It’s Cold in Midtown.

November 28, 2011

I don’t know what it’s like in your neighborhood,  but it’s damn cold in Sacramento.  Luckily, I just got one of these.

Brown Thunder in his murdered out ATLO hoodie.

I ordered one for myself with the script on the sleeve instead of the back.  Then I decided that I didn’t like it.  So I moved it back to the lats for you guys.  I mean, what if you wanted to cut off your sleeves?

Ladies.  Want the hoodie option as well?

15 Minutes.

November 27, 2011

Ahh . . . national meets.  I love national meets.  They let you know that you’re not alone.  Take one look at the start list and you’re bound to see at least a few other guys at or around your same skill level.  It’s awesome.  I don’t know what local meets look like where you’re from, but around here, there’s maybe a few other guys who you can secretly (or not secretly) pace yourself with.  At big meets like The AO, you gotta be a gamer.  There may be 2 or 3 others who plan on opening at the same weights you are, so you have the added challenge of being prepared to walk out to the platform at any given moment.  It gets pretty chaotic in the warm-up area and you better be damn ready to adapt to the situation and compete even if you aren’t finished warming up.  Conversely, you might go out to take your 1st attempt and then be sitting down for a good 10 minutes before you take your 2nd.  (Hint: if this happens to you, take a few power cleans/snatches at about 70% of whatever you’re about to take on the platform.)  This goes on at local meets too but the stakes aren’t as high #1 because you didn’t fly across the damn country to be there and #2 because not all the people in your session are in the same weight class.

Additionally, big meets are a great way to meet homies.  Like I said before, the weightlifting community is pretty small so if you go to a couple of these things, you’ll begin to recognize faces.  There may be a few awkward moments that arise out of this.  I know that Alex Lee will never let me forget one incident at Nationals this year.  I was having a conversation with some guy in the 105+ class and said, “Hey man, where do I know you from? . . . Oh, now I remember!  Facebook, right?”  Nice.

Also, never be star struck by ANYONE you see at weightlifting meets.  Remember, just because some guy’s youtube video got over 60,000 hits doesn’t make him famous.  Being famous in weightlifting is equivalent to being “hood rich.”  Just because you lease an Escalade doesn’t make you rich whatsoever.  So don’t be a creep.  Say what’s up to people and network a bit.  You’re all there for the same reason and that’s a cool thing.

Speaking of star-struck, I guess I should write about the one time I talked to Randall Strossen.

So in case you don’t know, Randy Strossen is the guy behind ironmind and Milo.  He travels all around the world to document and photograph weightlifting competitions, training halls, strongman competitions and pretty much anything pertaining to the realm of strength.  This is a man who probably is not easily impressed.

This is Marc Huster.  He beat Dimas on a few occasions I think.

This one MAY be my favorite tape.  It’s either this one or the Chinese Training hall with Stephen Botev.

So here I am walking into the Peoria Civic center.  It’s like 105 degrees outside and with the humidity it was the type of heat that it doesn’t matter where you are, it’s still going to be hot.  I’ve got myself, a backpack full of food and my long hair weighing me down.  I’m beginning to sweat before I even make it out the door.  So I’m walking the 5 blocks from the hotel to the venue site on my way to weigh in.  A shuttle pulls up in front of me and who do I see? Randy fuckin’ Strossen.  He walks out in his trademark baseball cap and GIGANTIC camera and I stop dead in my tracks.  Well, what actually happened was I heard him first.  This was a voice that I’ve heard drone on for hours and hours over training hall video.  It is in fact THE voice of training hall video.  If Randy’s voice isn’t on it, then it’s not important.  So when I hear him thank the shuttle driver, this immediately becomes the most important walk of my life.

I decide to play it cool.  Remember, this man has seen EVERYONE train.  No way is he going to be impressed by anything I say or do.  So with a quick nod acknowledging each other’s existence, we walk towards the entrance in silence.  Then he spoke.  The classic Randy Strossen voice asked ME a question, “So, I notice you have pretty large biceps for a weightlifter, do you do any accessory work for your arms?”

Are you shitting me?  Randy Strossen just asked me about my biceps.  Do you know how many biceps this guy has seen?  Take that number and multiply it by 2. And he hasn’t just seen weightlifter biceps.  He’s seen: powerlifter biceps, strongman biceps, arm wrestler biceps, any type of biceps you can think of and he has seen them.  And that was the FIRST thing he said to me.  I have never been more proud in my entire life.

So what do I say?

“No, not really.  I like to do pull-ups a few times a week.”  (Which is true.  I used to pride myself on my minimal upper body work.  It was a goal of mine to 21 strict pull-ups by the time I was 21 and once I accomplished that, I never saw any need to do anything else beyond that.)  But that’s not the point.  Randy Strossen asked me a question and instead of using it as an opportunity to segue into a legitimate conversation, I give him a dumbass answer and increase my pace as to avoid any future conversation.  Nice.

That didn’t seem to offend Strossen at all.  Later that day, he saw me sporting my official ironmind bandanna and snapped a photograph of me saying, “now there is a guy with a sense of style!”  I almost cried.  That’s the same day I met Justin of 70’s big which I guess is indirectly the reason why I’m writing to you right now.  He was the one who convinced me to start a blog (for my artwork) so you can thank him for the 15 minutes you just wasted reading this.

Most Epic Cleans Ever.

November 23, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving.  Go hang out with your friends and be a jerk to them.  That’s what friends are for.  I had a long day at the gym on Tuesday and I decided to mess with Kyle as he was trying to get a lift in.  Observe.

Personally,  I would think that various epic soundtrack music would do nothing but motivate me to lift more.  Kyle did not see it that way.  Happy Holidays and enjoy National Eat Like A Champion Day.

Workouts 11/20-11/27

November 20, 2011

SUNDAY AM

Bench: sets of 5 at 90,100,110,120.

Clean+pushpress: easy singles up to 130.

Bent over Rows/ Lat Pulldowns:  5 @100kg./10×3.  Then 15 reps at 60.

Reverse hypers: 3×10

Glute-Ham Raise: 3×10

Prowler sprints:  1 on the minute for 10 minutes.  About 35-40 yards in total distance with a plate on both poles.

MONDAY AM AND PM

These were not very exciting sessions due to the fact that I was still feeling pretty beat up from Friday.

TUESDAY PM

Power snatched 110, power clean and push jerked 140.

GHR’s-3×10

WEDNESDAY AM

Snatch: 120.

Light power cleans.

Front Squat: Worked up to a single at 160.

Light conditioning.

PM

Snatched 120, this time with no straps (not that it makes a difference anyway).

Cleaned 140 missed the jerk.

Back Squatted 200.

THURSDAY PM

Pretty much just warmed up both the P. snatch and P. Clean and then stopped.  Getting serious for the AO.  I have time for one last heavy day and that’s tomorrow.  Other than that, I have a few more lbs. to take off so I’m not going to go overboard today on the food.

FRIDAY

Overall, today was not ideal.  If you saw the CAL ST Ustream (assuming that they got any footage of me), then you saw that I wasn’t on my game.  That’s OK though.  A week out from a big meet, it’s best not to lose your head.  That’s what practice is for: practice.  I still got a few lbs. to lose.  I feel pretty damn lean right now but still more work to do.  I’d rather not get too dehydrated and not able to eat next weekend.  But we’ll see.  I can if I have to.

SATURDAY PM

I was actually pleased with how this day turned out.  I’m feeling better in general due to not over-reaching as much as I have been in practice.  Monday and Wednesday will be the last days that I try to push any decent numbers but volume will be cut down considerably.

F. Squat: 170×1.

Snatch: 120.

Clean and jerk: 140. finished up with some power clean+push press at 110.

 

 

Irresponsible.

November 19, 2011

I’ve said it before, I’m one of those people that look for meaning in whatever it is that they’re doing.  If I wasn’t going 100% on weightlifting and coaching and art stuff then I’d find something else to go 100% on.  And I can assure you that even if I had to make the choice to go a different route, it still wouldn’t be anything that I could make any decent money on.  Lately it seems that every decision I make costs me a few hundred dollers in some way or another.  But at least I got this next meet.  And the next one.  And the next one.  Until I can’t compete anymore.

I just bought my plane ticket for the American Open.

I’m pretty certain that I’m going back to school next semester.

I’m broke and lost but I’m strong and happy.

I was talking with my little brother about something a few months ago (I forget what it was but it’s not important) and I told him that I was good at two things: lifting weights and making poor decisions.  We laughed.  Here’s to living irresponsibly.

I did a workshop at Crossfit Davis this morning.  I had a blast.  Big thanks to all my CFD homies for having me, I always enjoy making the trip over there.  Here’s some video from today.

Good Grief.

November 17, 2011

Here’s video from last Friday at CS.

My God, I’ve gotten fat.  Speaking of fat.  I’m like 245 in this video.  I’m like 240 right now.  And I need to be 232 in like 2 weeks.  No biggie.  I can do it.  Back when I was wrestling I once lost 15lbs in the span of a 5 days.  I literally drank one shot the night after the meet and was drunk the rest of the night.

Anyways, diet has already been cleaned up.  I hope to take off most of what I need to before I get the AO and then the last little bit will come off during the travel.  Oh right, Happy Thanksgiving.  Good Grief.

Here’s another quick one min sketch of the Blue Eyed Wonder.

Yoked.

Funny story behind this one.  I remember quickly sketching these while in Louisiana for the Collegiate Nationals.  Often on weightlifting trips, I will bring a sketch pad and some sharpies to keep me occupied whenever I have downtime.  Anyways, I was sketching by the pool with my shirt off, catching some cosmic rays and doing a few one minute gestures.  Everyone else I was traveling with was either napping or training.  I was alone at the pool except for Coach Z of the OTC.  We spoke briefly before at the American Open but I don’t think he remembered me.  Our conversation went like this:

He noticed I was carrying an exercise physiology book.  I nodded and confirmed that I was a student.  He shook my hand and congratulated me.

Anyway’s, I didn’t know if he remembered me or not so instead of re-introducing myself, I awkwardly packed up my art supplies and exited the pool area.

A really fast, really messy gesture that I ran with. It turned into something I really like.

Getting back to the topic of sketching, you will often hear me refer to gesture  drawing. Gesture drawing is a technique utilized by art students to warm up their skills while drawing from life or a picture.  It is characterized by fast, loose movements often working from the inside out.  What I mean by that is that at times, people who practice sketching will get in a habit of outlining the figure and then filling in the features, sometimes trying to start and finish one area before moving on to the next.  This is equivalent to building an entire finished kitchen when the framework has not been completed for the rest of the house.  OR to put it in weightlifting terms,  it’s like teaching someone to snatch before they have learned to squat.  Drawings will often end up skewed and out of proportion, houses will crumble and snatches will look like a train wreck.

The beauty of doing gesture work is that it forces the artist to not care about every single line that they put down and instead focus on getting the proportions and general layout on paper 1st.  Different art teachers have their own methods for implementing gesture work.  Most will warm up with a few one minute drawings, a few 5 minute drawings and then continue on with some longer poses.  Some teachers will even do a few blind gestures where the students are not allowed to look at their own paper in an attempt to get them in a habit to focus on the subject matter.

I like the added challenge of using permanent marker because it forces me to draw confidently and impulsively.  If I fuck up and draw an errant line, who cares?  After 5 minutes, I’ll look at what I have on paper and can walk through my own thought process as the drawing progressed.  After a few fast and impulsive warm ups, I’ll slow it down and try to use more economy of line.  I like to leave some details out because I just like the way things look when my mind has to fill in some blanks.  It is said that if you really understand something, you can explain it simply.  The same can be said for sketching.  And it can DEFINITELY be applied to weightlifting.  Remember that when you’re teaching the beginner about the double knee bend when he’s snatching 40 kilos.

ArtWOD.

If you’re interested in sketching, give gesture work a shot.  Warm up with 3x1min sketches, 5x2min sketches and then 2x10min sketches.  I betcha’ a nickel that the 10 minute sketches will come out better than if you had just sat down and started drawing.

Feel free to post your ArtWOD’s in the comments section.

Sweet Christmas!

November 15, 2011

I’m sick as a dog. I just took some Nyquil and there’s no god damn way I’m going to be able to write anything intelligent or funny tonight.  I’m watching this shitty TV show on Netflix, Vampire Diaries.  Spoiler alert: it’s terrible.  It’s like vampires combined with a shitty teenage melodrama portrayed by people who obviously aren’t teenagers.

Here’s another quick sketch.  It’s a self-portrait I did back when I looked halfway decent.

"Holy comic book references, Batman!"

“Sweet Christmas!” is a reference to one of my favorite Marvel heroes, Luke Cage.  In recent year’s, Marvel rebooted him, giving Luke a less flamboyant look.  He is sometimes seen wearing a snug fitting longshoreman beanie, something which I have adopted into my winter wardrobe the last few seasons in an attempt to emulate him.  Given that he is indestructible and has super strength, I figured he’s be as good a hero as any to try to emulate.

Workouts Week of 11/13-11/19.

November 14, 2011

Here’s a quick one min sketch of Ol’ Blue Eyes.

"It's clobberin' time!"

SUNDAY PM

Bent over rows: 3×10 at 100kg.

Straight leg DL: 3×8 at 110.

Good mornings: 2×8.

Reverse hypers:3×10

Prowler sprints.

MONDAY AM

Snatch pull, snatch:  Worked up to 120, went down to 90 and back up to 120 again.

Light Pwr Cleans: took a few at 130.

Reverse Hypers: 3×12.

MONDAY PM

Snatch: 130,120,130,100,120.

Clean and jerks: 140.  Missed 150.

F. Squat: worked up to 160 for 1.

Light conditioning.

TUESDAY PM:

Really good session for how shitty I’ve been feeling.

Power snatch:  I told Alex that if I power snatched 125, I would become his coach and make him perform lat-pulldowns and tricep extensions for every workout.  I hit one 120 but it was borderline.  I decided to go for 25 anyways but rode it down into the hole.

Power clean and jerk: 140kg.

Front Squat: 170kg.  with less pain than the day before.  It’s coming back!

Bench press: 150kg.

Glute-ham raises:  3×10 with Mark Bell poking fun at me for being a weightlifter but doing a non-barbell movement.

WEDNESDAY AM:

Still groggy from the night before, I still had a pretty good session.

Snatched 120.

Clean and jerk a nice 140.

Front squatted 170.

Back ext.

WEDNESDAY PM:

Snatched 120.

Clean, clean and jerk: started at a hundo and worked up with 10kg. jumps.  Made it to 140.

THURSDAY PM:

Power snatched a nice 110. Worked down and up a few more times, hitting a 120 but riding it down.

Power clean and push jerked up to 130.

Finished up with clean,  pushpress x3: important note: very helpful for shitty rack position! worked up to 120 but missed my last rep.

FRIDAY AM:

Light both lifts.

FRIDAY PM:

Cal ST day.  Had the best session in months.  I ended up snatching 140 twice but I think I must have took like 7 attempts at 140+.

Clean and Jerks: Took 4 attempts at 170.  Cleaned 3 but missed all the jerks.  That’s more attempts at 170 than in the past 4 months combined.

SATURDAY

I have a workshop at Crossfit Davis today. Then afterwards, we’re having a ping pong tournament/fundraiser for CC at my gym!

 

The one drawback to being one of those moody, artsy types is the amount of difficulty in pulling my head out from my own ass.  And I find I have to do it more often than most.  Good thing I live an hour and a half away from Cal Strength.  I get exactly what the doctor ordered: a nice wake-up call combined with the added benefit of being outside of one’s comfort zone.  It’s not even about going down there and having either a good day or a bad day.  It’s just extremely helpful to know that no matter what I’ve been doing or how hard I’ve been working, I should probably do a little bit more of both.

I’ve been slowly working on getting my lifts back to par for the past few months now.  My technique feels a little bit more solid and my legs feel a little bit stronger.  I just haven’t been able to push my self that little extra bit needed to see progress.  After all the effort on my part to let everybody know that THIS is what I’m doing right now and THIS is what I’m serious about, I wasn’t able to handle the added pressure once I made weightlifting my priority.

But it’s never too late.  I’m picking up steam and I can still make enough progress in the short amount of time that I have that maybe I can still reach my goals of a 150/180 by the end of the year.  I’m beginning to sweat and my hands are beginning to shake with the amount of drive that I’m feeling right now.

I got my kick in the ass today and it was just what I needed.  Maybe this can be yours.  I’m not saying that anything that I write should inspire anybody because I’m sure that everyone who reads this makes more money than me and some of you probably lift more than me as well.  I’m just saying that if you have an athletic goal but you’ve been stuck at the same place for far to long, take responsibility for your short-comings and find a way to get better.  I’m angry because myself from 6 months ago is kicking my ass.  And I know I’m better than that.  So now is the time to get better.  One last push until the end of the year.  I’m going to get mine.  Get yours too.  And if you’re already getting yours then congratulations and give me some of that piss and vinegar because I need it.

FRIDAY AM

120/140

FRIDAY PM

140/160

FRIDAY PM

140.

Lifting weights and listening to Pantera.  As wholesome as apple pie.

Listen to this song then go drink a 40 and punch somebody in the face.  I’m just kidding.  But really.