I am one of the pilot participants in Fitocracy’s online coaching program, so if you want to get my brains-on advice to whip your ass into shape in the tender, loving, and inexorably enabling way you’d expect from Yours Truly[1], they’re offering my services at a bargain introductory rate, with the beatings to commence on February 17th.

If you or someone you know is terrified in a good way of giving this a try, feel free. I won’t be crueler or kinder to friends, frienemies, or total strangers.

[1] Which is to say, if you say you want to accomplish something, I will not let you give up. I am a right fucking bastard like that.

February Fotos

Sue me, I just got done with a two-hour upper body workout, followed by some heavy logistics planning for hypothetical renovations; clever titular wordsmithing is not in the goddamned cards at the moment.

Anyways, here’s the state of the meat seven weeks into the year.

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Smart answers to obvious questions

A reader asks:

“So, Sensei, what is the BEST way to burn fat when exercising?”

“Work hard.”


That is, at the bottom of it all, the truth (both my answer, and their rejoinder). Continue reading

I’d call it a comeback if Ice T wouldn’t kick my ass.

There's a pair of these among the mis-matched 45s in my garage.… or is it Ice Cube?

I know it’s definitely not Vanilla Ice.

Wow, how much do I suck – Google points out that it was LL Cool J.

Yea, verily, my suburban, white-bread upbringing has left me woefully insufficiently knowledgeable about early 90’s rappers. I know all three gentlemen act, in the sense that they’ve sometimes been in moderately successful television shows and uniformly, laughably bad goddamned movies. I can tell them apart, I just couldn’t remember which one of them said that line.

Anyhow, as has become apparent, despite the pulled muscle from softball (my best guess is upper oblique/lower serratus anterior based on a glance at stuff like this), now that my back is more or less un-fucked (I am a whore for traction in addition to adjustment), picking up and getting under real weight feels pretty damn good.

It’s also been reassuringly heartening to find that, while a fair amount of ground had been lost between the de-load and the injury-enforced downtime, I’m coming back fairly quickly to where I’d expect to be. Basically, I’m starting the second wave of my program as if I’d only taken a one week break, instead of six, so despite feeling a little bit weak and struggly the first time through, this second week has felt much better, and some of the results are pleasantly surprising in terms of progressive gains vs. the previous week.

Things are going to continue to be controlled and disciplined in terms of increasing loads – five pounds a week for overhead press, ten for bench, and ten to twenty for squats and deads (top set will be determined by the feel of the warmup and precursors, since these are the ones most directly affected by the back strain). I want to be able to keep working in the 3×5 set/rep range as long as possible before having to ratchet back to 3×3, though I may experiment and go to 5×3 – Saan and my coworker (“Hitman”) have both suggested, separately, that I may have more fast-twitch muscle fibers than I initially believed, and they respond better to more sets of low reps.

Frankly, I’m just happy to be picking up shit that weighs more than I do without discomfort again.

I’m a monkey’s uncle

So, in a fit of fair play, after seeing Code Monkey’s suffering recap of what I’d cobbled together for him for today, I decided to do it myself.

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Lunch Lurch

It seems like there is a coincidental conspiracy going on to get my kettlebells back in my hands while I convalesce, between T-Nat’s article on Farmer’s Walks this week, and a conversation with Hitman about how he takes some of the office dumbbells for a few laps during his workout as well.

Kettlebell Great 8 Farmer’s Walk

This Farmer’s Walk workout uses a kettlebell exercise thought up by Dan John called “heart beats.”  Since the author on T-Nat didn’t bother to describe it, nor does anyone else, anywhere, I had to improvise – I’d do one set performing a two-handed press from my chest, basically like an inclined bench press, and for the other, I’d do a two-handed high pull.

  1. 8 one-arm KB swings, left arm. Walk 30m, KB suitcase-style in left hand.
  2. 8 one-arm KB swings, the right arm. Walk 30m, KB suitcase-style in left hand.
  3. 8 KB Snatches, left arm. Walk 30m, KB racked in left hand.
  4. 8 KB snatches, right arm. Walk 30m, KB racked in right hand.
  5. 8 Arnold Presses, left arm. Walk 30m, KB held overhead with left hand.
  6. 8 Arnold Presses, right arm. Walk 30m, KB held overhead with right hand.
  7. 8 two-arm KB swings. Walk 30m, doing two-handed incline presses every other step.
  8. 8 two-arm KB swings. Walk 30m, doing two-handed high pulls every other step.
  9. Rest

I did three sets, with two minutes’ rest between them. Each set took about six minutes of continuous work, so the whole thing took 22 minutes.

“One Round Complete! Have a seat and marvel at the Rorschach test-like pile of vomit at your feet. What would Freud say?”

I don’t know about ol’ Sigmund, but I’d say that anyone who puked from doing this was either outdoors on a hot day or using too a heavy goddamned weight, because with a 36# KB, this was pretty damn easy. You’ll certainly feel it in the delts and the obliques and lats, and a little bit in the hips, but it’s not anything to write home about.

Followed that up with Front Levers (2×35 sec).

Omitted from Monday’s recap were 3×5 Dragon Flags and 1×10 single-leg deadlifts w/ both kettlebells.

[WotD] Tuesday, June 8


Elliptical: 22 minutes

Front Lever: 3×35 sec

Pullups: 3×10

Front Tuck Pullups: 1×15

Goblet Squat: 1×10 @ 36 / 1×10 @ 72

Farmer’s Walk: 60m / 30m @ 2×65 / 60m / 30m 2x 36 (racked)

Arnold Press: 2×15 @ 36 (each arm)

After Hours:

Front Lever: 2×30 sec

Clean/Overhead Press/Front Squat Complex: 1×10 @ 45 / 1×5 @ 65 / 1×5 @ 85

Squat: 1×5 @ 85 / 1×5 @ 115 / 1×5 @ 135 / 1×5 @ 185

Everything felt good, since the evening workout was more or less right after my chiropractic appointment.

[WotD] Pregaming

There’s an unofficial work picnic today, hosted by Pablo and EP, so I wanted to get things done early.

Unstructured workout is unstructured:

Shrug / Romanian Straight-Legged Deadlift Complex: 1×20 @ 135 / 1×10 @ 185 / 2×5 @ 225 / 1×10 @ 185

Power Clean / Overhead Press / Overhead Squat Complex: 1×10 @ 45 / 1×5 @ 65

Power Clean / Overhead Press / Front Squat Complex: 1×10 @ 65 / 1×10 @ 95

Kettlebell Snatch: 2×5 @ 54 (each arm)

[WotD] Friday, April 30

15/9/3+ Overhead Press Day

To follow up on all the pushup work at the office (which is, hopefully, bearing fruit as far as bringing along my lagging triceps), it was not a day off in the overhead press department.


Overhead Press + Front Squat (Complex): 1×10 @ 45 / 1×8 @ 65 / 1×5 @ 95

Work Sets:

Overhead Press: 1×5 @ 115 / 1×3 @ 135 / 1×1+2 @ 145 (PR) / 1×15 @ 95 (PR)


Hanging Leg Raises: 2×10

Bent-Over Row: 1×5 @ 135

I’ll take two PRs in a short, sweet, fairly intense session.

Howto, How Not To, and Some PR

I had completely spaced on the fact that I had a work conference to go today, which means that I had to stiff the folks who were expecting me to chaperone this evening’s run after work. Considering that everyone but BB blew off Monday’s… I’m not going to sweat it much, and we can always do it next week anyway.

Instead, I made good on a remark I made to Code Monkey, to provide a how-to video for power cleans and front squats, since his form needs a little correction, and it’s a lot easier to show than tell.

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