Monday, June 22, 2009

Accomplishing Less Can Lead To So Much More

[Found these at a antique store in the Heights. They're 1.5lbs each. They're about $65/ pair online. I got 'em for $9 each.]

I got in form work around 7am this morning and went straight to sleep. We were a bit busy yesterday, for a Sunday. We also did a bit of training on the pumper and ladder trucks. It wasn't intense, but in the Texas heat, standing is a workout. I got up around noon and spent a hour or so writing up my P.M. schedule for the week, studied a bit, and took Jack for a short but blistering walk.

During the walk, I realized that my shoulder, hams, and glutes were a bit sore. I had a hefty bit of swings and sledgehammer slams to get done and I was determined to get it done. Then I started to analyze the situation. I thought to myself, "If I try to push myself when I am not 100%, then #1 )I could injure myself, #2) I will not be able to make the progress that I need, and #3) as a result of #1 and 2, I will not be successful at the RKC." I decided to play it smart and have an active recovery day. My recover circuit dealt with shoulder and hip flexibility along w/ active stretches to help aid in the recovery process.


  1. 3 Different Kali Drills w/ the Indian Clubs x 10-20 each side
  2. Indian Club Y Squat x 10
  3. Push Up Plus ( push up w/ a shoulder roll at the top. got it from Turb. Training) x 5
  4. Pumps x3 (w/ 3 twist on each side once in the downward do position)
  5. Cossack Stretch x 5/5
  6. Warrior Stretch x 3/3

I felt like a freaking warrior after this. A surge of energy raced through my vessels. I felt loos but strong. I might make this my standard warm up from now on.

I also decided to do a little C&P practice w/ the 24kg. I did 3 x 3 on each side and really focused on staying tight after the clean and pressing with my lat as I locked the KB over head. I felt very strong and in control. I haven't felt like this before w/ previous C&P's.

This A.R. day was just what I needed. Now I feel that I will have the strength and mobility I need to push past this week's sticking points getting me closer to the RKC.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Never Back Down!

"Commit..No Excuses." I said this would be my mantra, and yesterday I had to call upon it.
Wednesday was day three of Program Minimum - Redux. I had a few clients to train between 6am-930am, and I tend to get very involved w/ my clients. They learn best, I think, when I mirror the technique of a certain lift, so I'll do a few resp with them. Training like that tends to give you small workout throughout the day. I wasn't tired, but I was worried that it would take some fuel away form what I had planned for myself. It did keep me warm and loose all day.
I arrived at the gym at 530am, got the place running, and did my sets of fighter pull ups before my first client got there. Today I did 1(8,7,6,5,4). I really dig this program. I would recommend it to anyone wanting to build upper body strength, or to anyone who really wants to know how a true pull up should be done. Not knocking the Crossfit practitioners, but I just don't see how the kipping pull up is beneficial other than as a progression to the true pull up. Just my opinion.
10am was my time to get lost in about 40 Turkish Get Ups. Today's TGU consisted of 4 sets of 5/5 reps with a 55lb (My boss has Aders in the gym. They're all in lbs). My goal wasn't the #'s, but to really control the weight, and move as though it were a part of me. I felt strong and in control. I manipulated the weight rather than the opposite. I found that if I flexed my wrist and really squeezed the bell, it helped keep my shoulder in place and elbow locked. I wanted to go for 5 sets but during set 4 rep 4, I started to feel a little fatigued so I st oped at set 4 with the idea that I am saving set 5 for another day.
It may just be me, but every time I finish a few sets of TGUs, I feel energized, loose, and alive. At night, however, I sleep like a baby. Therapeutic? I can attest.
5pm is when the real pain began. I named the second version of my Man Maker series Swing For Your Life. The circuit consists primarily of 24KG swings paired with active rest rounds of either light KB work or body weighted movements. The A.R. portions where specifically chosen for how well I thought they complimented the swing.
Swing For Your Life ( I did 3 rounds)

Repeat Following Circuit For 3-5 Rounds w/ 15 Sec Rest b/t Exercises and 1min rest b/t Rounds
· 30 sec Swings
· 30 sec F8TH
· 30 sec Swings
· 30 sec Hindu Push Ups
· 30 sec Swings
· 30 sec Clean Catch
· 30 sec Swings
· 30 sec Burpees
· 30 sec Swings
· 30 sec Fire Hose Waves
· 30 sec Swings
Doubling up on the swings helped me evaluate my form. I realized that I wasn't loading my glutes enough. This killed my back swing and further murdered my explosiveness for the font swing. It was easily fixed by letting the bell glide through my legs, then at the point it reached my crotch I aggressively hiked it back and really focused on pushing my hips back with perfect form. I felt a lot more powerful after that.
So I goofed a little. I forgot about the Hindu push ups on rounds 2-3, so I missed out on some swings. Unfortunately, I didn't realize it until them end. My garage was cooking like an brick oven, my clothes completely drenched, and my heart rate was around 220. I could have called it quits right there, but could I face the Elite at the RKC knowing that I did not give it my all during my training. My form wasn't failing. If it had been, that would be a different story. I was just smoked.
"Commit..No Excuses!" Rang in my ear. I sucked it up, and made up for my mistake. Surprisingly, I found that my swing was crisp and flowed very naturally. Oh yeah, and I also realized that I set the Gymboss to 30/10 instead of 30/15. That hurt.

Monday, June 15, 2009

ETK - The Fire Fighter Way

Program Minimum. This is where it all begins. There is no turning back, and the only way out is walking away from the RKC wearing a black t-shirt with a Russian red crest atop the left pec.

I will chronicle my plan to become an RKC Instructor in a personal journal and peridically post entries on theis blog. WODs, food, feeling, emotions, blood sweat, tears, it will all be here. Nothing will be censored. “Commit…No Excuses” will be my mantra. There WILL be days that I want to give up, not do a workout or not perform at 100%. "Commit...No Excuses!"

I WILL be an RKC; no doubt. May this logged journey also serve as a tool for others who follow, not in my footsteps, but make their own path towards the RKC or what ever challenge they face.

WOD 061509: PM - These workouts will be primarily based on the KBS and TGU. I will also implement other modes that I feel compliment these lifts and help me build the strength and conditioning I need to e a fire fighter.

Fighter Pull Ups- 7,7,6,5,4 (8:30am)

Shoulder Mobiltiy/ Foam Rolling: (9:00am)

Warm Up- 10 FTW Squats/ 10/10 Halos / 1 Pump w/ TGU warm up X 3 Rounds (5:50pm)

TGU- 3 sets of 5/5 w/ 20.4KG (6:00pm)

FFMM- Based On Sr. RKC David Whitley’s article; Brutal Minimalist Fitness
  • 50,40,30,20,10> KBS w/ 20.4KG
  • 10,20,30,40,50> Sledgehammer Chops w/ 10lb Hammer
  • Finished in 11:20:00

Finisher- Just for the hell of it.

  • 1(5,4,3,2,1) Kettlebell Push Up-2-Squat Triple Crush w/ 20.4KG

I read somewhere, that your workouts should make you feel energize afterwards, in fact, feeling like having sex is not uncommon. In that case, do not disturb.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Know You Limits

I am in the process of writing my own ETK plan. The foundation of this plan will be built around the swing, TGUs, clean & press, and the snatch. I will also incorporate other lifts and methods that I think will help make me proficient at these foundational KB lifts.

In this video, for example, I did an 4 rounds of 24kg swings for 2min and hose waves for 30sec. with the 1' 3/4" hose. I found that 2min on the swing was too much right now .

My form started to go after 4 sets so I would be better off doing 20sec - 1 min rounds for 10-15 sets. I can't expect to perfect the lift, if I allow my form to suffer. 8 min of swings at about 33.6 per min gave me 269 swings total. Not bad I guess.

Don't have equipment? I don't wanna hear it. The world is my gym, and let the trees, rocks, or sand be my barbell. I did this at the end of my grip training session. I just wanted to see if I should incorporate it into my routine. That's a definite hell yes. The log weighs 43 lbs. I picked it up at the park by my house. It was left over from the after math of Hurricane Ike. I imagined it was a coke can and tried to crush it as such. My pecs and lats were flaring not to mention the damn thing was hard to hold. I was just waiting for ants to pop out of bottom. That would add a new level of difficulty to the situation.

Fighter Pull Ups: 7,6,5,4,3


  1. warm up w/ COC 5x5/5

  2. 225lb dead lift lockout hold @ 30, 20,10

  3. 25lb KB Pinch grip at 15,15,15 for each hand

  4. 68lb Farmers' Walk Driveway x 3

Sunday, June 7, 2009

WOD for 060709


3. ALT. CLEANS X 5/5

WEIGHT: Two 16kg Kettbells

GOAL: To get through 5 rounds as fast as possible.

ACTIVE RECOVERY: 1 3/4" Fires Hose Undulations for 30sec


CORE WORK: 2 Rounds Of:

  1. Get Up Sit Up w/ 45lb Bar X 8
  2. Superman Plank X Failure
  3. Ab Wheel Roll Outs X 10

PULL UPS: 6,5,4,4,3

Saturday, June 6, 2009

WOD: Pull Up The Resolution To Do Your Get Ups

That title will make sense after you read this.

I missed a few WOD posts so here we go.

060309: Resolution 2 Adv. ( I was really tired from the previous day so I didn't have enough gas to get through all 5 rounds in 30min, so I had to stop at 3. ALWAYS LISTEN TO YOUR BODY. You won't make any gains, especially in strength, if you push yourself past your limit.)

A) KB C&P Ladders w/ 27kg: 3(1,2,3,4,5)

B) Pull Ups: 5,4,3

C) Dead Lift:

  1. 255 x 5
  2. 260 x 4
  3. 265 x 3

060409: TGU Practice: 5 min round of 32kg alt. TGUs

  • This was an A.R. day. I didn't want to push the the envelope today. I am feeling the need to unload after training pretty heavy for the past 6 weeks. I think I got three on each side.
  • I took a 25 min rest and put Lisa through a workout, then I wanted to see how long it wold take me to complete 100 snatches w/ the 24kg. I did 20 on each side and I could tell that it wasn't going to happen.
  • I'll perform better when I am fresh.

060509: Fighter Pull Up Plan By Pavel

  • I need to increase my pull up strength. Is there any way better to do it besides the Pavel way? I don't think so.
  • This is going to be a 30 day program w/ the goal of increasing my #'s. My rep max doing the strict pull up, as Pavel describes in the article, was 6.
  • So I started on Day 7 with:
  • 6,5,4,3,2,1
  • I took enough rest to complete each rep w/ perfect form. I didn't want to wear myself out.

Today, I will be on a 24hr fast, and I am going to write up a Dbl KB Complex to do later in the day. More on that soon....

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Good Eats


- 1 med banana (mashed)

- 4 Tblsp of Barlean's FortiFlax

- 1 organic omega 3 egg

- 3 x 1/4c All Whites

- 1 Tblsp all natural almond butter

- 1/4c all natural almond milk

- cinnamon and organic stevia to taste


-beat egg, almond milk, and all whites until peaks appear. mash banana and mix it w/ the flaxseed, almond butter, cinnamon, and stevia. combine everything until well incorporated.

-pour 1/4c of mixture in pre heated non stick pan set at med-med/lo heat. you may want to spray the pan and spatula w/ a non stick spray. cook on each side until golden brown.

-makes roughly 6 cakes at: 87/4/8/6 per cake.

-i had mine w/ 3/4 cup blueberries, 1 serving of Green Vibrance mixed in spring water, .5 tblsp of bee pollen, two 16 oz glasses of spring water, and my multi v and fish oil.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

WOD 060209: Every Now And Then, Take The Road Less Travelled

Tuesday was a conditioning day, which always begin w/ working on Turkish Get Ups . Round 2 of the session is based on an article I got off of Mike Mahler's site titled, High Octane Carido For Serious Fat Loss. Check out his site for a ton of great info on life, kettlebells, and the pursuit of self torture. The dude is a strength monster.

WARMUP: light swings, joint mobility, pumps, Sampson stretch.

ROUND 1: 10min Round of Alt. TGUs w/ 27kg.

ROUND2: 5 Rounds Of:

  1. Sprints through the park

  2. 24kg KB Snatch 10/10

There is a winding track that outlines this park near my house. Its not a normal school track, but it was to linear for me today. There is no set path to life so I decided to do my interval sprints through park instead of around. The track was predictable, but the terrain of the park was not. I had to maneuver around benches, swing sets, monkey bars, trees, holes, and children ( one of which decided to run w/ me for a while...until he passed me up.) I even leaped over a few picnic tables. I forgot to time myself. I'm guessing it took about 10-15min to complete. The parks pretty big and I ran from one end to the other. On the last set, I pick out three trees that were equal spaced. I sprinted to the closest tree, then back to the started and repeated that with the middle and furthest tree. That was a smoker! I took little to no rest between the sprints and the snatches and took no more that 60 sec b/t each round. Next time, I'm going to time my self and try to complete it faster the next go round.

Lisa's WOD: High Octane Cardio

WARMUP: same as mine


  1. 500m Row
  2. 10 kettlebell crushes to overhead press with 11kg

She pushed herself through all 5 rounds. I'm so proud of her. She's really putting a lot of hard work and effort towards reach her goals both in fitness and her career.

Very Few Things Are Original, Most Things Are Inspirational

I need to give credit where credit is due. I didn't come up with the idea to track my thoughts and progress on my own. Meet Eric J Moss, RKC of Rockbody Fitness. Take a look at the picture above. That's Eric after a recent RKC cert. course in San Jose . He had reason to celebrate, for he had come to the end of a long journey where he found himself among the Elite in kettlebell training. Eric J. Moss, RKC has just taken flight. I am read to spread my wings.
I followed Eric on his blog,, as he prepared for the RKC. Through his words, Eric showed the kind of heart, determination, planning, blood, sweat and tears it took to achieve greatness. I haven't asked him, but I feel that charting his course on his blog probably played a big role in him making it through the RKC.
If you write about it, discuss it, it becomes real and possible. Maybe it'll do the same for me. Hell, its only been a day and already I feel 100% more motivated than I did two days ago. Something is working.
A while back, Eric and I had a short conversation, through email,l concerning different kettlebell certification courses. I was going back and forth between the RKC and a few other notable certifications, but really hadn't made a choice. At the time, money was a big deciding factor. I was of the mind set that I could go for a cheaper, but valuable, version and move on from there. Eric told me I should consider that many of the well known kettlebell instructors have roots in the RKC program. Anthony Diluglio, Mike Mahler, and Steve Maxwell are just a few of the great instructors that are out there that have since broken away from the RKC to develop their own training systems. I couldn't argue with that.
So, if you read this Eric, thanks. Your blog and that last email conversation we had really helped me decide which road to take.
If you're interested in talking with Eric and learning about his training methods visit his sites at and You can also subscribe to his YouTube channel. He is an extremely knowledgeable and approachable trainer.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Rise of The Phoenix

I need to be reborn. It is time to set my past aflame like the plumage of the Phoenix as it's 1,000 year life cycle comes to an end in flames, to ashes, and rekindled anew.

I need to reevaluate my goals in regards to strength training, conditioning, and my career as a personal trainer.

I'm not ashamed to say that I had a "Why the hell am I doing this" moment today. I've been researching different ways of strength training, conditioning, and overall health for a while now.

While researching these different mode and methods, I realized that the traditional ways of working out were not for me. I desired something that was simple, yet it could replace a whole gym membership in one shot. Enter the kettlebell. (no pun intended...OK pun intended) The kettlebell is more than just a cannonball w/ a handle on it. It is a totally body strength and conditioning tool that will fit in the palm of your hand. Now, I have come to realize that it is so much more. The kettlebell is an art form. The kettlebell is a way of life. The kettlebell can save lives.

Are kettlebells the only solution to strength training, conditioning, and overall health? That depends on you, how committed you are to your goals, and how far you are willing to go to reach those goals. So yes it can be. For me, adding Olympic lifts, body weighted exercise, and non traditional modes like sandbags, tires, and sledgehammers made it all the more fun.

What I recently realized, is that I haven't devoted enough time to the both simple and complex kettlebell. Simple in it's design yet complex in it's implementations. I am a practitioner, an enthusiast, but I am , by no means, a master. I want to be a master.

I was recently inspired by a video I have saved on my YouTube subscriptions by Jordan Vezina RKC. If you need help on kettlebell training, watch his videos. Jordan has an amazing gift for breaking the movements down. I think he could teach my mastiff to do a Turkish Get Up if he wanted to.


After watching this video, for a second time, I realized that I was not on a pathway to the "Elite."
I was going through the motions with no purpose other than improving my strength and conditioning for my career as a fire fighter.

Like the feathers of the Phoenix, my old workout were embedded in my arms, weighing me down, and keeping me anchored to the ground. Not anymore. Come Monday of next week I, the Phoenix, will rise from the ashes and embark on a quest to become an RKC.