The Anatomy of an Impromptu Workout

“We can either have democracy in this country or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”

Louis Brandeis

The View from College Hill

The View from College Hill

I started out on my trusted fixie Saturday, 14-hours into an intermittent fast, with the idea of doing a quick barefooted sprint session at the ECU athletic complex before coming home and setting in to watch Lance defend his 3rd-place position in the TdF.  As I approached Dowdy-Ficklen stadium however, I thought I might rather hit some stadium sprints instead.

As luck would have it, the stadium was in fact open; lots of action going on, with football recruits moving in and out of the training complex.  August is fast approaching, which means the kick-off of football season is a mere 5 weeks or so away.  Damn I miss that game.  But anyway, I digress…

I eased on through the gates, circled around through the concourse to the ramps, and had

Decisions, Decisions.  In the end, I took the easy way out.
Decisions, Decisions. In the end, I took the easy way out.

just begun my ascent when I spied a new stash of tractor tires and bumper plates staged for a little outdoor fun for the football recruits.  Change number two to the day’s plan came about when I decided that performing overhead lunges up the entire stadium ramp complex, with a 20kg bumper plate,seemed like a fabulous idea.

Now there are 20 ramp segments from the Dowdy-Ficklen concourse to the stadium’s upper deck, and I managed between 11 and 15 lunges per segment…so let’s see, that’s — I dunno, a whole hell of a lot of damn lunges.  Performed on a steep incline.  And with 20kgs straight-armed overhead.

Madness, right?  Well, I did rest approximately 20 seconds between ramp segments; does that count for anything?

Eventually, I stumbled out onto the upper deck, recomposed myself, then hit a few rounds of step sprints while holding the bumper plate in front of me in a position somewhat similar to say, performing curls with an EZ curl bar.  On each descent, I again straight-armed the plate overhead.

On the way back down the ramps (walking, not lunging), I did a combination of single-arm presses (as if I were “shot putting” the plate) and straight-arm overhead lockouts.

You're gonna do what?...Where?
You’re gonna do what?…Where?
A tad heavier, and more cumbersome, too, than the Travelocity nome.
A tad heavier, and more cumbersome, too, than the Travelocity gnome.
Again, the nome would've been more managable...
Again, the gnome would’ve been more manageable…

Now I’ve had sketchier fixie rides on the way home after a tough workout, but I think this one won the “endeavor to persevere with toasted legs” prize.  Not to mention that holding my head up with fried traps took a bit of doing.

So as many of you are undoubtedly aware, a tough workout in the middle of a fast will put the squelch on your appetite for a good while following.  I rode this wave for all it was worth (about 4 hours, post workout), and finally ate about 6 PM that evening — eggs, ham, raw milk and a smattering of fruit and berries — purposely holding the carbs to a minimum.  I grazed the rest of the evening on raw cheese, salami (a poor choice, I know — it was situational), pork roast and a little bit of sweet potato with raw butter.  And I made sure to down plenty of fish oil as well.

Hey, if Lance can dust it up with the youngsters in the TdF, I can give the football recruits at ECU a little something to talk about.  “Yo, you see that crazy  mo’ fo’ over at the stadium…?

In health,


A Post-Travel, Impromptu Workout

“There are two things to aim at in life; first to get what you want,
and after that to enjoy it. Only the wisest of mankind achieve the

~ Logan Pearsall Smith

What follows is a quick run-down of the crazy schedule I’ve kept for the last few days, and how I was able to squeeze-in a quick (though, highly effective) workout in the midst of it all.

New Year’s eve day started off well enough, with the morning workout I wrote about here.  I was pretty taxed by 8AM, but like I mentioned in that post, I knew I was going to be gym-less for the better part of a week and have plenty of time to recover.  So far, so good; but then the workday hit full-on.  I won’t get into all the sordid details, but suffice to say it was “one of those days” (way to ring-out the old, huh?), the result of which being that I didn’t get home until well after 10 PM (no ringing the new year, either).  I wound-up skipping dinner; no real hunger pangs, so why bother? (something that would never have occurred in my high-carb, former life).  A 12-hour hibernation followed and somewhere around 5 PM on Thursday (the days and times are sorta melding together) I ate a meal of leftover ham steak, rib eye and Brussels sprouts.  Then it was on the road to Atlanta, where Meesus TTP had an interview with a modeling agency on Friday afternoon (keep your fingers crossed, please!).

Now, Atlanta is an approximate 8-hours drive from our lovely hometown of G-Vegas, NC.  Long story short, here: I wound -up fasting until 6PM on Friday — but again, no big deal.  However, the place where we finally decided to eat was a virtual carb-fest bakery/sandwich shop that reminded me of an upscale Panera Bread.  Sheesh.  Okay, so after some haggling and begging, I ended-up with a roasted chicken salad.  Not too bad, either (Paleo-wise) — and rather tasty, I have to say — even slacking as it was on the chicken part.  So, okay, no blood, no foul, right?  I’m still doing a Paleo-well, good job.  We decide then (another long story omitted) to go ahead and huck it back to G-Vegas that night.  So off we go; the result being that the only other thing I ate that day (night?) was a truck stop cashew and almond mix.  About as Paleo as you can find (except for jerky) in these kinds of places.  Oh yeah, and lots of coffee (make it a red-eye, please!  And black, of course).  Thank goodness for road-side Starbucks.  And even though Meesus TTP is out of work due to their “cost savings/restructuring” cutbacks, I’ve got no hate.  A serious caffeine Jones, yes — but no hate.  Anyhow, I’m finally showered and crashed by about 4:30 AM Saturday morning.

Fast forward to Saturday afternoon: In my mind’s eye I have a plan formulated whereby I’ll run sprints the following day (Sunday), as this will give me time to fully recover from the events of the past few days.  A quick check of the weather, though, sidelines this plan — rain is moving in.  It is a gorgious day Saturday, though — 60’s and sunny — so I saddle-up the fixie and head out to ECU (with the 45 lb medicine ball in tow) for some sprints and throws.  Now I still haven’t eaten since the Atlanta chicken salad and truck stop cashews/almonds, but I feel amazingly “on” and, once I get moving, nicely invigorated.  Something else that would have severely affected my performance in my “previous life” was working out without having recently eaten.  This scenario would have resulted in a pretty good bonk and/or at least a substandard performance.  “Weak” would’ve been the best way to describe it.  This does not occur on a Paleo diet; no bonk, no weakness at all.  Anyway, once I reach the university, I see that the Dowdy-Ficklen stadium gates are open.  Winner!  This opportunity doesn’t come around much between the end of football season and the spring, so I jump dead on it. 

Here’s how the session panned-out:

1. Ramp sprint starts
2. Vertical Jump repeats (2-hand stretch, as if blocking a volleyball shot) x 5

8 rounds of that superset, with very little recovery between each exercise.  It just so happens that the height of the concourse between each ramp section allows for me to perform a near max, two-handed vertical jump.  This allows me to do repeat jumps with touching the ceiling (two hands) as a goal/marker.  No reset between jumps (think “pogo stick”, or “hot coals”).  For a look at what I mean by ramp sprint starts, check out this post.

Then it was out to the stadium’s upper deck for this superset:
1. Three-step, dual-leg “bounds”  (x 13 “bounds”)
2. Ballistic decline (feet higher than hands) push-ups x 10.  Max “air” on every rep, stiff catch at a fraction from the “bottom-out”, or chest-impaling-the-deck, position.
3. Dive bomber push-ups (same starting position as above) x 10.  By the way, the guy in the clip is a little over the top, but he does demonstrate good form.

7 rounds of that, with a full recovery between each set of bounds.  Compare/contrast the portion above to this workout.  An additional note: I think of the “three-step bounds” as being performed exactly as a hurdle bound (at the 1:25 mark, in this clip), though with enough horizontal element to propel me up the step run.  I shoot for traversing the total distance (41 steps) “as fast as possible”, here.

Then, to finish off the session, I did lunges on the way down the ramps.  I really exaggerated the downward fall of each lunge step, turning the exercise into a plyometric-like altitude drop/catch at the bottom position of the movement (as demonstrated here, at the :42 mark).  Then I had to tote that friggin’ medicine ball all the way back home  🙂

Next up, I’ll have a post covering a reader’s question concerning the compatibility of endurance athletics and the Paleo lifestyle.  Also on tap, coverage of the slow-go version of an eye-of-round roast.  This little baby is in the oven — and smelling damn good, too — as I write.

Enjoy the last day of the holidays, for tomorrow we head back to the grind in earnest.

In Health,