So I have always enjoyed barbell work, ever since I tried a few years ago. Been fairly inconsistent about the whole thing, until I rocked Bells and B2: Electric Bugaloo and then The Program To End All Programs: IRON.
(One guess which is my favorite Kenzai program?!)
So since Iron I did a bunch of research and over-thinking it and rocked into my barbell-friendly gym and got committed, and made a plan and stuck with it for months, generally...in the middle I had bad form and lifted too much too hard too fast with bad form and got hurt. So I got some rehab and fixed it and slowed down and tried again and got stronger.
And after having basically tapped out the potential of what is called Linear Progression (aka LP), I goofed around until I discovered something called Texas Method.
This refers to a certain kind of intermediate programming for barbell lifting that cycles volume and intensity typically on a two-week rotation, 3 workouts a week.
I could explain how it works...but actually I couldn't I don't have a damn clue. I just plugged in my starting stats and the Strength Club app does the rest.
So Monday I did lightish with volume:
Squat 5x5 @ 115kg
Bench and 5x5 @ 57.5kg
Dips and 1x5 @ 22.5kg
And then Wednesday was a light day:
Squats 2x3 @ 98kg
Press 5x3 @ 58kg
Chins 1x5 @ 20kg (only got 4 really)
So on Friday I will do a heavy/intense day:
Squat 1x5 @ 130kg
Bench 1x5 @ 64.5kg
Deadlift 1x5 @ 112.5kg
(all sets have warm-ups starting with nothing/empty bar)
And it kinda does that over and over moving down and up, changing up volume and intensity (sometimes both) until my top working lifts of 3x5 go up...will shall see how it works because my chins and bench have plateaued and I cannot drive them up any more doing LP.
Also been EATING more, trying to get the lean body mass up. I am up to 74/75kg and still have a visible 6/4 pack, so I don't think I'm putting on too much fat which is nice. I suspect I need more protein to get the muscles bigger to get the lifts up...we cannot all be built like Patrick who basically looks at a barbell and his lats expand by 10%!
Upgraded the weight belt to a THREE inch because stumpy-abdomen ren is stumpy. Works like a charm and I crushed 115kg squats "fahve by fahve" as they say.
Also this weekend went to Yokohama and did a thing: put some pounds in a ruck and goofed off with some weirdos and then...drank a bunch of 8.5% BEER (yuck!) but it was so hot and humid and after four hours of work I was dehydrated and then I was DRUNK and then we did a scavenger hunt all over town and my team WON because we are WINNERS.
Then yesterday I got my cranial alien implant tracking device upgraded (cleverly disguised as mole-removal surgery) so I cannot swim for a week. Sad panda.
Did I mention it's the hot and sweaty rainy season?
So I have embraced CHANGE. Change of...the Iron Plan. I'm trying to change up my dedication to the barbell, by moving to a two-week cycle in an attempt to avoid injury, boredom, and plateaus.
This includes a new weight belt. Which is: too tall.
My stumpy-ass torso cannot handle a 5-inch belt so I need to downgrade to 4-inch...
I don't drink.
Er...I DIDN'T drink.
The 20+ years from when I legally could drink to recently, I got properly drunk all of 10 times.
Recently, I have realized that the appropriate application of alcohol helps IMMENSELY.
Actually, no it doesn't, but it SEEMS like a great idea at the start...and then I regret it soon thereafter.
Like last night.
Had an Epic Swim: Polish Devil Coach (as I lovingly call him) once again attempts to drown my with brutal combination of kick and stroke and breathing sets, including back stroke, and THEN a bunch of SPRINTS.
So I was done swimming and I was HANGRY.
Went down to the bar, ordered a MIGHTY MEATY PIZZA because I deserve it. Also crazy thirsty so ordered a gin and tonic.
Being nearly dehydrated, and tired from swimming, and HANGRY, and generally not so smart, I down the bloody thing in minutes.
On an empty stomach.
Then the pizza arrives...and I need a drink to go with it! G&T #2!
So now a quick hour later, stomach full of pizza, blood flushed with alcohol, I move on to bar #2 and have...shochu and water! Which, if you are unfamiliar with Japanese shochu, is basically: water. With alot of flavorless, STRONG alcohol.
Drink #3 is in me and I am feeling INVINCIBLE.
Head home at a reasonable hour, drink some water (because I Know This To Be Good) and I'm in bed by 11pm! Win!
Alarm wakes me up right about when Fish is finishing his morning run (aka 5:30am) and I am feeling...not great? But I drink more water and head to the gym. Because I am A Responsible Grownup.
Walking to the gym, I am still thirsty. Buy a bottle of water. Drink half by the time I get to the gym.
Change, headphones in, podcast on, weights racked in the squat cage...and WOW do I suck. Nearly fall over and drop the first rep at weight. Struggle through a few more...generally a miserable time going through my sets, feeling weak and generally horrid.
Drinking lots of water, head now hurts MORE, and now I am tired-before-sore even though I barely lifted any weight...
So, the lesson is: don't exercise hung over?
The lesson is: SHOW UP AND GET IT DONE ANYWAY.
Actually the lesson is: stop at two gin & tonics...but I am unlikely to enforce that.
Golly darn I ain't blogged in a minute (that's how the Cool Kids say "a long time" these days.)
Been focused on Iron; specifically working on my form for the Big Lifts: squat, deadlift, bench press, and overhead press. My form really sucks and as I got WAY up into the big heavy, I am going to hurt something. So I drop weight down, take a bunch of videos, get a bunch of advice from the interwebs, watch lots of youtube and read books and ask people advice...slowly but surely things are getting better.
Diet has been...amazingly on point? Which is kinda hilarious because I THINK I eat whatever I want, but then when I actually track what I eat, I am just so naturally Kenzai'd it's silly.
I really LOVE that Kenzai has made my "new normal" so in a typical week I will have: lots and lots of coffee, usually a soy latte. Epic salad for lunch with piles of meat (Dean and Deluca shrimp and chicken salad with extra avocado and bacon!), all the meat for dinner, maybe a wee carbs...and then on the weekend EAT ALL THE CHOCOLATE.
I have even doubled down on my new-found drinking habit (four kids will do that to a guy) and I realize that Gin and Tonics are diet friendly and WOW that makes my head feel spinny in a good way!
So for the past...six months ish...my strength has gone way up, my waistline has stayed about the same, and I seem to be in weight stasis around 73-74 kilos. Which for a guy 167cm tall isn't exactly lightweight, but then again I am at (I am guessing) 15% bodyfat? Visible abs and veiny arms and 140kg deadlift so, yeah no complaints!
I bought myself my very own weightlifting belt in bright red suede because everyone needs a little spice in life. Also women's yoga leggings from Lulu Lemon (in XL), when combined with the Ranger Panties, are literally "Unstoppable Force vs Immovable Object". I'd post photos but then I am afraid I would break the internets.
Lulu lemon purple flower leggings in large size fit real good and make my ass look great.
So I just flew 24 hours round-trip to spend 24 hours in Chicago to see the pre-release of the video of the pilot TV show in which I participated in Ko Lan, Thailand last month. (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7JZMY3vM_n8)
Now that it was announced, I am free from my NDA and can discuss it.
So, here's the overview:
There is this mobile game Ingress, in which the Resistance (blue, my faction) battles again the Enlightened (green) for control of portals that link together to make fields. It's basically a giant othello/go game played on a phone with GPS and global maps. (Made by the company that made Pokemon Go, FYI.)
For Ingress, there is a huge and complex backstory involving aliens and exotic matter and spies and murder and plot and intrigue, none of which I follow at all.
As part of the "game", there are events called Anomalies held regularly all over the world. At these events players gather to fight for their factions, in various competitions to score points and tilt the global balance in their favor. The games run from the simple (capture as many portals as you can) to the complex (traverse the longest link-path in the shortest time across the highest-scoring areas) and generally involve people running around the city staring at their phones. Some of these events are more physical, run by GORUCK Cadre and involve carrying heavy stuff and doing silly things. Those are the fun ones.
Legend has it that the ancient astronomer Ptolemy foretold of an Ancient Artifact of Great Power, apparently hidden away in Thailand, to be found by The Six Who are Worthy.
The National Intelligence Agency (NIA) sent a team of elite operatives to recover the stone...they entered Thailand and where never heard from again.
In response, NIA as asked each faction to send a team of six to figure out what happened and if possible to find the stone. Only one team can succeed, and competition breeds excellence.
So what happened was for the past year at these various Anomalies, there were competitions called Prime Challenges, and the winning team from each challenge qualified to fight for a spot to go to Thailand. My team won in Hong Kong and Sapporo, so we put together a team video, got chosen as finalists, and got sent to Thailand for 5 days.
We were basically shooting a TV pilot episode: two teams sent by their factions to recover the stone. To find the stone we had to recover the clues in the form of coins. For each team, NIA appointed a TKO (Technical Kinetic Operations) specialist (who is a GORUCK Special Forces Cadre) to help lead and guide us.
We parachuted in and raced to the abandoned base of the forward team (we lost the race). Searching for clues we found a map to their supplies cache, recovered the supplies, and followed the map to find the next coin hidden out in the brush. The coin indicated a location in Pattaya, near the coast.
After sleeping in base camp (literally grass huts in the middle of an abandoned rubber tree plantation in the middle of nowhere in the jungle) we proceeded to Pattaya the next morning. We followed a mission through the winding streets of Pattaya, regularly dunking ourselves in the ocean under Cadre's orders, in order to cool down (it was HOT, like 45C and humid and we were not looking forward to dying from heat stroke.) The mission led us eventually to the Temple of Truth. On the way we had to disguise ourselves as local tourists (I bought the ugliest neon tourist t-shirts I could find) because apparently we were being tracked by Nemesis, a shadowy doer-of-no-good organization of unknown purpose and origin. My team managed to get to the temple first and found the next coin. That evening we had a traditional welcome ceremony and meal at base camp, stuffing our faces full of cockroaches and other bugs. My team lost the bug-eating competition.
The next morning we headed to the beach and boarded boats heading for KoLan Island. Off the coast of the island we hacked three portals to complete a field and dove for a hidden map. What ACTUALLY happened was that as soon as the boats took off, everyone got seasick.
While waiting for the other time to do their dive filming , everyone on my boat with the exception of Cadre Jason (ex-Green Beret), the boat captain, me, and Max, got really wrecked. The local translator was first and worst. She was so sick that Jason ended up rescue-swimming her 100 meters to shore so she could recover. Eventually we had Max and Ryugo swim to the other boat so that at least someone on our team could film the dive scenes, and our boat headed to shore because everyone was puking so much they couldn't keep down water and were getting dehydrated. I didn't get sick but I didn't get to dive, because I had to lead my team back to shore and make sure no one died.
We then raced onto shore (my team won the coin for that) and started the final mission: a 6km trek up to the temple at the top of the hill. We had to take an offering to Buddha, so each team carried two 80lb concrete elephant statues.
Because we had 3 coins to their 2, we got a 1-minute head-start.
We didn't need it.
Carrying heavy stuff under miserable conditions is quite literally what we do, so we pounded our way up brutally steep tracks to get to the temple. Whole trip too about 1.5 hours, and the cameras were complaining that we were moving too fast and they couldn't catch up and get enough footage (they were on mopeds mostly, btw.)
We dropped the elephants at Buddha's feet and proceeded up the final, brutal 100m staircase, hacked the final portal to capture the temple and won. The other team showed up about 15 minutes later.
After resupplying water and taking photos, we filmed the final scenes: actually finding the Osiris Stone.
A bunch of story plot stuff happens (who is Nemesis?! etc.) and we had to reshoot several scenes and spent too much time standing around but that was the general theme of the whole week (protip: filming on location SUCKS. "Hurry up and wait. In the heat. While the sound guy captures ambient wave sounds and the second camera guy positions for that perfect wide-zoom shot and the third assistant director complains that the sandwhiches are warm and there's no more diet soda.")
Finally game and filming done we headed to A HOTEL. WITH A BED. AND A SHOWER. After three days in a grass hut in the jungle, civilization was pretty awesome. Air-conditioning! Running Water!
After sluicing off the sand and grime and dirt and putting CLEAN CLOTHES (almost forgot what those are), we then went to a disco to drink beer and eat food cooked in a kitchen (aka that wasn't bugs wrapped in banana leaves.)
Spent the night hanging out with the staff and film crew and all the actors -- there are literally tens of professional actors who spend most if not all of their career filming stories for Ingress, travelling the world to attend Anomalies and other events, playing their roles live in person and for YouTube and other videos.
In general it was pretty awesome. The final video should be released on Youtube in a week or so, and more material released after that.
Did me one of them Spartan races again. A Super so like 14k with 25ish (?) obstacles. Managed to clear 100% of the obstacles and ran MOST of the race. Some unpleasant uphills I walked, and I run slow.
Anyway a good time as always.
Marathon around the Yamanote Line that loops Tokyo. 9h35m. 22 people on the team. Carrying 30lb ruck (sometimes 40; we had an extra couple of dimes we shared).
As always: sucked.
Next week, so in preparation I have been:
* Skipping workouts
* Eating (low salt!) chips
* Staying up too late and not sleeping enough
But it's not all hopeless! Have also been:
* Enjoying the nice weather by biking to and from work alot
* Getting back in the pool
* Pushing my gimp daughter in her wheelchair all over tokyo, especially to and from karaoke
* Not killing my kids, particularly when they wake me up at 4am
Weight is stable at 73 kilos, which is ironically the same weight at which I started kenzai WAY back in the day. Got down to 63kg at my lowest and have been steadily bulking up.
Not sure but guessing probably 15% ish body fat these days, and at 167cm short my healthceck ALWAYS come back with OMG U R FAT DUDE FIX IT!
Doc, I pull 140kg deadlift raw (no belt, no straps, overhand hook grip) so I'm thinking I'm not so out of shape?
We'll see what happens next week.
Also have a few events coming up:
Yamathon tomorrow (after what will definitely be a BIG night tonight for a mates birthday! So probably do 42k around Tokyo with 30lbs in my backpack very VERY hungover and tired), next weekend I fly to Chicago for one day (22 hours flight round trip, 27 hours boots on the ground) for the release of My Secret Thailand Mission, then a few days in Singapore ("work") in mid June, short Spartan Sprint race in July, massive Spartan BEAST in September, and finally a GORUCK Heavy in October.
So it's a year of bodily physical abuse and stressing mental perseverance...
So...I did this thing. It was crazy hard and fun and involved all kinds of fun craziness, and not a few injuries along the way...but I signed an NDA and can't say anything about it until May 25.
So that's that.
Also golden week staycation in Tokyo BORING AS SIXTH GRADE HEALTH CLASS.