Thursday, September 22, 2011

I Saw This In A Muscle & Fitness In The 80s...

Forget squatting... My new goal is to lift 7063 and 4/5ths by 2012!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Three Squatting Lessons Courtesy Of YouTube

Learning from the mistakes of others can be informative, and sometimes fun. Here are three lessons from our friends on YouTube:

Lesson #1: Combining gymnastics and powerlifting is not a good idea.

Lesson #2: Squatting on the Smith is (generally) not recommended.

Lesson #3: Squats won't cure stupid.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Never Regret, ALWAYS Reflect

Never regret. Always reflect.

This is one of those mottoes that applies to training, and to life. Regret and self-flagellation don't make a better you - they just make a more broken you. Reflection, on the other hand, in both good times and bad, make a you that's better prepared for future action and reaction.

One of the greatest tools in your toolbox should be your training log. Without a log, any potential reflection on your training is going to be severely limited. Keep a log handy and record sets, reps, weights, exertion, and other notable stressors and restoratives. You don't have to live in it while you're at the gym (I see my share of people who seem to spend more time staring at their notebooks than actually lifting weights), but spend 10 minutes or so to record the sessions numbers and add a few qualitative notes. The reflections will help you make sense of subtle dips and crests that emerge over time. It will also help you make sense of those times when (heaven forbid) you find yourself in plateau-land or on the DL - helping us look at the bigger picture when it's especially hard to step away from the "WHY ME?" mind-set.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

10 Books About "Mastery"

Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment

Mastery is a re-occuring theme here at the blog. I've read a number of books on the subject, but here are a few that leap to mind. Although not all of them are, strictly speaking, about "mastery", they all speak to the importance of passion, practice, and the development of an iron will. I think I've quoted all of them in the blog at least once, and they are all, in my opinion of course, absolutely fantastic reads. If you're looking for reading material, here are 10 suggestions:

Outliers: The Story of Success
Mastery: The Keys to Success and Long-Term Fulfillment
Overachievement: The New Science of Working Less to Accomplish More
The Genius in All of Us: New Insights into Genetics, Talent, and IQ
Body Mind Mastery (Millman, Dan)
The Talent Code: Greatness Isn't Born. It's Grown. Here's How.
On Combat, The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace
Deep Survival: Who Lives, Who Dies, and Why
Born to Run: A Hidden Tribe, Superathletes, and the Greatest Race the World Has Never Seen (Vintage)
Zen in the Art of Writing: Releasing the Creative Genius Within You

Monday, September 12, 2011

Replies To Posts

I appreciate all replies to posts here at the blog both positive and negative. Anything older than a week goes into the "moderation folder". I do this so that the replies don't go unnoticed as I do not generally reread my posts regularly.

Occasionally, Blogger will send a reply to the spam folder without my knowledge - I make an effort to check it from time to time, but I am not very diligent about this.

Tonight, I noticed a long reply (that looked to be a very spirited one disagreeing with me) to the caffeine fasts post in my spam folder. As I moved it out of the spam folder, it was somehow deleted. I was looking forward to reading it and replying to it - I am very sorry to whoever wrote it. I hope that you will re-post it if you can, or send me an email.

Thank you.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


Sunday will mark 10 years since the attacks of 9/11, and the sixth month since earthquakes and tsunami ravaged eastern Japan. We're still raising money here for the American Red Cross. Please give when you can.

Monday, September 5, 2011

What Will YOU Try For 30 Days?

I watched this video recently: It's a very short presentation for a TED talk.

Good stuff.

In 30 days, what improvements could you make? What sustainable efforts could you implement? What will YOU try for 30 days?

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Training For The Truly Overwhelmed

This week has been "one of those weeks". Except for a few random pockets of 10 minutes here and there, it has been wall to wall activity.Work, family, house, paperwork, and a new puppy have kept me consistently busy from the time I wake up at 5:15am until 9 or 10 at night. I conk out in bed at about 11 pm.  A lot of quality training time is just NOT going to happen during patches like these. The best I can do during a super busy week is to add very short sessions here and there to blow off some steam, feel better, and stave off detraining.

Minimalist training is something I've done a lot of over the years, but watching Dan John's Intervention DVD gave me some fresh ideas for a solid week (or two) of shortened training. Including the basic movement patterns of push, pull, hinge, squat, loaded carries, and Turkish Get-Ups, this week I did the following:

Workout #1 = The Eagle (for 5:00)
Workout #2 = Push-Ups (for 5:00)
Workout #3 = Turkish Get-Ups (for 5:00)
Workout #4 = Chin-Ups/Pull-Ups (for 5:00)
Workout #5 = Axle Romanian Deadlifts (for 5:00)

Should I go longer? As I wrote in my last birthday post and A Quick and (Relatively) Painless Way to Add Training Volume, 5:00 is enough for a lot of things. No, it's NOT a fast-as-you-can-metcon. Just work steadily, and take breaks before form starts to break down appreciably. Of these exercises, "The Eagle" and Turkish-Get-Ups are the only two that I would probably feel a need to go longer on, but you could always just add weight - "The Eagle" for five minutes with a pair of 32kg bells will make time slow in a hurry.

How heavy? As heavy as you want but, if you're getting less than 10-15 reps, you might consider lightening the load or modifying the movement. Dan John recommends 8 sets of 8 for The Eagle - I can get five or six sets of five squats + 20 meters in five minutes w. a pair of 24kg kettlebells. Again, this is working at a steady pace, NOT frenzied.

Can I substitute exercises? Of course. You might decide to do goblet squats + one-arm farmer walks, military press, partial TGUs, bent-over laterals, and kettlebell swings, for example. In my opinion, you should try to include all six of the basic movement patterns, but it may or may not be crucial to your training short-term.