Training Log: 11/30/10

Strength

Squat 3x5 @135
Barbell Row 3x5 @140

Did a strength only session this evening in the basement. The squat felt fine and the weight is still pretty easy. I had some shoulder pain in the squat which was unusual. I did some digging and rolling around on my shoulder with a lacrosse ball afterward and it feels much better. It's amazing what a difference that little ball can do.

Training Log: 11/29/10

Strength

2 Sets of Max Strict Pullups

Metcon

Run 400m

30-20-10 rep rounds of:
Wallballs (20#, 10 ft)
Situps (unanchored on abmat)
Double Unders

Run 400m


I've had a short term goal of being able to do 10 strict pull ups. This is an interim goal on the way to a larger goal of 20 strict pull ups. The last time I had tested my max pull ups, which was some time ago, I got 8 and was pleased with that as I've always struggled with pull ups. This morning I managed 10 on my first attempt. Woohoo PR town! I took about a three or four minute rest in between sets and managed 8 on the second attempt, which tied my old PR. I was more than pleased with that effort. The metcon was less than desirable. Wallballs and double unders are two of my least favorite movements in Crossfit. Which means I should probably do them more often. I don't mind double unders as much, it's more of a frustration in not being able to get the technique down. Today, I managed to string together six unbroken. But the rest of my attempts were one or two at a time. I think I'm jumping two fast. The six I strung together were a slower, more controlled jump with a slower but harder whip of the rope. The double unders, as usual, really slowed me down and I ended up with a time of 18:06. It was cold out this morning and I started the wod with track pants, a long sleeve shirt, fleece and a winter hat on. Once I got back from the run I stripped down to shorts and t-shirt for the rest of the workout. By the time the last 400 rolled around I was lagging so far behind I ran out of the gym as is and didn't bother to throw on a fleece or even my hat. I hit that cold air and my airways closed up. I think that's what it must feel like to have an asthma attack. It was one of the longest 400s I ever ran and I was wheezing uncontrollably with every breath. In hindsight, I should have taken an extra three seconds and put on my fleece. It was too cold out for just a t-shirt. My breathing would probably have been better had I worn the fleece. 

Training Log: 11/28/10

Strength

Squat 3x5 @125
Bench 3x5 @135

After several days off from training, I did a short strength session today in the basement. The last few days were full of mass eating. I felt full all day from Wednesday to Saturday. I did a little shoulder rehab before the workout to test my range of motion and loosen things up. I wanted to see how my shoulder was feeling on the bench. I kept the weight at 135 because of a twinge of pain when lowering the bar all the way to my chest. If I kept it a couple inches from touching my chest, the pain was barely noticeable. I'm going to try board press the next time I bench and see if I'm pain free that way.

Training Log: 11/23/10

10 rounds for time of:

12 Pullups
12 Burpees

Don't get me wrong, this workout was a bitch. But the workout itself wasn't the toughest thing I did today. It was trying not to puke during it. Lately, I've been keeping it simple for my morning pre-wod meal. I have a few tablespoons of almond butter and few tablespoons of applesauce. Nice, soft foods; like an old person. This morning I followed them up with two teaspoons of mint flavored fish oil. I had purchased a variety pack of Stronger Faster Healthier fish oil to sample the flavors before ordering a big bottle. Once I've completely finished all of the bottles I'll write up a review, but in the meantime, back to working out. I'm going to blame the fish oil because I don't know why I thought I might puke after the second round this morning. 

My biggest concern with this workout was the shear volume of it. 120 pull ups is a guarantee that I will tear my hands up. I decided to wrap my palms in athletic tape prior to the workout. That lasted until the second round when I ripped off the tape because it was bunching up and making it more difficult to grip the bar. I made it to the 8th round when my hands finally ripped open. There's nothing tough or manly about ripping your hands. The only thing it ensures is that you'll have to take the next few days off in order for them to heal. At the earliest, you can put liquid skin on them in about 24 hours, wrap them real well and stick to stuff that's not grip-intensive.  I'd like to go to the gym tomorrow, but I'll have to see how my hands are feeling later tonight. I finished around 29:05, and was surprised that my muscles weren't as fatigued as I anticipated. My grip held up and arms were in much better shape than I thought they would be. The biggest thing holding me back was that I was winded throughout the workout and fighting back pukemon. 

Training Log: 11/22/10

Strength

Back Squat 3x5

Metcon

1 Rope Climb
21-15-9 rep rounds of:
KB Swings (1.5 pood)
Double Unders
1 Rope Climb

I stuck with the next progression in my back squat, which again wasn't very difficult. I haven't climbed a rope since high school, if we even climbed one then. I know I definitely climbed a rope in junior high and elementary school. And looking back on that I don't remember there being a crash pad in elementary school. Oh well, I don't ever remember anyone falling either. I think fear and humiliation got most people up that rope. For the metcon, I did all of the kb swings unbroken, but as per usual fumbled through the double unders. At one point I did manage to string five together, but then after that got one or two at a time. I counted attempts as well, which were scattered throughout. I ended up finishing the wod in 7:25. I ran into some trouble descending from the rope climb as I couldn't seem to figure that part out. I inevitably ended up dropping the last seven feet or so and still managed some rope burns on the outside of my lower calf. Had I been more proficient in the rope climb and double unders, I could see this wod ending up in the four minute range. 

Training Log: 11/21/10

Rest Day

Kensington Gardens, London, England. Taken in August 2010

Training Log: 11/20/10

Strength

3x5 Back Squat-105
1x5 Deadlift-255 (pr)
3x5 Barbell Row-135

Basement session. Moved along to the next weight in my back squat progression. Did two warm up sets and then got down to business. Again, it wasn't very difficult because it's still a light weight. My gym is doing 7x3 back squats on Monday as the strength movement so I think I'll just check my ego, and stick with my next progression to 3x5 at 115. My shoulder wasn't feeling good enough to attempt a light bench, so I'll put that off for a few days and see if I can get it in working order. The deadlift felt heavy, but I always think that the steel plates feel heavier than the rubber bumpers.

Training Log: 11/19/10

Rest Day

Took an unplanned rest day today. Going to have to double up the strength work tomorrow morning in the basement. I crushed a footlong meatball sandwich tonight at McCloskey's, a local establishment, and it was good. I felt a little sick afterward, but that may have been caused by the beer I had with dinner. Lately, alcohol hasn't sat well with me. I guess that's not necessarily a bad thing.

Training Log: 11/18/10

Strength

Power Clean 5×3

Metcon

For time:

100ft Farmer’s Walk
then..
21-15-9 Rep Rounds of:
Knees to Elbows
DB Push Press
then..
100ft Farmer’s Walk

Despite a horrible nights sleep courtesy of my dog Tippy waking me up about 5 times last night, I still managed a 20 lb PR on my power clean this morning. 175x3. The last time I did 5x3 power cleans was on November 1st. On that day I failed on 165, only getting it twice, which I think it was more of a mental block. So it's probably only 10 lb jump which still isn't too bad for 17 days. The gain is partially a strength increase and mostly getting more comfortable with the mechanics of the movement. I could've probably tried for 185 but time was a factor and we had to get onto the metcon.

I used a pair of 2 pood kettlebells (roughly 70 lbs each) for the farmer's walk and 40 lb dumbbells for the push press. The first farmer's walk was fast. I was power walking the hell out of it. The KTEs were mainly slowed down by grip fatigue. Despite a nagging shoulder, doing dumbbell push press with a neutral grip (palms facing each other) didn't bother it at all. The trainer this morning, Colleen, is also a PT and gave me a few exercises and stretches to add to my routine. She said that I need to also strengthen my scapula, so I'll probably add in some barbell rows as assistance work. I finished the metcon in 8:02. The second farmer's walk was a little ugly compared with the ease of the first. I could feel my grip giving out on the second leg of it and almost dropped the bells at the end. But my biggest concern throughout that wod was holding off a shart. I woke up this morning a little gassy. And could feel something stirring during the power cleans. I think I let a few slip out during the wod but luckily not enough to do any damage. Thanks, milk.

One Week In...

One week into this project and already I've been slacking on the caloric intake end of things. A gallon of milk a day sucks. I've been drinking maybe half a gallon a day. I usually don't consume dairy on a regular basis for a reason: it makes me really congested and effects my breathing. I've noticed I've been wheezing a little bit more than usual, and have a lot more mucous in the mornings. I probably have an allergy to dairy but have never been tested. I know that when I eat clean my allergies are pretty much kept at bay and my breathing is much clearer. 

I haven't really kept track of what I'm eating or how often I eat. I'm following the Chris Spealler plan of eating as much as I want and keep it as clean as possible. I haven't been snacking too much as I'm generally full until my next big meal. If I do have a snack it's either milk, or nuts and fruit.

Training Log: 11/17/10

Alcatraz Island, taken in May 2010.
Rest Day

Training Log: 11/16/10

Strength

Press 7×3

Metcon 

For time
1000m Row
30 Ring Rows

I only got up to 105×3 on the fourth set.  My shoulder wasn't feeling good from the start and I probably should've kept the weight lower. I failed at 110 on the fifth set and tapped out after that because the pain in my shoulder was the same rotator cuff pain I experienced earlier this year. I'm going to ice it several times today, do some physical therapy exercises tomorrow and see how it feels. I'll probably have to scale back any pressing motions for the next week or so.

Metcon: 7:10. My new rule is to be weary of the wods that don’t sound too bad on paper. I was pleased with my 3:54 on the row and figured sub 6 shouldn’t be a problem, but the wod gods had other plans. Whoever programmed this is evil. I was able to recover my breath fairly quickly after the row but muscle fatigue on the ring rows set in early and took much longer than expected. I finished the wod not even breathing heavy, but my arms were dead weight.

Training Log: 11/15/10

AM: Metcon

3 rounds for time of:

10 Chest-to-Bar Pullups
10 Front Squats (165/105)
10 Burpees

PM: Strength (Week 1)

3x5 Back Squat - 95lbs

I used 115 for the wod as I wasn't feeling too strong this morning. Getting up at 4:30 am to workout is getting a little easier but I'm still not getting enough sleep on the nights prior to those morning sessions. I finished the wod in 9:44. Here's a little FYI, never eat Chinese food the night before a wod, or any other time you want to feel productive. You've bested me once again, General Tso. 

This evening's strength session is my first day of Starting Strength and already I'm making adjustments. I'm foreseeing the traditional Starting Strength program in addition to Crossfit to possibly lead to overtraining. So, I'm going to modify it to follow Crossfit Football's strength wods for the Amateur Off-Season category and stay a week behind so that I can plug in the strength days into my gym's schedule for the week, which I already know in advance. The only change is that I will do back squats twice a week regardless. I still plan on making 10 lb increases on my squat each workout until it begins to get difficult and then lower it to five to maintain steady increases. My current 5rm squat is 185, so I'm hoping to surpass that by week 4. The weight felt light during the squats, as it should, it's only 95 lbs. I usually lift in my socks when I workout in the basement because the ceiling height is so low, but today I felt like lifting in the Chuck T's. Hey, it's good enough for guys at Westside Barbell.

Paleo Pecan Pumpkin Pancakes

Say that five times fast.





























I used this recipe found on Tasty Paleo and added chopped pecans and tripled the recipe. It made 12 pancakes about 4-5 inches in diameter. Below is the tripled version of the recipe with my addition of pecans.

3 pinches of baking soda
1 1/2 tbsp pumpkin pie spice
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup canned pumpkin
3 tbsp honey (or unsweetened applesauce)
6 eggs
1/4 cup chopped pecans

Mix everything but the pecans together in a bowl and ladle it into your pan. Sprinkle the pecans onto the pancakes. Should take about two minutes per side to cook through. I started out with a full sized pancake spatula but found that a little too cumbersome to flip the pancakes as they were a little too soft to wield with the bigger spatula. Switched to a normal sized spatula and had no problems.  Once they were done, I topped them off with another sprinkling of pecans and some real grade B maple syrup...and several glasses of milk.

Training Log: 11/12 - 11/14/10

Rest Days...

Taking the next three days off to fully recover and hit the ground running hard with Starting Strength on Monday. The plan is to make Monday, Wednesday and Friday my strength days in the evenings and do whatever is programmed in the gym in the mornings. My strength work will follow this schedule:

Day 1 & 3
Squat: 3x5
Press: 3x5
Power Clean: 5x3

Day 2
Squat: 3x5
Bench: 3x5
Deadlift: 1x5


This is a rough outline subject to change each week based around the programming of my gym. My starting weight for the squat will be 95 lbs. All other starting weights will be 50% of my 1 rm.  Each workout I will add 10 lbs to the working sets of my squats; so initially I'll be moving up 30 total pounds per week. All other lifts will increase by 5 lbs each workout, except for deadlifts which will also increase by 10 lbs each workout. This progression will continue until I am unable to complete the lifts, at which point I'll only increase the weight by 5 lbs each workout. This will continue for 8 weeks. After that, I'll take a week off and reevaluate my lift totals, see what kind of progress I've made, and decide whether to continue with Starting Strength or move onto 5/3/1.

Training Log: 11/11/10

WOD: Filthy Fifty

For time:
50 Box jump, 24 inch box
50 Jumping pull-ups
50 Kettlebell swings, 1 pood
Walking Lunge, 50 steps
50 Knees to elbows
50 Push press, 45 pounds
50 Back extensions
50 Wall ball shots, 20 pound ball
50 Burpees
50 Double unders

I thought maybe a Hero wod would've been programmed today being Veterans Day and all but this was probably just as daunting. My time was 44:04. My arms were jelly by the time I got to the wall balls, and completely useless on the burpees. Thanks to my coaches: Rob and Meg for getting me through this workout. I scaled the double unders to 25 at the end because they're my arch nemesis and I still can't do them. This workout is definitely not something that falls under a strength-bias. It's a ton of volume. I'm justifying it by taking the next three days off and then starting a cycle of Starting Strength on Monday at home, in addition to whatever work I do at the gym. My gym only programs strength lifts two days a week so it's easy to work around. 

Time to chip away at that milk. 

Training Log: 11/10/10

Strength

Clean & Jerk
3,3,2,2,2,1,1,1,1

Metcon

Tabata Burpees

I ended the clean and jerk with 175, which was a 10 lb PR on my one rep max.  I tried for 185 but failed.  On the metcon I could have gamed it a little better. My lowest round was 5. 

Day 1 of GOMAD is in the books, and it was kind of a struggle. I felt like all I did today was drink glasses of milk. Hopefully this gets easier.

My Raw Milk Experience

In the summer of 2009, I belonged to a neighborhood co-op that purchased raw milk and free range eggs from a small farmer in Malvern, PA (western suburbs of Philadelphia). The milk came from one cow. I don't remember the cow's name. Let's call her Bessie. I would get two gallons each week and each member of the co-op would take turns driving out to the farm to pick up the orders. I only participated for about 6-8 weeks, just to see how I liked raw milk and how it affected me.

To start, raw milk definitely looks and tastes different than the stuff you buy in the store. Some people in the co-op would pasteurize their milk, but what's the fun in that? The milk had a yellowish/brownish tint to it and you could literally see the cream floating on top. This was unskimmed, pure whole milk. It had an earthy taste and a thicker consistency, but it was definitely drinkable. Toward the tail end of my raw milk experience I came down with a nasty stomach bug that lasted for about three days. It was bad. So much so, that I had to call out of work for two days because I couldn't go twenty minutes without having to destroy the porcelain.  I thought the milk may have been the culprit but in reality it was probably a tainted surf n' turf burger I had (crab cake on top of a beef patty), as no one else in the group had gotten sick, and the stomach troubles started immediately after the nefarious surf n' turf burger.

When I went to my doctor to get treated for the stomach bug, I thought he would have flipped out over my drinking raw milk. He surprised me in his response, saying that he didn't see anything wrong with it or that it would have been the cause for the stomach bug. This coming from a guy whose only line of defense is bed rest and an overdose of Vitamin I, if I go to him with an injured shoulder or back. He must think physical therapy is voodoo because he is vehemently opposed to writing me a script for it when I ask.

After I recovered from the stomach bug, I decided not to renew my membership in the co-op and take a break from milk for a while. I'll go through phases where I'll drink it for a month or two (now is a good example of that), and then I won't have any dairy for a six month stretch.  I would probably try raw milk again in the future or raw goat's milk if I could find it. I've had pasteurized goat's milk and while it's a bit saltier it's still pretty good, and apparently closer to breast milk in its chemical make-up. And who wouldn't want a big, tall, frothy glass of breast milk? Yum.

Training Log: 11/9/10

Went in tonight for the 7 pm class at CFDV because the wod had snatches in it. 

As many rounds as possible in 20 minutes of:

50ft Tire Drag
10 Strict Pullups
1 Snatch

Men start at half body weight for the snatches and increase 10 pounds each round, at a minimum. Women also start at half body weight but only need to increase 5 pounds. Workout is scored by the number of rounds completed TIMES the overall increase in weight on the snatch. 25 Burpee penalty for failing to make the snatch. 

I was feeling pretty good and was thinking I would PR on my 1 rep max during the wod. I started with 95 lbs (slightly more than half my body weight). When I got up to 125 at the end of the fourth round I failed the attempt. I attempted it 3 more times and failed each time. I decided to take the 25 burpee penalty rather waste any more time and try and get another round completed before time ran out. With 30 seconds left I attempted 125 two more times and failed on both. It was partially a mental block and mostly fatigue at that point. The strict pull ups were the hardest part of the wod, and really fried my arms.  I ended up with a score of 80 (4 rounds x 20 lb total increase). Had I made the last snatch my score would've been 150 and it would also have been a 1 rm PR on my snatch.

Post-wod I slammed down a scoop of whey and water in the car, and followed that up with a Larabar. I stopped off at Trader Joe's on the way home to pick up a few gallons of whole milk in preparation for the start of my 30 days of GOMAD tomorrow. But of course Trader Joe's was out of the gallon-size organic whole milk. I settled for getting three half gallon cartons and a quart each of pumpkin and chocolate ice cream. Holy F'n S. The pumpkin ice cream is awesome. If you like pumpkin, get it. I got to work on the milk and polished off one of those half gallons in one sitting; which was no small feat. I plan on being gassy in about an hour.

Eating is Training

From the 70s Big Food FAQ...
Beowulf had Grendel. We have Mongolian and Chinese buffets. If you don’t have at least one dining experience every couple of weeks that resembles an epic struggle worthy of telling over beers, you’ll be putting from the rough for the foreseeable future.

After the Hopper Challenge was over on Sunday, I wanted pizza. I generally eat as clean as possible, but if I'm going to have a cheat meal it's going to be pizza. Sadly, we couldn't find a dine-in pizza place in the immediate area of Crossfit BWI, so I waited until yesterday to gorge myself on pizza. My buddy Sheldon, who also competed at the Hopper Challenge with me, was describing this deep dish pizza he had gotten from Pizzeria Uno. It sounded so good, and I was still on the tail end of my trashy eating binge, I had to have one. Uno's had a special deal going whereas you get two regular sized deep dish pizzas for $19.99. That sounded like a good deal. Sheldon said he was only able to handle three pieces before he had tap out. I took that as a challenge to try and crush both pizzas before bedtime.

I began this endeavor at noon with two slices from each pizza: the Numero Uno (similar to a supreme), and a regular cheese and tomato. After those four slices I was surprisingly full.  Three hours later another four slices. The equivalent of one pizza had been consumed and I'm feeling like I'm off to a pretty good start on my mass gain project. Three hours after that, another four slices were consumed. I decided to stop after that because I was ridiculously thirsty and had already consumed well over 5,000 calories for the day. I already know what happens when I put myself through an epic struggle as mentioned by 70s Big above (see the Beast Challenge below), so I wasn't about to make myself miserable just to finish a second pizza for the day. It wasn't worth it. I saved the last four slices for today's lunch, and returned to clean eating. Tomorrow starts 30 days of GOMAD; which stands for a Gallon of Milk a Day. I expect gastro problems to arise as I normally don't consume dairy, but this is a cheap and easy way to get extra calories and protein and it's only for a month. At the end of the 30 days, I'll see where I am at as far overall body composition and strength gains, and then decide if I want to continue on with another 30 days or not.


The Beast Challenge from Larry Palazzolo on Vimeo.

Welcome to the ScrawnyWOD

The ScrawnyWOD was borne out of the fact that I am lacking in overall strength. This was made apparent over the past weekend with a ridiculously poor showing on my part at the 2010 Mid-Atlantic Hopper Challenge at Crossfit BWI. To hold myself accountable for my future fitness endeavors I have created this blog to track my progress as I go from scrawny to brawny.

I'm starting this project with the following baseline...

Stats:
Age: 31
Height: 6'0"
Weight: 175 lbs
Body Fat: 11.7%


1 Rep Max Totals:
Squat: 230 lbs
Bench: 185 lbs
Press: 125 lbs
Deadlift: 320 lbs
Power Clean: 185 lbs
Snatch: 120 lbs
Clean and Jerk: 165 lbs
Push Jerk: 165 lbs
Front Squat: 185 lbs
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