Front Squat x 10

Military Press x 8

Double Snatch x 6

Double Swing x 20

See you on the other side…

18. Swing Ladder Superset

Another creation of mine, tested on my wife and kids. Rest as needed. Depending on size of bell do 5-10 reps. You can also swing a heavier bell and then use a lighter bell for the other exercises.

Swing 10

Reverse lunge 5 -10 each side

Swing 20

Military Press 5-10 each side

Swing 30

Goblet Squat 10

Swing 40, rest, repeat for 20 minutes

19 Swings and Burpee Ladder

Another oldie but a goodie. Haven’t done this one in a while.  Takes about 11-12 minutes, no rest unless necessary. I do this with a 55.

10 swings, 1 burpees

10 swings 2 burpees

Etc. Do 10 sets of 10 swings and work the burpee ladder up to 10.  The last couple of sets are a grind.

20 Up and Down the Ladder

This can be done with one hand swings (easier) and snatches (tougher) Rest as needed. Starts and ends like a sunny day, middle is a severe thunderstorm with large golf ball sized hail. You’ll be putting the bell down a lot going up ladders 7-10 and down to 7

1,1,2,2,3,3,4,4,5,5,6,6,7,7,8,8,9,9,10,10,9,9,8,8,7,7,6,6,5,5,4,4,3,3,2,2,1,1 = 200 total reps.  PHEW.

21. Bonus complex

Blackjack pays 3-2 unless you’re in a Harrah’s owned casino playing $10 in Vegas and they rip you off paying 6:5. In that case, run.

Go through this complex and rest until the beginning of the 3rd minute. (In English, start a new set every two minutes)

Use a 35 lb bell

Snatch x 5,5

Burpee x 5

Two hand swing x 20

Mountain climbers, 15,15

Enjoy.

Losing a friend

It astounds me how life can throw you big curveball once in a while.  Was having a great week, happily whistling my way through life.  Coaching in the championship of Little League for my son. Saw my niece graduate last week and spent time with my parents.  Work going well, Great workouts, hitting my numbers, family healthy.  Then Thursday afternoon my wife comes up to the office with the landline phone in her hand and tells me she has bad news.  My first thought was my parents, but she assured me our family was fine. My friend Mike died of a heart attack running his dog 200 yards from his house. 45 years old and left a wife and 15 year old twin sons. Just completely and utterly bummed me out.

Who was Mike? He was a guy you looked up to literally and figuratively. Six foot two, in good shape, a mechanical engineer. Always in a good mood.  I saw him mad one time in my life, and years later it was an incident we laughed about.  I first met him at soccer.  My eldest son and his sons played on the same team. My first memory was him fixing my son’s cleats by cutting the toe cleat off each shoe. Soccer shoes are different than baseball shoes. When the referee inspected the cleats, he said my son couldn’t play in those shoes. Well Mr. Engineer took care of the problem.

He was also my son’s first head basketball coach. For some reason, our in-town teams were always stacked, and I used to tell him he had the best winning percentage in our town’s league history. Patient, kind, and positive was his style.  When we started travel basketball, the roles were reversed, I was the head coach and he was the assistant. Where I could get intense, he would always be able to calm me down. I’ve picked up one technical foul in my life as a coach. 99% of the time I don’t argue with referees. I sit on the bench, not ranting up and down the sidelines. This one time in a tournament after a 3rd missed call in the first 5 minutes, I snapped. T’d up, other team gets two foul shots.  Kid missed both. Being the know it all who needed to get the last word, I said, “see the ball doesn’t lie.”  Mike grabbed me and told me to calm down and shut up. I heeded his advice. There were times in practice where I’d be explaining something and the boys would be completely tuning me out.  I was on AM in the dark of winter and they were on Sirius XM. Mike would be the translator to get through to them. Need an extra coaching pass for the league? Mike would forge and laminate. Forgot the $40 in my haste getting out of the house to pay the refs?, he’d spot me.

What a great family.  Mike’s wife knows more about sports then all the men in the town. The four of them would go to Patriots and Red Sox games, high school games, little league all star games where their boys weren’t even participating! Always together, full of positive energy and spirit. If their boys were struggling at the free throw line or at the plate, Mike’s wife would say “go see coach!” and I would try to fix them. She told me my sarcastic wise cracking personality reminded her of Mike’s brother.

Every year, in January, Mike would grow a beard and start hiking. Every April, he and his buddies from home would go to the Grand Canyon, the Smokey Mountains or some place to camp and hike.  Every year he would invite me, but we would go to Florida on vacation. I wish now I went.  Our families socialized in groups and there was always a sincere warmth. Not the type of relationship where we would have them for dinner, but friends. We have several of these types of relationships in town, where the kids play together, etc.  He also read this quasi-cesspool of a blog and would tease me about my active mind.

In the last couple of years we saw them less. His sons got into track, my son, tennis.  We moved farther away from the center of town. When I saw him, I was happy and grateful.  I enjoyed his company. We had a can drive in November to raise money for my younger son’s baseball team. I did the 11-1 shift and later caught some heat from the bride, because her running friend told her that I didn’t do much when I was down there.  Why?  Mike showed up with his cans and an hour later we were still gabbing. That was the last time I saw him. Seven months sure can fly by in life.

Thursday afternoon at the ball field, you saw guys hugging. I was getting texts from guys crying. All just bummed out. I had a beer after the game and my wife and I toasted him. We lost a good one. Why does this happen? This was a guy who took care of himself and was active. I felt a complete sense of mortality. That could have been me. What’s lurking inside us that we don’t know about? Sure, I get my physical every year. My cholesterol number is a tad high, but my good cholesterol is off the charts good. You wake up and it’s the last day of your life. What about his wife? kids? Less than 72 hours ago they had a husband and father. I have been accused by my brother of being a little cold, aloof and unsentimental sometimes. I have the attitude of “people come and go every day of your life…” and move on quickly.  Obviously a defense mechanism if I’m psycho-analyzing myself.  But this really affects me. He’s been the first and last thought in my head the last couple of days.

What was strange was on Thursday morning, after a 4 mile run, my wife and I were sitting on a park bench on our street.  Our neighbor who is moving to Texas, was telling us the first owner of her house died of a heart attack in the driveway.  It was eerie because we found out Thursday afternoon.  And what about the dog?  Went for a run with Mike, realized something was wrong and ran home.  When Mike’s wife looked out in the street, she saw someone performing CPR on her husband. Dogs are amazingly intelligent creatures.

No one had a bad word to say about this guy.  I’ll miss you, my friend.

Cycle 4 complete 5/3/1. We’re on to Cycle 5

Cycle 4 5/3/1 complete

Numbers

Deadlift: Training max 325.  Hit 310 x 5, 295 x 10, 275 x 12

Military Press: Training max 145 Hit 145 x 1, 5 sets x 5 x 120

Bench Press: Training max a weak 205.  Hit 205 x 2, 195 x 3, failed 225 but not by much

Squat: Training max 325 Hit 310 x 5, 5 x 5 w/ 275 felt easy.

Pullups:  100 + per week, Tennis elbow still there, but a lot better.  Only thing that bothers me is kettlebell snatching

Kettlebells.  Doing heavy ladder complexes, 2-3 days a week, Double press, front squat, row.  Swings, did 300 one handers in 9:50 with a 55.  Never again, back was not happy.

Hill sprints and jogging couple of times a week. Jumping rope for a set of 500 as a warmup twice a week

Weight, 190-ish, coming down a little bit.  7-8 lbs. and I’ll ready for Newport, Laguna Beach, Naples and wherever else I go this summer.

The presses are starting to get heavy, and will probably drop the training max back to cycle 3, after I finish cycle 5. Not missed a rep yet.

It’s a great program that has a ton of different templates after hitting the 5/3/1 reps.

Cycle 5 started.

Bench Press Training max 210.  Hit 6 x 180 did 33 reps x 160 in 5 sets 8,8,6,5,6

Squats Training max 335 Did 295 x 5. No PR and I thought, wow, that was heavy as I was shooting for 8 reps with 85% of the training max.  Realized in the car on the way back I should have done 285.  Good miss.  Did 5 sets x 8 of 250.

Have been much better with my diet. Decent eating weekend.  Parents were up for my niece’s graduation. Proud of her. If I had a daughter, I hope she would end up like her. Going to school in Florida. Hopefully she isn’t like her uncle who came home for Thanksgiving 200 lbs. with a mullet. (Ah the late 80’s early 90’s). Grilled Saturday, big family get together at a restaurant yesterday.  Not great, but not eating everything in sight. Did a 40 hour fast last week. On hour 22 of another right now.  When I fast and get into the habit of doing so, I don’t say, I’m fasting for 36-40 hours.  What I do is just try to get to my bedtime. So for tonight, get to 10:30. 5 more hours to go. I never wake up hungry so I shouldn’t have a problem getting to 37-38 hours.  Two-three cups of coffee will cure that. Got under 190 again on Saturday AM, so starting to see results.

My email has been getting blown up by Geoff Neupert selling his More Kettlebell Muscle program.  I recommend it.  It’s great for conditioning and fat loss. Tons of variety. My only complaint is, when I did it, I lost strength with my heavy bells. My press with double 70’s dropped like a rock, because I wasn’t practicing them.  His bonuses are okay.  What I love about the programming is the progression, and it does get tough, especially when you cut rest periods down.

Vacation and then a Deadlift PR

When I vacation, most of the time, I’ll take a week off from working out. Sometimes, I might get a couple of runs in or do some pushups, but you won’t see me (you won’t see me…) in a gym. In January, I was in San Francisco for sales kickoff and then Sonoma for wine tasting.  My working out was walking around the city. Lunch? nah, I’ll pass on the kale soup, I’ll walk. 30 minute break, take a walk. My wife and I did 10 miles up and down the hills one day. Two weeks ago, we went to New York and Philadelphia.  Walked around Central Park, down Broadway, Times Square, Lower Manhattan.  Got 7 miles in one day.  Rest is key every 12-16 weeks for not only mental, but physical recovery. When I do this, I come back refreshed and ready.

Vacation was great, saw the musical Jersey Boys, went to the Statue of Liberty, Ellis Island, (searched for my great grandfather’s name, but it was spelled wrong), World Trade Center pools and went to the Museum of Modern Art.  Fifth floor was spectacular.  Picasso, Cezanne, Van Gogh (Meh).  Then as you get to the more modern stuff it gets weirder. I’m a fan of Post Impressionism. I asked for 2 hours, we bailed after 100 minutes and went to Junior’s for a reuben and some cheesecake.

Then it was off to Philadelphia, well Exton, actually. My youngest single cousin got married. He hit the lottery with this gal. The ceremony was on Villanova. Beautiful campus. Easily the best wedding I’ve ever attended.  Everyone was there, parents, relatives, cousins. Lots of laughs and rehashing the same things that have been occurring the last 40 years. Thoroughly enjoyed the handle of Glen Livet my eldest cousin brought.  Yeah, i said it was the Budweiser of Single Malts, but it’s still great.  My new favorite is Highland Park. Bought a bottle for a friend of mine who got the fight Saturday night.  Delicious and smooth. The discussion was who was the MVP of the weekend. We were going with my eldest cousin who put on an all time show, he was putting up numbers like Barry Bonds, fresh off a cycle from BALCO. In reality it was the groom, who organized a great round of golf the day before. It was freezing 42 with a 30 mph wind but still fun.  Helps that I played well. He was the reason we were all down there. The only points he lost was for complaining about missing centerpieces. I had to pull him aside to discuss roles of the groom and how floral arrangements should never be on his task list. Was a dancing fool. I don’t care if Marvin Gaye was ripped off, and he was. Is there a better get on the dance floor tune than Blurred Lines?  Just sayin’….

Seven hours back home, five states, a little traffic at the GW. I refuse to take the Tappan Zee, just go right up the belly of the beast.  Blew off the Cross Bronx and 95 by taking the Hutch to the Merritt, traffic on both, traffic in Hartford at the exit off where my Moms grew up, traffic getting into Massachusetts.  Oh well it was worth it, delayed an hour.

Got back on the scale Monday, 197.8.  To tell you the truth, I was relieved. The weekend before vacation, I know I hit 200 for the first time since 1998. I fasted for 40 hours the Sunday before we left. So, I’ve taken control and have dropped about 5 pounds since then. What has been working is two things.  Long daily fasts 17-20 hours, and gulp, long distance running.  Yes, back at it and enjoying it with the nice weather. Still doing some kettlebell stuff, but my tennis elbow isn’t quite healed yet and I can’t snatch.  Did 4.2 miles on Sunday with my dog, 3 on the treadmill yesterday after national bench press day at the gym in 25:38 and over 5 today with my wife. No run tomorrow because of squats and thinking of playing hoop Thursday night.  I like putting the music on and letting my mind shut down. I have one playlist, mostly Beatles, Wings, Led Zeppelin and Rolling Stones for rock. Some 70’s soft rock, 10CC, England Dan and John Ford Coley, Pure Prairie League, Ozark Mountain Daredevils (Jackie Blue is a great tune), 90’s hip hop as well as some modern stuff.  Selena Gomez, Britney, Sara Baralles etc.

For lifting still doing 5/3/1, just about finished cycle 3.  My favorite week is the 3 x 3 week.  On Saturday after seeing A-Rod hit hit 660th the previous evening, went and did presses and deadlifts. Instead of following the percentages, I did 275 x 3, 295 x 3, then threw a third wheel on each side and did 315 which was my training max, x 3. Felt good and loose. I didn’t want to rep out 315, felt like maxing out. Threw 2 10’s on each side. boom, 1 rep at 355. Took the 10’s off and put quarters on for 365.  Grip, left hand over, right hand under.  Fool on the Hill was playing on the iTunes. Pulled the bar a couple of times to take the slack out and up it went. Personal record.  Stripped the bar as Slow by Selena Gomez came on and walked out of the gym. To paraphrase Flo-rida, the gym couldn’t handle me. My goal is a 2x bodyweight deadlift, and that is only 20-25 lbs. away. After that 4 wheels on each end or 405 for you math savants.

For kettlebells doing work with the 88. Getups, push presses, squat in the rack and row as well as swings. I’ve probably brought this up before, as a matter of fact I know I have.  I like the two hand swing much better than the one hand swing.  I know the one hand swing is asymmetrical, but the two hand swing, in my opinion is harder on the grip. When you swing with the left arm, your right arm is resting. With two hand swings, both arms are engaged.  My tailbone doesn’t bother me after a high volume of two hand swings like it does with one hand. Don’t get me wrong, one hand has it’s place and 10 sets of 15, 15 with 30 seconds rest with a heavy bell is great for conditioning.  It’s just my preference. WIth good form, as Lisa RInna says, YES. There is no wrong answer.  I’d just rather do one hand sntaches vs. one hand swings.

5/3/1 update

Weather is finally warming up here, just a little snow left on the lawn and just finished my second cycle of 5/3/1.  I’ve been going to the gym 3 days a week and using kettlebells 3 days.  Current training maxes are Squat and Deadlift 305, Military Press 135, Bench 195.  Doing first set last multiple sets.  Looks like this:

3 warm up sets

5/3/1 work sets.  Last work set rep out leave one in the tank.

Joker set or two above training max (Sets of 1-3 above max)

then back down the ladder.

Second work set at required reps

FIrst set last 5 sets x 5-8 with first work set.

Numbers have been strong on deadlift and squats.  Been hitting 335 for 1-3 reps.  Hit 205 x 1 on the bench and have been able to do 135 for reps on the press. Squat depth is good.  Hit 11 x 275 on squat, 10 x 275 on deadlift.  Moving the training maxes up to 315 for squat and deadlift. 140 for press, 200 for bench.

Have not been doing a lot of assistance work. No pull-ups, bothered by tennis elbow tendonitis. Earned that doing too much snatching one day.  Decided to do a Viking Warrior Conditioning workout with a 35 lb kettlebell. 40 sets of 7,7 at the top of each minute. Stupid, anyway learned some self massage technique that has made it much better. I know, self massage, snatch, lots of sexual references.

Finished soccer, last three weeks dealt with a pulled calf muscle.  That day, I had jumped rope in the morning, and played soccer in the evening. Two minutes into the second half, pop goes the calf.  I came out, stretched it went back out and lasted 30 seconds and thought it was going to tear.  What’s funny is 3 days later, 100%.  Missed a week, played in the final game and the first minute on the field was terrible.  My legs felt like a couple of Redwood trees and the calf started pulling again.  Came out, went back out there and it started straining again.  At this point, I exited the field and put on the goalie gloves and jersey.  It is probably time to retire.  The heart and skills are still there, physically a sore rib, a recurring calf strain and a sore groin muscles remind me that I’m 46.  We’ll see.

Diet, the more things change the more they stay the same, mid 190’s, eating far too much. Not bad food, just too much.  Need to work on portion control.  Lifting heavy makes me ravenously hungry. Going to the Red Sox game tomorrow afternoon isn’t going to help the cause. Great seats,15 rows behind 3rd base dugout. I only go to Fenway when I have good seats.  I will address the weight issue in a fortnight.

I found a moving box from last summer that contained all my kettlebell e-books that I’ve printed over the years.  I pulled out David Whitley’s 101 Kettlebell Workouts. This was akin to finding a $20 bill in a coat you haven’t worn in a while.  This was the book that helped me get hooked on kettlebells. back in 2009 (through the mists of time). He has 30 workouts under 30 minutes, which I’ve been working through on non-barbell days. The only issue is there are lot of snatch workouts, which I can’t do yet.  There are also stacking workouts and circuit training.  The stacking is a crown jewel, except I don’t do it for time, I do it for reps. If you do 5 rounds, the volume is high for swings and goblet squats.  Here is one I did with a 55 lb. bell last week.

Two hand swing x 10

Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swing x 10, Goblet Squat x 5

Rest 30 seconds

Two hand swing x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Pushups x 15

Rest 30 Seconds

Two hand swing x 10, Goblet Squat x 5 Pushups x 15, Sling shot x 15 (pass around body)

Rest 30

Two hand swing x 10, Goblet Squat x 5, Pushups x 15, Sling shot x 15, Clean and Press 5 left, 5 right

Rest 90 seconds, repeat for up to 5 rounds, pick up your lungs up off the floor.

Yesterday I did two circuit training sessions.  First was:

Goblet Squat x 5 (70 lb. bell)

Clean and Press 5,5 (55 lb. bell)

Two hand Swing x 20 (70 lb. bell)

Rest a minute 5 rounds

Second circuit, set time for 20 minutes

One hand swing, 10,10  70 lb. bell

Immediately picked up the 55’s

Double Kettlebell Front Squat x 5

Double Military Press x 5

Alternating Row with hold at the top 5L, 5R

Did six rounds of this and it was tiring.

I’ve also been jogging outside a couple of times a week, about 4 miles with my dog.  Mountain goat neighborhood.  I run with my wife from time to time, but she runs 5 days a week and kicks my butt.  I’m going to add more running in, just to stay outside.

Baseball Season:

With all the domes and southern and west coast teams, why are the Padres and Dodgers playing one another and the Red Sox are playing night games in Philly?  Wouldn’t it make more sense for the northeast/midwest teams to start in a dome or the south or west coast?  Then again it’s baseball and nothing makes sense. Only in baseball is the all time hit leader banned, and the all time home run leader will never be in the Hall of Fame.  And I don’t want to hear the excuse that “Barry Bonds/Roger Clemens was a hall of famer before they started using.  Horsefeathers! if you cheated and got caught, you’re out.  Will be in Cooperstown at a baseball tournament during Hall of Fame week this July.

Had an aggravating morning. Had great intentions of rocking up at the gym, however life threw me a 12-6 curveball. Last night, my 15 year old decided to revert back to a decade and jump onto his bed, The adjacent wall is the office and has a network extender on the top of the computer desk.  Boom down it goes, cable ripped out of box.  Then the internet goes down, no WIFI and once it’s back up, can’t log into work.  7:30 AM Wal-Mart trip did the trick.  My younger son had a black sweatshirt, black shorts and royal blue socks on.  Told him, change the socks, “Don’t Judge Me!’ was his retort.  At least he got his contact lenses in on the first try. But here’s a look at modern day English. Have there been two verbs that have been more overused these days than “judge” and “bully?”  “Don’t Judge Me” is the new millennial phrase that translated into 20th century English means: “I know I’m making a mistake and I neither care, nor want to hear it.”  And bullying is so commonplace that it has become like the boy and the wolf. In my opinion, bullying is torturing and hurting someone, not teasing and busting chops. I have ZERO tolerance for the former, playful banter is not bullying.  Witching hours at my house are 7 and 7 just like the old cocktail, before school and dinnertime.

Other pet peeves in the English language are ending a sentence with a preposition. “That’s where I’m at.” No, that’s where you are.  When apologizing, just saying “sorry.”  No, you forgot the pronoun.  If you want to sound sincere, “I am sorry.” Not using the word “Dear” or ‘Sincerely” in a thank you note. My elder cousin called me the other day about thank you note protocol for a job interview. (Note: I love talking to my cousin, but after 17 years in the business, I have as much interest in recruiting and job placement as George Harrison had in playing music with Paul McCartney around 1972.) He wanted to know if he should use the word “dear” in a thank you note.  Whatever happened to a little old school formality? In some ways the world has gotten a little too casual. Growing up I didn’t call most of my parents’ friends by their first names and never the neighbors.  The world has changed.

Segueing, I’ve been finding myself really enjoying pre 1966 Beatle music lately.  Of course Ticket to Ride is still my favorite tune off Help!  I Feel Fine (best intro ever), This Boy, It’s Only Love, Baby It’s You, Chains, Anna, Please Please Me (I’ve been slow on the uptake, but have finally realized this is about a chick who ain’t giving it up to her man.)  My wife is teaching one of her students “Honey Pie” off of the White Album. He’s extremely talented but bangs the piano too hard and is always changing his mind about songs.  That being said, he’s enjoyable to hear play. I told my wife that he can’t learn a new song until he aces it.  Week 2 was yesterday and sounded great.

Bay State jokes that continuously make me laugh. Potential Olympics in Boston and Elizabeth Warren running for president.

Cheerio

Back to the Barbell

Failed Kettlebell Burn Extreme after 10 days. Mentally weak, MEOW! there I said it.

Ok, now that we got that out of the way…

I rejoined my old gym about 15 minutes away. $10 bucks a month, all the equipment I need and it’s not Planet Fitness. I work from home and had been cooped up too much in the house this winter. It was like being under house arrest. Hadn’t been there in 15 months, not one thing has changed. No new equipment, machines, nothing. I’m sure the shower curtains are the same. Zero reinvestment, but the place is nice. My only complaint is just the one squat rack. There are more cartoon characters there than anywhere, all from Woonsocket. As much ink there as you would see on the 4th of July at Hampton Beach.

I’m doing the 5/3/1 barbell program three days a week. Going to throw some kettlebells and running with my wife on the other days. Weather almost tolerable? Well, it’s snowing out right now. I ran with my dog this week and had to run in the middle of the street because I didn’t want her all sandy. She was SO HAPPY, smiling up at me with love and hopping like a bunny for the first 200 yards

Starting week 3 of 5/3/1, doing a pyramid of First Set Last. It goes like this,

Warmup 3 sets
Work sets 5,5,5+ (+ as many reps as possible)
Second work set x 5
First work set 5 sets x 5-8

Only assistance work I’m doing are pull-ups, rows and dips which have been shelved for the time being. Being the stubborn idiot I am, for a conditioning day, I decided to do kettlebell snatches with a 35. 15 seconds on 15 seconds off for 40 minutes, Viking Warrior Conditioning style. Easily did the workout, but the 280 snatches on each arm dinged my left elbow and I have a mild case of tendonitis on the top of my elbow/forearm. So, I’m working around that. It burns to brush my teeth vertically, I’m doing it with my right hand. Want a great brain exercise? Try brushing with your opposite hand, just beware of your gums with the toothbrush. Throw in a bruised rib from soccer that hasn’t healed in two weeks and I’ve been hitting the Aleve. Which, you can’t take on an empty stomach, thus no fasting, weight still in the low-mid 190’s.

Successes have been my squats and deadlifts which have been strong. I easily pulled 315 x 3 the other day and have been regularly squatting 275 x 5 with depth. Presses are good, and the more things change the more they stay the same, my bench is, as always, my weak exercise.

How’s everyone doing in their brackets? I’m down to seven on my elite 8. How does Providence lay an egg last night? I watched a lot of college hoop this winter, nobody is beating Kentucky. My brother had Baylor going to the Final Four. Why? How many Big 12 games did you watch? I didn’t watch any. I saw a lot of Big East and ACC games. Xavier seemed to be on every Saturday. I like that team, they always win a game or two in the tourney and you can’t bury them. Villanova and their grease ball coach Jay Wright won’t get to the Final Four. Providence got screwed vs.’Nova in the Big East tournament. Phantom call. I have Kentucky, Duke (really going out on a limb there) Arizona and Virginia. The last team to go completely undefeated was Bobby Knight’s 1976 Indiana team. I like John Calipari, so I hope Kentucky runs the table. Sure he’s a little shady, but college basketball is a cesspool. They’re all slime bags and he’s not a complete sphincter like General Knight.

My problem with college hoop is the complete over coaching. The last minute of a game takes 15. I saw a team last week call a timeout down 5 with 1.6 seconds left. Really? Did you know there are 4 TV timeouts a half, plus 15 minutes at halftime, plus a 60 second timeout and 4 30 second timeouts? How much can you possibly say to your team? The TV timeouts come every 4 minutes, so the first one is at the 16 minute mark. I love the coaches who call timeouts at 16:05. I HATE the charge call, it’s too subjective. College basketball has turned into a low scoring rock fight. They need to drop the shot clock from 35 to 24, extend the three point line farther out. There is no mid range game, guys just kick it out and launch threes. Lose the charge call and drop the timeouts in half.

The Ashley Judd Twitter controversy has made me giggle over the past two days. Answering trolls calling her names and telling her to die because she’s a die-hard Kentucky fan. She’s staying relevant, kissing Dickie V and screaming misogyny. Dickie probably hasn’t needed the viagra since. He needs to go away. His schtick was getting tired when I was in college in the 80’s. In the 1990’s she was Nolan Ryan, throwing 99 MPH heat, but now she’s just a knuckleballer. Bad botox/filler, bi-polar bat shit crazy drama queen. Legendary crazy stories. Google it.

Speaking of Twitter, did anyone ever see the stories about the NBA players, calling one another the N word during it’s infancy. Kevin Durant was a major participant. Twitter is the internet at it’s best and worst. Great news feeds and information, but filled with trolls. I like talking trash to my friends, but I’m not throwing it up for the world to see. I’ve had to have conversations with my son about what should and shouldn’t be posted.

Not happy the Patriots cheaped out on Revis and Browner. They’ll figure it out, but for the first time in 10 years they had a tough physical defense and won the Super Bowl. Now they’ll make do with bandaids. At least they’re not as decimated as the 49ers who have 5-11 written all over them. Nice of Peyton Manning to take a pay cut. He’s been sating himself at the salary trough for too long. Is there anything he won’t endorse? Complete sellout. He can make the money back if the Broncos win the AFC championship and Super Bowl (INSERT LAUGH TRACK HERE)

Dead arm, strained oblique, dehydration, only in baseball. Thanks God spring training is only six weeks. Wade Boggs robbed at knifepoint willing himself dead. Jeff Kent doing wheelies in the parking lot and injuring himself. (this sentence makes me laugh). Guys falling out of bed, stepping on glass, injuring themselves moving boxes. How much freaky stuff happens in Arizona and Florida in the months of February and March?

Baseball fashion since the 1990’s. Mullet, goatee, pants cuffed at ankles, wrap around Oakleys, hillbilly beards and now tattoos. Look at the 2013 Red Sox and every Oakland A’s team. They look like rejects from the House of David.

Best TV show this season is Better Call Saul the spinoff from Breaking Bad. Looking forward to the final episodes of Mad Men. My wife and I are watching Sons of Anarchy and House of Lies. Also watching The Following. Not feeling it for Game of Thrones yet which is coming soon. I’m not really a fantasy/medieval genre fan, but I like the show. I’ll get into it after a couple of episodes. The first couple will be a chore for me to watch. Does every HBO show have a formula? Whether it be The Wire, Sopranos, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones. All 60 minutes long. Have no idea or vague idea about half the dialogue and what’s going on, the the last 10 minutes make sense wrapped in a little bow. Then watch the three minutes of the dorky producer summarize and explain everything.

Pet peeves, closing an email with the word “cheers,” using the metric system in fitness forums (don’t make me multiply your kg by 2.2), the word “mate,” hockey talk when I’m in the car, the suffix “gate”

Cheerio