Thursday, January 29, 2009

My workout

I wanted to compare my workout and Jeff's , since we did exactly the same workout on Tuesday and maybe both have some effects from it still. I did not exercise yesterday, so I did my sprint-style stuff today (which Jeff hit yesterday), combined with plyo.
  • warmup sprints x3 track laps, some jogs in-between
  • heavy bag: 5x 2 minute rounds. "rest" period in-between, for just as long as I could hold a plank.
  • DB snatches: 25 reps each hand at 50#, each set ~1 minute with ~1 minute rest. Sets: 8(each hand), 7, 5, 5.
Interesting that we both did the DB snatch.

I will be ready to hit weights hard again tomorrow, and have not decided whether to do it 25-rep style or go for a max on some exercises.

I am Fate!

A few friends are now reading the manuscript of Saint Mark's Body. One wrote,

"I don't normally get to confront an author... but you're going to kill the captain, aren't you? He's too wise, too respected... every character like that in a book or a movie always dies."

That's some of the best feedback I've recieved about the book! It means this reader has invested some emotion in that character, and cares enough about him to confront me BEFORE anything even happens to him.

Regarding killing characters, it IS a violent book. It's set in a violent time. I killed off a few characters I really liked, and I let one live who I originally decided would die at a certain point. That thought process was an interesting one. A character needs to live if the story can't go on without him, and he has to die if his death advances the story.

I can't wait to see what this reader says when Buono's fate is revealed... and when some other characters "advance the story" in various ways.

Monday, January 26, 2009

BP back up: WTF???

And this is why we monitor. My blood pressure as measured with my little electronic cuff has jumped up to the 130s over 70s again. This surprises me a lot, since my BP has tracked my weight/fat% very well and at 146 lb / 8.2% I am as light as I've ever been.

There are a few possibilities: of course the measurement could be wrong. I'll verify with my doctor later. I think it's correct, though. If it is, then the top culprits are diet and exercise.

For diet, I may be having too much salt- I eat a lot of nuts these days for the protein. I'll cut that back and see what happens. Also I have not been drinking as much water as I used to after reading about overhydration. Well, maybe I need to actually follow my doctor's advice and drink a lot to control the BP.

Regarding exercise, I will work in some more focused cardio days. I know the EF man isn't supposed to do that, but if it was the paleo days my family line would have died out due to this heart condition anyway... so I'll play the hand I was dealt.

Preparing to launch

You might have noticed in the sidebar that I'm claiming SAINT MARK'S BODY is finished. Well, there is indeed a pre-publication draft out that is going to a few friends, including my high school english teacher. (I've kept in touch with him by designing fights for plays he directs)

Just to make sure no one squats the domain name, I've started a site for the book. Soon it will contain excerpts and news as I begin the slow, treacherous march from writing to publication.

If it works correctly, I THINK you can send me mail there, at .

I particularly liked the part where I got to select a user name for the site.

Friday, January 23, 2009


Wow. Great post on "counting your reps to build muscle" at Testosterone Nation by way of Theory to Practice. I put it into practice today, with 5 exercises.

The idea is, do 25 reps of a weight appropriate for 6 reps to failure. Split up any way you want, putting in rest periods with the idea of getting 25 reps as quickly as possible.
  • Bench press: 24 reps (could not get the last one, no way) in about 13 minutes at bodyweight (145#)
  • T-bar rows: 25 @ 55# in 3 sets. Need more weight.
  • Dips: 25 @ body+25# in 6-7 sets
  • Mil. press: 25 @ 60# in 5-6 sets
  • Cable flys: 25 @ 30# each hand in 4-5 sets

40 minutes total time, and the upper body is wiped. I'll be doing more of these. Jeff came in as I was finishing, and he did 25 reps IN ALTERNATING EXERCISES so as to not waste any time. Ugh!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

In Praise of the Egg Sangwich

That's right, "sangwich". That's the way Grandpa said it, that's the way America says it, and it's worked out pretty well so far.

The egg sangwich. A divine expression of the holy trinity of protein: meat, egg, cheese. But it is not a sangwich without an affront to Paleo man, the bread. I submit that it is a necessary evil. A high protein/fiber english muffin will purge this sin, and more too.

Butter and grill thy muffin. In the same pan, fry an egg... or two. Break the yolks and pepper them with a resolute hand. For meat, any pork product will do: bacon broken in two and maybe woven into a square; ham, sausage deftly split. Stack meat on egg and seal with cheese. Cheddar, or gouda if the bread is dark enough. Lay it atop, when it melts it will hold the meat together in a warm cheddary matrix.

How much do I love the egg sangwich? It is the only egg-based food I do not drown in tabasco. Ketchup is the ideal: lubricant and sealant both.

And now, a haiku.

O, thou egg sangwich!
A ham and egg alchemy:
Ketchup, butter, grease.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Teddy Roosevelt and Batman End the Russo-Japanese War

Everyone in my house was very excited about the presidential inauguration. My 4 year old son particularly wanted to know about all the President's vehicles; my 6 year old daughter dressed up in red white and blue and had me drag the flag out of the closet so we could all pledge allegiance.

Over dinner, my son asked if the President could "see everyone". I explained that no, that's Santa Claus, and if the President did see everyone it would violate of the 4th amendment.

If you were my kid, this is the bedtime story you would have heard last night. I told it on the fly and this is my best stab at remembering what I said.

"Our craziest president ever was named Theodore Roosevelt, but everyone called him Teddy. He was sick and weak as a kid, but he decided to work out and get stronger. He learned to wrestle and took long walks outside. Later, when he was President, he even learned Judo.

When grew up, he became a cowboy. He liked to hunt dangerous animals, too, like lions and tigers and bears. Once he was hunting and his friends tied up a baby bear for him to shoot. Teddy wouldn't do it, and that's why we call little stuffed bears Teddy bears.

"Later he joined the army. His soldiers were on horses, and they had to charge up a big hill where the guys from the other side were. Teddy led them straight up the hill, which probably looked a little silly because he had big round glasses and a bristly mustache and a big floppy hat. Anyway, they won. After that he was governor of... New York! So what city did he live in? That's right, Albany, right down the street.

"He did such a good job that he was Vice President, like Joe Biden. But the President... died, and Teddy had to be President. He got a big prize for making the Russians and the Japanese stop fighting, and he had the Panama Canal dug. The best thing he did was to set aside a lot of land and make laws that no one could cut down the trees or pollute the water. One of those places is where we go camping sometimes.

"He also liked to say 'Bully!' a lot."

My son interrupted. "Daddy, what about Batman?"

"Roosevelt lived years before Batman. They never met."

"Daddy, can't you just pretend?"

..."Well, OK."

Once upon a time, President Roosevelt was doing pushups in the White House when the Batcopter landed on the lawn.

"What is this confounded machinery?" Teddy shouted. "I say, you there! What is the meaning of this, Sir?"

"I'm Batman, Mr. President. I've come from the future to help you."


So Teddy climbed into the Batcopter (edit: technically, this would have made the Batcopter become Marine One) and they flew over the ocean, to Vladivostok. The Russian army was surrounded by the Japanese army, and they wouldn't stop fighting. Sometimes they tried to sit down and talk about it, but someone's chair always blew up. Then they would blame each other and start fighting again.

Teddy sifted through the rubble of destroyed chairs and found something. "See here, what's this, some sort of Faro card?"

"It's a Joker card, Mr. President," Batman said, "That means the Joker must have traveled back in time. He's the one that's keeping this war going. We have to find him."


They heard laughing coming from a cave, so they went to check it out. Batman wanted to be careful, but Teddy rushed right in!

"Tally-ho!", the President cried.

"Hahahaaa!" It was the Joker! "Now I'll capture Theodore Roosevelt! Get him, Henchmen!"

But what the henchmen didn't know was that the President was a Judo expert!

"Unhand me, you rounders! Hi-YAAAAAH!" He threw one, and then the other. He knocked them out!

By the time Batman got there only the Joker was left. Batman shot a batrope at him and tied him up.

"Curses!" the Joker said, "the joke's on me!"

"Bully!" said the President.

Batman stuffed the Joker into the back of the batcopter. The President made the Russians and the Japanese sit down to talk, and they agreed to stop fighting.

Then, out of nowhere, the King of Sweden appeared! He gave Teddy a big gold medal.

"Well done, Mr. President!" the King said, "Congratulations on ending the Russo-Japanese War!"

"Bully! Thank you, your Majesty!" The King put the medal on Teddy and he got into the Batcopter with Batman. They flew back to the White House and landed.

Batman and Teddy shook hands and Batman took the Joker back to Gotham City in a time machine, where he turned him over to Commissioner Gordon and the joker went to jail.

The end.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Sample Speed/ Plyo Workout

Jeff covered our mutual workout today pretty well- so here's mine from yesterday, which I think was a good example of a speed/power workout:

Warmup- track run, 3 laps

Boxing+ "rest" period. 5 rounds at the heavy bag @ 3 minutes. I got to rest between rounds... for as long as I could hold a plank position. By the 4th intermission this was only 30 seconds.

Box Jumps: one minute on, one minute off, two foot box. 3 rounds.

Sprints: sprint lap, walk lap, x3.

If I'd had more time I would have put dumbell snatches or kettlebell cleans into the mix. This workout feels great, works the whole body, doesn't leave you sore, and builds explosive muscle.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

About My New Profile Picture

Doctor Strange is my favorite superhero.

"Order of the Stick" is one of my favorite webcomics.

Emjay once referred to me as a Powerpoint master. I corrected her; "Dear, I am a powerpoint Grandmaster."

As the Immortal Stan Lee would put it, 'nuff said.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

I can touch my toes!

I've been trying not to let the core muscles go too soft whilst rehabbing the back. Today's workout:

Clean and jerk: 55# and 95# ... just to remind myself what the bar feels like
35# kettlebell: descending sets from 8 reps each side: swings,
descending sets from 8 reps each side: clean and press.
descending sets from 5 reps each side: windmills

some incline situps and back extension thingies, then a few minutes of various punishing planks. I did one in a "Jack LaLanne Pushup" position, hands straight out and resting on a BOSU ball. Managed about 20 seconds there. Got 30 seconds on the "Normal Person Puship" position plank, then more inclines. Did 3 minutes unchecked destruction on the heavy bag to close things out.

And at the end, I realized when I reached for the towel I'd dropped - I can touch my toes again!

Friday, January 9, 2009

Oh my aching back!

Long time no post! Well, I got a few workouts in at the JCC over the break.. but hurt myself on one of them. I think I had improper form putting the bar down after a fast clean&jerk set (5x115#) and strained a muscle. It's been getting better slowly, and I've been working around it.

Yesterday's workout would suggest I have no back problem at all... but I am being very careful on form and trying hard to keep the other muscles in shape for best recovery.

kettlebell: 35#
swings, 8 sets descending reps (8,7,6...) each hand
clean& press, 6 sets descending reps
windmills& pistol squats (not many due to back)

dumbell snatches: 4x60# each hand, 2x65# each hand (back only hurts if I bend and do it wrong)

pullups alternating with machine shoulder presses: went alactic, and back and forth between stations. Got up to 5 pullups with 35# on the belt.

Over the holiday break I was not working out so much as usual, so I ate a lot less. I ended up losing a few pounds and am now at 146 (145# right after a workout) I had the fat checked but it is only 8.2%, which is where I was right before Christmas. So I lost muscle and fat in equal proportion... but the good news is I have fewer pounds of fat than ever, and as I ramp back the eating & training I should preferentially build muscle.