Friday, 18 July 2014

HOW IT USED TO BE, HOW IT IS

I wanted to blog about how much my days changed since last Summer: the long hours at work, the double schedule of teaching and practicing as a lawyer, with some translations thrown in for good measure. 
But I won't. 
Some things change, some others don't. I'll tell you about the second ones. 
I still want to train and to get strong, even if I don't climb on rock basically anymore.  
Temps are still awful. Luckily humidity is high... As my sense of humour. 


I still want to tweak my routines, namely the foot-on campusing, so I added 2 kg and switched to old, flat shoes instead of downturned ones. Train heavy, climb light. Still working the full crimp.





I am still a cool motherfucker. Or at least I try to be.


On the side of the many changes, I introduced some Finishers to my training. 
What is a Finisher? As the name suggests, it's something that terminates your session. What the name does not suggest, is that a Finisher terminates your session by terminating you. After a well done excercise, or series of excercises, you should be lying on the ground, crying for your mamma to make you dinner and put you to bed. You don't look at your bulging muscles eager to go out for a drink and some girls, you just lay there and cry. 
A Finisher has to be very short in duration (less than 10 minutes they say, but just 6 minutes leave me properly finished) and very high in intensity. Being performed at the end of the session, with muscles already fatigued and poor in glycogen, these excercises creat a very high metabolic stress that induces, teamed with proper eating, anabolism and fat loss. Yay! 
For my finisher I chose to perform two excercises, back to back, in two sets of 2 minutes followed by two sets of 1 minute. I do Spider Crawls and a complex of Half Squat, Biceps Curl and Overhead Press. All with a 6 kg weightvest, that I wear under my sauna jacket. Just 6 minutes in total, but I can assure you that they are some very, very long 6 minutes. They seem to last an eternity. 


You, my dear reader, may be sitting there wondering why I still keep training so hard, instead of dedicating my time to (enjoying) climbing: I'll tell you why. 
Beyond trivial matter-of-fact reasons (hours to go to the boulders, lack of doable projects, etc.), the main reason is: Delusions of Grandeur. 
No, not the famous boulder problem. The other problem. The mental problem. 
I can't be the best at climbing, so I want to be the strongest. I don't mean overall best and strongest, like in the world (I'd like though); I mean the best I can be. The strongest I can be. 
To be the best I can be at climbing, I would need to climb loads. I should travel to many destinations, try many problems on different rock types, different prehensions, different angles (from 45° onwards). Refine my technique. 
But I can't. I have no time and no money. At least for the moment. 
So I want to be the strongest, because I have time and tools for this. 
I can't be the best I can be without being very very strong. I could simply go climbing and punter around, maybe even have some fun. 
I don't want to. I want to be as strong I can be, ready to seize the opportunity, if it will ever dawn on me, to try and be the best I can be.
Luckily, I don't even care about if and when I'll be able to create this opportunity: as I've said so many times, I love training as a goal in itself, and sometimes, the more useless it is, the more I enjoy it. 

Finally, I got an MR for my left knee, and it showed a tear in the posterior horn of my medial meniscus. I will need surgery to fix it, still don't know which kind of: it's not too bad, so they could simply file the damaged part off, or cut it off, or stitch it, or combinations of the above. Recovery times will depend on which one they'll choose.  

Monday, 16 June 2014

SIGHS, SELF PROMOTION AND A RANT

Quite unexpectedly, and contrary to all my efforts, I am longing to go climbing outdoors. Yes, you had it right: the real thing, the rock. That stuff. 
Quite often, in the last weeks, while studying Civil Law wearing my still new, undersized Five Ten Team, I've found myself walking in Alpine settings in my mind, surrounded by granite boulders and high pine trees. A heat wave that got to 39° (it's just June, goddammit!) made me explode in huge sighs at the thought of how cool - in both meanings - it had to be in the mountains. I downloaded the guide of Magic Wood.
It seems that after all, rock still appeals me. 
And this brings us to the main event of today: in the late evening I'll have an MR to check the damage I made to my left inner meniscus. I'm sure it's serious, given that each time I warm up and try to squat a little bit more, I definitely feel something moving and squeezing inside my knee. A painful and unpleasant sensation.
End of the sighs, bring the self promotion. 
In a previous entry, I confessed my worries about one armers: I wasn't feeling strong and felt the urge to test them. Training one armers proves to be a tricky matter every time I try. I have a pull up bar at home, but it's in a door frame and I don't have enough room to twist my body; my legs always hit the wall. The same can be said for the Beastmaker. I tried to build some kind of handle to hang it from the board frame, but still there's the wall on one side, and the steepnees of the board doesn't allow any leg space. The device I prefer, that comes under the form of a big, flat wooden edge (I prefer it to a normal pull up bar, don't know why. Maybe because my wrist stays more straight and doesn't flex), sits in my garage, where unfortunately my dad parks his car, of which unfortunately I have no keys (my father is smart). 
So, when his car is there, I can't train because there's no room. And it's always there, because my dad never takes the car.
A couple of weekends ago, my parents went to the sea, and when my father dropped me a message I immediately knew that I had to make the most out of the chance. 
Doubtful and trembling I warmed up, trying to put an emphasis on big recruitment more than pulling force. I did a few lock offs and some HIIT. Then I went down. I took it easy and felt good. So I tried, with the idea that I was going to perform poorly, but also with the desire to use this test as the starting base for future training. 
It turned out that my worries were a bit excessive, as the video shows. 

I am very psyched, even my left arm felt good with three/four one armers. There's no video of it because I need to stop my body from twisting using my right hand on the beam - an old, badly healed collarbone fracture makes my left shoulder girdle very weak - so it's not a good sight and probably it takes some weight off also. 
With proper Summer training things could become very interesting. 
Then: last Friday I won my first trial, the first one I followed from start to finish. It's been epic, from sleepless nights full of worries, to a proper fight in Court, with the judge nearly kicking me out so furious I was. But then I crushed the fuck out of the other parts: one was a Public Administration and the other a company that is the collection agency for taxes, that was condemned also to pay our expenses. Fuck you bastards: see my guns and hide! 


In the pics: a few Nike athletes are going to need a new job. Of course I wasn't dressed like this in Court.

End of self promotion, on with the rant. 
I've bumped into this picture: 
 
Everyone, has bumped into this, or a similar one. They're used to make fun of Arnold, and of those who dedicate themselves to the cult of muscle. The aim is to show how these things are temporary, how we are all subject to Mother Nature's laws. 
Well, thanks for nothing, assholes. 
The idiots who post these pics, do not understand that once you've been good at something even for a day, that day will remain forever in your life as an asset, as a success, and as a treasure. The fact that it's temporary - like everything in life, life included - it's just a lame excuse to sit there and become fat and ugly before time, accelerating the ageing process, instead of slowing it down. 
Motherfuckers that never were good at anything even for a single day in life. Arnold, and many others in many disciplines, from sport to culture, to art, were the best or tried to be the best in their fields for at least one day. And this is all that matters.

Thursday, 5 June 2014

HIIT. KIND OF...

One, of the many things that really piss me off about having broken my meninscus, is not being able to sprint anymore.
I'm getting older and it's getting harder and harder to keep good form, so every possible activity is welcome. Every possible activity that contributes to power and burning some fat, in this order of importance. Regular cardio, steady state or not, is not welcome. 
If you ask yourself why you should not do any regular cardio, refer to the font of all information, T-Nation. The concept of "skinny fat", however, should clarify everything, and should keep you awake at night and make you tremble during the day, for the fear of becoming one. 
So, I can't sprint, but that doesn't mean that I can't perform other high intensity excercises. 
Yesterday I did this routine of five excercises: spider crawl (+6kg), skip, gloves, snatch high pulls and front levers; each one - except the snatch high pulls - consisting of six sets of 10" max efforts, with 30" intervals. 
It was fun and I'll be doing it again. Fun means horribly hard. I didn't puke but was close. 
But not so soon. DOMS are kicking in already and I feel as if I'd wrestled an M1 Abram tank at full speed. And won. 
Do yourself a favour, do some high intensity training. 
Videos below.