Thursday, April 30, 2009

The functional swim

This week's workouts so far:

Monday: fencing
Tuesday : olympic lifting 10x barbell snatches at 115#: 12x clean and jerk at 135# with some high pulls thrown in
Wednesday: Big 5 with Jeff: getting stronger and holding longer

Today: a new thing- swimming. I found out that my membership at Albany JCC gives me privileges at the Schenectady J, so I went. Did 10x25 yards each in freestyle and breaststroke, for 500 yards total.

I did these as fast as I could manage, sometimes 25 and sometimes 50 yards at a time. Thing is, I don't really know how to swim well so I am probably using a lot more energy than I need to and not activating all the muscles I could. I'll thrash around in the pool for a bit longer and see what I can learn on my own, then maybe get a coaching session somehow.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Yeah? Well it stands for "Superman" too!

I shopped for shirts at LL Bean yesterday to burn a gift card from my parents. I got two great shirts, one linen and one seersucker. And on the tags a letter I hadn't seen before: an "S".


I'm convinced this is not a case of me getting smaller, it's the world getting bigger.

Sure, I'm not a big guy. You can see my weight in the sidebar and it's not much. But I've always been a medium. There are guys smaller than me-- what the heck are they going to wear? I didn't see any "XS" on the racks.

Today's workout for the little man:

Snatches- Olympic bar: 4x95#, 4x115#, 2x120# (w00t! new best)
Flat bench: 150# plus chains. 15 reps over several sets. Last 4 were single reps.
Pullups: 25 reps over several sets, alternating with the bench press. 25# hanging from the belt.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

39th Earth Day Update

I had a fantastic "Big 5" workout with Jeff this morning followed by my annual barbershop shave. Ahhhh. Here's where I am on fitness on this, the first day of my fortieth year on the planet.

I got a new pinch test yesterday and updated the age-based algorithm to account for the extra year. It seems that the older you get the less of your fat is stored at skin level, so 23.5 mm at 38 years old is less bodyfat% than 23.5mm at 39 years old. I'm happy to report that I more than made up for the extra year: caliper measurement was 22.5mm down 1mm, so I am now a mere 7.8% fat. I can't imagine wanting to go much lower than that--which means that if I want to add muscle at this point I have to add total bodyweight. I'm not convinced this is a good idea for my health, so I think I will try to hold where I am.

Some years ago I was diagnosed with stage I hypertension-- 130/90. I went on an agressive cardio plan and didn't change that number by much. Then I lost ten pounds, added muscle, and went to 120/80. At this point I've lost five more pounds, can lift my own weight over my head, and my BP is 110/70.

Here's a quick overview of my typical fitness week these days:

Fencing, about one hour. I tend to fight very aggressively and really try to wear myself out so that this is an explosive workout.
If I can work it in I also like to do a fast strength workout earlier in the day: a deadlift/push/pull routine to 15 reps each on the "huge in a hurry" plan.

If I got in the strength workout Monday, then Tuesday is plyometrics: box jumps, sprints, medicine ball, etc. But if not, then I do the "huge in a hurry" with 3-4 exercises, to 25 reps each. Of course if I do this then I might be in trouble for...

"Big 5" with Jeff. Leg press, machine bench, seated row, machine shoulder, wide pulldown. It takes under ten minutes and it jellifies every muscle.

Functional: boxing, sprints, core strength like floor wipers, inverse crunches, and hanging leg raises.

Strength: olympic lifts. Lately I've been going for 25 total barbel lifts, perhaps 10 snatches and 15 clean-and-jerks. TIme permitting I can finish with dumbell snatches or kettlebell clean-and-press.

I don't usually work out on the weekends, but when I do it's swimming or Olympic lift at the JCC, or kettlebell at home. In summer I may do some downtown running. And of course there's wrestling with the kids every day.

That's what works for me. I am in better shape now than I have ever been. I have confidence that I can maintain this lifestyle and keep myself healthy for a good long time. Many thanks to Jeff, Andy, Theory to Practice, and all the other resources from whom I've learned so much.