Nomadic Gains

Sorry, sorry, sorry!

Yes, I know it’s been a few weeks since the Huel Review post. I have no excuse and seek your forgiveness. Do I have it? Cool, thanks! You guys and girls are great.

So, I’ve been away for the last few weeks. My travels and holidays haven’t stopped me working out though, and I’ve seen gains on the way.

Before I get in to the travels….a new Clean & Jerk Personal Record! After the 103.5kg a short while ago, I then nailed 105kg…followed with 107.5kg in the garage gym, on a Sunday! @amrapplusone programming really pulling me up this hill. Love it!

First up, Tampa, Florida. Yeah, boy!

Florida in July. All with work but after a 9hr flight, I was invited to throwdown in CrossFit TAS by a long-time buddy of mine. Yep, within 90 mins of landing, this was us:

CrossFit TAS are regular Regionals Team competitors and yeah, it shows. What a box. Newbies and elite athletes throwing down together to the same programming each day. Immense attitude and genuinely friendliness too, top bunch. It was awesome to catch up with Roly. He got me in to CrossFit in early 2012 although he has really progressed onward and upward. Great to see.

Next up, back to the garage gym and another Personal Record, this time in the Snatch.

Using my 10.5kg York Beefy Bar, and a random collection of old plates, I secured a 77.5kg Snatch. That’s 2.5kg higher than a number that I’ve held for over 2 years, unchanged.

Staying in the garage gym at home, I also recorded this little number: https://youtu.be/kRCmAJJirJQ

Do check it out.

In between all of that, I’ve been getting workouts in regularly, not letting the excuse for a British Summer put me off with its regular downpours and cold snaps. We’ve also been out and about in Cornwall and North Devon. While I have no photos, I did this on the beach in Combe Martin:

I ran the mile down to the beach in an ok 7:30, did the WOD with a piece of wall, bricks and cement (all unbroken) and then staggered back the second mile.

So, it’s been a good couple of weeks away. Back now, and back in C.F. Watford for the next few weeks, I’m looking for some more pre-summer holiday gains and improvements.

Watch this space!

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Airports. I love them. And I sprinted this morning.

I haven’t been everywhere.  But it’s on my list – Susan Sontag

I really love airports. Flying for business or pleasure, I absolutely don’t care. I can’t get enough of the experience. I never tire of it. Sure, you can have all sorts of delays, cancellations, baggage losses and other upsets, but there’s something about the diversity, emotions, hope, and anticipation that floods through an airport. 

I am very fortunate that in my job there is a pretty decent amount of travel. Yeah, so occasionally, I might have to go to an actual nasty place but that is becoming less likely these days. More often than not, I find myself conducting what most people would simply term as “business trips”. I take very short trips, often just a night or two, to far flung places to have a meeting, shake some hands and come back. These are ideal. These are short pauses in normal routine where I get to envelope myself in the hustle, joy, tears, fears, panic, and peaceful excitement of the greatest cross-section of the world. 

As I look around, I see immediately the Red and Blue of a Great Britain sports team. Not immediately obvious who they are but clearly focused, in peak condition for whatever they are headed towards. There are some who just can’t keep their eyes off the incoming arrivals and outgoing planes, streaking away in all directions across the sky. There are those buried, oblivious to the world, in a phone/laptop/tablet. Some are trying new foods for the first time at the sushi bar. Many have shopping bags, carrying devices, clothes, wine, that they didn’t think they needed when they passed through check-in. 

The smiles are the most obvious expression. Kisses and embraces at almost every turn. So far, no arguments; well, not with each other, perhaps at the coffee bill!
Anyway, you get the picture, I’m flying again. Heathrow Terminal 2 once more. My gate has just flashed up as A18 so I should get this posted. 

Strength  

4 x 6 (per leg) weighted Box Step Ups @ 24″

4 x 32kg (2 × 16kg Kettlebells). Maintained a strong core. Supersetted with Handstand holds.

MetCon 

For Time:

  • 600m Sprint
  • Rest 4 mins
  • 400m Sprint
  • Rest 3 mins
  • 200m Sprint
  • Rest 2 mins
  • 20 x Burpees 

Time: 13:43

Definitely my wheelhouse, this one. Out front from the start, despite the 0530 eye opening today. I kept up the pressure throughout, each round relatively as fast as the previous. 20 Burpees then smashed out in 42 seconds. Considering 9 mins of it was “Rest”, this is pretty strong.

Nutrition 

Still 2100 KCal per day but now compensating for cals expended during exercise, using Vivoactive HR (with HRM strap) for increased accuracy.

Still sticking with 35% Carbs / 35% Protein / 35% Fats. Still mostly unprocessed and simple.

The Ultimate HIIT Workout Book – Hoyles Fitness – Excellent.

It gives me genuinely great pleasure today to present a review of a product that has been sent to me this week, a book of HIIT workouts from Steve Hoyles of Hoyles Fitness.

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The Author

Steve Hoyles is a strength and conditioning coach of over 10 years experience, having coached 1000+ athletes to specific goals. Steve takes a no-nonsense, efficiency-based approach to fitness, achieving top quality results without compromising the athlete’s quality of life along the way. He is a coach who leads from the front, never asking his athletes to undertake something that he couldn’t demonstrate himself (and to a high quality). He is a coach of a type that I trust and respect.

The Book

Immediately on picking up the book, you know you’re getting quality. It is quite small, yes, and we’ll come to that. The wording, imagery, layout and formatting are all professional and modern. This is not a locally produced, fast-buck production. The language throughout is easy to read, no bullshit and easily referencable. Steve makes it clear that the function of the book is to deliver high quality workouts that can be chosen by the reader to suit their situation and available equipment, delivering excellent results swiftly. You will find brief explanations of High Intensity Interval Training and its value but, rightly so, the book does not major on the science behind it, getting to the worthwhile stuff as soon as possible. Trust him, he knows his stuff. I mentioned that it is a small book. Do not be fooled by the size. This could be THE book that you’ll carry with you, either in paper form or eBook, while travelling, on holiday, in unfamiliar surrounds, or simply as your go-to set of workouts. It is for everyone, regardless of age, sex, experience.

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The Workouts

The book is not a training programme, nor does it claim to be. It is a selection of graded, highly scalable workouts that can be dipped in and out of to suit the athlete. That doesn’t mean that the workouts couldn’t be used to form a structured programme, and Steve can help with that, but this is to give the athlete something to use to their own ends.

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The workouts cover 5 modalities:

  • Kettlebells
  • Sprints
  • Barbells
  • Tyres
  • Rowing

Before undertaking any of the workouts, there are notes to account for the experience and fitness of the athlete, offering recommendations for scaling wherever necessary. This is important, as it is with any fitness publication but more so when approaching High Intensity training with real world objects such as kettlebells, barbells and tyres. Steve offers demonstrations of movement standards and progressions on his YouTube channel at: here.

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HIIT is TOUGH, as any modern S&C coach or practitioner knows. It is what makes this type of training SO effective, and boy are these workouts effective. Ranging from 4 min Tabatas, through 10 min Hill Sprints, up to 20+ min “Never Again”, there is something for all requirements. This makes the range of workouts eminently suitable to a structured General Physical Preparedness (GPP) programme, should you need it. Just be prepared to push yourself to a whole other level if you open this book.

Summary

You can probably tell from my excitement that I really love this book. I’ve been fortunate to have been given a digital epub and I won’t be giving it back. I travel a lot, being the Nomadic CrossFitter, and this’ll be downloaded to my laptop, tablet and phone. It covers everything I’d want from a selection of workouts and if I’m away for any length of time, I can easily programme these to accomplish against all 3 metabolic pathways, ensuring my fitness is not only maintained by significantly enhanced.

Thanks Steve, cheers for the chance to review this.

 

Open WOD 17.4, Travel WODs

There’s always room to work out


Another work trip this week, another break in training but a welcome one. After conducting 17.4 last Friday, after 4 hours of judging it in total, and after an awesome engine-building session on Monday  (plus more judging), I’ve not been too disheartened to take a little rest this week while off on travels once again.

17.4 was just brilliant, right? Genuinely, I loved it. Back on 16.4 (same workout), I was suffering with flu quite badly. I was also visiting a new job and so decided to Drop-in to CrossFit Watford for the very first time. Charlie (Owner) took one look at me and openly questioned my sanity; I was baggage. Idiotically,  I took my place at the start and proceeded to very slowly lurch my way through 55 Deadlifts. The wallballs made me almost vomit and the rower….did…actually make my vomit. It was criminal. I ended up in a pool of my own fluids, retching, coughing, and 145 reps for the worse.

So this year, at full capacity, I was determined to deliver something better. The aim was 4 Handstand Push Ups.

  • Deadlifts. 4 sets of 10. 1 x 8, 1 x 7. Strong, good form, rapid.
  • Wall Balls. 20, 15, 10, 10. Solid, rapid.
  • Row. Over 1200 cals per hour average.
  • Tiebreak Time: 9:09
  • Handstand Push Ups: 5, 5, 3, 2, 3, 2 (20)

Yes! Yes, I did get 20 HSPU and an increase of 40 over last year, with a final total of 185!  💪 What impressed me most were the Deadlifts; I never expected sets of 10, having planned for sets of 5. I remember last year really struggling with 5s. The atmosphere in the box was absolutely amazing too; we kept the tempo high and energy soaring. By the end of  night, I had definitely my bed.

That score puts me in the top 17% of Individual Men and Top 15% of Masters 35-39 worldwide! 😎

One to go.


But on to this week, and a trip overseas again. Knowing the hotel well, I anticipated the lack of a gym and took playing cards instead. 

Shuffle well. Start clock, turn card over and do what the card tells you, for Time. 

  • Clubs = Push Ups 
  • Hearts = Sit Ups 
  • Diamonds = Burpees 
  • Spades = Air Squats

Aces = 14

Completing it in 22:55 at 7am, I got bored at 5pm so did it again in 22 mins.😂 It’s a little toughie. You might end up with 2 or 3 cards of the same type, which really sucks the strength and happiness. Of course, the beauty of this particular WOD is that it is always different and impossible to get a firm hold on.

I then finished off the day with underwater laps of the small hotel pool, overlooking the beautiful city of Istanbul.

Do you have a ‘go to’ WOD for when you’re away from the box?

Pistols in Turkey, Max Out at Home

Wake up with Determination

Go to Bed with Satisfaction.

Last week saw me traveling again, out to Turkey once more. Knowing the lack of gym, but abundance of space, I decided to make use of what was around and work on some of my weaknesses. As I mentioned in my last post, Handstand Push Ups and Pistols were on the menu. Both of these movements can be practiced anywhere and have considerable gymnastic, strength and agility benefit. However, I personally like to do them on top of a great hotel, overlooking a beautiful city.

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5 Rounds for Time:

  • 10 x Handstand Push Up (Strict)
  • 20 x Pistols (Single Legged Squats, Alternating)
  • 30 x Sit Ups

Time: 15:13 Rx

I really got the hang of pistols for the first time ever. The left leg is by far the most stable at the bottom but I got a good rhythm up; not fast but consistent. The Handstand Push Ups were unbroken for the first 2 rounds,7+3 in the third and then 5+5 and 5+3+2 for the final 2. All Sit Ups were unbroken.

And then a swim 😉

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Despite having fun out there, I didn’t get long and still only had 3 workouts last week. So, getting home I had to put in a bit of ‘catch up’ work. Again though, without being able to get to any equipment, it was a return to bodyweight work over the weekend.

  • Max Effort Push Ups (neither hands nor feet moved throughout, knees never touched the floor)
  • Max Effort Sit Ups (non stop, completely unbroken)
  • Max Effort Air Squats (non stop, completely unbroken)

115 / 300 + (I got bored) / 200+ (daughters got border)

That left me with a nice, relaxing Sunday before heading back to work.

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Monday

AM Snatch Work

20 mins to work to a 1RM

  • 5 x 45 / 45 / 50
  • 3 x 50 / 50 / 55
  • 2 x 60 / 60
  • 1 x 65
  • 1 x 70

After the confidence boost of last week’s Power Snatching, this was another. Ok, so 70kg isn’t a lot but 75kg is my 1RM and it was 0630hrs! Essentially, I’ve not become weaker over this year but have really increased engine. Superb.

PM CrossFit Watford

Strength

Strict Press 5/3/1

  • 5 x 60
  • 3 x 70
  • 1 x 75
  • F @ 80

Equaled my 1RM here. Content.

MetCon

In Pairs, For Time:

54 / 42 / 36 / 30 / 24 / 18 / 12 / 6

  • Thrusters @ 42.5kg
  • Over Bar Burpees

This is a pairs-version of a WOD that has come up twice in the Open. I completed the official version (half the numbers) in 19 mins first time, with considerable illness, and then 15 mins the second time. Doing this in pairs, and hitting 5 reps each time, was outstanding and allowed me to really keep up the pace. My partner struggled with lower back issues and it allowed me to add in a few extras too.

I tell you what….I’m as ready as I’m going to be and really looking forward to the Open!

Pre-Open Confidence, More Travel Training

A Tiger doesn’t lose Sleep

Over the opinions of Sheep.

Strength. My Weakness. Despite significantly increasing my engine over the last year, my overall strength and heavy barbell cycling have plateaued, nae, reduced. It’s been a goal of mine for a few years to increase my strength but I have categorically failed at each attempt. My Snatch 1RM remains 75kg, with my Clean & Jerk at 102.5kg. 

It’s too late to make strength gains now but going in to this Open, I do have more confidence that I’m going to improve my global ranking with the improved engine and gymnastic skills. However, I have been worrying about Snatch specifically. I needed to prove to myself that I can at least match last year’s abilities.

I wasn’t going to train today, after training and coaching twice yesterday, and with travel today. But then, CF Open WOD 13.1 showed up on the programming.

17min AMRAP

  • 40 Burpees 
  • 30 Snatch @ 35kg
  • 30 Burpees
  • 30 Snatch @ 60kg
  • 20 Burpees
  • 30 Snatch @75kg
  • 10 Burpees
  • Max Effort Snatch @ 95kg

What an opportunity!!My best at this, during Open 13, was 14 Reps of the 60kg Snatch. I attempted it a year later and scored only 9 at 60kg. I’ve not tried it since, until today.

Total: 12 Reps @ 60kg 

While not a match for my best, I take a lot of confidence from this. In competition mode, I’ll add a few more reps to this, I have no doubt. Most of the Snatches were of good form although I acknowledge that some were indeed shitty. I REALLY need to get stronger but right now I know I can cope with 60kg (135lb) work in Open 17.



Travel

Once again, I find myself on a plane. Again, disrupted training. Again, an opportunity to work other aspects of my fitness portfolio. In this case, I’ll be working on Pistols and Handstand Push Ups. After a few years of increased gymnastic work in the Open WODs, I am expecting to see Pistols coming up this year. It pays to refresh certain skills and they are both easily dealt with while in unfamiliar surrounds and with no equipment.

New PRs, a Rest, Christmas Run Up

Success is Different for Everyone.

Keep a Proper Perspective and do your Personal Best.

I know, it’s been a week since my last confession….er….blog post. My apologies. I’m unsure of the exact level of readership to this; I know I have a grand total of 104 official subscribers but how many actually read this, I wonder? There’re the ‘stats’ but that only records those who have come by the page, not those who read in their inbox. Feel free to drop a quick “hi” at the bottom to let me know you’ve stopped by.

“Hi!”

Anyway, last week was one of those odd ones where I’d intended to write but just couldn’t find the words. You see, it was my Dad’s birthday on Thurs 8th Dec and while I was sat in a plush hotel in Istanbul, with all the time to write something decent, I just couldn’t find the right words. The raw emotion I’d expressed when he died (see the 18 May – My Dad Died posts) obviously there now but I’d wanted to pen something ‘reflective’. What came out was just waffle and it felt forced, and it felt wrong. It’s still sat in the drafts folder so maybe it’ll come out when the time is right.

Regardless, even without words, I’ve been putting out quite a bit of stuff on Twitter and Instagram. See @nomadiccrossfit and #flashwod to see the Christmas Advent Calendar of Fitness! 😉

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Last Wed AM

Prior to flying out to Istanbul, I stopped by CF Watford for the 6 AM Session.

3 x 3 Clean. 80kg. It’s early. Not great, I’ve done more than that before.

For Time: 500m Row, 30 x Push Jerks @ 60kg, 30 x Box Jumps @ 30″, 30 x Hang Power Cleans @ 60kg. I’d have to check my book for the time but I came in extremely happy with all of that, I do remember.

A great way to head off and on to the plane to Turkey!

Last Fri AM

After a late night flight back in to London Heathrow, I made it up for the 6am session on Friday.

3 x 5 Push Press.  80kg, a New PR! Not bad!

Nancy. 5 Rounds for Time: 400m Run & 15 x Overhead Squats w/ 42.5kg: 11:37. A New PR!!

I should fly late more often!

MONDAY

Yep, so it’s Monday again today and I’m down in Plymouth, working from my old gaff, so that I can get to eldest warrior princess’s Christmas show tomorrow. So, no wishing to waste the oppotunity, it’s off to CrossFit Plymouth I go!

30mins to 1RM Snatch

I’ll admit straight away that my morning Snatch programme never really took off. There hasn’t been the regularity that I would have liked due to overseas activities and the Christmas silly season. I think this has been inevitable and I’ve just had to such it up. It certainly won’t get better from here on in.

So,  it is without too much upset that I recorded only a 70kg Snatch. Even that was with 4 failures at that weight.

MetCon 

12 min partner WOD

  • 12 x Thruster @ 50kg
  • 12 x Box Jumps @ 24″
  • 12 x Toes to Bar

Total: 7 Rounds + 7

Working 6 reps each throughout,  I went unbroken on everything.

It was nice to be back in CF Plymouth and to see so many new athletes! It’s such a thriving box in a great city.