Friday, August 9, 2013

P/F/M NATs '13 MISREP Day 2: Equipment Familiarization

This was a good day. I still had the 'fish out of water' disposition but a good day none the less.

I got to Brute and have myself an hour to hit the things I was concerned with for tomorrow, namely the Axle and the Chains. There's only so many ways you can grip a chain to drag it and I think I found one that'll work for me for tomorrow. The most challenging piece of equipment for tomorrow will by far be the 260 Axle in the Push-Pull Medley. The thing does not spin at all, and I've never worked with an axle like it before.

This took a few more reps than it should of to get a feel for but I was finally able to figure it out... At slightly over event weight. There's a 600 Frame Dead immediately before the 260 Axle Press, the key is going to be to take an additional second to focus before cleaning it. I don't see too many people finishing the medley, hell, I may not finish the medley. The 240 Keg at the end it going to be a beast.

I spent the rest of the day relaxing and refeeding. Also, lots of time was spent thinking about tomorrow's show. It's been a long time - The Barn in 2011 - since I've gone to a show solo like this. It's also been a long time since I've competed. I'm feeling good!!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

P/F/M NATs '13 MISREP Day 1: Travel Out

Today definitely did not end as I had hoped. I was supposed to land in Norfolk at 5:50, which would have given me some time to get over to Brute Strength Gym and spend a little time with the implements but due to a storm and an overfilled jet, I didn't land until around 8:10 and Brute closed at 9:00.

I was able to get there by 8:45 but, of course, this was not enough time to get anything done other than a walk-through. I took a few mental notes while I glanced around and I do need to get there tomorrow and touch some of the toys. 1. I noticed that their axle doesn't rotate at all - they did it right - which is a little different than I'm used to so I should go get a feel for it. 2. The 145 pound shackle for the anchor chain drag is a fucking monster, I need to go figure out how to pick it up for the drag. 3. The pick heights for the Frame, Truck Tires and Car Dead are different than I’m used to so I also need to go feel them out, a little.

These aren’t stark contrasts but hey, these slight differences can mean placing on the podium vs off the podium.

I will say, it was enjoyable to travel without having to worry about making weight. For shows past, by this point I’ve sodium loaded, then water loaded then started to try to sweat it out. I was able to have an iced coffee before I flew out and a meal over the extended layover in Denver, it was nice. Tonight I’m about to go find something to eat and tomorrow morning I can eat again, had the weight class shift not happened, I’d be waking up, wrapping myself in a garbage bag under a few layers of sweats and walking on the treadmill or sitting in a sauna until I saw the magical 232, hoping carry-over would bring me under 231.5 by the time I got on the scale. Then I’d start re-loading and re-feeding until I didn’t feel like me ears needed to pop, take a nap and hopefully feel normal again by early evening. Luckily, I don’t have to weigh in so, I don’t have to worry about any of that.

Competing as a Heavy (or “Middleweight” in this case) comes with a different set of Training, Tactics and Pcedures. I can’t recall what I did the days before my other NAS Open Heavy Shows (So-Cal Strength Challenge OCT 2010 & Red Bluff JUL 2012) but I do remember feeling at ease and unstressed, which put me in a good frame of time to turn it on when competition day came.

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Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Pol/Fir/Mil NATs '13 - 1 Week Out: Show Goals

No workouts this weekend other than 5 sets on the Rower, to keep the blood moving.

Saturday afternoon it was announced on Facebook that the weight classes would be combined at Brute Strength Gym next weekend due to a lack of heavyweight competitors. Based off of the people who were 'going' on Facebook I thought there were going to be a lot of big guys throwing a lot of big numbers around but I guess I was wrong. With the change, the Open Men are lumped into two categories; 200 pounds and under and 200 pounds and over. What it means for me is that I don't have to worry about cutting down to under 231.4 for weigh-ins, I just need to show up over 200 pounds and smash weights, the same event weight I've been training for all along!!

On one hand, if I had known 13 weeks ago that I'd be competing against a few of the big boys maybe I never would have cut down and maintained a lower body weight. On the other, I'm not ready for a 270 Log Clean 1 / Press for Reps in a show and should I place, I wouldn't be going to Open Nationals as a HVY, I'm far from being ready to go as a LWT, let alone a HVY.

The only drawback I see is that I planned on flying out on Thursday so I could make weight first thing in the morning on Friday. Now that I don't have to make weight, I really don't have a reason to fly out a day early but at this point it's very expensive to change flights, sucks that I'll be away from the family one more night than I really need to.

Show Goals
I've never competed against a Heavyweight Monster (think a top 15 Open NATs placer) in the smaller shows that I’ve done but I have won both times that I competed as a Heavy. Looking at the line up for Brute I recognize a few names from NATs in years past and there's some formidable 200 pounders on the list and the PFM LWT winners from ’10 & ’11, but what I don't see is Previous PFM HWT winners or many of the guys that I see in the Brute vids. I guess, mostly, they show up and help things run smoothly, which I’ve done while injured in my own back yard.

Event Weights List

It’s interesting to think about goals at the show knowing that I won’t have to cut those last 10 pounds and then re-load after getting on the scale. My goal is to win and come home with the PFM above 200 National Champ title and an invite to Open NATs 2013. The question is… Because it’s billed as a combined Middleweight Class, if you win, can you go to NATs as a 231.4 because the class wasn’t offered? At the end of the day, I doesn’t really matter until I come home with it, so what happens, happens next week and the rest will be figured out when all the dust is settled.

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Thursday, August 1, 2013

Pol/Fir/Mil NATs '13 - 2 Weeks Out: Last Look & Heavy Liftin'

This weekend was my last chance to get heavy work in before P/F/M Nats. About a year ago I was training heavy for a Dallas Plat Plus show a week out and fucked my back up when pulling my 750 pound 'Doomsday Frame', an injury that haunts me to this day. With the recent 'hard cramp' of two weeks ago, I don't want to take any chances but, I needed a 'last look' before the show.

Failing at 303

DTG: 27JUL2013/1000
LOC: Brownfield Residence

Events: Axle Clean & Press, Arm / Arm Pull, Tire (Chain) Drag, Car Dead Lift

Today was a Team Big Sac extended family reunion at the Brownfield residence. The Barrel Doug Carroll came up from Santa Rosa, Brooks brought a few guys doing the Novice class at Northern Nevada's Strongest Man down from Chico and Fred Larson, Ty-lor Shelgren and Zach rode up with me.

I got some work in on the Axle while everyone else was working with the BiggDogg Logg. I worked up to 303 but I missed it twice. My best good rep was 283, 300+ will sadly have to wait until after VA. I did two sets each of Arm Over Arm Pull / Tire Sled drag with a 220 pound stone in the tire, both times the second go felt better than the first.

My real reason for heading to the Brownfield Residence was to get my hands on his Car Dead setup again. The pick on my Car Dead is about 6" higher than his and the one in VA, and it damn near crippled me last time I used it. I wanted to have another session with it, and be able to walk away from it, before heading out. Today, for my last set, we had a Corolla on the platform w/ 100 pounds of dumbbells in the trunk, with each rep one of the guys threw in a 60 pound sandbag. My 5th rep was my last, with an additional 240 pounds of sand in the trunk... And I walked away from it without cramping or tweaking it. Good training day.

DTG: 28JUL2013/1200
LOC: Fortress of Solitude

Events: Log Press, Keg Press

The sun has been relentless this summer and I was pretty burnt out after my day in Oroville. I decided to omit Frame Dead and 18" Dead today, after the Cad Deads, I didn't want to chance it. I got my whole workout in today in about 45 minutes. I went slightly above event weight on the Log, cleaned it once, pressed it for 4 reps. Not as good as I've done before but I also hadn't done Axel Press / Log Press on back to back days before. I'm going to chalk my weak Log work up to that.

Kegs have been an issue for me lately, mostly because I haven't trained with them enough. Today I worked staggered grip and hit the 207 with the left and right, also the 230 with the left and right. My last rep was a single with the 250, left hand on the top / right hand on the bottom, if that makes sense. Honestly, I was surprised that I hit it today, a 240 is going to be a chore at the end of the push-pull.

Last Two Weeks:
I have 12 full days until the competition. This morning I was 246.8, I have to cut 15.4 pounds. Here's my plans for the final days:

07/29-08/05: Last week of lifting. No max attempts at all. Any static events practice done will be capped at 85% of event weight. Try to hit conditioning every other day first thing in the morning, switching between 20 minute steady state sessions and hi intensity interval training.

08/06-8/08: Rest, rest, rest. Get adjustments and take massages. If any work needs to be done for cutting purposes, keep it very low-impact. Travel day is 08/08, I get in early enough to find a sauna or steam room if needed.

08/09: Wake up, check body weight, cut any final weight that I may need to, head to Brute to weigh-in as early as possible (1100 per entry form) and then hit Waffle House like a wrecking ball, get back to Brute to feel the equipment out, pizza/pasta feed at Regino's with leftovers 3 hours later.

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Monday, July 22, 2013

Pol/Fir/Mil NATs '13 - 3 Weeks Out: Active Recovery

DTG: 20JUL2013/1100
LOC: Fortress of Solitude
Events: Arm/Arm Pull, Sled Drag

Since last Saturday's back injury I've taken 3 days off, got a massage, seen a chiropractor and spent a lot of time on the ice pack. I felt good enough for a little active recovery today...

I only had about an hour to get a combat quick turn mission in, and then was just enough to roll the tire, move the frame out, unravel my lead rope, hook some chains up, get in my workout and put everything away. 

I was sitting in the tire, I didn't have anyone to pull my rope so the tire it was today. It took a lot of the leg drive part out of it, also the shackle dragging behind the frame killed any inertia that may have been there. After recovering I grabbed the shackle and did a backward drag, trying to keep a good pace with short, choppy steps. The rope's about 90 feet, I was probably going 80 feet each way.

Doomsday Frame = 350 Pounds
Chain = 30 Pounds
Shackle = 45 Pounds
Rope = 90'
All I had time for was two sets of each Arm / Arm Pull and Chain (Sled) Drag. I wanted to finish with some work on the rower but, I didn't have time today. 

The back's feeling pretty good. What the Russian massage girl said was it wasn't injured, just really tight and the chiropractor confirmed it. The Car Dead was a lower pick than I'm used to using and when I stiff legged the groceries I most likely cramped everything in a nasty way. Doc also said, even with light things, bend the knees. 

I'm going to go get another massage and another adjustment and then start smashing weights again.

DTG: 21JUL2013/1330
LOC: Fortress of Solitude
Events: Log Press / Axle Press (Both Clean Once, Press for Reps)

I wasn't going to hit the weights today but, I had an epiphany. I'm back to work full time, I have a 7.5 week old newborn and my 11 year old daughter has soccer games on the weekends; I need to get my sessions in when I can. I had about an hour today so I decided to hit Overhead.

Last time I hit the log, I got 4 reps with 240 pounds, I had let it go too long between visits to Doc Ellyson and I heard pops and clicks all the way down my spine while catching the 3rd rep. Today I when up to event weight (250) and hit it for two sets. I wasn't very solid with my first set, the first few reps were a littl off kilter, the last few felt better. I wasn't happy with it so I changed from my Oly shoes to my wrestling shoes and gave it another go, I didn't get as many reps on the second set but it was a better set.

Thinking forward to Open Nationals... IF I qualify for Open Nats... Overhead will be my biggest challenge so I followed up my Log with some Axle work and knocked about seven triples with 213. And with that I was out of time. I should have done some Keg Press and I should have practiced for the Conan's Wheel record but; I was out of time.
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Friday, July 19, 2013

Holy Grail Diet: Wks 1-9 +8.42lbs Lean Mass / -4.404lbs Fat Mass

Previously... I spent 4 months on the Rapid Weight Loss program and once I achieved my goal of sub 240 pounds bodyweight, I switched things up to a cycle diet, which plays on insulin spiking to lose fat while gaining muscle; a fool's dream if you ask me...

The diet that on now is completely proprietary, because 1; I didn't come up with it, 2; I don't own it 3; it works and 4; I've only come across one doctor ever that didn't throw his arms up and say, "but if you do that, you'll probably die." Based on the results, I'm going to call this "The Holy Grail Diet: The Most Powerful Diet You've Never Heard Of" or The Holy Grail or "HGD" for short.

I got in the BodPod done after four and nine weeks on the Holy Grail and the results justify the name:

13.05.10: 237.050@ 18.7%
(192.780 Lean Mass / 44.270 Fat Mass)
13.06.07: 241.455@ 17.7%
(198.610 Lean Mass / 42.848 Fat Mass)
13.07.12: 241.066@ 16.5%
(201.200 Lean Mass / 39.866 Fat Mass)

 Weeks 1-9:
+8.42 pounds Lean Mass
-4.40 pounds Fat Mass

Because I'm not getting in the thing daily, or weekly for that matter, I can't tell when over the months that Lean Mass was gained or Fat Mass was lost but over a period of nine weeks, adding about eight and a half pounds of Lean Mass while losing about four and a half pounds of Fat Mass is damn good results.

When I tested this diet in 2009, I was able to stay on the Holy Grail for nine strict weeks. The HGD  requires much more effort to plan / prepare / execute than the Rapid Weight Loss diet. It's getting easier and here I am again at the nine week mark, four weeks from my next show and roughly 10 pounds overweight.

Since I started on the HGD, I haven't done any conditioning other than weekly events training, and even then sometimes I'll only to a single set of rope pulls or sled drags. There's a temptation here to get back on the Rapid Weight Loss kick but, with the results from the past nine weeks, I don't want to chance it. Aside from the body composition changes, I've been getting stronger every workout and waking up feeling good and refreshed no matter how hard I hit the weights or the amount of sleep I get.

I know it's not that impressive without progress pics but it's like this; I'm back to work full time, my daughter just turned 7 weeks old, I'm prepping for Pol/Fir/Mil Nationals and trying to help coordinate and plan Northern Nevada's Strongest Man, so... the garage scale and BodPod are what I'm using now to track progress.

At my new, lower body fat percentage (16.5%) I think it's safe for me to add some hardcore conditioning work and tweak my food intake ever so slightly to make it to sub 231.5 in the next month.

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Thursday, July 18, 2013

30 Day Challenge / Rapid Weight Loss Results

Coming back from in-residence training, I was around 260 and carrying much more fat than I wanted to. The goal of the initial phase of my diet was to lose as much weight as I could, as fast as I could. I got on the same program that I used in 2007 when I lost 65 pounds in 16 weeks and guess what? I worked again!

Every time I need to drop some quick pounds, after the holidays or in preparation for a physical fitness test, I get back on the Rapid Weight Loss wagon and achieve comparable results. I’ve been criticized for years about my practices of ‘crash-cutting’ and ‘dirty bulking’ and I’ve been told time and time again and it isn’t good for me and it won’t work forever; I keep coming back and proving the critics wrong, most of whom believe that making slight modifications and losing 10 pounds over a year is the real way to get healthy results. Life is short; make things happen.

13.04.12: 257.454@ 23.4%
(197.104 Lean Mass / 60.350 Fat Mass)
13.05.10: 237.050@ 18.7%
(192.780 Lean Mass / 44.270 Fat Mass)

 Weeks 1-4:
-4.32 pounds Lean Mass
-16.08 pounds Fat Mass

Following this I transitioned to a diet that I’ve tested a few times in the past, it’s by the same genius behind what I based my Rapid Weight Loss program off of. The diet is a play on carb cycling with the goals of gaining muscle while losing fat. Personally, I believe that you end up spinning your wheels if you try to both at the same time. I’m a fan of ‘crash-cutting’, even at the expense of muscle mass, and ‘dirty bulking’ because if you want to get big, you’ve got to get nasty.

The longest I’ve tested this cycling diet in the past was nine weeks, the nine weeks leading up to my first North American Strongman show. While I won the show and came in feeling like I looked my best ever, I wasn’t utilizing the BodPod as I should have been so I can’t tell if or what the changes to my body composition were but I do know, for those nine weeks I ate like a king, lost weight, felt cut up and was more fast and powerful then I can ever remember being.

But... It wasn’t as easy to lose weight on the cycling diet as it was on the Rapid Weight Loss model, that’s why it was so important to drop the 19 pounds as fast as I could / did.

Moving forward to the cycling diet, I’m going to do a better job of getting in the BodPod to see if it really is the Holy Grail of diets for strength athletes.

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