Iron Works for 5/20/10, and the Easiest (and best!) Roasted Chicken You’ll Ever Make

The Rocky Mount YMCA — hey, it’s the place to be, especially at the ass-crack of dawn!  Today we have another workout from the Iron MetCon bag o’ tricks.  Here’s what went down:

barbell thrusters: 135 x 7, 7; 145 x 6, 6, 5
weighted, regular grip pull-ups: 45 x 7, 7, 7, 7, 6+ (stall)

Done as a superset, with minimum rest between sets.  Each rep completed an explosive a fashion as possible.  Bar returned to a full, legitimate rack position (high elbows, bar secure in the “rack”) prior to front squat descent.


high cable flyes (out of the lunge position): 60# x 10, 10, 8, 8
barbell good mornings: 135 x 10, 10, 10, 10

Again, performed as a superset, with very little rest between exercises.

The cable flye out of the full lunge position is one of the few cable-based exercises I really like.  The lunge position adds more of a full body element to an otherwise rather pedestrian movement.  The hands should travel an upward arc from approximately the level of the hips to the top of the head, with the elbows remaining slightly bent throughout.  For the good mornings: full descent (exaggerated, even — big, big glute/ham stretch), then explosive out of the hole.  Allow the back to round slightly, as we are, in fact, attempting to work the lower back with these as well as the glutes and hams.

Roasted Chicken, the Easy Way (how else would I make it?)

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First things first — get your hands on a good bird.  A good, locally-raised, truly free-range yard bird is a must.  Here’s where I get mine.  The difference in taste between free-range and “conventionally raised” (sad that “conventionally-raised” has come to mean what it has) is beyond description, and that difference alone is enough to make even a kitchen hack like me look like I know what the hell I’m doing with a pan and oven.

So the chicken I used here was approximately 3.5 pounds.  Rinse and dry ‘im off well.  You want the chicken to be thoroughly dry before sliding it in the oven, otherwise it’ll steam instead of roast, and that’ll not make for a nice crispy, brown skin.  Salt & pepper liberally, and stuff the cavity with rosemary and thyme — or whatever else you might choose (citrus of some sort, maybe).  Put it in a 450-degree oven and let it rip for 45 minutes or so.  Whatcha got on your hands after that is pure, chickenly heaven!

I put a small sweet potato in along with the chicken from the get-go, then about halfway though, I added the asparagus.  Both ended up slathered in chicken fat.  Out-of-this-world good!

12 responses to “Iron Works for 5/20/10, and the Easiest (and best!) Roasted Chicken You’ll Ever Make

  1. interesting combo with the good mornings…I like those, gotta find a way to work them into a workout in the near future

    • Good mornings are a great squat and DL builder. I usually do them as a max effort exercise, but today I thought I’d try a totally different rep scheme with them.

  2. Don’t get much better than roast chicken! Just threw one together last night. One “hack” I would suggest: Take a lemon, roll it, and stab it all over. Throw it in the cavity before cooking. Roast it “face down” for 15 minutes, then turn it face up for the rest of the time. The lemon effectively bastes the chicken while it cooks so you don’t have to. You end up with a juicy bird at the end that doesn’t stick to the pan!

  3. Great looking chicken. It’s crazy how a quality bird makes all the difference. Firmer, darker, more flavorful flesh. Rub the skin with melted butter right before it goes in and throw a few slabs underneath the skin for even crispier skin.

    If it’s skin you’re after, keep your eyes peeled for a Japanese robata restaurant. They serve up skewers of pretty much any animal part grilled over open flame, including just the chicken skin. It’s pretty magnificent.

  4. Hey Keith, great posting as usual. Really enjoy the combination of real world training and nutrition — it really shows you mean business.

    Anyway, I wanted to ask you about your experience with gaining strength week-to-week and carbohydrate intake. I understand paleo eating isn’t neccessarily about carbohydrate restriction — its just that I can’t seem to make linear strength gains when I eat this way.

    Perhaps it could be that I’ve never given my body enough time to become fat-adapted? I usually only make it a few weeks before I resort back to a carb-load to make sure my glycogen stores are filled. Also, to be clear: I never have a hard time eating enough calories on a low-carb paleo diet; I can eat until the cows come home. It’s just my strength seems to drop off and I get discouraged. Any input would be much appreciated!

    • “Perhaps it could be that I’ve never given my body enough time to become fat-adapted? I usually only make it a few weeks before I resort back to a carb-load to make sure my glycogen stores are filled.”

      This is my guess, Justin. In my experience, it takes the better part of 3 weeks for people to convert to the point of motoring well on a Paleo diet. Remember that your body has to re-tool enzymatically to a higher protein and fat intake, and although this is the diet your body was meant to thrive on, you have to give your body some time to re-calibrate. As a correlate, no one would argue that heroin is good for the body, yet weaning the body off of its fix is an excruciating process. Same idea here.

      • Keith,

        I never had a chance to test this, but I wonder if people wouldn’t be well to get some digestive enzymes to help the transition. It’s those same enzymes that need to upregulate to get the most out of a paleo diet. I need a test subject! 🙂

        • I’m quite sure a simple enzymatic up-regulation program (ala Wolf/Poliquin) with a Now Foods Super Enzyme or similar would work wonders. You may have a tough time finding a tests subject, though, who’ll buy into the protocol — “take pills until you feel a burning in your throat, then back-off by one pill” as a dose-finder (though perfectly legit, in my book) might not be an easy sell. Let me know if you find a willing subject!

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