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Day 5 – Goal: Urban Activity

July 23, 2010

Today I figured out where I’m going, and how I’m gonna get there.

As anyone who might be reading this for reasons unbeknownst to me has probably guessed by now, a lot of what I’m doing to achieve my fitness goals is based on CrossFit. I owe the vast majority of that influence to the fine folks at CrossFit Nasti, quite possibly the finest gym Cincinnati has to offer. Steve and Brent know their stuff, and CFN has made a respectable showing at the CrossFit Regionals for the past two years. The core of my workouts comes from what I learned there over the past year, give or take a few months for the shoulder injury I gave myself by being an idiot.

My nutrition info is synthesized from a few different sources, but primarily from this guy here, and I couldn’t help but start poking around in some of his material on workouts as well. This got me thinking about my overall fitness goals, and precisely what I mean when I say I’m trying to become a “BAMF”. So, here’s my idea of what fitness actually is, and what I’m trying to achieve.

1.) Fitness is performing well, not looking good.

Looking good is, at best, a side effect of fitness. In fact, there are quite a few BAMFs out there who prove that having six-pack abs means jack squat. A truly fit person is good at what they do, really good – and what they do isn’t “get spraypainted brown and flex in a speedo.”

2.) Fitness isn’t being a monstrous lump of veiny muscle.

Don’t get me wrong, strength has its place in fitness. However, people who are truly looking to be fit aren’t the slightest bit concerned about working out for “hypertrophy”. They’re focused on moving more weight, getting faster, being more explosive, mastering control of their bodies. Even professional bodybuilders will tell you they’re not athletes, but more like athletic mannequins, in the words of Milos Sarcev.

3.) Fitness is subjective to the situation at hand.

Nobody is going to argue that an Olympic-level powerlifter capable of moving half a ton of weight isn’t a BAMF. However, that is a highly specialized sort of fitness, of the kind that is absolutely useless in, say, getting out of the way of a flash flood. No one will say that a guy who can finish a full Ironman Triathlon in the top 10 isn’t hardcore, but again, this is specialized. Our triathlete will have only his above-average ability to conserve oxygen to help him survive if he’s trapped in a pile of rubble. A sprinter who can come close to breaking the world record time for the 100-meter dash may experience some difficulty if he would have to outrun a spreading wildfire across a vast swath of dry grass.

While all the above examples represent phenomenal athletes who have achieved something great, none of them are what I’m looking for. Specialization doesn’t appeal to me as much as having a solid base of capacity across every aspect of fitness – to be quick, explosive, strong, enduring, flexible, nimble, and completely at home in my body, ready for any situation that might arise. I’m looking for general physical preparedness of the kind that every human being once had, before we decided to trade it in for air conditioning, desk jobs, and wall-to-wall carpeting.

With all this in mind, I’ve found my goal. I’m looking to become a competent traceur with a good strength base.

In order to accomplish this, I’m slightly restructuring my workouts. The Wendler-esque 5-3-1 progression for the four major lifts will continue, though with the possibility of mixing in some Maximum Effort Black Box influence by introducing different lifts periodically. My rest/skill days between my heavy-lifting workouts will primarily consist of parkour-style drills: mastering front, back, and side rolls, working on precision jumping and sticking landings, climbing and surmounting obstacles, sprints, and time trials. Of course, all these will be done either in my Vibrams, or barefoot once my feet get completely adjusted to the feeling of the Vibrams. Eventually, I’m hoping to be able to run across balance beams, jump from a thin railing to another, and get over 10′ walls without losing speed or momentum – or, in summary, I wanna be an urban ninja.

Also, today I joined a local Urban Active gym, which has most of the equipment I’ll need at a price my current financial situation allows for. There’s even a lap pool there, so I can throw in some swimming drills to mix things up every now and again.

Here’s to seeing exactly how well a 33-year-old body with a history of too many video games and not enough movement can be made to perform!

Breakfast: 5 strips nitrite-free bacon, small glass of coconut milk, cucumber-blueberry mix, 3 fish oils. Breakfast only lasted me about 3 hours – I’m thinking about boosting this meal to epic proportions and then coasting for a while.

Lunch: Half a pound of grass-fed ground beef mixed with guacamole, massive salad (spring mix, cucumber, celery, green bell pepper), 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3, handful of almonds.

Afternoon Snack: Half a pound of grass-fed ground beef mixed with guacamole, finished off the massive salad, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

Workout: Row 500 meters, 1 round of the CrossFit warmup (with an actual GHD this time!), bench press warmup sets, bench press 135# x 5, 145# x 5, 155# x 5, 3 rounds of bar dips to failure (4, 3, 3).

PWO Meal: Sweet potato fries (baked), 7 strips nitrite-free bacon, small glass of coconut milk, 3 fish oil caps, 1000 iU vitamin D3.

Dinner: 2 quarter-pound grass-fed beef burgers, 1 avocado, bowl of cucumber and celery, 3 fish oil caps. Note that when I say “burger”, I mean literally just the dead cow meat. That grain stuff’ll kill ya.

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