Strength down, Engine up. Happy for Now.



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


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.



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! 😀 😀


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


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 😀


  • 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


Fatigue in the Legs, Energy in the Mind

Laziness is Nothing More than the Habit of Resting before you get Tired

– Jules Renard

Having added endurance swimming and running training to my programme, and incorporating the AMRAP Plus One Strength programme, these legs are tired. I don’t mind admitting it but this morning’s WOD was a labour. At only 10 mins long, I had expected to motor through it but the Burpees slowed me right down; there was just nothing in the tank. I really did will myself on too; I pushed myself hard but it just felt sluggish. I have to expect this and get enough food and rest onboard to compensate. In the mind, I am extremely motivated right now. I’m enthused by the challenge coming up in June and can’t wait to get the wetsuit on and in to open water. As long as I can maintain this mental energy then I’ll find the means to overcome the physical fatigue.

AM CrossFit Watford Coaching


3 x 5 Cleans w/ 3 x 3 Clean Pull supersets.

With a class of 13, I wasn’t able to fit this in and I don’t mind. There were some more newbies in and I was keen to get them moving properly; besides, I have my strength programme going on anyway. A big shout out to xxxx and xxxx for top efforts this morning.


10min AMRAP

  • 10 x Toes to Bar
  • 10 x Power Clean @ 60kg
  • 10 x Bar over Burpees

To get some energy going so early in the morning, I split the class in to 2 even groups and had them cheering each other on. With only a 10 min WOD, this was simple and it really worked too; 6am sessions are not normally known for the same levels of overt enthusiasm that you see from the 1830 crowd. It tends to be more of an ‘inner strength’ kind of period. This morning as really good though and as a coach it was excellent to be a part of. As I mentioned above, my own experience of this was not the best, despite my own willingness. In total, 5 rounds and 2 Toes to Bar. The burpees, while unbroken, slowed me down. The Toes to Bar were unbroken for rounds 1-4, with just a break at number 7 for round 5. The Power Cleans were very tough, I won’t lie. I got through the first round unbroken but after that it was 6+4, and then 5+3+2 for the remainder.

PM Running & Swimming

Last week’s 5 Mile Run (38 mins 30 secs) was pleasing and I know I’m in a good place. With a 1km Swim on Sunday in 21:45, I feel in a secure place.

So, tonight, I was going to do a 2.4km Run, 1km Swim and 2.4km Run. But having realised that my trunks and goggles are 235 miles away at home, I have taken it as a sign and am putting my feet up!




Easter Week Training. Open Water Swimming, Long Distance Running. And Weights :D

Easter Week Update


What a beautiful scene. Tranquil harbour, blue haze, warm sun.

Utterly ball-freezing British water.

Yes, at only 10.4C, I don’t mind admitting that I was nervous before diving in and shocked to the core once in. It took almost all my reserve to pretend it was fine, look cool, and swim off. For my first open water practice of the season, I’d hoped for 600m but in just a 3mm Shortie I made it a mere 400m before deciding that the shivering was hampering and semblance of style I may have begun with. Besides which, I quickly realised why swimming wetsuits are designed the way they are; attempting front crawl in a suit made for body-boarding / messing about in the surf is really tough, especially in the shoulders. I can’t wait for my new DHB swimming wetsuit to arrive today! Longer distance this weekend. 


In training for the South Milton Sands Swim/Trail Run, I’ve also started pushing my running figures up too. Yesterday saw 5 miles in 38:45, the furthest and fastest I’ve run in a very long time. Indeed, according to Beyond the Whiteboard, it’s a pretty good time for a CrossFitter. I don’t mind admitting that I’m going to aim for faster than that, with an average pace of 7:30 per mile by the time of the race. I think that this will allow me to keep under 8:00 per mile after a 1km Sea Swim. I hope. Maybe.


And, not to rest on the simple monostructural events, I’ve been digging in to the AMRAP Plus One Strength Programme too. On day 10 now, I still feel like it’s a bit of a transition phase, having not lifted beyond 80% of 1RM in either Clean or Snatch. I see that from next week this starts to increase though and so am very much looking forward to that. I did love getting my improvised squat rack out too!


Despite it being Easter hols, I’ve been pretty good and have logged everything still. Ok, sure, the macros have become a bit unbalanced in favour of carbs but that’s a function of modern family intake, especially at Easter time, and a demonstration of me not being in overall control. Overall KCal have remained pretty steady at 2300-2500 though and so I’m happy for this week. Besides, it’s a holiday period and you can’t take these things too seriously when at parties/picnics/beach/cinema.

Thursday Thoughts, the new Snatch PR is getting closer!

Strive for Progress,

Then your Position on the Whiteboard

It has been a tough day today; it was one of those days that just didn’t seem to ever want to end. Endless, conflicting meetings, filling the space in between with note writing and taskers, little chance to stop and smell fresh air. I recently listened to a great Barbell Shrugged podcast about how to make the most of the morning and be able to leap out of bed with vigour, energy and enthusiasm; I think it’s fair to say that I’m not there yet 😉 Bleary eyed and with Doc Emit Brown hair, I pushed myself through the dark mist, over to the gym, with my awesome Batman mug of Kenco Americano Coffee. Sipping it gently, I prepared myself for the overhead work to come. After setting a strong benchmark last week in the Heaving Snatch Balance (3 x 70kg), I was determined to at least match that this week in a 1RM attempt.


Morning Snatch Accessory Work

Heaving Snatch Balance

  • 5 x 5 @ 40kg
  • 5 x 3 @ 50kg
  • 10 x 1 @: 60 / 65 / 70 / 70 / 70 72.5 / 72.5 / 75 / 77.5 / 80kg

Despite the initial grogginess, I recovered well and am happy with this work; it is giving very high confidence for future Snatch work.

CrossFit Watford PM Session


Complementing the morning Snatch work, the strength portion of tonight was:

Overhead Squats 5-3-1

  • 5 x 60kg
  • 3 x 70kg
  • 1 x 80kg
  • 1 x 82.5kg
  • 1 x 85kg


Partner WOD

15min AMRAP

  • 10 x Power Clean @ 60kg
  • 20 x Wall Balls @ 9kg
  • 30 cal Row

Working with Ben P on this one (a beast on the rower!), we managed a fine 5 Rounds + 30 Reps. It wasn’t the top score, managed by an extremely strong pair, but it was next up.



The whiteboard is REALLY important. I absolutely believe this. Within CrossFit, that extra dimension of competition, and the simple act of recording the workout, drives people to work that little bit harder. Further, working in pairs or teams adds yet another pressure to perform well. But ‘perform well’ does not mean ‘take short cuts in the name of whiteboard position’. All too often, we see a chin not quite make it above the bar in a pull up, the hips not get below parallel in a wall ball squat and the knees not fully extending in a push press. These little things matter.

Firstly, “full range of motion” is what we are about. We don’t do half movements; high numbers of reps in a poor position will reinforce bad movement patterns and ‘lock it in’, making it harder to move out of later.

Secondly, if the girl or guy next to you has absolutely hit every movement properly but has come up on the board a few seconds behind you, they will feel aggrieved; they will have noticed too and will either begin to feel resentful or may actually be persuaded to do the same as you, just to keep up. Respect the others in your box and get it right,

Thirdly, don’t argue with the coach when they no-rep you. We’re not doing it be power crazy idiots. We genuinely care about your development and want to see you improve across all aspects of fitness. We want to see you shine. We know what we are doing, trust our decision and take it as a sign of a new development opportunity for you to work on.


My food diary is now on MyFitnessPal at:

  • Pre-WOD: 10g Walnuts
  • Breakfast: leftover Chicken Curry and Rice <– Amazing!
  • Lunch: 3 Scrambled Eggs, Kale, Watercress, Chilli, Coconut Oil
  • Snack: 10g Mixed Nuts
  • Dinner: 1 x Roast Chicken Breast (no skin), 1 x Roast Chicken Leg/Thigh (no skin)
  • Post-WOD: 25g Whey Protein + 12.5g Dried Skimmed Milk Powder
  • Supplements: Wellman Tablet, 2100mg DPA/EHA Fish Oil


In just two weeks since coming back, I am noticing change already. I am less achey in my joints, less bloated and am recovering pretty quickly. Indeed, having such a hearty breakfast really made a difference today. Sleep is still a bit of a problem area; it must take me about 20mins to nod-off, on average, and I really want to get this down.



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.


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.


yeeeeeeeeeah…… 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.


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’s strength programme done.

Wednesday 25 May 16 – Hardworking but no escape

I just want to escape. When occupied, there is no silence, there is no void, my thoughts don’t echo. But it’s not an escape, it’s a poor hiding place. It’s been 7 days since My Dad Died. Working, working out, sleeping, peace in my mind.


I went to CrossFit Aylesbury on Monday and while I tried, tried hard, to work hard there was just nothing there. Sure, I sweated, I lifted, I ran, I made noises, but it wasn’t there. My head wouldn’t command my body. My system just didn’t respond to my call, there was no synergy.

I tried again yesterday with simple weightlifting. Simple only in that there was 1 movement only to consider, not simple in the movement itself. But my mind wasn’t in the room. The barbell was crap, no chalk, no power, excuses and excuses. Under powered, angry and confused.



Today, I went back to Aylesbury.  Owen and Madz, the owner/coaches are legends. I explained to them on Monday evening and they understood.  They invited me back.


A great WOD to get stuck in to with plenty of meditation time. Time to simply shut off and get it all out.


3 x 10 Kettlebell Strict Press (both arms)

16 / 20 / 24kg

Pleased with this. Raw strength, pure grunt, aggression.


3 RFT:

2 mins Row for Cals
2 mins Burpee Over Box Jumps
2 mins Wall Balls 9kg to 10′
2 mins Rest

Total Reps: 262

First round 96, second round 84, third round 82


I hammered the first row with 46 Cals but thereafter it was 40 and 36. Burpee Box Jump Overs were HARD! As soon as I got off the rower each time, I hit the burpees with no pause. Likewise with Wall Balls. No time to think, focused work.

The score was actually pretty good but I left feeling angry, aggressive and upset. Tired, spent, angry, upset.

Head not quite there but system starting to respond to my commands.


Breakfast: Eggs, whole milk, beef slices,  spinach, coleslaw.

Lunch: same as breakfast.

Dinner: 4 roast chicken thighs, no skin. Coleslaw. Milk. Eggs.

Snacks: clementines. 1 flapjack (over the course of the day)

Health and Wellbeing

Enough on that, for now.

I can’t thank Owen and Madz enough for their coaching tonight. Both teachers, they have a firm coaching style that has genuine positive effect on their members. The facility is large, clean and very well laid out. Their athletes are extremely welcoming and friendly-competitive, exactly what you want in a box. The programming is well-structured and suitable for all.


Glassman Chipper (Inc.  Rowing strategy): Here

09 Sept 15 – Return to Tabata

A few days away from writing but no rest. After Monday morning coaching, with power cleans, jerks, cleans and a cheeky MetCon (burpees, toes to bar and heavy thrusters), I had to sit on a train for 7hrs of my Tuesday.  There was no way I could fit anything in at all. I did get a little mobility work, as I  have most evenings recently. However, today was going to be a big session and I was set up to give it one.

And then life and work got in the way.

With the best of intentions destroyed,  I got home and was contemplating a garden WOD. Before I knew it, darkness had swept over the Plymouth skies and I  was confined to the house. So what to do?

The answer: Tabata

For thosr that don’t know, Tabata is a High Intensity Interval Training method of 8 rounds of 20 secs Sprint work and 10 secs Rest. You can use any relatively simple movements, such as Burpees, PushUps, Sit Ups or Pull Ups. Kettlebell work ‘can’ be suitable but anything heavy and complicated really isn’t. Each round of 20 secs must be carried out at 100%, no reduction in effort. And I mean that. 100%.

Tabata Push Ups

Total: 124

Some 16 reps short of my very best, I suspect the my 140 rep attempt was not with as good form as I did this evening. 124 reps is no mean feat and is in the top 10% on Beyond the Whiteboard (where I am still on 71st percentile).

After 5 mins rest…..

Tabata Sit Ups

Total: 109

Quite possibly my best attempt ever, I am pleased with this one.

And the aftermath of a true Tabata is……..pure fatigue and shaking! When you do it properly, Tabatas are brutal and not to be repeated within a 48hr period. I’ve seen them being used in warm ups for CrossFit sessions and this shows a fundamental lack of understanding about the very natue of it. 100% effort is hard to recover from and cannot be used as a warm up at all. You will have smashed your phosphocreatine (power) pathway, depleting your muscles and leaving them in need of recovery. To then  attempt heavy weight sessions will be highly counter-productive and quite dangerous.

For greater detail, see: At this time, my brain is mush so my explanation hasn’t been great!

I’m quite sure I’ll  still be feeling this when I get up at 0600 and head up to the garage tomorrow.