28 December 2010

A catharsis, a book review and some thank yous

I don't talk about music though the blog suggests I do, though music is as near and dear to my heart--if not more so--than lifting.  For Christmas this year my wonderful girlfriend got me a copy of Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir.  For a long time I hadn't been particularly interested in Megadeth, since I didn't think they were as good as Metallica.  I was aware of Mustaine's contribution to Metallica since the majority of the songs he receives credit for sound remarkably like Dave's other songs throughout his career.  He also wrote in keys outside the acceptable few used in metal, which is indicative of his style.Over the years, my tastes have changed, mostly because of Mustaine's sense of melody and harmony are different compared to what other bands of the same ilk have done, and because he is, in fact, a better guitar player than anyone else in the "Big Four," save maybe Jeff Hanneman of Slayer.

Musicality aside, in his autobiography Dave is able to look back on all the debauchery, 17 rehab stints, fist fights, general assholeness, and being in Metallica's shadow and laugh about a lot of things, which not many who hold grudges can say.  He can take it all in stride, and be thankful for what he has, and write about all of it in a humorous and sarcastic way, which makes the book worth reading.  Reading a few passages, you can definitely tell it's Mustaine, especially if you have ever heard any interviews with him.

Dave with his hot wife, Pam
On a personal level, I can relate to Dave and what he writes about.  I can work my away pretty well around a fretboard, I am a pretty bitter person, at the core of things.  I just don't have tons of money or longevity in the music business like he does.  But to have everything you loved get taken away from you is something I can relate to quite a bit.

From around 2003, to last year I was in a band, that I don't care to mention because to do so would give unnecessary publicity to an undeserving entity.  The other guitar player was a pretty weird guy, and when the accusations came that he did something heinous--not quite as heinous to land him in jail, but pretty fucking close enough to call him a pedophile--I was pretty shocked. 

I was intent on moving in with this guy and being his friend, until word got out about his insidious way of being.  What made it all worse, was that the band was at a high point, something which was a long time coming for us, especially after every fucking set back and personal conflict we dealt with.  It was then I had to decide what kind of man to be.  In psychology there is a term called "Cognitive Dissonance."  This is the type of thing that happens when you generally ascribe to a type of belief and act a different way.  Usually, people do this with no problem.  The problem arises when they become aware, and now they can't figure out how to reconcile beliefs and actions. 

Fearing change as much as I did,  I told the guy to get help, and I would stick around.  He agreed, and as with so many other things, he did not comply.  As his resistance to comply with that simple task strengthened, my grew more depressed and my training suffered.  Here's where my cognitive dissonance kicked in.  I feared change so much, that I stuck around against my beliefs, and it fucked with me badly.  I generally felt the way one does after they get hit in the testicles.

To alleviate the dissonance, I dissolved my friendship, quit the band, and moved out.  The last move crippled me financially for a while and I was a step above homeless most of the time until a few months ago.  For the better part of that time I wanted nothing more to see the former band fail, and for the few friends I did have in the band to get the fuck out.

Both of these things happened.  Or atleast one is apparently happening and the other has happened.  My friends got wise and left--I suspect that they didn't quite know how fucked the unsavory guitar player is, and had not endured like I had, so they stayed longer. 

I got over most of the demons involving the split because harboring that kind of anger isn't entirely productive.  It is not wholly unproductive either.  The anger fueled Dave to stay alive through things that should have killed him, and lead him to his success, which was hinged on being better than Metallica.

Having your life get fucked the way mine did also makes you feel like what you do is never gonna be as good as what you did, something which Dave mentions a lot of in his autobiography.  But with time you look back, and you get over these things and you can channel the aggression you had to do better things than before.

My training has gotten better, my guitar and piano playing have improved exponentially, and I am in the process of starting another band that will put to shame my previous efforts.  This was perhaps the greatest part of Mustaine's book--relating to it, and knowing somebody had it worse than I did on a large scale.  I highly recommend that book if you hold grudges easily, or you are a fan of music. 

In light of writing this, I would like to thank the people who were there for me in 2009--those of you who made me laugh, who housed me, and were there for me.  And thanks to any of you who read what I write here.  You all know who you are.   Thanks for reminding me that it's the times that kick the shit out of you that make you realize if you are fit to live, and ready to accept change. 

One of my last good times with the old band.  Three months later, the band (and the guitar, unfortunately) were things of the past. 

21 December 2010

Weekly Training Log

15 Dec

Squats- 135x3,3

2080lbs moved in 10m40s

Close Grip Bench 135x3,3

1870lbs in 13 minutes

32kg snatch-20/20 in 4m20s 2800lbs

Tactical Pullups- 3,3,2,2,2 2400lbs in 1m50s

9150lbs in 29m50s

16 Dec

500 24kg swings in 21m55s 26500lbs moved

17 Dec

Front Squats- 135x3,3,2,2  1350lbs moved in 4m5s

Reverse Grip Bench Press- 135x3, 155 for 6 sets of 2 7m55s 2265lbs moved

One Armed Deadlifts

135x2, 155, 155, 165, 185 all L/R  1860lbs moved in 9 minutes

Plate Curls 20lbs- 4 sets of 5 L/R in 4m5s 800lbs moved

Dips- 3sets of 5 in 1m45s 3000lbs moved

Snatch 16kg 20l/20r in 1m33s 1400lbs moved

10675lbs moved in 28m23s

20 Dec

Deadlift-135, 185, 225, 275, 315, 365, 405, 425missed, 420missed.  Broke the ground on both misses.   1905lbs moved in 19m30s

Bench Press, medium grip- 135x3, 155, 185, 225, 235,245 1450lbs moved in 7m45s

Dumbbell bench rows- 50,60,70,80,90,100,110 for 4 singles all L/R 1780lbs moved in 7m15s

34m30s  5135lbs moved

I had a blast on 17 December, which is why I did so many movements.  The PRs were in both my BP and my one handed deadlifts.  I am not too worried about missing two deadlift attempts today.  Bench Press is getting better all the time. 

14 December 2010

Apparently you are all the dumbest sacks of shit on Earth

Or at least a lot of the marketing I have seen out there would have me believe.  In fact, I have purchased books and services at one time because the marketing had me so scared that I would be in mortal danger if I didn't.  Let's take a look at some of these marketing ploys. 

If I go here and hang out with Matt Furey, some of the great things that startle me via a pop-up include "looking younger, losing weight without losing strength, and ending carpal tunnel syndrome."                                                                                
I like his mustache
If I go hereI find out what makes a male a "man." Apparently, five one armed pushups, five pistols, a one armed pull up, five hanging leg raises, a standing bridge, and a one armed handstand pushup make a male a man.

At T-nation their writers--especially Nate Green--hype the shit out of their supplements and outright tell me, the reader, that I suck.  At least when TC Luoma does it it's hilarious.  Sadly, he doesn't write much on their anymore and the site has tanked.

This phenomenon of marketing is not new.  Observe this gem:

This is the ad wherein some skinny guy was getting sand kicked in his face by the bros at the beach.  He did what Atlas told him, got buff and kicked the shit out of the bros, and fucked the women later.

Here is an instance of a popular strong guy promoting a supplement.  None other than Eugene Sandow himself.

What is the point of all this?  These companies who make these products are dictating to you what you need to be doing.  They are telling you you have to do something or you will not be accepted into their community of users.  They are offering you a sense of belonging, and unity.  This reminds me of a street gang, but without the killing and otherwise extremely sordid behavior.

There is nothing wrong with buying shit--it's the basis of our culture and society.  However, one should never buy something because they are told.   Especially when the marketeers market to you like you are fucking worthless. When it comes to these products, you are given a goal instead of choosing a goal.  You are trying to fit yourself into a mold that might not accommodate you.  The goal for all of us should be to be able to think for ourselves and choose what is best for us and not let a company tell us.  If you think a one armed pushup is going to be good for you, or you simply want to do it, then go for it.  Use whatever you feel like to help you achieve the goal you desire.

Remember, once you start to live life predicated upon the thoughts of others, that life is no longer yours.  


Continued Training Log

4 Dec.

Deadlift- 135x5, 185x3, 225x3, 275, 315, 345.  All overhand, the latter being a new PR. 13m 2840lbs moved

Competition Grip Bench-135x3, 155, 185, 205, 225  4m50s 1175lbs moved

Dumbell Rows on a bench- 35x11, 50x8, 60x5, 70x4, 80x2 for six sets  9m25s 4650lbs moved

Plate Curls 20lbs- 3,3,4,3,3 3m20s 640lbs moved

9305lbs moved in 30m35s

5 December

KB Rows 32kg- 3,4,4,4,4,4,4,4 left and right 5m5s 2170lbs moved

Snatch 16kg- 30,10,10 L and R 4m35s 3500lbs moved

Pistols 1 L/R and 1 L

Swings 40kg- 100 in 7m14s 8800lbs moved

14470lbs moved in 16m54s

6 Dec

Squat- 135x5, 155x3, 185x2, 225x2, 245 6m35s 2205lbs moved

BB Overhead press- 95x5,4,4,4,4 1995lbs moved in 6m5s

Tactical Pull ups-4,3,3,3 in 2m40s 2600lbs moved

6800 lbs moved in 15m25s

9 Dec

32kg Rows- 5,4,3,4,3,3,3,3,4,3,3,3,4 Left and right 6860lbs moved in 8m3s

8lb sledge levers, half way up-5x4L/R in 4 minutes 320lbs moved

Swings-40kg- 120 in 7m3s 10560lbs moved

Snatch 16kg- 200 in 9m42s 7000lbs moved

24740lbs moved in 28m48s

10 Dec

Squats-135x3, 185x2,2,2,2,2

Good Mornings-135x3,3,3  185

Reverse grip Benchpress-135x2, 155x 10 singles 

21m40s 5475lbs moved

12 Dec

Press- 40kg 6 singles R/L 4m38s

Sledge Levers to the Face, 8 lbs. 2,1 R/L 2m30s

Sledge levers behind me, half way up the hammer 5x3 L/R 3 min

Swings 40kg 130 in 5m23s

11904lbs in 15m31s

13 Dec

DL 135x3, 185x3, 225x3,3, 275x2, 315, 365

Box Jumps 10,7,10,9,10


35lb 2 hand plate curls- 3x3

22m45s 6455lbs moved

07 December 2010

Am I overtrained?

Fuck no, I am not.  I got a comment the other day from someone regarding my deadlifting.  The gentleman stated the following: "Every time I see you in here, you are deadlifting."  I told him I wanted to get good at the lift and went on my way and hit a PR in my pronated deadlift.  It is now at 345, which is around 83% of my max deadlift. 

Typically, within the past month of implementing the gym movement protocol, my top sets of deadlifts have been in the 75% range and above, in relation to my one rep maximum.  Also note that the hip hinge--the basis of the deadlift--tests well for me five, and on the rare occasion I decide to train for a sixth day, six days a week.   This means that I can swing more, and snatch more, as well as deadlift heavy, all of which will improve my deadlift.  I focus on the deadlift because it will help me not have a delightfully dismal total when I compete in February. 

I can get away with this because I stop when I start to exert myself too much.  When there is misplaced bodily tension--this occurs mostly in the face for many lifters--and I have to exert myself to finish a rep, that is usually a good time to stop, the set, and if there is way too much effort, I terminate the exercise.   A better quality movement will provide more for me than a shitty movement.  Hence the testing.  For an analogy, what will be better quality?  Two slices of toast, with smuckers jam, or a half a pound of fish?  A look at the label would be a clear indicator of quality.  For your body, you test it.  The testing will let you know what you are allowed to do.  For instance, since I started bench pressing again, the day after, overhead pressing does not test well.  Rows, however, test very well, so I do them instead, and press the next day.  In that case, the variations of the press do not test well either, so I do not force myself to do them.  I have also consistently gotten better in pressing the 40kg bell when it tests well for pressing. 

Speaking of quality foods and movements.  This makes me love bacon even more than I did moments ago. 

How do we prevent overtraining?  Well, for starters, this is easy even if you do not test your movements.  You should rarely be sore from training.  A lot of people talk about how sore they are as if it were a badge of honor.  I like being able to move after I train, and the day after, so that I can train more.  If you leave your training session feeling like you got ass raped by a gorilla while his gorilla friends yanked your limbs, you need to reevaluate what you are doing.  Now, obviously you cannot go and start lifting with massive amounts of volume and intensity your first day.  You will feel like you got the fuck  beat out of you, and miss training time.  Ease into it.  My first days back bench pressing were short.  Rightfully so, I haven't benched in over a year.   And my man breasts weren't that sore at all the next day. 

Gratuitous breast picture. 

Interestingly enough, lifting heavier on a continual basis in a similar type of movement pattern is not new to Louie Simmons.   In this interview he states that he does not believe in periodization for training, or for steroid use.  In a max effort lifting day at WSB, the lifter is supposed to hit a PR in a  variant of a lift.  For example, a board press, or a floor press.  With that, there is no reason that the majority of other lifters can't do the same, whether you are on steroids or not.  

In conclusion, don't be fucking stupid in your training, and use some common sense, and don't listen to most people who inhabit your local gym. 

03 December 2010

Gym Movement Training Log

28 Nov

Snatch 16kg- 25,10,10,10 Left and right in 5m15s

LCCJ 50lb pair- 7,5,5 in 3m30s

Swings-24kg 313 reps in 28m42s

37m27s 21789lbs moved

29 Nov

Close Grip Bench- 135x5, 155x3, 185 x4x1, 185x2  2250lbs moved in 11m30s

Deadlifts, all overhanded.

135x5, 185x5, 225x5, 275x2, 315x4x1 4535lbs moved in 15 minutes

Plate Curls, 20lbs- 4x3 L/R in 4m50s 480lbs moved

7265lbs moved in 31m20s

30 Nov

Rows 32kg

32L/R in 6m45s

Swings, 40kg

130 reps in 15m53s

16184lbs moved in 22m38s

2 Dec

Presses: 32kg 4,3,3,4,3,2,3,3,3,3 L/R  9m35s (4340lbs)

Snatches: 16kg 2x25L/R 4m37s (3500lbs)

Swings: 24kg 300 in 13m31s (15900)

23740lbs moved in 27m43s