Sept-Oct Training Mixtape.

October 28, 2014

Remember that track I said I liked the other day?  Here’s some miscellaneous training footage set to that song.  I got most of my yamdancers on video though i did miss a few epic moments pretty much from everybody.  As far as my training is concerned, my legs are not the strongest they’ve ever been but my lifts are coming back nicely.  I think I may actually peak at the right time this year; when it counts.

A Few Stats for You.

October 27, 2014

Here’s a few starts that I learned and found interesting while pursuing my degree in exercise science.  I’d first like to preface this by saying that this was information that was presented to me probably around 5 years ago at this point which for me makes it OLD information. If you were to research the topic (actual research. Not google or wikipedia.) these stats might have changed or have been found to be untrue.  I don’t have access to Pubmed (ya know . . . one of those places where you find ACTUAL articles) or anything like that anymore so if you’re interested enough to find information that is different, feel free to post a comment.

Stat #1)

It (usually) takes around 10 years to peak in a sport.  

This is something that I think of often.  It gives me perspective and my newbies find it particularly annoying whenever I bring it up.  One thing I will say is that the most talented people that I teach or know will rise to the top significantly faster than a regular person (like myself).  Jake, my 19 year old newbie, was taking and missing attempts at a 135 snatch last Friday.  I think it took me at least 3 years to finally pass 130 on the snatch.  This makes a) Jake an asshole.  b) him more talented than me.  BUT . . . and this is a huge BUT.  No matter how talented an athlete, they still have to go through that initial learning curve.  Jake will simply be doing it with heavier weights than I did.  Also, I’ve seen firsthand a lot of talented lifters rise (close) to the top at an exceptionally fast rate but then begin to burn out or get funny once things stop going their way or go through their first real “funk” with the lifts.  A funk is a period of time where a lifter will have trouble hitting near max attempts and will have trouble making it click.  Most newbies will begin to get frustrated after a few weeks of this.  My newbies will find it particularly annoying when I bring up the fact that they don’t even KNOW what a funk is until they’ve experienced one for upwards of a few months or even a year.  Just sayin.’  The law of diminishing returns is a tough pill to swallow.  Progress with weightlifting is cyclical; everything you take you gotta give back . . . Then work hard to get it again plus that 1% that keeps us coming back.

Stat #2)

The majority of people who lose a significant amount of bodyfat will gain it back (and more) within a span of 5 years.  

I’ve observed this one both with myself and others who fit this description.  When I was 18, I went from 270 to a svelte 205.  Oh yeah.  From that point on, I remained a comfortable 105kg (230lbs) until I decided I didn’t care about weight classes in 2010 and slowly drifted up to a whopping 280lbs in 2012.  I now sit comfortably at 245 and plan to eventually get back down to 230 at some point.  I’ll probably post a before and after pic once I do make that jump.  I work in the fitness industry where people care what your body looks like even if I don’t.  I’d need to find a new job if I didn’t acknowledge that.

The point of telling you all this is that I may have beat the curve by 2 years but it for the most part was true; granted gaining more weight was a conscious choice.  What this means for me in the future is that I’ll have to be even more carful about what I eat once I pass 30 years old (and beyond).  Once the body hits a certain bodyweight, it is set to maintain that bodyweight.  So to all you hardgainers out there stuffing your face.  Be careful because you might get what you wish for.

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.


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.