2 Personal Records & Squatting over Hump Day, Let Down at the End.

 Concentration and Mental Toughness are the Margins of Victory

– Bill Russell

I thought I’d start with a bit of self-congratulation. It’s important to recognise one’s achievements, especially when they indicate ongoing success towards a larger goal. So, yesterday, at CF Watford, Overhead Squats came up for the Strength portion and “The Chief” was the MetCon. To summarise, cut to the chase, and not bore you (too much), I set new personal records in both.

On 10 Jun this year, I accomplished 3 x 5 Overhead Squats at 60 / 65 / 70kg. Last night, this was a strong jump with 60 / 70 / 75kg. The strength came not from the upper body, where I’ve always had an edge, but in the squatting – this is a direct result of the Squat Programme I am following and is a marker that I am improving accordingly. Superb!

In Jan this year, I achieved “The Chief” (details below) with a shade over 20 rounds. In August, this was raised to 21.9 rounds. Last night, I smashed 23 rounds! This achievement, I must attribute to Charlie and her insane obsession with “The Engine” in her programming. Thanks mate.

But back on to today and it began with the early morning Squat programme (because it works!)

AM Squats

  • 6 x 2 Front Squats @ 95kg
  • 6 x 3 Back Squats @ 105kg
  • 6 x 2 Front Squats @ 95kg

I’ve kept to the same weight as I finished the last cycle as I didn’t get all the lifts in that I had wanted during 2 of the weeks and because I really did struggle towards the end. Call this a ‘consolidation’ phase; I’ll review it at the end of this 3 week half-cycle and consider going up by 2.5kg.

wp-1476942880388.jpg

CrossFit Watford

Strength

4 x 12 Bulgarian Split Squats (per leg)

32 / 24 / 24 / 24kg

Higher volume than previous attempts; I get this relatively light after this morning’s squats. Could stop cramp setting in my left foot throughout!

wp-1476943982951.jpg

This guy in the front? A freakin’ animal! Sub-14mins for the MetCon.

MetCon

For Time:

  • 800m Run
  • 30 x Toes To Bar  – 1 x Rope Climb, every break.
  • 30 x Thrusters @ 35kg – 3 x Burpee Over Bar, every break.
  • 30 x Kettlebell Swings @ 24kg – 5 x Goblet Squats, every break.
  • 30 x Wall Balls @ 9kg – 5 x WB Sit Ups, every break.
  • 200m Pinch Grip Carry @ 10kg (per hand) – 10 x Plate GTOH, every break.

Entirely as a test of mental toughness, and I failed.

Each movement should be done approached as an unbroken attempt; however, I knew from the outset that as there were just two of us in the WOD, I would pace this and I watched myself break every movement once, apart from the final one where my grip went and I broke twice. Indeed, my grip was the key let down in all of this, most especially the Thrusters, of all things. It wasn’t that though. I just didn’t push myself hard enough at all and left feeling a little embarrassed at my effort. My part of the military prides itself on mental toughness and once again it came back to let me down – I have got to be able to push myself when it counts and not only do it when there are many others around to work with. We saw huge gains in “The Chief” yesterday when surrounded by others but a less impressive performance when lounging in the echo chamber of my own head today.

wp-1476943961664.jpg

My time at the bottom. Check out the sub-14min time. Beast!

Nutrition

  • Pre-Squats: Banana
  • Post-WOD: 25g Whey Protein + 200ml Semi-Skimmed Milk
  • Breakfast: 2 x Scrambled Eggs on plate of Spinach and Watercress
  • Lunch: Omelette with Leaves + packet noodles
  • Snack: 10g mixed Nuts
  • Dinner: Homemade Circassian Chicken & Rice
  • Post-WOD: 25g Whey Protein

 

The Chief

Max rounds in 3 minutes of:

  • 3 Power cleans @ 60kg
  • 6 Push-ups
  • 9 Squats

Rest 1 minute. Repeat for a total of 5 cycles.

Advertisements

Primal Games, Squatting in to the Week with Strength….but not without Mobility.

Look in the Mirror.

There’s your Competition.

I had the distinct privilege of judging at the Primal Games on Sunday. Run out of CrossFit Plymouth, “Primal” is a truly incredible functional fitness competition (because you’re not allowed to call it a CrossFit Competition unless sanctioned by CrossFit HQ) in the South West of England. With teams from as far away as Romsey, PG13 attracted hundreds of athletes for Masters, RX and Scaled divisions. I could only stay around for the first 2 WODs in the morning but I felt sincere pride at seeing athletes I first coached on a Friday evening a year ago in the newbies class now attacking the competition with incredible fitness and form. Their camaraderie, drive and determination was insane! Well done guys! This is indicative of CrossFit Plymouth, its whole ethos and mentality. They’re in it for each other and I love it!

img_20161002_084930.jpg

If I can raise one point, and it is perhaps indicative of amateur CrossFit in the UK as a whole, I was shocked at the lack of mobility by more than a few of the supposed RX athletes from across the boxes. Even pushing a plate above the head with straight arms was a real challenge for many, almost entirely male, either because of shoulder mobility issues or the inability to simply straighten the arms……I admit that I’d expected it in the Masters division but to see so many <30 year olds unable to fully extend was a bit shocking – you’ll have seen it yourselves perhaps, big biceps, restricted range of movement. CrossFit isn’t just about lifting weights fast. The whole CrossFit programme is built on a foundation of good mobility and strong form in the movements yet increasingly often coaches are either unable or unwilling to ensure their athletes develop in this area, instead allowing the athletes to dictate the path. At least, that’s just my view.

However, it wasn’t everyone and, once again, the Primal Games delivered a competition atmosphere that I’ve not felt anywhere else. CrossFit Plymouth continue to deliver in spades and I’m proud for James Bish and his team to have been a part of my own development.

But back to London and back in to the morning Squat programme. This is the week I’ve been dreading……..but I needn’t have.

Squat Programme

  • 6 x 2 Back Squat @ 105kg
  • 6 x 6 Front Squat @ 95kg
  • 6 x 2 Back Squat @ 105kg

2 weeks ago, I struggled with 3 reps of Front Squats at 95kg. Today, I happily (ok, not happily!) handled the 6 x 6. Smash!

 

CrossFit Watford

img_20161003_194940.jpg

CF Watford Strength

Back in to my current CF home in Watford and I almost didn’t make it tonight. It’s testament to how much I love coming here that I fought the traffic, cursed the traffic lights and seethed at people in general who were getting in my way and stopping me from arriving on time. I arrived with a smile on my face, as I always do, but I ended up missing the warm up and diving almost straight in to:

3 x 3 Thrusters

75 / 80 / 85kg

Personal Record, baby!! I even stopped at 85kg because I’d not warmed up properly; there would have been 90kg in there if I’d warmed up.

20161003_195501.jpg 20161003_195559.jpg

20161003_195513.jpg

The determination of those in CF Watford is so inspiring and humbling. Love it.

MetCon

20min Every Min on the Min (EMOM) – 50kg

  • 3 x Power Cleans
  • 3 x Front Squats
  • 3 x Push Jerk

Rx for this WOD was 60kg. However, an EMOM is about maintaining form, function and pace. The ability to repeat high intensity work, with minimal rest, is key. “Unbroken” is the way forward. Therefore……Ego must be left at the door! (cheers Paul!) In the words of Abdur (a very determined CFW Athlete) “it’s you vs you”, especially when it comes to EMOMs. I scaled to 50kg and by round 15 I was in bits. I aimed to keep every set under 20 secs and managed it each time. 55kg ‘might’ have been manageable (probably not) but 60kg was definitely out.

Nutrition

  • Pre-Squats: 200ml Whole Milk (might have been in the fridge a day or two too long 😦 )
  • Breakfast: 200ml Semi-skimmed Milk + 25g MyProtein Impact Whey Protein. Scrambled Eggs (2) on Spinach / Rocket / homegrown Lettuce  & Mustard + Cherry Tomatoes
  • Lunch: Scrambled Eggs (3) on Spinach / Lettuce / Rocket / Mustard / Cherry Tomatoes
  • Post-WOD: 25g Whey Protein
  • Dinner: 2 x Sausages, small roasted new Potato, Brocolli, Gravy

Links

Primal Games: https://www.facebook.com/primaleventscfp/

CrossFit Watford: https://www.facebook.com/Watfordcrossfit/

Sweating out the Guinness….with Squats!

“There may be people that have more talent than you, but there’s no excuse for anyone to work harder than you do.”

I spent last night out in Earl’London with a friend I’ve known for about 22 years. I rarely get out for beers, mostly through choice, but the chance to catch up with this Dane, who practically became my third sister over the course of our school career, was not to be passed up. Her husband is over here with his MBA study group and we took the opportunity to grab a beer (4) for the first time in a very, very long time. We laughed, ate and drank London-priced Guinness, and caught up on years of chat.

14064062_10154229196176321_5996493012071770973_n

Top Tip for a good night out: actually read the menu. This wasn’t the “Spicy Mexican Burger” that I thought it was. There was a “V” next to it on the menu that I somehow failed to see.

By 2230, I had to head back to the Underground to catch my train all the way back out. Somewhat wobbly, I got off at my stop and phoned for a cab……20 mins…….so I did what I think we’ve all tried to do at some point while a little “not sober”.

I ran.

20160901_235428.jpg

yeeeeeeeeeah……..to be fair, it was only just over a mile but still………

Crawling in to my bed at midnight, my “still not sober” self couldn’t see a problem with setting the alarm for 0600 to get up and complete this week’s squat programme work.

At 0600, I could see every bloody problem with setting my alarm for that time!!!

But still, I rolled on to the floor, pulled my kit towards me and octopus’d (it’s a new verb) my way in to my clothes. Somehow I was able to figure out how to open a banana and wolfed it down with a litre of water.

20160902_065735.jpg

I think the focus of this picture is pretty spot on for my occular focus during the workout generally! 😀 But I completed the work. Week 2 of Weightlifting101.net’s strength programme done.

Back to Work, Bank Holiday Weekend, Injury, Fitness Throughout

Get Knocked Down.

Jump Back Up.

20160826_172345.jpg

My last post was about my injury and pushing on regardless. Since then I’ve been icing my ankle, heating it up, icing it, heating and strapping it. I’ve maintained my squat programme in the mornings (even on Bank Holiday Monday) and that’s going pretty damned well so far.  That said, it’s not healed and neither should it have done by now. I’ve learned a lot about the benefits of patience; I am 37 though so perhaps there’s a case to be argued that I’ve been pretty thick skinned, stubborn and a bit dim!!

Team NomadCelt had a truly fantastic Bank Holiday weekend in London, 5 of us doing the tourist thing on an ‘Original Bus Tour’ for 2 days, eating sweets, walking in the rain, searing in the city heat, visiting the landmarks, playing in parks……. Not to be seen as the lazy one round here though,  I didn’t welch on the Nomadic fitness! (I did go in to Lillywhites and buy myself an ankle support though!! – oh, and some swimming ear plugs and a bright green swimming hat – videos to follow this coming weekend!)

 

Check out my Twitter page at: www.twitter.com/nomadiccrossfit or my YouTube Channel at: https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCS9nRq9E0iv8nVG5CrsfVAg  – if the videos above don’t work.

 

20160827_131612.jpg

Anyway, on to this week, “Stop Boring Me!” I can hear you cry out!

Yep, yesterday morning I was up at 0600 for Week 2 of my Squat Programme (3 mornings a week):

  • 6 x 4 Back Squat @ 102.5kg
  • 6 x 2 Front Squat @ 92.5kg
  • 6 x 5 Back Squat @ 102.5kg

No Sh!t, squat programmes are HARD! I love that feeling, knowing there’s another set coming and each set takes everything I’ve got. I love that feeling, walking out and back to my room for breakfast, having to force my legs in to regular, non-jelly walking motion. This is going to work and I LOVE IT!

On to today though and I was going to get up at 0600 but decided to let my ankle rest; the thousands of steps walking around London over the weekend (Mrs Nomad FitBit’d it) put a bit of a strain on my ankle and it needed a break.

Not for long though! Out to CF Watford tonight for:

Strength

Yoke Farmer’s Walk 4 x 25m

120 / 140 / 150 / 180kg

I walked 25m with 180kg! Hell yeah! Love it!

MetCon

4 Rounds for Time:

  • 10 x Pull Ups
  • 15 x Thruster @ 42.5kg
  • 200m Run
  • 25 x KB Swing @ 24kg
  • 2 min Rest

Time: 19:39 Rx

I had to take it relatively easy on the run, which was annoying, but I tried to make up for it with completely unbroken rounds. I almost made it too but the Thrusters in round 4 were cut up in to a 9 and a 6. I feel like I let myself down a bit but I know it’s not the case.

More squatting tomorrow morning…….can’t wait!!

Nutrition

I only mentioned this because it has been laughable, as you can imagine with summer holidays and then a superb bank holiday weekend. Fear not, fellow bloggers and readers, it’ll be back on the clean eating wagon now. More to follow.

Injured? Don’t Stop, Switch

An injury is an opportunity.

I’ll keep it brief this evening. The ankle injury is……..sore…..as you can see.

20160823_182748.jpg

But it’s not the end of my training. It’s not even a pause. After repeated hot/col treatments last night, I was up at 0630hrs for 15mins of hot water treatment followed by 15 mins of ice before compressing it in to military boots and strapping it down for the next few hours.

Same over lunch – hot, cold, repeat.

Undetered by injury, I headed down to CF NWD to see what they were up to tonight. Box Jumps, Overhead lunges, Jumping…..Not for me tonight. What did I say last night though (go on, go back and read yesterday’s post, I’ll wait here……..)

You back? Cool. I said that an injury is an opportunity to work other areas and so it was that I decided to focus on a little handstand work and then Angie.

Angie

For Time

  • 100 x Pull Ups
  • 100 x Push Ups
  • 100 x Sit Ups
  • 100 x Squats

Time: 19:39 Rx

2 secs off my PR!! Goddamn it! If I’d been watching the clock properly…..grrr…..anyway, Pull Ups REALLY slowed me down (hence a good opportunity to work on them), coming in at 8 mins for those. Push Ups were extremely poor after yesterday’s 150+. Sit Ups were completely unbroken and the squats were…measured due to the ankle. All in all, with injury and fatigue, I was over the moon with this! BOOM!

20160823_181328.jpg

Do you have a repeating injury?

What did you do to train during your last injury?

Let me know.

Squats, Bodyweight Blast. Thruster Power!

The Pain You Feel Today Will Be The Strength You Feel Tomorrow

 

20160310_070023.jpg

Op SUNSHINE

Still maintaining a far more positive outlook with workmates and, more especially, Mrs Nomad. Sure, there are challenges especially as we come up to holiday time but it’s got to be all positive really. I mentioned a high degree of negative self-talk during last night’s WOD but this is not true really. There was simply inaction despite a lot of positive self-talk. Ie: I was telling myself to move but not really willing it. Tonight, I went the other way and really pushed myself despite having done 6 WODs in 3 days and feeling the fatigue 😀 If there is anything getting me down a little, it’s this blog really. Considering how much time and effort I put in to it, the readership is extremely low on average (approx 15) and the engagement is even lower. I’ve worked on it through engaging directly with blogging forums, commenting and following others, significantly increasing my Twitter followers….my only conclusion is that I really don’t have much to say that people want to hear. Yesterday’s blog was one of those that I thought would have resonated strongly but apparently not. Still, it is holding me to account and forcing me to continue training so hard and that was the original intent. And to cheer myself up I phoned the one person who can always cheer a boy up…..his Gran.

Morning Session

In Sept, I shall be starting the Squat Strength programme from http://www.weightlifting101.net/strength-cycles/ . This morning, I tried out Week 1 in order to look at timings. It would seem that I need to get out of bed at 6, not mess about about just get straight in to the gym for no later than 0615!

@80% 1RM

6 x 2 Front Squat (97.5kg)
6 x 2 Back Squat (107.5kg)
6 x 2 Front Squat (97.5kg)

The programme calls for 6×3 of the Back Squats but I misread it and didn’t realise until after. As it is, early morning squats are HARD, especially in such a compressed time. Hitting 80% of 1RM is extremely difficult and I have a lot of confidence that this programme is going to significantly improve my squat strength simply by the way I feel now, some 3 hours later (knackered!).

 Evening Session @ CrossFit Watford

Strength

3 x 3 Thruster @ 70/80/90% of 1RM

My only recorded 1RM for a Thruster was 85kg but I suspect it is more now:

60/70/80kg

I am very pleased with this, especially as I was sharing the bar with 2 others and didn’t really have much time to go higher. There was easily 85kg in there.

MetCon

Chipper

  • 25 x Box Jumps @24″
  • 30 x Pull Ups
  • 50 x Ab Mat Sit Ups
  • 80 x Double Unders
  • 800m Run
  • 80 x Double Unders
  • 50 x Ab Mat Sit Ups
  • 30 x Pull Ups
  • 25 x Box Jumps @ 24″

Time: 15:55 Rx

Fastest time of the day from the non-competitor crew in CF Watford (I LOVE this place, I’m not sure I’ve said that enough). Long chipper bodyweight is definitely my strength and has become stronger. This is why in Sept I’ll be focusing on Power Lifts, specifically Squats, to increase overall strength as that is my glaring area of weakness (and rowing sprints, of course).

Nutrition

Pre-AM Session: 10g mixed nuts, 200ml Coconut Water – hydrated and just enough carbs/protein to kick off the metabolism.

Breakfast / post-AM Session: 1 x Egg, 25g MyProtein Impact Whey (Choc), tsp Peanut Butter, 2 x tbsp. Gluten Free Oats, 50ml While Milk – mix it up, put it all in a microwave for 1 min. Lovely! Great balance of protein and carbs to rapidly assist muscle recovery and glycogen replenishment.

Snack at 1000hrs: 10kg mixed nuts – a little protein, carbs and fats to keep metabolism ticking over.

Lunch: 180g Tuna, lots of Leaves, 20g nuts, chilli oil – high protein boost to avoid ‘bonk’ in the afternoon. Lots of fibre, a little carbs and fats.

Mid-PM Snack: Banana & Boiled Egg (not together, that would be minging) – Carbs and Protein in preparation for the evening WOD.

Post-WOD: 25g MyProtein Impact Whey + 25g Dried Skimmed Milk Powder – Whey protein for rapid muscle recovery, casein for slower recovery overnight.

Dinner: 250g homemade Chilli and loads of whole milk

 

That’s all for today. If you made it this far, what is your least favourite bodyweight movement? I go to France soon and will happily use it in a few WODs that I shall then post online on my return.

 

All the best!

Rouen, Da’esh Lunatics, United We Conquer (and some fitness too)

Where there is Unity there is Always Victory

– Publilius Syrus

#SharingtheBlogLove (check out these lovelies on Facebook and Twitter)

It’s hard to concentrate on fitness and fun when confronted by the brutality of the organisation known in the west as “Da’esh” but who claim to be an Islamic State. Yet another act of despicable brutality (Rouen, France, 26 Jul), the 8th such attack since the message they dribbled on about in May begins to take hold, “Truly, the smallest act you do in their lands is more beloved to us than the biggest act done here.” (I’m not citing the source as I’m not going to provide more airtime to their criminal lunacy). Their message is still reaching the disenfranchised, disaffected, mentally weak individuals keen to believe in some sense of self-actualisation on earth and self-gratification in a fictitious after-life. In response to their physical demolition in Iraq and Syria, they are reacting in the only way available to them; getting others to do their work for them ‘at reach’. The senseless killing of a priest in Rouen today was not at the hands of Da’esh, it was an ‘inspired’ attack by otherwise disturbed individuals. At times like this, it would equally weak of us to blame Islam and all Muslims. This is not the case. Certainly, the Muslim communities have an enormous responsibility to overcome this menace but this cannot, must not, will not cause the overwhelming division in our nations that these freaks want. I put out to any rational Muslims that may read this blog (highly unlikely; my readership isn’t exactly extensive) my hand of friendship and solidarity. We’re in this together. True Islam is being hurt with lies and misdirection. Brits (and other secular westerners) are turning on them because of misunderstanding and because of no other outlet for retaliation. This is not the way. I am not religious and I don’t believe in a higher power but I do believe in the potential of humans for great, collective good in the world. My particular qualification in the UK military was created to counter an especially aggressive, despicable, right-wing grouping during WWII, in support of all creeds, at a very dark time in our collective history. They didn’t win. We did.

United We Conquer

Morning Session

fish of the day

Swimming today! I’ve not swum properly in YEARS!

25m Pool.

16 lengths warm-up

  • 10 x 2 lengths Sprint (resting while partner, who is MUCH faster than I am, did his)
  • 4 x 1 Length Single Arm only (alternating each length)
  • 4 x 1 Length with as few strokes as possible (I managed to get it down from 21 to 17)
  • 3 x 1 Length with as few breaths as possible (Best was 1 breath midway, worst was 2)
  • 1 x Length Underwater (no worries).

I might not be religious but “HOLY HELL!” that was hard! Very quickly realising that I could not sprint 50m, I rapidly reassessed and decided on the first length being an all-out sprint with the second length being a fast-recovery length prior to a pause. I need more of this and will be including pool-time once a week.

Evening Session @ CF 

Strength

3 x 3 Front Squat @ 70/80/90% of 1RM

Total: 85kg / 100kg / 1 x 115kg / 1 x 112.5kg

This was a little disappointing. I’d hoped to achieve 3 reps at 115kg today but I’ve not done any Front Squats in a really long time (a squat programme in Sept and Oct will solve this).

Unfortunately, I took the disappointment in to:

MetCon

25min AMRAP @ 45kg

  • 5 x Deadlift
  • 5 x Power Clean
  • 5 x Front Squat
  • 5 x Push Press
  • 5 x Back Squat

Total: 11 rounds + 16 reps

My heart rate just would not come down during this. I paced it pretty slowly but my heart was racing throughout. It should have taken it even slower, perhaps a EMOM-style, every 2 mins. There was too much negative self-talk during the WOD even though there was another side trying to egg me on. I could have smashed through that last round complete but gave up. Giving myself some credit, I did hammer myself in the pool this morning and know I didn’t eat properly through the day so actually, I did do a pretty tidy job.

photo-1419833173245-f59e1b93f9ee

Op SUNSHINE

Despite the WODs, I’m feeling particularly positive today even though I got up at 0530 for swimming!! The day has been made even better by coming across an empty sandbag……..it has inspired me to take such a thing on holiday next week in order to fill it with sand and use it for WODs while away! 😀 (lucky Mrs Nomad!! :D) I’ve ended the day with intentional positive self-talk to bring me back on track. I’ve done a lot over the last 2 days, with at least 2 more days of workouts to go before well-earned holidays.