Counting Down the Days

Yesterday Jeff and I visited his mother, Brenda, and her husband, Larry. ‘Twas a very nice visit!

Sunday, November 26 | Front Squattin’

I took Luke for a short walk, knowing that Jeff and I would take him for a longer walk later in the day. Whilst Jeff went to Gold’s Gym for a spinning class, I worked out in our gym.

Front Squat
Work up to heaviest set of 5

I set a post-surgery 1RM of 200# this past August, thus I set a goal to complete 5 reps @ 185#, a little more than 90% of 1RM. I knew it was going to be a challenge, and it was! I also know that I do better when I complete sets of 5 (no fewer, no more than) whilst working up to heaviest set, i.e., ensuring that I worked on timing, breathing, pacing, etc.

Every set was a ritual: position hands, step back, stretch back by placing head between shoulders, aggressively approach bar and place bar on shoulders, take small step away from rack, take a deep breath, and squat first rep. No hesitation!

I completed sets of 5 @ 95, 115, 135, 155, 165, 175, & 185#. The last set was a struggle, but I completed successfully. Yup, I recorded and reviewed all lifts.

25 RFT
10 unbroken box jumps

I set a goal to complete in 20 minutes or fewer. I used abacus to keep track of rounds, and I faced North for odd- and South for even-numbered rounds.

Jeff interrupted me the 6th or 7th round, asking “Where are my spinning shoes?” Out of breath I responded, “All of the shoes are on the table. Have you looked?” Ha!

I ensured that both feet landed on box, i.e., no heels extended off box, and that I landed in full squat and then stood to full extension. I truly believe that completing 25 rounds of 10 unbroken reps is more challenging than merely completing 250 reps, as there were many rounds when I wanted to stop at about the 7th or 8th rep.

Time = 18:41

I began to clean the kitchen and was elbow deep in Softscrub when Jeff asked, “Are you cleaning today?” “Uhm,” I replied, “obviously.” “But it’s my last day of vacation. You can clean tomorrow,” he said. Translation: “Spend time with me today.” So that’s what I did.

Monday, November 27 | Push Pressin’

I took Luke for a 90-minute walk in West Asheville and then worked out. I left the hallway door to the garage open but Luke and Zac only joined me for a short amount of time. Luke did, however, join me for the conditioning.

Push press
5 reps every 3 minutes, working up to heaviest set

My 5RM was 130, so I set a goal for 135#. I worked wisely today, paying attention to how I felt, as I wanted to be warmed up enough for last set but didn’t want to be too tired to complete.

I began @ 65# and added 10# each set, completing 5 reps @ 75, 85, 95, 105, 115, & 125. I briefly contemplated lifting 130 and then attempting 135 but I thought, “Reps at 125 felt good. Just go for it.” And that’s what I did, completing last set of 5 reps @ 135#. Yay!

Yup, I recorded and reviewed all sets.

10-0-8…3-2-1 pull-ups
20-18-16…6-4-2 unbroken double unders

Fast and furious, like Taco Bell.

Time = 6:06

Tuesday, November 28 | Power Snatchin’

Luke and I began our day with a 90-minute walk around the neighborhood. I sound like a broken record, I know.

I left the doorway to the gym open but no one joined me. Bad kitties!

Every 35 seconds for 42 rounds, for accumulated time
Odd-# rounds:
Muscle snatch + back squat + behind the neck push press, 65#
3 wall ball shots, 20# & 10″
Even-# rounds:
Muscle snatch + back squat + behind the neck push press, 65#
1 strict handstand pushup

Even though I only had to recall if I was doing WBS or HSPU, on two instances I did WBS, well, after doing WBS. I made up for it by doing two consecutive rounds of HSPU.

Slowest WBS rounds were 18 and fastest was 15. Slowest HSPU rounds were 14 and fastest was 12.

Times: WBS 6:19, HSPU 5:01; accumulated 11:20.

Sure felt like more than 11:20 or work.

BTW, after completing behind the neck Paul Potorti I always brought barbell to shoulder, mid-thigh, and then floor, i.e., the bar was never dropped.

That’s 21 HSPU, 42 muscle snatch  +back squat + behind the neck push press, and 63 wall ball shots.

Wednesday, November 29 | Ladder Time

Luke and I walked trails at the Biltmore today, something we haven’t done in a while. And we didn’t see anyone else on the trails. Yay!

I spent most of the morning grading speeches and preparing for the end of the semester, and didn’t begin working out until around noon. That’s unusual for me. Luke joined me and spent most of the time basking in the sun and rolling in the dirt. Yup, he got a bath afterwards.

Bodyweight unbroken deadlift ladder

I weigh 147 so I rounded up to 150#. My goal was 21 rounds and I didn’t achieve this goal.  Workout ended when any round could not be completed without dropping the bar.

I made it through the round of 19 and whilst attempting round of 20 the following self-talk took place: Shit is getting heavy. Breathe every rep. But you might pass out! Pause at the top to give your legs a rest. But my grip strength will give? No it won’t. You’re only on rep 6. Shit, there are many reps to go, and I don’t think I’ll be able to hold onto…

And I dropped the bar without making a conscious decision to do so. Ha!

Score = 19 rounds (190 reps, 197 total)

‘Twas odd that I completed 19+7 rounds and that added up to 197 reps. But then again, I’m not good at math.

That’s 2,950 lbs, just under 1.5 tons that I moved. So there’s that.


Much To Be Thankful For

Tuesday, November 21 | Press, press, press, press, & press

Luke and I went for a brisk 5-mile walk around the neighborhood, with some running thrown in for good measure. Luke really loves the colder temperatures!

I made French baguettes last night and made French toast this morning. OMFG, so good!

Luke joined me for most of today’s workout. He’s good about letting me know when he’s ready to go inside. How? He goes to the front door and barks. Ha! I then have to “remind” him that I can let him inside through the garage. Good dog!

Every 3 minutes
5 presses, working up to heaviest set
Complete 10 Abmat sit-ups each round

I began @ 75# and added 5# each round, with the last successful set @ 120# — a 10# PR! I was quite exhausted, you know, after having completed 50 presses (and 100 sit-ups), and only managed to press 125# two times. And that’s okay, because I hadn’t programmed anything other than 5RM.

1, 2, 3, 4, 5 power cleans, 120#
5 bent over rows
1, 2, 3, 4, 5 handstand pushups

In other words, PCs and HSPUs increased by one rep but BORs were always 5 reps each round. Thus, 15 PCs, 15 HSPUs, and 25 BORs.

‘Twas tough. All rounds in unbroken reps, as it should be.

Time = 3:57

Tabata double unders
Score = total reps

I set a goal to complete 200 reps. I surpassed goal, with 3 rounds of unbroken reps and total of 237 double unders. That’s an average of about 29 reps a round.

Wednesday, November 22 | Workin’ on my weaknesses

I took Luke for a short walk this morning, and he was none-too-happy. I worked out and then met Tara and her daughter for a longer walk. Luke was then much happier!

Overhead squat

Yup, I’m working on OHS at least one day a week. I recorded all sets/reps and reviewed before completing next set/reps. I wanted to ensure depth of squat, which is always more challenging with overhead than with back or front squats.

Both grip and stance were wide, and that’s okay.

Ten @ 65, 8 @ 70, 6 @ 75, 4 @ 80, 2 @ 85, and singles @ 90, 95, & 100#, 5# heavier than last week. I did complete last rep twice, as depth of first rep was questionable. Depth of next rep left nothing to question. Yay!

10-10-8-8-6-6-4-4-2-2 hang power snatches, 65#
30-second plank hold after each round

What a shoulder workout! Thirty seconds of plank hold was both a welcome rest and a miserable experience.

Time = 9:04

I made a pumpkin pie and even made crust from scratch. I also made a loaf of bread as well as a bread twist. What have I become?

Thursday, November 23 | Heavy then Fast

After a short walk around the neighborhood with Jeff and Luke, I got in a quick workout before delving into cooking my first every Thanksgiving dinner. Can you believe it? Other than the lima beans and cranberry sauce, I prepared everything else: turkey, stuffing (including bread from scratch), mashed sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, and gravy. Oh, and pumpkin pie with homemade whipped cream! OMFG, so good.

Anyhow, back to the workout.

Complete 23 reps of the following lifts @ 75% of 1RM 
Complete 23 twisting burpees at the end of each set

A: Bench press, 135#
B. Back squat, 175#
C. Deadlift, 275#

‘Twas meant to feel heavy and, well, it did. I began BP and BS with 5 and deadlift with 8 (if memory serves). Deadlifts were from floor to floor, i.e., no dropped reps.

This was quite exhausting, as I was already out of breath before beginning burpees. I also ensured that burpees were unbroken. Yup, no resting.

A: 4:15
B: 4:50
C: 3:50

The times make sense, as there was more range of motion with BS than with BP and DL. DL uses the largest muscles, and is one of my strongest lifts, so it also makes sense that I’d be able to complete DL the fastest.

Friday, November 24 | Skills & Strength

I took Luke for a short walk, made hearty breakfast, graded speeches, and then Jeff and I took Luke for a longer walk. I worked out as Jeff was ran errands.

Every other minute until failure
Hang pull + hang power clean & then push presses
Record time each round

Round | Weight | Reps | Time
1 | 65 | 10 | 42
2 | 70 | 10 | 41
3 | 75 | 10 | 42
4 | 80 | 10 | 45
5 | 85 | 8 | 35
6 | 90 | 6 | 27
7 | 95 | 4 | 10
8 | 100 | 2 | 8
9 | 105 | 2 | 8
10 | 110 | 2 | 8
11 | 115 | 2 | 9
12 | 120 | 2 | 9
13 | 125 | 2 | 9
14 | 130 | 2 | 9
15 | 135 | 2 | 9
16 | 140 | 2 | 10
17 | 145 | 2 | 11
18 | 150 | 2 | failed push press

In other words, the first round consisted of 10 reps of hang pull, hang power clean, hang pull, & hang power clean followed by 10 push presses.

Uhm, my goal was 135#, so I was delighted with results. I’m feeling strong! The focus on technique is paying off.

Accumulated time = 5:32 (not counting last hang pulls & hang power cleans

10 RFT
50m shuttle sprint (25m up & back) + 5 KB swings, 53#
50m shuttle sprint + 5 triceps pushups on KB 
50m shuttle sprint + 5 Abmat sit-ups

I worked consistently, focusing on smooth transitions. For example, after tricep pushups I moved KB and position Abmat and after sit-ups I moved Abmat and positioned KB. I wanted to ensure that I didn’t rest after shuttle sprints.

Oh, Jeff moved my car just before I began today’s workout. I asked him to allow Luke to get into the car so that he wouldn’t get too excited and try to follow him. Jeff did so, and Luke remained in the backseat, with both driver’s side doors open wide. Ha!

Time = 16:43






… and then consistency.

Friday, November 17 | Form, consistency…

Luke and I walked E on 5th Ave., N on Michigan, W on Haywood, South on State, N on Hanover, E on Indiana, S on Michigan, and W on 5th Ave. Yup, a counterclockwise route.

Every 30 seconds for 30 minutes (60 rounds) for accumulated work time
Burpee, deadlift (185#), DB (30#) alternating arm hang power cleans, strict toes to bar

I thought this was going to be easier than it turned out to be.

As a former coach I would often emphasize to athletes that they first focus on form. Once the form is correct it’s important to execute good form with consistency. Finally, perform the movement with intensity, e.g., faster, heavier, etc. That’s what I did today.

The time for the first round (and quite a few additional rounds) was 18 seconds, and I even had a round that took me 19 seconds. The last round was my fastest, clocking in at just 10 seconds.

Round 14 took me 17 seconds, as did rounds 15 though 22. Rounds 23 through 31 took me 16 seconds to complete, rounds 32 through 34 15 seconds, rounds 35 through 45 14 seconds, rounds 46 through 52 13 seconds, rounds 53 through 55 12 seconds, and rounds 46 through 49 11 seconds.

I worked on faster transitions, often jumping over the bar to quickly begin HPC. I also concerned myself less with proper hand placement on the barbell for deadlifts. As the weight wasn’t the heavy, it didn’t matter much if hands were or were not evenly spaced.

By round 50 I seriously wanted to quit, as even though there was slightly more rest time between rounds I was getting winded by performing the activities faster. Duh.

Time = 15:14

That was a good workout!

Saturday, November 18 | ACDF Anniversary

I had ACDF surgery a year ago today! It seems like a lifetime ago. And to think, this time last year I knew that for the next 3 months that I’d only be able to walk as the only type of exercise I was allowed to complete. I can’t believe how patient I was. Ha!

Luke and I went for an awesome walk this morning. He was full of energy, and I’d estimate that we ran 1.5 miles or so of our 5-mile hike on the Mountains to Sea Trail in Pisgah National Forest. We didn’t see another soul! Yay!

I really didn’t feel like working out today, and had to talk myself into doing so. It wasn’t that I was tired or sore, I just didn’t feel like working out. This is quite unusual for me.

Uhm, I’m glad that I did indeed work out.

Every other minute
1 rep, beginning @ 65# and adding 10# until PR of 165; then add 5# until failure
3 attempts at any weight allowed, but 2 minutes rest required

I’ve been experimenting with programming, and have been quite successful.

The weight didn’t even begin to feel heavy until at about 125#. I failed @ 165#, and had to talk myself into not quitting. I rested the required 2 minutes—and failed again. I was exasperated! I nonetheless rested 2 minutes and tried again, this time successfully.

I put 5 more pounds on the barbell, and the clean at 170# felt easier than the previous rep. Huh? I even said to myself, albeit out loud, “What the fuck?” Okay, a PR. I put 5 more pounds on the barbell, and the clean at 175# was successful. I was shocked! I put 5 more pounds on the barbell and completed a clean @ 180# on my very first attempt. That’s an all-time PR! I unsuccessfully attempted 185# three times. And that’s okay!

I’ll turn 54 in less than a month and I’m hitting PRs. In my humble opinion, a few things account for this:

  • I’ve demonstrated patience whilst recovering from surgery.
  • I work out for as long as I’d like, and am not the least bit concerned with time; thus, I take as much or as little time as I need to warm up, I rest as needed, and I complete as many activities as I’d like to program.
  • I’m truly focusing my programming on me, as I don’t have to be concerned with how others may like or dislike strength cycle, metcon, etc.
  • I record all lifts, and review each and every lift before attempting next lift.
  • As I work out alone, I don’t feel the least bit competitive. No one is watching me and attempting to beat my score or lift a heavier weight, etc. (Few things piss my off more than being watched by other athletes as I work out.) This isn’t to say that I’m not competitive with myself.
  • Luke.

11 hang power clean & jerks @ 65# and AFAP
Strict, negative HSPU
End with no longer able to complete HSPU (1 attempt per height allowed)

I completed 8 rounds, and times for HPC&J were 27, 25, 24, 23, 23, 23, 23, 22, & 22 seconds. HSPUs were 1, 2.5, 4, 2.5, 7, & 9.5″, and I failed at 11″. As kipping HSPU height is 11.5″, I’m happy!

6-min AMRAP
Wall ball shots, 20″ & 10′

It’s a running joke that Luke often positions himself in front of wall ball station, and today was no exception. Ha! He’s an intuitive dog, for just before I was to begin the conditioning he asked to go inside to keep an eye on the bad kitties.

My goal was 100 reps and I managed to hit that damned target 104 times. I also nearly died.

Monday, November 20 | Sumo, yo!

‘Twas a very cold start to the day, with the temperature a mere 32º. I got to wear my new Cole Hann orange puffy, AKA, “Kenny,” coat!

I made dinner rolls from scratch last night, the first time I’ve ever attempted to do so. I couldn’t stop thinking about the wonderful deliciousness that I would be enjoying once I arrived home. I smothered rolls in Paleo nutbutter and raspberry jam. OMFG!

Luke joined me for today’s workout, insisting that the garage door remain open. What Luke wants, Luke gets. Because he’s a good boy.

Sumo Deadlift
10, 9, 8, 7, 6, 5, 4, 3, 2, & 1
Then establish 1RM; 3 attempts at any weight
Complete 10 53# Russian KB swings after each round, including failed attempts

I haven’t included SDL in strength cycle in quite a long time, so I set a moderate goal of a single @ 95% of DL 1RM of 360, i.e., 342. I rounded up to 345.

As I’ve stated numerous time, lifting is as much psychological as it is physical.

10 @ 185
9 @ 205
8 @ 225
7 @ 245
6 @ 265
5 @ 275
4 @ 300
3 @ 310
2 @ 315
1 @ 320
1 @ 330
Fail @ 340
1 @ 340*
Fail @ 345
1 @ 345
3 failed attempts @ 350

* I passively approached the bar, thinking that the previous failed attempt at 340 was going to result in another failed attempt at this weight. I positioned my feet and hands, and then, well, putzed around. I thought, “With this approach you’re certainly not going to be able to lift the bar. Reset and start over. And that’s what I did, aggressively approaching the bar, positioning feet and hands, taking a deep breath, and successfully deadlifting the weight. Grip it and rip it. Yay!

I forgot to do a round of 10 KB swings after very last round of failed attempt @ 350, thus 170 KB swings total.

11-min AMRAP
3 burpees
6 lateral bar hops, with 6th including 180º turn
3 burpees
6 no-rebound 24″ box jumps

Combining lateral bar hops with box jumps can wreak havoc on Achilles, so I made sure to program no-rebound box jumps.

My goal was to complete a round a minute. I picked up the pace the last 3 minutes and managed to complete exactly 12 rounds; 72 burpees, LBHs, and box jumps.

Has Become a Part of Me

Monday, November 13 | Always Someone There To Remind Me

You will always be my love.

Yup, still listening to GM 24/7. Yup, “Jesus to a Child” still brings me to tears. Yup, “Cowboys and Angels” as well.

As Jeff is home (on a Monday!) I “allowed” him to feed the bad kitties first breakfast and I slept until 7:30. Luke and I then went for a 90-minute hike a the Arboretum. Luke spent most of the time in the office with Jeff. He did, however, join me for the last few minutes of the metcon.

Bench Press
5×10 working up to heaviest set
1 attempt at 2RM

As my 10RM was 135 I set a goal to press 10 @ 140. After warming up, I completed sets @ 80, 95, 120, 130, & 140#, a new PR by 5#. I’m finally getting more comfortable with the bench press, and I’m certainly getting stronger.

The very last rep was a struggle, but a successful lift nonetheless. I was wise to not go any heavier than 140.

My 2RM was 166. As I was feeling strong, I put 170# on the bar. Uhm, 170 was my 1RM as recently as August. Ha!

I had just taken the barbell off the rack when I saw the hallway door open at the top of the stairs. I was startled, so I quickly racked the barbell. ‘Twas Jeff. His timing couldn’t have been more perfect, as I asked him to spot and he graciously agreed to do so.

Two lifts at 170 felt easy. Yes, I could’ve possibly gone heavier and, if I altered my own programming, I could’ve attempted another set of 2 at a heavier weight. Oh, that’s a 4# PR.

1, 2, 3…8, 9, 10
Burpees with turn
Strict ring dips

Burpees weren’t twisting, I would merely turn and face the opposite direction for next rep. I always began first rep facing West, thus I wasn’t always facing the ring dip station at the end of a round of burpees.

I managed to make it through round 7 with unbroken ring dips.

Time = 7:45


Tuesday, November 14 | Mr. Elton John!

Why didn’t GM refer to him as Sir Elton John? The very bad kitties had me wide awake before 6 am, and Luke and I began our 90-minute walk around the neighborhood at 7. We’re still exploring new streets and seeing new homes.

Power snatch
Work up to heaviest set of 10 TNG

I’ve settled on the best grip: just inside inner ring. Yup, significantly closer to knurling. I completed sets of 10 @ 75, 80, 80 (more in a moment), 85, 91, & 95. As 10RM was 90, I’m pleased. Why 2 sets @ 80? Because I recorded face on instead of from the side and discovered that I wasn’t locking my right elbow, even though I most certainly can do so without any pain. I ensured that I did so for all remaining reps.

I completed sets of 3 @ 100 & 105 and set of 2 @ 110. My form started to go to shit as I was getting tired, so I called it a day.

50 RFT
10 unbroken & unassisted air squats

I started the clock and Luke immediately stood in

This was physically, psychologically, and emotionally challenging. Emotionally? Yes, as it was a struggle not to cry. Five hundred air squats in no joke. For the first 40 rounds I began a set of 100 facing North but began the last set of 100 facing South. Why? So I could see the clock at the finish.

Time = 17:57

That’s 500 freaking air squats. I may not be able to walk tomorrow.

Thursday, November 15 | Kenny

I rested yesterday. Luke & I did, of course, go for a nice long walk at the Biltmore. I’m loving that I can still wear shorts! Luke & I began today with a 5-mile walk around the neighborhood, including visits to Carrier and French Broad Parks. Another pleasant morning. Yay!

As Jeff is out of town, Luke joined me for my workout.

Every other minute on the minute
1 press + 3 back squats

Begin @ 65# & increase weight by 5# until failure; 3 attempts at any weight permitted

Unusual combination, I know. Uhm, 500 air squats performed Tuesday left me with sore quads today; thus, the purpose of the back squats was recovery. And it worked!

I tried a wider grip for presses and was pleased with the results. Wider for presses, narrower for snatches. Well, okay then.

I also brought the bar behind my neck before beginning back squats for sets through 130#. At that weight I didn’t want to risk injuring my neck.

I neglected to look up my press 1RM, but I recalled that it was either 137 or 138#. (‘Twas 137#). Regardless, I determined that I wouldn’t use incremental plates; thus 1RM attempt would be at 140#.

With 10 seconds remaining I’d approach the bar and place my hands. With 5 seconds remaining I’d step back and push my head through my shoulders. At the sound of the clock I’d approach the bar, set it on my shoulders, take a very small step back, take a very deep breath, squeeze my butt and lock my knees, and press. I was excited when I successfully pressed 140#, as I knew it was a PR. I nonetheless added 5#—and pressed 145#, just 3# less than bodyweight, a 7# PR, and an all-time PR.

That’s 19 presses and 57 back squats.

Tabata pull-ups
Score = total reps

Always complement pushing with pulling. I can’t wait until the pull-up bar is installed! Yes, I’ve gotten used to wide yoke, but I’m certain I can complete more reps when using thinner bar.

Score = 56

20-min AMRAP
10m shuttle sprints

Luke enjoyed lounging outside whilst I ran. Not much to say other than I always turned right for odd- and left for even-numbered rounds, a round being from garage door to car and back, i.e., 20m.

Score = 3,020m

That’s just under 2 miles. Certainly not fast, but the turns slowed me down!

I’ve been enjoying playing holiday tunes, and have even posted a few on my Facebook page. I know, right? Luke, Meg, & Zac truly enjoy listening whilst I play.


What a Difference a Year Makes

The Democratic Party turned the tides last night. Yay! Good does win out over evil.

Wednesday, November 8 | What a Picture

The kitties had me awake at 5:56 of the clock. And I was then wide awake, of course. I had a cup of coffee and Luke and I then headed to Pisgah. ‘Twas a foggy morning and the fog turned into rain. And Luke and I didn’t mind in the least! For whatever reason, he was very frisky this morning, and he may have smell the scent of deer. There were quite a few times when I had to say, “Stay in my sight, Luke!” He would always stop and wait for me. He’s a very good listener. We didn’t see a single soul during our 5-mile hike, and that’s always a good way to start the day. Oh, and we often ran and even raced! Best. Dog. Ever!

This is one of my favorite pictures…


I had a call with a potential client and then graded persuasive speech outlines. I didn’t begin my workout until close to 2, and that’s very unusual. As it had gotten kind of chilly, I kept the garage door closed until I did the metcon. That meant that the kitties joined me for part of the workout!

Hang muscle clean + push press*
Weighted ring dip
*Beginning at 95# and increasing weight by 10# each round, complete 1 rep every 5 seconds beginning with 1-minute round and decreasing by 10 seconds subsequent rounds 

In other words, 12 rounds (again, every 5 seconds) @ 95, 10 @ 105, 8 @ 115, 6 @ 125, and 4 @ 135#. I didn’t make it to 155#, and I certainly didn’t expect to. I began to hang power clean third rep @ 135 so I called it quits. I was nonetheless pleased that I was able to hang muscle clean 135# two times!

I just purchased a belt so of course I felt compelled to use it. After failing hang muscle cleans I continued with weighted ring dip, working up to a single @ 115# (that’s a 5# PR) and failing @ 118#. I truly think failure had more to do with muscle fatigue than strength. Nonetheless, that’s an all-time PR!

One of the things I like most about working out solo is that I never have to worry about the clock. I work out for as long or as little as I like.

15-min AMRAP
10 medicine ball triceps pushups + jump to ball (with hands remaining on ball)
15 medicine ball Abmat sit-ups
2 strict HSPUs

I needed a workout that lasted longer than 10 minutes. This is the first time that I can recall ever completing HSPUs without using plates and an Abmat, i.e., I only had a towel on the floor. It worked out just fine, as I never wanted or needed to rest my head on floor like I often do when kipping.

At the halfway mark I had completed 4 so I set a goal to complete 8 rounds. I had 30 seconds to complete just 2 HSPUs, but failed the second rep. I tried again. And failed again. Ha!

Score = 7 rounds + 26 reps

Luke got all up in my business a couple of times during the workout, which is quite unusual, unexpected, and appreciated. I like stopping briefly to love on him.

Thursday, November 9 | Jesus to a Child

I watched the George Michael documentary on Showtime last night, and I’ve been an emotional wreck ever since. Wow. Just, wow. I’ll never be able to listen to Jesus to a Child again without thinking of the emotional turmoil GM went through. Perhaps his death resonates with me so much because we were born the same year. A talented artist gone well before his time.

I took Luke for a walk down Haywood, over the bridge into the River Arts District, past CrossFit Pisgah, and then by New Belgium and home. ‘Twas another foggy morning and another enjoyable walk.

Whilst passing by CFP I briefly had the urge to once again join a box. The urge lasted perhaps 1.5 seconds. Ha!

This is the fifth day in a row that I’ve worked out. I had planned on resting today but felt compelled to work out, and I’m glad that I did so.

10 RFT
35 double unders
10 53# Russian KB swings
10 45# sandbag air squats

I made two blunders today. First, the floor mats ran E to W and I completed dus facing N or S. Why does this matter? Because the rope kept getting caught on the seams. Dammit. The second mistake I made was failing to double tie my shoes. Dammit, dammit. Yup, I had to pause during a round of dus.

Time = 17:49

Bent over rows
Establish 5RM
Establish 1RM

Whaaaat? Strength after conditioning? Why, yes, I don’t mind if I do! I certainly felt adequately warmed up.

I completed sets of 5 @ 115, 135, 155, 165, 170, 175, 180, & 185#, the goal I had set. I could’ve gone heavier but as this is a baseline, well, I’ll leave it at that.

I completed singles @ 195, 205, 210, 215, 220, 225 (my goal), & dentist appointment. BORs felt great today, and was very pleased with performance. Yup, I recorded to ensure proper form and execution, and I also ensured that the barbell touched my chest each and every rep. Each. And every. Rep.

Saturday, November 11 | You Were Loved

Still listening to George Michael 24/7.

‘Twas a very chilly start to the day, so Luke and I bundled up and went for a 5K walk around the neighborhood, continuing to explore new streets. I then headed to the garage/gym and was briefly joined by both Luke and Zac. They both decided ’twas too cold in the garage and left me all alone.

30# 1-armed dumbbell thrusters (per arm)
3″ negative pushups

Yup, so truly 42, 30, and 18 thrusters. I always began with right arm. There was nothing about the workout that was easy, and I only completed the last round of 9 thrusters in unbroken reps. Oh, did I mention that I purchased a set of plate DBs?

Time = 6:41

10 rounds of 10 unbroken hang power cleans
1RM weighted kipping pull-up then 1RM strict pull-up

I completed HPCs @ 65, 75, 80, 85, 90, 95, 100, 105, 110, & 115#, ensuring that I recorded and reviewed every round. Extension, yes. Jumping, no.

I completed weighted kipping pull-up at 61.25 and mere 1.25# PR, and strict weighted pull-up @45, failing at 50#.

1 attempt at max rep unbroken double unders

I warmed up by completing 10 rounds of 25 unbroken reps.

Score = 115

Yup, that’s a PR!

Sunday, November 12 | Lucky 13

Jeff and I took Luke for a 3.5-mile walk at the Biltmore. ‘Twas a somewhat cold morning, so I wore hat, hoodie sweat shirt, gloves…and shorts. Yes, I work shoes and socks.

My doctor contacted me and proposed that we wait a year and take cholesterol test again since my good cholesterol is high and triglycerides are low. I concur. I don’t want to take any medications. Sayeth Jeff: If your doctor prescribes a statin, you’re going to take the statin, even if I have to crush it and put it in your food.

Jeff and I went to breakfast at Happy Jack’s, and I didn’t start working out until about 11.

1-2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10 deadlifts, 225#
2-3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11 windshield wipers
3-4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12 wall wall shots, 20# & 10′
4-5-6-7-8-9-10-11-12-13 lateral bar hops

My goal was to complete all activities in unbroken reps, but I unfortunately lost focus and missed the target for the last wall ball shot of the 7th round. Dammit. Even though I knew that I hadn’t achieve goal, I nonetheless continued to complete rounds in unbroken reps. I really struggled with last round of 10 deadlifts. Shit got heavy, yo.

That’s 55 deadlifts, 65 windshield wipers, 75 wall ball shots, and 85 lateral bar hops.

I haven’t felt his gassed during a workout in quite a while. ‘Twas a great workout!

Time = 13:18

I created a Word document (with a table and bulleted list) and “fixed” (ungrouped Smartart) for Jeff. I’m nice to have around.

Yup, still listening to George Michael, and his songs are included in my dreams. Last night? Cowboys and Angels.


T & P

Sunday, November 5 | Daylight SAVING Time

Yup, the kitties made sure that I was awake at 5:59. As I knew Luke and I would be going for a hike later in the day I took him for a short walk around the neighborhood. He then joined me in the gym as I worked out.

5 strict knees to elbows + strict toes to bar (2 movements = 1 rep)
5/leg overhead (25#) walking lunges
10 Abmat sit-ups

Time = 9:36

Deceptively challenging, and my abs were on fire by the end of the workout. I was only able to complete the first 2 rounds of K2E and T2B in unbroken reps, and completed the remaining 3 rounds in reps of 3 & 2.

10 RFT
25 unbroken and unassisted air squats

Time = 7:27

Unassisted means that I kept my hands clasped and in front of my chin, i.e., I didn’t use arms to help propel me through air squats. I wisely wore weightlifting shoes to keep me grounded. This workout was as much mental as physical, as a round wouldn’t count if I didn’t complete 25 unbroken reps. In addition, I made sure that I worked at a steady pace and that I didn’t slow down during any round.

This was also an exercise in disassociation. For example, I’d count “One, two, three, four, five, 20 reps left, six, seven, eight, nine, 10, just 15 reps…”

I also, of course, ensured that I squatted below parallel and stood to full extension.

Luke and I did join Brian and Danielle for a very enjoyable walk in DuPont State Park. The foliage is stunning! We also enjoyed brunch.

I’ve come to realize that Luke off leash is better behaved than the mast majority of dogs on leash. And I don’t blame the dogs.

Yet another mass shooting. As the gunman is white, he’s not a terrorist. And, of course, there’s nothing that can be done. The second amendment is more important than human life, right? Right? This shit is getting old. AND, anyone who, you know, perpetrates a mass shooting has a mental illness. BUT, let’s not offer health care that also includes treatment for mental illness. Because guns.

Monday, November 6 | We Don’t Need Your Thoughts & Prayers

The bad kitties had we awake at 5 of the clock. You read that right. As once I’m awake I’m  wide awake, I got my ass out of bed, fed Meg and Zac, read a few chapters of The Stone Sky, and then took Luke for a 5K walk around the neighborhood. I began my workout before 8!

As faithful readers know, I don’t follow any programming per se, e.g., Wendler, Outlaw, but instead make it up as I go along. I knew I was going to do push presses today, but hadn’t yet decided the rep scheme. I’ve been successful with starting with many reps at lighter weight and then working up to triples, doubles, or singles. I’ve also been successful with using the clock to ensure rest.

Push Press
Complete 1 rep every 90 seconds, beginning @ 95# and increasing weight 5# each round; then establish 1RM

My 1RM was 160, so I set a goal to push press 161#. Because overhead shit is heavy. I completed 12 reps, i.e., 95 to 155, and then put 161# on the barbell. The lift was a struggle, but ’twas successful. Yes, I recorded. I thought, “Just put 165 on the barbell and see what happens. You have a PR, so anything else is icing on the cake.”

Uhm, and 165 was easier than 161! And a 5# PR! I called it a day, and didn’t attempt anything heavier. Because I’m smart like that.

10 RFT
5 strict ring rows with pause at bottom
5 hang power snatches, 70#

Time = 8:03

Luke didn’t join me for today’s workout, as Jeff is home for the morning and Luke, well, wanted to spend time with him. And that’s okay. (But I did miss having him nearby.)

Tuesday, November 7 | Cholesterol

It was raining Zac & Megs & Lukes this morning, so Luke and I went for a short, brief, moist walk. He pooped, so there’s that. My annual physical wasn’t until 9:40, so I had plenty of time to work out. I couldn’t, however, eat before or after, as I had to fast for blood test.

Overhead Squats

Notice that no rep scheme was programmed. I haven’t focused on squats in a year, i.e., since surgery last November. I took the barbell from the rack. I focused on positioning hands a little bit farther away from collars. Squatting has felt fine, as has power snatching, so I knew it was time to once again attempt OHS. I went light today, completing sets of 5 @ 45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, & 75 followed by set of 4 @ 80 & 85, 3 @ 90, & single @ 95#. I recorded all sets, as I’m always concerned that I’m not squatting below parallel. There was no doubt that I did so today. This is 45# less than PR—yet I’m delighted with performance! Yup, I’m going to be adding OHS into programming.

100 unbroken box jumps with 180° twist jump over

Time = 6:29

This was quite challenging, as I wasn’t allowed to rest. This doesn’t mean that I had to work at a blazingly fast pace, merely that I couldn’t rest for more than a moment at full extension (top of box) and I had to jump as soon as feet touched the ground.

Why box jumps? Uhm, because my quads were still a wee bit sore from Sunday’s workout. No better way to recover than to work out the soreness.

I get easily confused when it comes to anything evenly remotely related to math. As I began jump overs I consistently twisted toward the East wall of the garage so as to not always be twisting right or left. About 25 reps into the workout I thought, “Am I turning left or right each time?” So I began to mix things up, sometimes twisting East and other times twisting West. I didn’t get dizzy, so there’s that.

I have a relatively clean bill of health.

Weight: 148 (Yup, I’ve gained 5# since the move to Asheville, and I don’t give a shit although I shit quite regularly.)
Height: 5’5.5″ (WTF? I’ve shrunk a half inch since the move!)
Pusle: 74 (Keep in mind that I had been awake for about 5 hours and had exercised.)
P. Oxygen: 93% (I have no idea what this means.)
BP: 104/68
Body Surface Area: 1.75m² (Huh?)
Body Mass Index: 24.34 kg/m² (Bordering on obese. Ha! That’s your laugh for today.)

Now the somewhat concerning news…

I asked for a professional’s opinion. Since he wasn’t available, I asked Jaclyn. Here’s our exchange:

Coulda, shoulda, and did!

Wednesday, November 1 | Keep It Simple

What a beautiful day in Asheville! Luke and I began our day with a 5-mile hike and run (yes, run!) at Pisgah National Forest. As previously mentioned, Luke obviously likes the cooler weather, and there were quite a few times today when he didn’t gallop, he ran as fast as he could! He did, of course, always keep me within his sight. Many of the leaves have fallen from the trees, which means that I know have better views of mountain ranges. Always look for the positive, folks.

How tired was Luke when we got home? He asked to be let inside and I suspected that he wanted to spend time with Jeff. Nope, he wanted to go upstairs and go to sleep. Ha!

10 @ 55% of 1RM, 200#
8 @ 60, 215
6 @ 65, 235
5 @ 70, 250
4 @ 75, 275
3 @ 80, 290
2 @ 85, 305
2 @ 90, 325
2 @ 95, 342 (a 2RM PR)

I wasn’t looking forward to deadlifting today. Uhm, but deadlifts went very well. Just prior to attempt 2RM @ 342 I thought, “If the second lift feels good, go for three rep max.”

And that’s what I did! For the books my 3RM is greater than my 2RM. Ha!

Not including warming up, that’s 42 heavy reps.

And the barbell was never dropped from the top. Like, ever.

114 box jumps
— 2-footed take off with 2-footed full squat landing, including elbows inside knees
— both feet on box, i.e., no heels extending off box
— full extension at top of jump (duh)

— no rebounds

Box jumps are much more difficult with these requirements, and reps take more time. Proper form and execution above all else.

Time = 6:18

Thursday, November 2 | Push and Pull

Jeff surprised me be offering to go for a walk with Luke and me this morning. We all went for a 2-mile walk, and then got tacos as TacoBilly and donuts at Hole. Delicious!

I had mentioned to Jeff that I should probably rest today, but that as my workout were going so well and I wasn’t the least bit sore that I didn’t see any harm in doing so.

10 @ 55% of 1RM, 75#
8 @ 60, 82
6 @ 65, 89
5 @ 70, 96
4 @ 75, 109
3 @ 80, 110
2 @ 85, 116
2 @ 90, 123
2 @ 95, 130

Attempt 2RM and 1RM

Presses felt great today! After successfully pressing 2 @ 130, I put 2 more pounds on the bar and successfully lifted 132, a 1# PR. Again, with anything overhead I’m happy with incremental gains.

I then successfully pressed 137, a 1# PR. I thought, I’m still feeling strong, so why not at least attempt 3 rep max. I successfully pressed 3 reps @ 125, a 4# PR. Yay!

Whenever you push, you should also pull.

Weighted Pull-up
Establish 1RM

I completed easy reps @ 20, 30, & 40#. Reps got would difficult @ 45, 50, 55, & 60, so I completed last rep @61#. That’s 9# shy of all time PR, but as I’m working up post-surgery I’m pleased.

I added plates to weight belt to achieve 61#, and I know I’d be able to heavier with a belt designed just for that purpose. I shall purchase one soon!

21 reps
1 | hands on 45# plate
2 | jump feet to plank
3 | complete chest to plate pushup
4 | move hand to l or r of plate and complete pushup
5 | alternate to other hand
6 | jump to plate
7 | press plate overhead (no push press allowed)
8 | jump over plate (facing away from HS station)
9  | turn around and jump plate (toward HS station)
10 | complete 3+ second freestanding handstand

Uhm, I lost count and upon reviewing recording realized I completed 23 reps. Because math.

Time = 12:04

That’s 69 pushups in addition to 23 plate press and free standing handstands as well as 46 jumps. That was exhausting.

Saturday, November 4 | NGAM

My BBF invited Luke and me to join him and Flossie (one of his dogs) for a 5.3-mile walk at Pink Beds Loop in Pisgah National Forest. ‘Twas a beautiful morning, an awesome hike, and I always enjoy conversation with Brian. Luke was off leash the duration of the almost 2-hour walk and we didn’t see anyone else on the trail. Just the way I like it. I rested from strength and conditioning.

Luke and I went for a 4-mile walk at the Biltmore this morning and I talked to my mother for the duration of the walk as well as during the car ride home. We even talked politics. It’s hard for me to imagine but my mother can certainly recall growing up with segregation.

I ate a bowl of oatmeal and then Luke and I headed downstairs to the gym. I like saying that.

EMOM for 55 minutes
Floor press + sumo deadlift high pull + power clean + push press + back squat
Rounds 1-10 @ 95, 11-20 @ 100, 21-25 @ 105, 26-30 @ 110, 31-35 @ 115, 36-40 @ 120, 40-45 @ 125#
Increase weight by 1# for the next 10 rounds working up to 135#

I suck at math. Granted, it often took the remainder of the round to take off and/or put plates on the bar. I used the .5# plates but, uhm, didn’t take into account that 4 1/4 plates equals 2.5#. Read on.

For round 46 I added a 1/2# plate to both sides of the barbell for a total of 121#. Rounds 47-49 were thus 122, 123, & 124#. Then, instead of take off 1/2 plates and adding 2.5# plate, I added 5# plates instead. Ha! Thus round 50 was 135#,  with rounds 51-54 being 136, 137, 138, & 139#. I just assumed that the barbell felt heavier because I was tiring.

For the last round I removed the 5# plate and the 4 1/2 plates from the ends of the barbell and replaced them with 10# plates. Because math. My last set was 145#, 10# heavier than I had programmed. Ha! This wasn’t necessarily a bad thing, as I completed the set, albeit I did the SDHP twice as the first time I didn’t lock my knees at full extension. Oh, and 145# is my SDHP 1RM, so there’s that.

This was truly exhausting, and just what I needed.

95# times: between 17 & 14 seconds; 2:41 total
100: between 17 & 14; 2:38
105: 5 rounds @ 15; 1:15
110: 1 round @ 16, 4 @ 15: 1:16
115: 5 rounds @ 15: 1:15
120: 1 round @ 15, 4 rounds @ 16: 1:19
125: 1 round @ 15, 4 rounds @ 16: 1:19
126 @ 16
127 @ 16
128 @ 17
129 @ 18
136 @ 18
137 @ 19
138 @ 19
139 @ 19
145 @ 26 (2 attempts SDHP)

Total time = 14:31

The main reasons the times got slower, in all honesty, was because as the weight got heavier I was more cautious lowering the bar behind my head and neck and onto my shoulders. As I should be. Yes, just under 15 minutes of work spread out over 55 minutes. Did my heart rate increase? Yes. Did I sweat profusely? Yes. Did I lift heavy shit? Yes. Did I focus on proper form and execution? Yes. Did I get in a great workout? Yes. Is my programmer dreamy? Hell, yes.