Sunday, November 30, 2008

My training year in review.

I know the year isn't over yet, but I figure this is a good place to cap it.
The below video compilation covers my PR's for the year. Also a good clip of me dropping a 40 kg. kettlebell on my chest.

I went from never having more than a few 24 kg. snatches to 115 reps in 5 minutes, to 68 reps on the 32 kg. in 5 minutes. I went from never having done a pistol to a 32 kg. pistol. 32 kg. presses became common place. I bent yellow nails. I hit 9 pull ups with 10 kg. hanging from my belt. I put up a 100 pound turkish get up. I pulled a 405 pound deadlift.

The thing I would like to hammer home here is that I am of below average genetics. It wasn't until February that I started getting serious with my training. Anyone can do what I have done, or better. Develop a plan and stick to it. Don't second guess yourself, don't let people screw with your head. If your progress stalls then by all mean adjust course, but make sure you still have a plan.

In 2009 my goals are as follows.

100 reps on the 32 kg. in 5 minutes.
A successful beast challenge.
Bending the Red Nail.
A successful completion of the RKC II.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

I was finally taken down.

I haven't been sick since 2004. That's a pretty good run, but it's over. I thought I was just having an allergic reaction to something, but Wednesday morning it became glaringly obvious that I was sick. I have a cold. Part of it is just getting too comfortable with not being sick. Normally if I feel something coming on I megadosse with vitmain c, drink a gallon of water, and go to sleep for 18 hours. That works pretty good. This time I was doing max vo2, bending yellow nails, and declaring that I could not possibly be sick, because I don't get sick!
Oh well, lesson learned. I should be good until 2012 now. Of course the world ends then, so it's kind of a phyrric victory.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Canine Companions for Independence

We have a new dog now courtesy of CCI in Santa Rosa. Vanessa had to attend a two week course with her son Josh to learn how to properly handle him, and now Cecil is a part of the family. This dog is like wicked smart. He obeys all of the common commands, and he can also perform more advanced tasks such as picking up clothes and putting them in the laundry, getting things out of the refrigerator, opening and closing doors, and other things.
If you have a moment you can learn more about CCI here.
I think this is a pretty great program to serve not only the physical, but also the emotional needs of special needs children and adults. I used to think it was only the blind who used service dogs, but I have found that many types of disabilities can benefit from the assistance of a dog. Those prone to serious (Read: life threatening) seizures use dogs to detect when a seizure is coming.
I think the below video is a pretty good example of the emotional aspect, as it's easy for us to forget how secluded special needs children can feel from the rest of society.

Below is a photo of Cecil.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Pavel's flexibility and ab training seminar

This weekend I went to Pavel's seminar on flexibility and ab training in Sacramento, California. It was well worth my time. Pavel made some simple adjustments to my stretching positions that made a world of different. He also gave me some pull up fixes that I can tell are going to make a huge difference. I had always heard people talk about 'exploding' out of the bottom of the pull up, but I never quite understood how. It is basically snapping into the hollow position at the bottom and then allowing that to 'jumpstart' you over the bar. It's going to take a while to get a feel for this, but it's going to add some reps for sure.
I also got to meet some folks like the Toomey clan to include Mark Toomey RKC Team Leader, Doug Neapodal Senior RKC, Gayle Hunter RKC II, Cecilia Tom RKC, and others.
All in all time well spent.
I also got a sweet new tattoo.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

A 28 kg. BUP and breathing patterns

I've been working on different aspects of my press as well as different breathing methods. I've had several clients make great strides in the last weeks by altering how they are breathing during different exercises. Prior to this press I performed a sharp exhalation to prime the nervous system as suggested in my RKC manual. I believe it had a great effect as this went up easily, whereas I was struggling with it last week. Part was also having backed off my training volume and focused on recovery this week.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Moving toward the April TSC

Since September I've been primarily working on bringing up my absolute strength, doing a lot of squatting, deadlifting, pistols, presses, etc. I've seen great results from it. Smooth presses on the 32 kg. and a semi-press of the 40 kg. (little knee bump so I can't claim it yet), a 32 kg. pistol, a 28 kg. bottoms up press, a yellow nail bent, better squat form and decent poundages, and strong snatches of the 40 kg. I have also seen my weight go up 15 pounds since august RKC to 175 lbs. I would actually venture to say I'm leaner than I was at 165.
I definitely hit a peak last Saturday and should have backed off, so now I am going to. I'm going to hit mvo2 tomorrow and friday at a moderate pace of sets and reps, then take the weekend off when I go to Sacramento for Pavel's stretching and abs seminar, then back into it full speed.
I'm still going to be squatting to bring my deadlift up, hitting mvo2 twice a week, presses and pull ups, and rotating in the deadlifts as I go. I will still be bending nails as well.
So let me toss out some goals for the April TSC. Hear me now and understand me later.
32 kg. 5 minute snatch test- 100 reps
10 kg. pull ups- 18 reps.
Deadlift- 455 lbs.

I am aware these are pretty lofty numbers, but I'd rather shoot high and be disappointed than aim for mediocrity and be satisfied with sucking.
This is gonna hurt.

By the way, this is in my head pretty much on a loop these days. Killswitch engage- As daylight dies. Here's a cover of Dio's Holy Diver.
Bear this in mind- "Ride the tiger, you can see his stripes but you know he's clean."

And the original.

In other news I received the 'Westside Barbell Book of Methods' by Louie Simmons in the mail yesterday. This thing might as well be a brick of gold. Highly recommended.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

I have taken down the yellow nail.

Finally. Today I bent two yellow nails, the equivalent of two 60 penny nails. The first one I braced against my leg to get the initial kink and then it went down from there. The second one I decided to try without bracing against my leg, and I got it as well. I had started off bending the greens, but they felt waaay easier than usual, so I just went for it. I also busted out a couple of green nail bends inside of pistols, which I have photos of below. Not the prettiest things ever, but it worked for the odd angle bends.
I also pressed the 40 kg., albeit with a slight bump from the knees. I will press it strictly before the year is out.
Today I weigh 175 pounds.

I did manage to get butt to the floor, the camera just didn't catch that. I only get the initial kink in the bottom position as I can't crush down at arm's length... yet.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

28 kg. bottoms up press is in the books.

I've been chasing this for a while and tonight I finally put it up. I made an adjustment to my pressing groove that helped, but at the end of the day I'm just a lot stronger than I was. Next up is the 32 kg.
Also of note is that I put a pretty big bow in a yellow nail. I can feel I'm only a hair's breadth away from getting a solid kink and breaking it down.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

I have cracked the top 20 reviewed instructors list.

It just seemed like the thing to do.

I should move up in the next week or so as I have several in the pipeline. Thanks to everyone who contributed and all who will as I move into the top ten. Hint hint. :)

Also of note is that today I bent a green nail while doing a pistol. That was fricking hard. Next time I'll try to get some video of it. Purely a circus trick.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I haven't had to wait for a treadmill yet.

I was reading through some gym reviews on Yelp when I came across one for a gym near me. Part of the reviews exclaimed "I haven't had to wait for a treadmill yet!"
What a bummer that is. This means that at some time you were waiting for the opportunity to get on a machine that basically simulates running.
I've learned to put my blinders on in the gym. I still go to Equinox because I dig the AC and many of the trainers are friends of mine and I like that atmosphere. It always bums me out to see all these people on the machines, doing reverse overhead dumbbell lunges on the bosu for their 'balance day'.
We're so disconnected from what the hell it's supposed to be about. It's so simple that it is elusive. It is your ability to function. If you're working out on the machines building big biceps and pumping up your pecs, but every time you shake hands with your uncle he nearly crushes yours without meaning to, that should tell you something. If you ride the stairmaster for an hour and then march around with a medicine ball for fifteen minutes, but you can't carry a box out to your garage... that should tell you something.
If the 'fitness' you are building doesn't serve you in performing simple daily tasks, it is worthless.
I don't look like much. I mean seriously. You can kind of tell I work out, and half the time I look like a skinny guy with a gut... but I can lift up your refrigerator. Better still, I'll be able to play with my great grandkids, and God willing; beat them in a foot race.
You're not stupid. You know when you're being conned, when someone is trying to pull the wool over your eyes. Sometimes you go with it because it's convenient. However, I leave you with this: Life isn't supposed to be convenient, because then it's boring.
Like waiting for a treadmill.

Happy Birthday Marines!

In 1997 I took a chance and it ended up being one of the best decisions of my life. My time in the Marine Corps (and in particular in the infantry) changed me profoundly and I believe in the end made me a much more well rounded person, and set me up for success in life. I was the last person on the planet you would have expected to enlist. I was the quiet artist type, not athletic in the least, thin as a rail. However, I always had this idea that sometimes you just have to walk through the door. If you do that, everything else will fall into place. This does not ensure success, but at least trying will make you a better man.
I learned some things during a total of five years (four active, one reserve).
1. Being able to run fast helps.
2. Being able to take a beating helps.
3. Being able to hand out a beating helps.
4. You can get away with a lot of backtalk if you're good at your job and can lead Marines.
5. Meritorious boards are lame.
6. One Sergeant vs. two captains and a lieutenant is a losing battle, even if you are getting out in five days.
7. A 240G machine gun coming down a zip line hits really hard.
8. If you're in a Helo landing area with ear plugs in pay attention, or you may actually get hit in the head by one about to land on you.
9. British Royal Marines have no concept of shame.
10. Bullets do not understand 'friend or foe'.
11. When being shot at do not turn to the Marine next to you and say "Hey, I think they're shooting at us."
12. Water does not shoot up out of a puddle of it's own accord. Most likely bullets are making it do that.
13. If you show up at boot camp and have the middle name 'Mountain Wolf' or if your name is 'Phuc Yu', you are pretty much screwed.
14. McDonalds employees make more than Marines.
15. Don't stop in the doorway and look around.
16. Don't wear your blues out on the town when you come home on leave. You look like a tool.
18. Don't take a shortcut through another company's barracks.
19. Do not leave your weapon unattended, unless you feel like digging up all of the separate pieces.
20. The MP5 rocks.

I may add to this later, but that's pretty good for now.

Sgt. Vezina, Jordan J
USMC 0311
2nd F.A.S.T. Company
2nd Intel
1997-2001, 2005

Friday, November 7, 2008

Beast Challenge on hold

I have decided to put off my Beast Challenge date to the June RKC II or the UCLA RKC in August. My presses and pistols are going fine, but my pull ups are getting killed as I keep putting on weight. Today I weighed 174 lbs., a full 14 pounds heavier than I was at the August RKC. I'm holding ground on the pull ups, but since I'm planning on taking this all the way to 180 I don't realistically expect to pull what I need to.
So I will continue training for it, but will start prepping for the April TSC on Jan. 1st.
My strength levels are way up, and I'm confident I'll have a 425 lbs. deadlift before the year is out. The squatting is helping immensely, and the generation of radiant tension during the nail bending is translating well to my pulls.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Tara gets up the 24 kg., Bert pulls 300 lbs., and Todd passes his snatch test.

The past couple of weeks have been pretty big in terms of client PR's, and just everyone taking a leap ahead in terms of their strength and conditioning.
I started working with Tara Robertson back in March I believe, and she really took her training by the horns and stuck with it. Now she is swinging the 24 kg., hitting 50 sets of 6 reps on the 16 kg. for max vo2, and confidently doing TGU with the 24 kg. This February she will be attending the RKC in San Jose.
Bert has been battling his way toward a 300 pound deadlift for two years now, ever since I introduced him to the exercise at Equinox. He missed all three attempts at the TSC in September, but today he pulled a solid 300 pound deadlift. It will only get better from here.
When Todd and I started training in July 2007 he could barely swing the 16 kg. for ten reps. This Saturday he hit his RKC snatch test number on the 24 kg. For those interested nearly all his snatching was done vo2 style with the 16 kg. He did a few runs of snatches on the minute with the 20 kg. but this was his first time ever doing a significant number of snatches on the 24 kg. He is also doing get ups with the 32 kg. kettlebell.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What do you do when you run out of nails to bend?

Try to straighten them back out.

An interesting variation that I probably won't do too often as I can see how this can go all kinds of wrong, but it did help me channel my tension more efficiently. I probably could have taken them further, but my wraps weren't that tight and I was running out of time.
This also worked the hell out of my triceps.

Saturday, November 1, 2008

32 kg. Pistol and Beast Challenge Status

I've done this once before, but this was much cleaner. I just barely tapped the ground with my forward foot. I've improved my hamstring flexibility, so it's much better than last time. I can see I unloaded my tension too quickly (about halfway up) and I need to stay on top of that until the end. I know I could do a 36 right now if I had one. So my beast challenge stats as of this moment are as follows.
Press- 36 kg.
Pistol- 36 kg.
Pull Up- 28 kg.

I have three months left to train for this thing. I have no doubt I'll get the pistol and the press, I just need to start working the pull ups harder. It doesn't help that I'm a full 14 pounds heavier than I was at the RKC, and 8 pounds heavier than I was at the TSC. I'm going to put the breaks on at 180 and game it out from there.