The Past Weekend’s Workout Happenings

Saturday, 5/15/10
So the local farmers’ market is located about a hard 15-minute fixie burst from my house.  Soon after rolling out of bed on Saturday, splashing some water on my face and, after savoring a few cups of joe, I saddled-up and headed out for some provisions.  15-minutes later and without a hitch, I’m picking up 3 lbs of beef sausage and a couple of pounds of ground beef (all locally raised, grass-fed).  Life is great!  I saddle back up and hit the road, and 10 minutes into the return blitz I’m met with the pop/pffffft! and squiggly rear-end that all riders dread.  Damn.  Ok, time for some quick roadside (the parking lot of the Rocky Mount Telegram, to be precise) triage/tire swap — made a tad more urgent, now, due to the 5 lbs of frozen steer in my backpack.  No blood, no foul, as they say (that’ll come later), and in a few minutes I’m back on the road, rockin’ out a good, leg-burning pace.  The culprit, BTW?  A V-bent hunk of wire (clothes hanger wire?) that found its way into my sidewall.  What are the odds of that?  Oh well, shit happens.

OK, so I made it home, chucked the meat in the freezer, and headed back out with the intent of doing one of my favorite “endurance” workouts, the 15 x 15 in 15 — that’s 15 x 100 yrd sprints, each completed in 15 seconds or less, with all 15 sprints completed in a total time of 15 minutes.  In other words, 15 sec’s “on”, 45 sec’s rest x 15 rounds.  Sounds easy, huh?  Uhh, yeah…anyway, like a friggin’ dumb-ass, I decide not to don the ol’ Vibrams, opting instead to attack these au natural over the brick-hard ground.  Why, you ask, would I do such a stupid-ass thing?  I don’t know…the sparse grass felt good between my toes?  Who knows why I do some of the things I do.  Now sometimes this quirkiness pays big dividends in that I find a new wrinkle to add to my exercise tool box, and sometimes, well, it leads to something like this —

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On a brighter note, the placement of these blisters indicates a proper sprinting foot-strike.  Hey, when life hurls lemons your way, go fetch the tequila and lime  🙂

Yeah, so I cut the sprint session short at 10 rounds.  Oh well, what to do but saddle-up and head to the gym, right?  You bet.  After fixie-ing around a good bit more (Weather’s too nice to be inside just yet), that is.  Once I finally did make it to the gym, though, I did this nifty little superset:

btn push-press: 135 x 5; 155 x 3; 165 x 3; 185 x 2, 2
straight bar muscle-ups: x 3, each round

Then it was back on the bike for more riding.  I’d guess that by the time it was all said and done, I’d put in a good 2-and-a-half hours of combined saddle time.

Oh yeah, I began all of this madness in a 15+ hour fasted state, with the post-workout re-feed not occurring until after hour 20 (ish).  Any detrimental effects?  None.  If I were a sugar-burner, though, I’d have been a drooling, blithering, palsying spectacle — and that would have been even before I started my barefooted sprints.  Hmmm, maybe I can blame my non-Vibram wearing, abject stupidity on being in a fasted state?  Nice try, but I don’t think so.  About IF’ing: the bottom line is that IF can definitely help in eliminating those last few stubborn pounds, while at the same time contributing to improved, overall health.  However, IF does present an additional stress to the body.  As such, you need to first get your other dietary and lifestyle ducks in a row prior to dabbling with IF; to do otherwise is simply to add suction to the stressor/cortisol death-vortex.  There’s a place for radical and a place for reason — the key is realize the right time for each approach.  By the way, if you’ve got a membership to the Crossfit Journal, check out trainer E.C. Synkowski’s recent take on IF, here.

From the Crossfit Journal site:
HQ trainer and athlete E.C. Synkowski is no slouch in the gym and has had great success using intermittent fasting as an approach to insulin regulation and recovery. In this video interview by Patrick Cummings, E.C. takes us through the process of getting used to fasting and explains why she does it and how her body has responded over the last few years.

Sunday, 5/16/10
It’s gonna rain, it’s not gonna rain, it’s gonna rain, it’s not gonna rain…
So the plan today was to saddle-up the mountain bike and hit the trails, but the rain situation scared me off.  I don’t do fickle.  And yeah, I’m a fair-weather mountain bike kinda guy; I steer free of the rain and muck if I can avoid it.  Anyway, on to plan B —

More fixie riding — about an hour-and-a half worth today (and I can tell my legs are getting zorched) — broken-up by a 45-minute iron session, that went a little something like this:

Cuban press (very strict form): 3 sets of 10, fat Oly Bar.  Note: no need to press the bar to full lock-out from the intermediate position (as in the demo clip); in fact, this motion allows for unneeded rest between the “meat” reps.

whip snatch to overhead squat: 115 x 5 sets of 5.  Each rep as fast as possible without sacrificing form.  Very little rest between sets.  115 pounds feels like a 300 pound slosh tube by the 5th set.

Then this superset —

clean grip high pull, from the floor: 185 x 3, each round
weighted dips: 45 x 7; 70 x 3; 90 x 3; 100 x 3; 105 x 3

Note: I used standard 35 lb plates for the high pull set-up so as to force a lower starting position in the pull from the floor.  Just another way to change things up.

The take home message
Ok, so shit happens, and your workouts plans will get mucked-up at times.  Don’t let that be an excuse to wuss-out, hit the couch and nurse a cold one.  Think on the fly, and pull out another trick from the bag.  Maybe even try something totally off the wall.  Do you think your body really cares, in the grand scheme of things, that you substituted X workout for Y?

And a public service announcement about this weekend’s heavy volume —
I do a heavy volume “something” like this every now and then, but only when I feel like it — never do I force it.  It’s a random, chaotic thing, and when I feel it, I go with it.  Keep a pace like this for long, though, and an injury of some sort will see to it that you take it easy for a while.

7 responses to “The Past Weekend’s Workout Happenings

  1. Ha-ha nice! Battle wounds. Chicks may not dig them, but other cavemen think you’re cool.

    I’m currently a sugar burner doing this vegan thing. I feel a whole lot faster, but there is definitely a bonk phase if you don’t keep the sugar flow going.

  2. I read Brad Pilion’s Eat Stop Eat a year or so ago, and it sounded good, but I couldn’t get into it.

    But I think most of the problem was that my body was still sugar dependent. Now I’ve been eating basically paleo for a couple of years, and it’s easy to fast for extended periods, probably because I’m now burning fat in between meals, so my energy stays up and hunger down.

    So I think for people whose bodies aren’t burning fat efficiently, or who have too high insulin levels chronically, fasting is pretty tough. But once you get your metabolism healthy again, it’s fairly easy.

  3. I’m a sugar-burner, doing IF under the guidance of Leangains Martin Berkhan. I cycle my carb-intake, off days lower, workoutdays higher. I feel great, and always workout in a fasted state (ingestion of 10 g BCAA 5 min before though) often at 17-19 hours in to the fast. Once I did a late night workout 23 hours into the fast and busted my records in 3 of 4 lifts! I like paleo-food, and truly belive in that we are genetically better suited to eat food that resembles what our enviroment would have offered us before the start of farming. But to say that “sugar-burners” would “have been a drooling, blithering, palsying spectacle” after a long fast… well, I can only speak for myself, but I’m never like that at the end of a long fast, even if I have trained.

    • My experiences in the past (when I wasn’t Paleo) with bonking were pretty dramatic. It mat be that your carb intake isn’t really all that high relative to your overall calorie intake. And, too, the type of carbohydrate matters greatly (high fiber/slow release vs simple, etc.). If you’re happy and perform well with your current carb/protein/fat balance, then I’d say rock on. That’s what n=1 is all about.

  4. Keith,

    You covered a lot of material in one post – it requires re-reading!!
    I am a PE teacher in Canada, and I have mentioned your blog to my students repeatedly. I teach a Strength and Conditioning course to Grade 11/12 students, and your comments and ideas are always very appropriate to the course.
    Question 1: I am about to buy a fixie, but I am unsure of whether I should get a flip-flop hub, or just go fixed ( a bike mechanic I trust tells me that I should commit to the fixed)? I used to be a hard-core triathlete, but I fell from a roof five years ago, and my running is compromised.I still ride a road bike and enter the odd time trial.
    Question 2: I am 183 lbs, I am 5’8″, I can bench 295 and deadlift 400 (I do the Olympic lifts and met-cons more importantly), but I still have no chest, and in spite of doing all of the activities that you endorse (and in spite of my improved diet and visit to a respected nutritionist), I still have the flabdominals… I apparently “burn hot”, according to the nutritionist (he prescribed magnesium and Symplex).I think the “cotisol” thing is what’s holding me back from going to the next level (I am 49; father of 6 (16 to 29); almost a grandfather; and I have a roofing company on the side).
    Let me know what you think.

    • Brian,
      That’s great to hear. The sooner we can introduce youth to physical culture and the paleo ethos the better. As to your questions –
      (1) I agree with your wrench. It’s largely a personal preference thing — and I personally know folks who’ll passionately argue the other way — but I’d opt for the straight-up fixie rig. Everyone I do know who has a flip-flop hop rarely, if ever, swaps the wheel around anyway. Plus, I’m always looking for an excuse to add another bike to the quiver 🙂
      (2) assuming your diet is clean, and that you’re not overtraining, I’d have to guess that something is keeping your cortisol jacked. Stress, lack of sleep, worry, burning the candle at both ends — you know the drill. Plenty of sleep is a staple, along with a good ZMA supplement at night. Also, I’m wondering if you’re not doing something that would cause you to retain water. A higher carb intake (even good carbs) has that effect on some people.

      Muscle distribution — this is, for the most part, genetically preset. Of course, we can target any muscle directly, and somewhat alter the size and shape of that muscle, but not drastically — and, I would argue, the amount that we can affect the size/shape of a muscle beyond its response to a heavily-loaded multi-joint movement (for example, dips or a heavy flye movement for the pecs) is simply not worth the time investment. I have rather small pecs relative to my tris and delts, and rather small traps relative to my biceps, so I feel your pain. For all of my talk of the wonders of epigenetics, there are some things that are much less “plastic” than others; muscle distribution and shape, skeletal structure, tendon insertion points, etc are part of our preset genetic hand. How we manipulate and maximize those “presets”, though, is highly alterable.

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