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Day 10. Yes, I Missed A Day.

We’re just going to pretend Day 9 never happened, mostly because it didn’t. I felt like I needed some rest, and so I rested, doing only my rotator cuff (p)rehab. I also broke paleo for one of the meals, and regretted it. Yesterday was a loss.

Today, on the other hand, wasn’t bad. Got my workouts in, stayed paleo, the whole enchilada! Well, at least an enchilada with no cheese, no tortilla, and no sauce laden with who knows what. So really, more like just enchilada meat. As long as said meat is grass-fed, anyway.

Breakfast: 3 hard-boiled eggs, small glass of coconut milk, broccoli-cauliflower mix, 3 fish oil caps.

Workout 1: Recon Ron Step 7 on pullups and bar dips, 4 / 4/ 2 / 2/ 2.

Lunch: Half a pound of grass-fed ground beef, handful of almonds, massive salad, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

Afternoon Snack: Half a pound of grass-fed ground lamb, handful of sunflower seeds, more salad, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

Workout 2: Row 500m, 1 round of the CrossFit warmup, shoulder press warmup, shoulder press 95# x 3, 105# x 3, 115# x 4. Then hauling my wife’s massage table up three flights of stairs.

PWO Meal: Half a pound of grass-fed ground lamb, small glass of coconut milk, baked sweet potato fries, 3 fish oil caps, 1000 iU vitamin D3.

Dinner: It’s gonna be fish, since that’s all that’s in the fridge until Friday or so.


The Eighth Day – I Know Squat

Nothing completely and utterly destroys one’s hip and shoulder flexibility quite so well and thoroughly as the modern phenomenon called the desk job. While I am aware of this, and actively take steps to fight it, it’s a pitched battle at best. This is why I’m strengthening my rotator cuffs several times a week, and kick off every heavy day for legs and overhead moves with a mobility drill. Since today was squat day, that meant taking a page from the Catalyst Athletics warmup and running through a few things like squat-shifts and cossacks after rowing 500 meters. My squat form still isn’t perfect, but thanks to those stretches, it’s not a catastrophe waiting for a couple pounds too many to be on my shoulders, either.

On an unrelated note, my wife’s cell phone died overnight. It will soon be given a proper burial in a prepaid return box, courtesy of Verizon and the warranty on the phone. While I’ve heard numerous horror stories about Verizon, I’ve yet to have a single problem with their service at all – both actual cell service and customer service. They may be a little pricier than the other plans, but for zero dropped calls unless I’m in an elevator shaft on the bottom level of an underground parking garage and absolutely no hassle about replacing a dead phone, I’ll say it’s worth it.

Breakfast: 4 strips nitrite-free bacon, two hard-boiled eggs, small glass of coconut milk, bowl of broccoli and cauliflower, 3 fish oil caps.

(P)Rehab: Yellow stretch band rotator cuff work. The rotations are now at a 45-degree bend from my side. Internal rotations – 25, external rotations 20, lateral raises 15, rows 30.

Lunch: Steamed chicken breast (unseasoned), massive salad (spinach, arugula, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, asparagus, radishes, orange bell pepper), handful of sunflower seeds, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

Pre-Workout: Recon Ron Step 7 on strict pullups and bar dips – 4, 4, 2, 2, 2 of each.

Afternoon Snack: Steamed chicken breast, more salad, handful of sunflower seeds, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

Workout: Row 500m, mobility drill, one round of the CrossFit warmup, squat warmups, squats 145# x 5, 165# x 5, 185# x 5. Still adjusting to the strict paleo changeover from mostly paleo + dairy, so my numbers are staying fairly stagnant at the moment.

PWO Meal: Steamed chicken breast, baked sweet potato fries with olive oil and garlic pepper, 1 avocado, 3 fish oil caps, 1000 iU vitamin D3.

Dinner: Yet to be determined, though I’ve got some grass-fed ground beef thawing out as I type this.

Day 7 – Resting Again

Today was spent doing a little cooking, a little cleaning, and a little watching a movie that uses “it was all a dream” to rather awesome effect. My wife and I had a pair of free movie passes that expired in about a month, so we used them on a 2:45 showing of Inception. Not a bad flick, if you’re into tension. Other than that, all I did was stretch a bit – as expected, I felt like crap after yesterday’s non-paleo indulgence.

Tomorrow will be Squat Day, Tuesday will be some form of running, and Wednesday will kick off the week of Wendler 3’s with the shoulder press. After that, Thursday will be some parkour skills and drills, Friday will be deadlift day, and Saturday will be whatever metcon I feel like coming up with between now and then.

Breakfast: 5 strips nitrite-free bacon, 1 hard-boiled egg, 3 fish oil caps, small glass of coconut milk, cucumber-tomato-broccoli mix.

Lunch: Half a pound of grass-fed beef, small bowl of grapes, 3 fish oil caps, small glass of coconut milk, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

Dinner: Half a pound of grass-fed beef, broccoli-cauliflower mix, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3, 1 avocado.

Day 6 – Work in Progress

My grip and my abs want to kill me today. I’m certain when I go to sleep tonight they’ll hold a meeting to decide how best to go about doing so. Of course, I’ll be helping them towards that goal a bit, as tonight will involve falling off the paleo diet wagon for an evening (GASP! The horror!).

You see, tonight was the birthday celebration for a friend of mine who just joined some of us in the most awesome decade ever – the 30’s. This called for a celebration, naturally, which contained quite a bit of unnatural food, naturally. I’ll be fine, though – these deviations from The One True Nutritional Way will be few and far between.

Breakfast: 3 strips nitrite-free bacon, 3 scrambled eggs, small glass of coconut milk, small bowl of grapes. I know, too much fruit isn’t exactly the paleo way, but it doesn’t do that much damage on occasion.

Workout: Row 500m, 1 round of the CrossFit warmup, and a bunch of shoulder-grip-core work: 3 rounds of max strict L-pullups and knees-to-elbows (3 LPU/5 KTE, 1LPU / 5 KTE, 2LPU / 4 KTE), followed by some work towards maybe one day in the distant future getting a front lever (right now I don’t even have a good ice cream maker), followed by 3 rounds of max L-Sit for time on some dip bars (15s, 11s, 12s).

PWO Meal: Sweet potato fries (baked) dipped in guacamole, 2 hard-boiled eggs, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

DEVIATION: Snacked on a medium soft serve ice cream cone with my wife while running some errands. Nigh instantaneous stomach pain afterwards.

Lunch: Quarter pound of grass-fed ground beef, one hard-boiled egg, one cucumber, one tomato, small glass of coconut milk, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU vitamin D3.

Dinner: DEVIATION: A lot of non-paleo stuff. Mini Cuban sandwiches, mini pulled pork sandwiches, buffalo chicken dip, guacamole, tortilla chips, meatballs in sauce, and key lime cheesecake. Oh, and 4 Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald porters. I expect to feel horrible in the morning, but I’ll be back on the paleo wagon for the rest of the week.

Day 5 – Goal: Urban Activity

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.

Day 4 – Rest, Relaxation, and Reflection

Today was quite unlike yesterday.

Not only was yesterday not a rest day, so it had plenty of activity, but yesterday was also a day without meetings. For those of us in the corporate office world, that means a day in which things actually get done, which are strangely rare. It was bliss.

Today was straight meetings from 9:30 am until 2:00 pm. I believe that having an army of tiny gnomes take sandpaper individually to each nerve ending in my body could have created an equivalent feeling of discomfort and annoyance if they were truly dedicated to their work and put forth their best effort. The best part, of course, is that I also have nearly nothing done to show for it. Actually, I lied – that’s the second-best part. The best part is that I was drained and distracted enough when I left the office that I again forgot to bring my measurements home.

Ah well. At least I got the Before pics done. That counts as reflection, right?

EDIT: The Official Measurements are here. Time to really embarass myself.

Weight: Approximately 204 lbs.

Bodyfat % (caliper test): 21.3%

Blood Pressure: 122/ 78

Resting Heart Rate: 54 bpm

Heart Rate after 3 minute step test: 72 bpm

Strict pushups to failure: 25

Metronome curl-up test: 25 (test cuts off after 1 minute, and 25 is the most you can score)

Bicep: 15″

Waist: 35.25″

Umbilical: 38.5″

Hips: 41.25″

Thigh: 24.13″

Calf: 16.75″

Sit & Reach flexibility best of 3: 25 cm (flexible as a concrete board dipped in shellac)

Breakfast: Half a pound of free-range sausage with a handful of sunflower seeds mixed in, cucumber-tomato salad, small glass of coconut milk, and 3 fish oil caps.

Lunch: Tilapia filet, handful of pecans, 3 fish oil caps, 2000 iU of vitamin D3, massive salad.

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

Dinner: Half a pound of grass-fed ground beef with guacamole mixed in, small glass of coconut milk, 1000 iU vitamin D3, 3 fish oil caps, cucumber-blueberry mixture.

And I threw in 3 extra strips of bacon a little later, because there’s actually nothing wrong with a little saturated fat.

The Third Day – Liftin’ Some Dead

Well, not literally – I haven’t moved cadavers since high school (thankfully that juvenile record is sealed!). Unless you count meat on a fork, I don’t lift dead things terribly often. Deadlifts, on the other hand…

Also, by tomorrow I’ll have some “before” pics up here, alongside the measurements I had done last week and have forgotten to bring home from work every day since.

Breakfast: Approx. 7:10 am. Chicken breast, small bowl of blueberries, small glass of coconut milk. Unlike the past couple days, this didn’t do the breakfast job half as well, although that could also be blamed in part on a poor night’s sleep.

(P)Rehab: Yellow band rotator cuff exercises again! Today was internal rotations x 20, external rotations x 15, lateral raises x 15, rows x 20. I felt decent about doing a little extra for the shoulders as well, so I luanched straight into…

Workout 1: Recon Ron Step 7 for strict pullups and bar dips. 4, 4, 2, 2, 2 of each. Felt good, even after skipping this for a little over a week due to my wonderfully borked left shoulder.

Lunch: Approx. 10:45 am. Tilapia filet, rather massive salad, handful of pecans. Wound up grazing on that salad until nearly 2:30, so this meal sort of combined with the afternoon snack.

Afternoon Snack: Approx 2:45 pm. Tilapia filet, handful of pecans, finished off the massive salad from earlier. Wasn’t feeling all that sharp and alert today, but I didn’t get the best sleep last night. I also spent the entire day with my nose buried in two monitors blissfully coding away, and “alert” is one of the last words I’d apply to me in that state.

Workout 2: One round of the CrossFit warmup, a few light rounds of deadlifting, and then deadlifted 185# x 5, 205# x 5, and 225# x 10. I accidentally did 5# too much on the first set and 10# too little on the third, because we math majors aren’t the best in the world at simple arithmetic.

PWO Meal: Spaghetti squash in organic sauce, 6 strips nitrite free bacon, small glass of coconut milk, 3 fish oil caps.

Dinner: Approximately half a pound of free-range sausage, cucumber-tomato salad, a small glass of coconut milk, 3 fish oil caps.