Zombie Apocalypse…I don’t have to be the fastest. I just have to be faster than the other guy.

I threw myself out of bed this morning, excited and genuinely motivated. Sure, it doesn’t always happen that way  (as Mrs Regular Reader will know), but after an under-par performance in a couplet last night (Kettlebell Swings and pull ups…..Lots and lots of them), I really wanted to make amends. 

Plus……today is FIGHT GONE BAD day!

A benchmark among benchmarks, FGB is a brutal, high volume / low weight engine workout. Feared by many, I saw this as an opportunity.

So it was with proper whooping joy that I bounded in to CF Watford this morning. Yeah, the large Costa Americano ‘might’ have had something to do with it but it was mostly just me.

The excitement was well noted, as it was during max height box jumps last night (44″), and it got me thinking again about my ‘why’.
Why do I get excited by my fitness? why am I enthusiastic about hard charging the box and putting myself in to a dark, stinking pain cave?

The standard answer: I will be that 50+ year old who is throwing a long pass out wide to my rugby playing daughters at the park. I will be the dad on sports day that my daughters are proud to see winning the parents’ race. I will be the old man helping others move in to a new home, shifting furniture that someone half my age struggles with.

The real answer: I will outrun you when the Zombie Apocalypse comes. 

It’s survival of the fittest, baby! 

Global pandemics, war, environmental disasters, zombies. My family needs me to be on my game to protect them and lead them to survival when the time comes.

Am I the strongest? No. 

Am I the fastest? No.

But I don’t need to be. I just have to want it more than the me of yesterday, and the guy next to me in the fight for survival.

Zombie Apocalypse – they’ll get you before they get me 😀

I am that guy who finds the deactivated escalator to walk up.

With that, Fight Gone Bad was up on the board today and I was grinning from ear to ear. Some 5RM Deadlift work first, I kept this at around 85% of my 5RM, with 140kg lifts. Intentionally not hitting the heights, I had bigger fish to fry today.

Fight Gone Bad

3 Rounds

1 min on each station, Max Effort 

  • Wall Balls, 9kg to 10′
  • Sumo Deadlift High Pull, 35kg
  • Box Jumps, 24″ (standard is 20″ for this)
  • Push Press, 35kg
  • Row for KCal 
  • Rest

Total: 326 – a 13 rep improvement on a year ago.

https://beyondthewhiteboard.com/workout_sessions/31616467

So, with the world going to hell in a handcart, I’m setting myself up for the survival of my family.

Zombies….they’re coming 😉

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Strength down, Engine up. Happy for Now.

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Update

Sweating and heaving my way through the 3rd round of 800m Run + 21 x Power Cleans (@60kg) yesterday, it struck me that my barbell cycling and basic strength has taken a bit of a dip recently. Entirely expected, this is due to the increased attention that I’ve placed on training for the Swim/Run event coming up and the associated decrease in time therefore spent in CF Watford. I had initially worked it so that I’d still be getting enough CrossFit time in but work has a habit of rudely getting in the way of my personal life and so I had to make the decision to focus on one thing at a time!

Of course, it was also notable that my third 800m run was almost as fast as the first! So, what I lose in one area, I gain in another; let’s face it, barbell work is a lot more fun than running though so once this event is over, while I’ll keep up the open water swimming, it’s back to the box for strength!!

Open Water Swimming

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Having tried 3 lakes recently, I’ve settled on one that I didn’t even know existed until last week. Merchant Taylors School, Northwood, has a beautiful lake that is open to swimmers every Wednesday evening during the warmer months. At £6 per session, the 750m loop is a little puddle of heavenly joy. The school provides ample parking and  wonderful changing facilities to the managerial ‘club’ from Hercules Events. What I would say though is that while the chalkboard might read, “20C” as the temp, this is only true for the shallower areas of the lake! There are certainly some cooler spots that unexpectedly leap on you as you splash your way around the circuit 😀 I completed 2 laps (1.5km) this evening in 33 mins. The limitations of my Garmin were evident though – it is absolutely ninja at calculating pool swims but ropey outdoors; I did know this to be the case before it was purchased. That said, it could have been the app I was using – next week I’ll use the stock triathlon app that comes with it.

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Running

I didn’t manage to get out on a long distance run last week. 7 miles the week before as far as I’ve succeeded in so far. Keeping at around 7min 30sec per mile, I am quietly confident about the event overall. I’ve not yet practiced transitioning from swim to run but liberal application of Shea Body Butter should make the job easier! 😀 😀

CrossFit

In amongst the endurance work, I have been enjoying 3-4 sessions of CrossFit per week, including garage sessions too:

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I had intense Glute DOMS from Rear Rack Reverse Lunges (90kg) 2 days prior. I’d have hoped for at least a minute faster than this but to be honest, I was happy to get through it alive 😀

Nutrition

  • Carbs: 35%
  • Fats: 30%
  • Protein: 35%

Total KCal: 2300 + exercise deficit

This continues to be my plan, but with a recent tweak. While I set my total at 2300KCal based on bodyweight and requirement to get a little bigger and a little stronger, I didn’t take in to account KCal expended during exercise. This has resulted in my weight remaining pretty stable at 82kg. Since receiving my beautiful Garmin Vivoactive HR for my recent birthday, coupled with the heart rate strap, I have begun tracking my expenditure a bit more. Now, this is fraught with error, I get that – in order to not blow my good work prior to Summer hols, I am taking that watch’s assessment and reducing it by 10-15% before adding the total to my daily intake requirements. I shall continue to monitor body composition over the next month or so to note changes.

 

So, there’s the update for now. Once things calm down a bit with work and training, I’ll pick up the blog a bit more. Until then, have a peaceful and safe evening, wherever you are. x

Setting an Example, Out at the Front, not at the Top.

 

We are the Coaches.We are empowered and entrusted to develop the health and wellbeing of athletes. We have a responsibility to Deliver. We Set the Example. We Lead from the Front.

This statement I firmly believe in and I would like to take this time to break it down.

The Whiteboard. Being a coach to athletes is not about being at the top of the whiteboard, day in and day out. As a coach, there is certainly a degree of credibility that comes from being in the top few % though. Who is going to follow the person who doesn’t demonstrate a strong level of all round fitness, regardless of their competencies. At least, not in this game, perhaps more so in elite, specific sports where the coach is intentionally detached from playing but who has demonstrated high levels of competence as a dedicated coach. In fitness, you trust the person who demonstrates fitness. As coaches, it is our job to make those around us better than us and so there will always be people above us on the whiteboard. Plus, time spent coaching is time spent not training which will have an impact.

Communication is about more than words. It is the sum of our words and deeds. Simply put, we cannot expect athletes to listen to what we say if we don’t follow it ourselves. We are being watched ALL THE TIME. Our words are just part of what we are saying. How we act, how we move, the example we set…these are powerful messages. Don’t get me wrong, I am hardly the most virtuous CrossFitter out there. I like chocolate, I like a little cake sometimes and I drink too much caffeine in the form of Monster Zero (yep, I do); I may or may not have a secret thing for Cool Doritos too. But in front of the athletes (and 80% of the time generally), it’s professional, competent and leading by example. While on communication, be careful to not overstep the bounds of your own knowledge – not rumour or heresay, knowledge. Bad advice and guidance, no matter how well intentioned, is bad advice and is not guidance. Seek help the moment you are outside your comfort zone. And then go and dive in to the books and learn!

Programming. If we are following completely different programmes then how do we sell our programme to the athletes? Standfast those on competitor programming vice General Physical Preparedness (although CrossFit opposes this view too), but if you turn up and stroll to the other end of the box to do your own thing while others are sweating in a heap on the floor then it screams, “this programme isn’t good enough for me but it’s good enough for you”. Back to my previous point about not being top of the whiteboard, you still have to be ON that whiteboard. Athletes want to see how they measure up against you; as coaches, it’s good to see where you measure up too.

Nutrition. In the words of the guy who took me through my Level 1, 5 years ago, “here be monsters”. Nutrition is a thorny subject – everyone is set in their ways, there are thousands of competing ‘diets’ and approaches. However, one thing that almost all agree on is to reduce/remove refined sugars, have some starch, have some nuts & seeds, eat lean protein, eat tonnes of beautiful, green leafy veg (REAL FOOD). Within that, you can weigh/measure/count what you like within your preference. Personally, as you know, I weigh my food for 5 days a week and see considerable benefits by the 35% Carbs / 35% Protein / 30% Fat model. Of course, quantities of each do depend on your activity levels and goals. BUT what is not included are heavily processed, manufactured, brightly coloured products that contain clearly artificial ingredients but which have killa names obviously designed to get you to part with your cash as quickly as possible.  As coaches, it is hard enough attempting to talk about basic nutrition while competing with highly-funded advertising, what is even harder is if trainers in your profession advocate them too – I should mention that this is not a common occurrence in CF Watford; it really isn’t. I’m merely highlighting a point as something that I have witness. The only way we can compete with dissociated advertising is with the up-close-and-personal approach that a coach delivers.

Effort. We might not be the best in the box. Our mobility might not be where it should be. We will have our ‘goats’ too – things to work on. But as coaches, we demonstrate the effort required to get to that next stage of fitness. We put in the full range of movement in the burpee box jump, and we explain why. We fight to maintain external shoulder rotation in the shoulders during overhead squats, and we explain why. The athletes have to see that we work as hard as they do in every facet of the coaching session. You might not think it but they are looking to see your progressions too. And this goes for that 6am session that we really didn’t want to get out of bed for too. The athletes made it, we need to bring our A-Game, even if we don’t feel like it.

Scaling. We might Rx most things…but we didn’t used to. Not only that, we shouldn’t always, either. Scaling plays its part in all our development but the coach scaling a workout occasionally will also send the message to some of the more ‘determined’ athletes, “hey, if coach is scaling, perhaps I should too”. You might have told that to scale a thousand times but nothing demonstrates “leave your ego at the door” better than actually doing it ourselves.

Jumping in on WODs. This is a habit that I started getting in on but have now drawn back from. CrossFit is not cheap. It is far more expensive than typical gym memberships, despite not having the free towels, DVD memberships, spas, beautiful changing rooms and TVs. It is expensive because athletes pay for the value that a coach brings in giving them the personal attention throughout the 60 mins of the day that they invest in. It is our duty to unrelentingly pursue their progression and development. If there is another coach present to take over then dive on in – athletes do want to compete against the coaches, after all. But ultimately, they pay for coaching; they didn’t pay for globogym.

So, that about covers it, I think, although I’m sure I’ll think of something else as soon as I publish this.

Is there anything you look for in your coaches? Are there strong examples out there that we could learn from? Are there bad examples out there that we can learn from?

Answers, not on a postcard, but in the comments box below.

Cheers.

Op SUNSHINE (Positivity Reset), #MondayMotivation and a Personal Record

Left foot, right foot. Repeat. Simple.

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Operation SUNSHINE

a new dawn

 

Op SUNSHINE

If there’s one specific area that needs work, the one thing that if resolved would spark a genuine change revolution in my life, it is my positivity – or current lack thereof. Over time, I have become a quite pessimistic and cynical guy. I know this and routinely try to curb the sharper, more extreme elements of it, especially from my children. I think the world in general is a bit like this; we just let things get on top of us. However, it’s just got that bit too overwhelming for me now. It’s time for genuine change. I’m noticing it more and more in my everyday exchanges with others. It’s as though I’m trying to bring people down to my low ebb to struggle along with me – and this is exceptionally selfish behaviour.

It was during a TED Talk podcast yesterday that I decided it was time for an overhaul. It was the realisation that the world would be just that little bit better for those who I chat to each day if I wasn’t such a sarcastic, negative git sometimes. Sure, the world can be a shitty place (I was sat in yet more static traffic on the M25 motorway at the time) and there are plenty of things to get all negative over but actually my world has far more going for it than not. We had a BBQ this weekend with Mum and the family. It was a great event, albeit our first without Dad (we raised more than one drink to him though!). We regaled stories of him, and we were all so happy to talk about him.  Flashes of recent conversations with Mrs Nomad, with work colleagues and with friends all surged through my mind; conversations where I have lowered the mood with a complaint, grumble, sombreness. When I review those particular conversations, I realise that there is just no need for it at all! I’ve merely tried to steer a conversation to a lower mood in order to validate my own poor mindset. It’s not always like it but regular readers of this blog (*chuckle…..regular readers…..chuckle*) will have seen my negative self-talk over the months. This only hinders training and development.

Well, no more.

As of now, I am setting myself my biggest challenge yet – Op SUNSHINE.

30 Days of Positivity.

I’m told that it only takes 21 days of change to form a habit. Well, I intend going further than that; I have 30-odd years to undo! 😉 Each day, I will post a SUNSHINE Index of what made me happiest on that day. You will notice a change in the way I talk about my workouts, the successes therein and the development opportunities that they present. As a coach, how can I expect to positively coach others with a subconscious negative bias? As a father, how can I lead our team and develop our children to be optimistic, positive and successful if all they see is negativity. More importantly, if I am to support Mrs Nomad as a strong, supportive, loving husband then it has to come from a foundation of positive, buoyant action and not negative, selfishness.

So here goes!

Today’s #FlashWod

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Morning WOD

A great night of sleep last night, enabled by a bit of Mindfullness practice, resulted in me practically leaping out of bed this morning and in to my kit. A quick handful of mixed nuts (15g), a bottle of water and I was over to CrossFit NWD for some Clean work. The stereo is broken, with the volume stuck on “EAR SMASH” loud, so it was with ringing of Muse “Unsustainable” in my ears that I began:

5 x 1 Clean + Front Squat

80 / 80 / 85 / 85 / 85kg

Warming up with Burgener Warm Up and 60 / 60 / 60 / 60 / 60 kg, I was very pleased with this. Still remaining at no more than 85% 1RM, I could have gone heavier but kept it there. 80kg is my new ‘working weight’.

5 x 1 Hang Clean + Front Squat

70 / 80 / 80 / 85 / 85kg

Dropping to 5 x 1 @ 70kg, I quickly ramped up to 85kg. Again, this could have been 90kg but I intentionally kept it at 85kg for form.

Evening WOD

Strength

3 x 3 Bench Press

15 x 60kg, 5 x 80kg, 3 x 85kg , 3 x 92.5kg, 3 x 97.5kg – a new 3 Rep Max by 10kg!!

The calculator at http://strengthlevel.com/ predicts my 1RM to be 103kg which is pretty much what I’ve been working towards anyway. I hope to achieve 105kg later this week.

 

MetCon – Gymnastics, Speed and Coordination

3 RFT:

  • 25 x Double Unders
  • 12 x Burpees
  • 400m Run

Time: 8:33 Rx

I set myself the target of unbroken everything and I managed it. The burpees were proper, full burpees with no stepups or step downs. I did slow down slightly on the last round which I then had to make up on the run. However, I gave it almost 100% throughout. A great little WOD there.

Nutrition

  • Pre-WOD Snack: 15g Mixed Nuts
  • Breakfast: Peanut Butter Choc Protein Cake (1 x egg, 25g choc whey protein, 1 tbs crunchy peanut butter, 0.5 tbs coconut oil – 1 min microwave), 2 slices Chicken + tonnes of leaves.
  • Lunch: 3 x Chicken Slices with leaves. 1 x Egg, 200ml Whole Milk. 15g Mixed Nuts.
  • Snacks: 3 x 10g mixed Nuts
  • Post-WOD: 25g Whey Protein, 25g Dried Skimmed Milk Powder
  • Dinner: BBQ Leftovers!! 1 x 8oz Burger, 1 x 97% Pork Sausage and 1 x Lamb Kofta, plus LOTS of leaves, some sundried tomatoes and fresh, homegrown chillis.
  • Drinks: a tonne of coffee and lots of whole milk.

 

SUNSHINE INDEX – Day 1

Far more positive start to the day with colleagues. V. upbeat, purposefully engaging over ‘weekend chat’. Made a big effort to not reply to anything with a jokey grumble but to be very positive. Who knows, perhaps this bled over in to the session this evening and helped me achieve my new scores!

 

Links

Mindfulness: https://youtu.be/qzR62JJCMBQ