I’m a busy guy.  Like a lot of people, most of my time is spent either at work or thinking about work.  I’ve had regular jobs in an office before, but somehow this feels like I have less free time now in part because I’m far more invested in what I do and also because my work day is spread out over the course of a day.  This is the reality of being an aspiring weightlifter AND a fitness professional.  I am far from perfect.  Just ask my friends; I am the worst person ever to make non-work related plans with because I simply won’t.  BUT, I have found different strategies to maintain control of my free time so I get back to work and training recharged and ready to do my job well both as a lifter and a fitness professional.

1) Allow yourself a certain amount of time per day where you talk to absolutely no one.  

This is especially important for me.  This means for a certain amount of time per day I’m unavailable; no calls, texts or anything internet related will be checked or responded to.  This is usually an hour or so before my second workout or at the end of the day as I sit with my (roomate’s) cat on the sofa and mentally replay my day.  I’d suggest either doing nothing or doing something you enjoy.  This is sacred time.  And I believe it to be a good strategy for anyone.

2) Allow yourself a certain amount of time per week where you are surrounded by non-fitness/weightlifting people.

I’ve gotten to the point where it’s hard to NOT talk to people like I’m at work.  It doesn’t matter where I’m at.  One thing I like to do and something I’ve been doing a lot lately is going to shows by myself.  This way I get to see cool bands and be around people but get to be as pensive and anti-social as I want.  There’s no pressure.  An added benefit is I’m surrounded by people who don’t count their macros, don’t know what a clean and jerk is and could care less about how I spend my time.  If I strike up conversation with someone and they ask if I workout, I say “yeah” and leave it at that.  It helps give me perspective and I believe that to be important even when I’m in the midst of hard training.  Talking to strangers about PR’s or weightlifting sounds ridiculous.  It’s nice to take a step back from it and just talk about how great or shitty the opening act was.

There’s other things I find helpful.  But these two are the main ones that help me on a week to week basis.  Here’s a few photos I took at some shows recently.

The Body.  Truly abrasive stuff.  A sonic black hole that rattles your foundations.  Literally.

The Body. Truly abrasive stuff. A sonic black hole that rattles your foundations. Literally.  Ear plugs mandatory.

David Bazan.  I'll admit it.  He had me feelin' them FEELS.

David Bazan. I’ll admit it. He had me feelin’ them FEELS.

Ringworm.  Classic.  I checked out their older material after the show and has been in the rotation ever since.

Ringworm. Classic. I checked out their older material after the show and has been in the rotation ever since.

I might come off kind of harsh in this post.  But I guarantee that if you are new to the weightlifting scene and are legitimately interested in the sport, I have your best interest at heart.  There are more people doing snatches and clean and jerks now than when I started competing 9 years ago.  Some of these people do it because they like the lifts but like general fitness more and some of them will be drawn to the sport itself.  This post is directed to those who are interested in competing but are too intimidated to try.

My advice is this:

1) Find a coach.  A real weightlifting coach.  One who actually knows how to prepare you for a contest.

2) Don’t be a coward.

3) Stop caring so much.

Coming back to the first point.  I know plenty of people (some who call themselves weightlifting coaches) who can lift weights well enough themselves but know precisely dick about competing in an actual contest much less coaching others to and through a contest.  I might be able to throw a ball 100 mph, but that has no bearing in my ability to make other people throw 100 mph or more importantly PLAY BASEBALL GAMES.  Weightlifting is a game.  To play it, you must know the rules and the finer points of competition.  The more you (and your coach) know, the less afraid you will be to step up to the plate . . . er . . . I mean platform.

As far as the second point is concerned, it’s pretty self explanatory.  You might be able to clean and jerk 60lbs.  You might be able to clean and jerk 360lbs.  Cool.  How well can you display your skill set on the platform?  Can you go 4/6.  6/6?  Can you make your lifts look good or does your 360lb clean look like a train wreck carrying a cargo full of dogshit?  Test yourself.  Compare yourself first to yourself.  Then maybe in a few years, start comparing yourself to others.  Show people how well you know how to lift.

Coming back to the third point, I’ve been competing in weightlifting for 9 years.  NINE.  There might be a handful of people on this earth that can recall a specific performance of mine from last year much less a few years back.  Not one of these people care whether I took first or last place in the Golden West Open in 2007.  Heck, I don’t even care.  All I care about is progress. As long as I keep making progress, I win.  It’s no different then signing up for a rec softball league.  Your kid can put on a uniform and play ball.  You should be able to do it too.

OK, I’m done.  After saying all that, I will also say that I am FOR unsanctioned weightlifting meets run by qualified people to have experience running real meets.  It’s a great way to get people in the door and a certain percentage of people will leave hungry for the real thing.

Here’s one way to start off a clean.  I’d recommend it if you like to keep things simple or if you’re not all that flexible.  It might help you to keep your spine braced and neutral better than if you hung out at the bottom for too long.  Also, if I hang out too long in my starting position before I lift, I’ll start thinking.  As far as my own performance goes, the less I think, the better.  Give it a shot if you’re at a loss for how you should start pulling a clean.  If you’re already solid, then disregard this video and keep doing what you’re doing.

Max’s Gym Open 2014.

October 14, 2014

The gang lifted at Max’s Gym this past Sunday for their annual meet.  I could go on forever about how proud I am of all of them but I’ll save it.  Here’s a 15 minute long video!

The Baby Giant turned some heads on Sunday.

Two peas in a big ass pod.

Crossfit Nooner.

October 7, 2014

I rarely advertise on here but I guess now is a good time to start.

I’ve got a group of Crossfit folks that come by twice a week to work on their Olympic lifting.  We’ve seen a tremendous amount of improvement from consistent once a week classes but a few people wanted to start coming in more often.  I mean, one time seminars are great and everything.  But if you actually want to see any improvement, repeated exposure to the Olympic lifting environment is always best.

So if you’re a Crossfitter or are into functional fitness in general and you live around the Sacramento area, hop in on a Tuesday or Thursday at 12:30.  Bring your lifting shoes, muscles and 20 bucks cash.  Hit me up on the facebooks or shot me an e-mail to let me know you’re coming by.

bclaridad16@gmail.com

DvT.

October 6, 2014

Sorry for the lack of content lately.  I spent well over a week being sick as a dog.  It suffices to say that morale was down and motivation for anything other than getting through the day was absolutely not on the table.

Here’s another front runner for favorite track of the year.  It’s definitely my favorite hip hop track released this year and best of all IT’S FREE. 

I’ve been a fan of Busdriver for a long time now.  I’ve seen him twice and if he comes to your town, I’d recommend checking him out even if experimental hip-hop isn’t necessarily your thing.  I’ve been though most of his releases and while he definitely has a few tracks I love, I find it difficult to want to get through a whole album.  Since he’s joined up with the Hellfyre Club (love the X-men reference) I feel like he’s gotten more exposure and being part of a group reigns him in just enough so his contributions have much less filler.

If you dig this, download the compilation form Hellfyre Club and check out Busdriver’s album that dropped in September.

I’m not a gamer.  It requires too much of a time commitment and usually I try to make my time more productive when I have it; the exception being whenever a new Assassin’s Creed comes out or that time I played through The Last of Us.

But THIS.  This was awesome.

Like 5 hours of gameplay max.  Spread that out over a period of a few weeks in 45 minute blocks and it’s the perfect way to spend your relaxation period on your breaks.  This wasn’t a particularly difficult game.  The main reason I played it was for ALL THE FEELS.  Coupled with the historical facts littered throughout the game, the emotional music and fluid art style it felt fun and engaging while still paying respect to the heavy subject matter of WWI.  A nice departure from the regular beat-em up shoot-em up and big budget recycled material.

C&K Vid.

September 22, 2014

Here’s a video summarizing my meet prep and lifts from the C&K Invitational.  I’ll post a write-up later.

This week, the team is completing the first phase of their mesocycle building towards the American Open.  The way I format my team, we all follow the same schedule as if we’re all competing at national meets.  I e-mail them each a copy of a 4 week lifting block and an 8 week individualized squat cycle.  Actually it’s not a squat cycle.  In general, I’m not a fan of squat cycles.  They play a part in a lifting program as a whole, so I send them “squats within a lifting program” cycles.

Usually these cycles will be a combination of “daily max” and % based work.  For the percentages, I go through the effort of plugging in their actual max and the program will automatically subtract 10% of that for their training max and then all their working weights for the next 8 weeks will automatically fill in.  I’m strict that my trainees stick to their target weights for a number of reasons, but mostly because it makes it easier for me to track progress.  My philosophy is: “you’re welcome to do less if you’re feeling banged up.  But if you want to do more, lets have a conversation about it.”  For this particular cycle, we (I took most of it off) did 3x a week of back squats and no front squats.  I wouldn’t say that’s common and if someone were to ask me, “hey, if I want to get good at weightlifting, should I just back squat only?” I would say no.  But it made sense within the context of our training schedule and I saw fantastic results with the majority of my trainees, both with the lifts and back squats.  I’ll post some video of some recent training PRs made by my athletes when I get some time.  Over the next 8 weeks, we’ll again shift focus, including front squats.  Less back squatting within a program opens up room for other things like more accessory pulling work, so I’ll most likely include more of that.

I’m 3 days out from competing at the 2nd C&K Invitational at McClellan Airforce Base.  A team functional fitness event will be taking place throughout the day and the weightlifting invitational session begins at 4:30 this Saturday.  If you’re in the area, come check it out.  Spectator admission is 5 bucks but honestly it is well worth it as 25 of the best lifters in the country will be competing.

This meet personally means a lot to me.  It was here last year that I was able to turn my weightlifting career around, getting a PR total and then following it up with my most productive training cycle ever.  I’m not at my peak, but obviously I’m hoping for similar results this year.  At the very least, I’m excited to be competing again and sharing the platform with some of the best.

I hit 140/170 this past Friday which is the most I’ve done since Nationals.  Honestly, that’s a huge relief because I don’t have it in me to open up with any less.  I’m not so much concerned with what everybody else is doing, so I’ll go ahead and say that at minimum I’m looking for a 320 total and at maximum I’ll be looking for 335.  Anywhere in the middle will represent a decent day for me.

I recorded a good chunk of my meet prep over the past 3 weeks but I think I might go ahead and save the footage until afterwards so I can throw the contest lifts at the end of the video.

Wish me luck! I’m gonna need it!

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