BLOG IT FORWARD: WEEK 5 GREGFORD ALAN
I first off want to say thank you to Patrick for asking me to post something on his blog. I am honored that he would think of me because he is someone I very much look up to (he hates compliments). Perhaps I should start with some background.
I am thirty years old from Camarillo, CA. Since June 1, 2010 I have been doing an exercise regimen which in the last two years has become popularized as well as criticized; CrossFit. Love it or hate it, it is the only thing that has kept me interested and intrigued with fitness.
Prior to starting personal wellness whether it was spiritual, emotional, sexual, or physical was not in my forefront. One could say I tried and succeeded in doing the exact opposite. I relished in abusing my body and did so with purpose. Fortunately, through a few turn of events (Karma, God, Universal Conscious, dumb luck, etc.), and one by one those things left my life starting in 2009. I was ready to start being good to my body. The last of my unhealthy vices, smoking, ceased on July 5, 2010, one month after I joined CrossFit. I told myself before that I had to quit smoking ($200/month) so I could pay for CrossFit ($150/month) and I was able to keep that promise to myself. Training days for this week were Sunday, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday.
I woke up and went to the gym; Precision CrossFit is my home away from home. It is located off Lindero Canyon in Westlake. I warmed up with some dynamic stretching, band work, lacrosse ball, and basic calisthenics. Then I started warming up for an Olympic weightlifting session of “snatch” (yes I always laugh a little too at the name). Olympic weightlifting is one of my favorite things to do. CrosFit opened my eyes to it, for which I am grateful. I lifted for about 1-1.5 hours working up to a daily 1 rep max which happened to be 160 pounds. This is great news because, since my surgery (crohn’s disease related) back in April, I haven’t been able to snatch more than 140 (25 pounds below competition PR). My goal is to snatch 185 by September 2013.
My goal for the week was to squat heavy this week to start building my legs back up after a few months of not being able to squat because of surgery. Another goal was to be mindful of what I ate. I followed a Russian squatting sequence based on the Smolov cycle. The rep scheme was 6x6 Highbar Back Squat @ 195 pounds. I felt weak on the first two sets but then the next three were easier. The last set was all fight (mental). Most of lifting for me is mental. Playing around with more weight than I should has never been an issue. I remember something Henry Rollins once wrote about weightlifting that has always stuck with me. “Try to lift what you're not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.” Then the conditioning workout that day was 20 minutes of as many reps as possible of 10 burpees, 10 overhead squat 65# (I did back squats as my shoulders were shot from snatching the prior day), and 10 24# box jumps. I actually don’t know what I scored because I always lose track. It doesn’t really matter I was dead afterwards; it felt great!
This was a great day. It was the my second day in the squat cycle …. This time 7x5 @205 pounds. This was surprisingly easy. I gave myself proper rest in between sets ~2-3 minutes. That made all the difference. After that the conditioning workout was what we call a “ascending ladder”. It was 5reps of all movements then 7reps then 9reps 11reps of power cleans, toes to bar (skip to :38sec), and push-ups. I decided because I was only doing 185 pounds and not going Rx’d (the prescribed weight was 225 pounds) I wanted to do handstand push-ups. For me personally I felt great during the workout and afterward as well. I was able to stay positive which is not always easy to do. All-in-all a great training day.
So on Thursday night I saw the workout posted online it read… 5k row. I had never done that before, so with most things unknown, I was nervous/excited to do it. I went in early to the gym to get my squats in…. started my sets, and my Iliotibial band started screaming at me. I tried to stay positive and push through, but I made the decision to stop as I still had to row a 5k also. I was supposed to do 8x4 sets at 230, but only completed 5 sets. Even though I didn’t complete them, I felt okay. Now the row…. Oh the row…. Rowing after all of that was tough not only mentally, but physically as well. My legs were like Jell-O. I strapped into my seat and started. my goal was to have a 2min/500m meter pace. As soon as I pushed my legs off I knew this would not be achievable. I battled and tried to stay mentally positive throughout the row. I survived and finished in 21:42. Even though I missed my goal I felt good. I have been really trying to focus on staying mentally positive during my training. It is vital for me.
Running… Running has become my nemesis. In regards to weightlifting this training day was awesome. I got a great Olympic weightlifting session with two of my good buds; the lift was clean and jerk. The conditioning aspect was in the form of a team (2 men/2 women). The workout contained an 800m team run, 50 handstand pushups, 100 deadlifts (225# for men/155# for women), 150 wall ball, and another 800m team run. First run I kept up with the team we had a good pace. We got through our handstand pushups, deadlifts and wall ball no problem. I finished the last set of 10 wall ball and started the run with them, and well…. My legs felt like concrete. My form went to all hell. It was discouraging to say the least. Even though my mind was telling me I was letting the other three down, I was trying to stay positive. I kept telling myself put one foot in front of the other. Just keep going… it probably took me a little more than 4 minutes to run it…. Afterward I felt defeated. When I get like that the only thing that helps is being of service to someone else. In this case it was picking up all of the weights we used and putting them back, and then stretching with some of my friends (one whose birthday is was). Those small simple actions always get me out of a rut.
That one workout has now prompted me to set another goal which will be to start incorporating running drills into my training to help myself overcome this weakness/fear. What fitness has shown me is that anything is possible with practice and hard work. Over the next 4 weeks my intention will be to run 3x a week and also start Olympic weightlifting cycle to achieve a 185 pound snatch and 225 pound clean and jerk by September. I know I can do it. I wish you the reader, the best in whatever your goals/passion/dream may be. Below is something continuously helps me in my journey.
“The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you're a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.” – Henry Rollins
Mention this article and get...