Videos I Liked This Week

Starting with a sad one. I’ve watched Buff Dudes for a while and I saw the surgery and the recovery and now he’s all clear to start working out again. But it’s so clear he’s emotionally struggling, he mentions depression several times and the pep talk he’s giving the audience is really him talking to himself. It can be so much easier to be positive when giving advice to someone else than when we’re alone in our heads.

 

Tom Delauer of course, he does 3 or 4 videos a week I’m bound to like one. And this one it’s just ’cause he acknowledges that keto is trendy and talks about where to go from here. That’s practical non-optimism right there. Keto isn’t going to take over the world but it’s popularity will have done some good.

 

 

This chap I just found likeable. He’s clearly already very athletic if his first training run is 8 miles and he’s skiing all the time so his first marathon time is a good 3:30. There’s a recklessness that I like in the way he signs up and trains that takes the looming fear out of the marathon.

 

and of course of course What I Learned, the best videos on the Tube. Watch anything of his I swear.

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Weight Vest Review – The Runmax 40lb

 

So after playing around and shooting that video I went for a proper 5k run with the vest and my big takeaway is that I agree with myself, it needs some padding in the shoulders. My shoulders are scratched and bruised.

The jostle is minimal though which is very good.

The interesting thing about running with a weight vest is it really improves your (or maybe just my) foot fall. You want your foot landing under your center of gravity and you want to be landing on your whole foot, not toe or heel, it’s the most stable position possible. Well with forty extra pounds above my legs my body searched for and found the most stable position possible.

Plus the vest keeps your upper body upright so I’d say it’s a cure-all for run form. Or at least a cure-most. It’s hard to have a good long stride when your body feels like it’s going to crash through the earth during non-contact.

And I was exhausted when I finished the lap, nice extra strain in the legs and the lungs. In my totally subjective estimation I’d say it felt like I did 20k rather than 5.

Sometimes the best part of a weight vest is taking it off, I went for another lap without it and it felt amazing. I remember at the Stampede Road Race a dude was warming up with a vest and it makes perfect sense now, it tightens up your form and then, when you take it off, you feel springy and relaxed.

When Am I Strongest Throughout The Week? What To Put On Mondays In Your Split

I’m obsessive about getting things out of the way on Mondays. If I can get all weekly maintenance done on Monday then I the rest of the week is a victory lap, no waiting, no dreading.

And it makes perfect sense for Monday to be the day of the week that I fast since I’m coming off a weekend of cinnamon buns and gelato.

I used to put bench press Mondays after work but I thought I’m not in any danger of putting off bench whereas I put off swimming all the time so Monday became swim day which is better because if I’m fasted I can swim but strength training bench when I’ve been working fasted all day isn’t great.

So I thought maybe I can get it out of the way even earlier! I’ll go hit the gym before work – get bench out of the way, go to work and get my weekly cleaning done and out of the way, then swim after work and get that out of the way, all while not eating! What a sane use of everyone’s most hated day.

Stay tuned for how this turns out

The Rest Week That Wasn’t Restful

Well it’s Friday and the cold I started getting last Friday hasn’t completely abated. I feel 90% recovered but not rejuvenated. I guess it proves that not-exercising isn’t the key to feeling good. I focused exclusively on resting everyday and I got back close-to-baseline right away – I said on Tuesday that I felt 70% recovered – but like in all things the gains became marginal after that.

And weirdly my legs never stopped being sore. Maybe it’s my shoes or just the amount of movement I get at work but they never loosened up – I can feel my hamstrings right now.

So now I feel annoyed that I didn’t do anything but who’s to say that I’d feel as unsick as I do now if I had done something? Most of the time I felt too exhausted to do mental work and physical work made me instantly tired. Like, I did six pull ups yesterday and it was so much more depleting and taxing than ever before that I thought fuck it, I’ll wait.

I guess this is a test of patience and like any patience test it went longer than expected. I was prepared and even excited to take three days off and when it turned into five I’m now annoyed as shit.

As I struggle to write anything now at 6am I keep thinking I should go to work early and bench press. A bike tabata, bench, and a long run that would – according to my expectations – hit the spot.

I’ll update this after work and let my current self know how it turns out…

 

11 Hours, 40some Minutes Later:

Well that sucked. Good day at work then hit the gym for a tabata (felt awful), bench program (felt awful), a 15 minute 12kph run (which felt awful), and then I didn’t go play squash even though I brought my racket saying I’d play if I ran into someone from the group and I did run into someone from the group but I just felt, you know, awful.

The Tabata was my best yet though. Being a bit fun-petitive, Jon and I are posting our total calories and watts on the air bike’s tabata program to the squash group hoping to lure in the other guys. My cals and watts were 51 and 1028, still below Jon’s best 58 and 11something.

And that’s the update. This post had five views in those 11plus hours so maybe they’ll see this, maybe they won’t, but for me the loop is closed. Hurray.

The Weekly Workout

Throughout the week I was going over how I’d write this…

  • 3 banded hip abductions with resistance band
  • 3 bottom up Arnold Press Angel Wings with 10lb
  • 2 sets of 5 modified sprinter lunges with 25lbs
  • 3 front squats with 75lbs
  • 3 sets of 5 Myotatics with 10lbs, 5lbs, and empty-handed
  • and 80 kettlebell swings with 45lbs

So much gibberish.

Unlike typical banded abductions I didn’t wrap the band around my thighs, I stood on it and pulled both ends into the front rack position. I got this from Athlean-X, in fact I got the Modified Sprinter Lunge from the same video on Anterior Pelvic Tilt

The Bottom Up Arnold Press Angel Wing, describing this is my white whale this week. I’m sure there’s a yoga move that capture this completely, the arm motion is also a lot like swimming under water frog style, I realized on Monday when I was swimming underwater frog style. I was really just fooling around Sunday and came up with it and it felt good so here we go.

First the term bottom up. It comes from kettlebells. Imagine holding a briefcase at your side. Wrist, hand, handle, body of case all in a straight line. If you were to bend your elbow and raise your arm so your hand was over your shoulder and under the case the body-of-case would fall to one side or the other of your hand. If you didn’t let it fall you’d be doing a bottom up.

Now replace the case with two 10lb plates which have grip holes. (although doing this without putting one’s fingers through grip holes would be a hell of a grip test.)

And you should know what an Arnold Press is. Put your palms in front of your face then raise them overhead rotating as you go so at the end your palms are facing the same direction as you.

Angel Wings I’m guessing you can visualize what I’m thinking just by the name. Once the arms are overhead, lower them slowly down to the sides. It feels like it’s risky on the shoulders (I’ve had impingement issues on my right here and there) but focusing on external rotation and scapular retraction prevents any clicking or pressure and I got through the week feeling no worse in that area so it turned out fine. This movement seemed to just crucify my lats and my serratus anterior on my weaker side so it definitely has some benefits.

These four paragraphs of explanation brought to you by the fact that I was listening to music Sunday and compulsively do the jesus christ pose when I’m singing.

I suspect I’m getting more range of motion in my Nordic Raises (also know as natural glute ham raises, discussed in the past)

The only other thing worth (if that’s the right word) mentioning is the myos this week. Myotatic crunches are the only exercise that I have a love/hate relationship with. So inspired by the colonoscopy study (in which subjects were made more likely and willing to return to an unpleasant experience by having it go longer yet gentler at the end. look it up, Daniel Kahneman did it and it’s gets mentioned a lot. It’s why you can suffer horribly during a half-marathon then remember it so fondly later because of the feeling at the finish line) I decided to pyramid the weight down instead of up.

Maybe it feels a bit better, certainly feels good to see the form tighten up as the weight goes down but this is still an awkward, awful feeling exercise. As I’ve said in the past though it’s super effective, you will see results in your midsection really quickly and most importantly you can’t fake it and just go through the motions. Like, if you’re doing bicycle crunches and not feeling it you can leave your shoulders on the ground, not bring your knees up hard, get all your reps but not really do the work. With Myos there is no way to half ass it, it’s painful and sucky and that’s how you know it works.

For Next Week Jeff Nippard did a video on barbell shrugs that was a game changer for me. I’d done dumbbell shrugs in the past and they’re boring and not all that effective. But the barbell variations – particularly with the hands out to about 30 degrees away from the body – made my neck feel great. I started doing a set after work to get the tension out.

And I’ve got Release Push Ups written down because I want to do something for my chest while I’m only benching once a week on the (of course) Tim Ferris strength training plan.

And there we go, through another week and into the weekend.

The Weekly Workout

My morning work out this week was:

  • 5 roll burpees
  • 5 single leg stand ups each leg
  • 5 Goodmornings with 60lb bar
  • 5 front squats w 60lb bar
  • 10 myotatic crunches with weight
  • 30 kettlebell swings each arm with 45lbs

I learned about roll burpees from a youtube channel called Redefining Strength. You lay on your back, put your feet up in the air then drop them using the momentum to roll forward on to your hands, kick your feet back like one does in a normal burpee, then do a push up then reverse and repeat.

I decided to write that rather than link it to test myself as an author. Anyway it’s great because it’s quiet. For us apartment dwellers, any jumping exercise is basically out and especially out a 5:30 in the morning.

I put it before the stand-ups because roll burpees will wake you up whereas sitting down on the couch to do a stand-up I might not stand up, just zone out and eventually lay down. It’s a very good napping couch. Especially at 5:30 in the morning.

Always something single leg since I found I can pistol with my left leg but not my right.

Then I put a 10 and a 5 on either side of the barbell and get it into place for doing good mornings. Aptly named. It’s an auxiliary exercise for the deadlift and while I was testing it on the weekend I could load up more weight for it than for the front squat so I was worried I was going too light this week but it turned out great. I’ve had trouble finding my ass with any of the typical exercise, everything becomes hams or quads (god we speak such fucking gibberish talking ’bout work outs. Especially at 5:30 in the morning) but the good mornings finally did it and I’m glad I didn’t go as heavy as I could because they have been cumulative over the week.

To do a Good Morning you back rack the bar like a back squat but only hinge at the hip, bowing forward as if to say good morning. Legs straight, butt way out, and bar path straight up and down. Don’t lean forward! You’ll fall on your face with a barbell behind your head. Push your ass back and let the bar descend. It’s a great stretch for the hamstrings and good conscious control for the back and chest.

I should take a week off it now that it’s ingrained and then go up in weight.

Onto the front squat which turns out is a challenge I knew nothing about. Learning it on the weekend I was like elbows inside or outside of the knees? The answer is keep your back straighter. Then I hated having the bar so close to my throat (I’m just that type that hates having anything near their windpipe, even a firm shirt collar makes me panic), then the wrists oh god the wrists. I almost backed away from doing front squats this week to spend a week doing something for my wrist mobility in order to get a good front rack position. But I went for a reasonable weight and figured that was me working on my wrist mobility. I should do them again next week, we’ll see.

At the last minute I replaced bicycle crunches with Myos again. It’s just so damn efficient. I can do a hundred bicycles and feel I’ve worked my abs (with just some burn on the surface muscles) or 10 myos and feel like I’ve worked and strained deep into my core. They’re annoying and graceless and I always intend to take a break and never do.

Then the finisher of 30 KB swings each arm. It was a challenge at the start of the week and by the end I was blasting through it.

And that’s my wake up work out for the past week. I know these posts are way, way more for me than for public use so if you got this far, thanks for reading and I hope you got something out of it. Actually, in the spirit of Leave No Doubt, let me know. If they’re not doing any public good I’ll save them as private and publish something more useful on Fridays.

How To Have Good Mornings When You Get Up Really Early And Are Pressed For Time And Life Is Awful

If you’re into self-improvement at all or just have an ear to the hustle culture getting up early is presented as essential, like you’re a complete waste if you’re not up before the sun cranking out burpees, meditating, and having a smoothie within 8 seconds of waking.

Which is true so get your shit together.

The notion that some people are early risers by nature is bullshit. We learn to love it, (human beings usually learn to love whatever habits they develop) and yet I know I’m still going to slide into sleeping late and skipping the routine if I relax too much. Even for those who love it getting up early and being productive is a choice everyday.

And you want to make that choice as strategically easy as possible, like any difficult choice. Using booze as example: you have to choose not to drink – and it’s a hell of a lot easier to choose not to drink if you choose not to go to the bar, or you choose to buy a soda at the gas station before the part of your walk home that takes you by the liquor store.

So the first choice you have to make to have a good morning is to remove all choices. Decide on the weekend what you’re having for breakfast and doing for a work out every morning this week. It can be the same everyday or alternating or different every time but make the choice and set it mental stone by Sunday night.

Each evening lay out your clothes and anything you need. No matter how tired you are before bed you’re going to be more tired in the morning.

And make the choice now that you’re not going to engage with any time-sucks. No internet. Not on your phone or your computer. I know, you’re thinking you’ll engage with something easy while you shake off the zombie dust but you won’t, you’re really heaping it on and fucking up your day. Social media will only ruin your mood and any information one might pick up will come to you in a minute of small talk with an actual human later in the day regardless.

So that’s the what-not-to-dos and let’s start the to-dos:

Get yourself a sunrise alarm. Mine’s from Philips, it’s great. A half hour before its set time it starts getting brighter with its gentle yet powerful orangish light. This means that when I wake up throughout the night I know how close I am to having to get up and can fall back asleep instantly. No anxiety clock checking mental math countdown dread, just peace. Then at its set time it’s at peak brightness and birds that sound like the Swedish Chef fade in.

Because of the brightness of the Philips it’s easy and practical to keep it far away so one has to get out of bed to turn it off and bam, you’re up, and the first experience of the day is still gentle and pleasant.

If you want to go full bore (a term I realize now is ironically ambiguous) you can also get a full spectrum light. I have a Veralux Happy Light next to the sunrise lamp that I turn on when the Swedish birds get turned off.

So from the perspective of choices; I have no choice but to turn off the bird sounds and since I’m right there it’s extremely easy to choose to turn on the Veralux.

Now, my lights are both visible from the kitchen but you have to prioritize if you don’t live in a storage folder. Best to put the full spectrum light in the kitchen, right next to the sink because that’s the first place we’re going, the first super action health station.

Where you’re going to put some salt in some water and drink it. Get sea salt or Himalayan salt or a product called Half Salt which has potassium and magnesium added, and pour it, swirl it, chug it.

As any good alcoholic knows, dehydration isn’t about water. It’s about electrolytes. Drinking a glass of water first thing is mandatory, salt water is next level, then full bore is adding chlorophyll or any other hippie voodoo magic you feel like.

Then start coffee. I know this is 700 words so far but we’re still under the first 2 minutes.

While the coffee brews; work out. Whatever you want to do. Engage your body. Then shower, then eat.

Yes eat, even if it’s really small and even if not eating breakfast is a type, in the habit forming stages of this it’s mandatory to eat. We usually boil and peel eggs on the weekend and store them in salt water. Bam, takes 2 seconds to pop one in your mouth.

Day one you won’t feel magically bright and shiny, in fact you’ll tell yourself you feel worse (which you don’t. If you had felt good you wouldn’t be changing) and by day ten you’ll be so used to feeling good in the morning you won’t notice.

Until you blow off some part of the morning and sleep in and backslide and notice that, yeah, that sucks, so you’re excited to stay on the path.