Monthly Archives: July 2011

Monday Training, 7.25.11

Trained with my friend Travis Ewing today. We’re entering a new phase of really trying to focus on fight-ready conditioning.

We did a light warm-up of Hindu Push-Ups and Squats, 15/15 for 5-min. As an even more intense warm-up, we followed with some Burpee/Boxing Intervals. (Click here to learn about this routine.) Usually people shadow-box the boxing portion of these intervals, but we decided to make things more challenging by putting on heavy gloves and hitting focus mitts. We did this for 5-min each.

Next up, some Chins on the Jungle Gym. I did about 4 sets of 6.

For our kettlebell work, we did this routine from Kettlebell Basics : 3 One Arm Swings, 3 One Arm Squat to Overhead Presses, and 3 One Arm Snatches, all continuously and on the same side, repeated 10 times on each side. Travis finished his circuit in about 9-min, 12-sec; I finished mine in about 10-min, 20-sec. In my defense, I was squatting quite a bit lower, which made things much harder. Or maybe Travis is just tougher than I am!


A Martial Artist Who Hates Violence

I don’t like violence. Yet I train in pretty violent martial arts. Is this contradictory?

To my mind, it isn’t. Learning how to deal with and even commit violence does not mean one is personally violent or likes violence. We don’t expect someone who has trained in CPR to like heart attacks. Heart attacks, like violence, happen whether we want them to or not. It’s best to be prepared.

Also, while I dislike violence, I hate cruelty and evil even more. Have you ever been in a situation where someone was being victimized and you were unable to do anything about it? I was, as a child. A friend’s mother was giving me a ride home early one evening. We drove past a parking lot where I clearly saw an elderly woman being attacked by a gang of teenagers. I told my friend’s mom what I had seen and asked her to pullover and call the police. She refused, saying I didn’t really see what I thought I saw. That happened over 30 years ago, but I still remember it vividly.

I don’t have a hero complex. I hope I’m never in a situation where someone is being assaulted and is in need of help. But if I am, I don’t want to be helpless and unable to do the right thing. Hence, my martial arts training. Similarly, I value my own life, and have no intention of letting someone take it away from me or causing me injury.

I respect and honor life. That is why I’m a vegetarian. It’s also why I’m a martial artist. In a way, I practice hurting people because I cannot stand seeing people get hurt.

It’s Never Too Late to Get Lean, Fit, & Sexy with Kettlebells!

I’m very much a late bloomer when it comes to fitness. Most of my life I was either chunky or thin in a “skinny fat” sort of way. I so weak that I don’t think I could have done more than one push-up in high school. And chin-ups? Totally impossible.

But in my mid-’30s I decided to take charge of my life and my body, and committed myself to getting fit and healthy. It paid off, and now at 40 I’m in the best shape of my life.

My story isn’t unique. People all across the world realize it’s never too late to get in shape. To quote top trainer Scott Sonnon, “Aging – a promise. Growing old – a choice.”

One of my favorite kettlebell coaches, Lauren Brooks Miller, recently highlighted a great example of not letting age get in the way of having the body you want in a recent post on her blog, in which she highlights the accomplishments of Robin Duncan, who in her mid-50s has a physique that would put many younger women to shame.

Lauren also addresses some of the issues people have about training as they get older:

Before working with Robin I was very enthusiastic about trying to convince my older friends and clients in their 50’s and 60’s, that training with kettlebells properly is a must!  Many would say things such as, “Lauren, as you get older you just have to accept the changes. Our bodies get weak and I will never be thin like I use to be, it’s a part of the aging process. Kettlebells are for young, strong individuals like yourself.”  To be honest, I was sick and tired of hearing this negativity that we had to accept weakness, sickness, weight gain, bad backs, just because of our age. Why should we accept and let our bodies deteriorate if we don’t have to? Once you make up your mind and tell yourself you are too old for this and for that, what’s the point?   Truthfully that’s creating a barrier for yourself and not letting you live to your fullest potential, it’s basically giving up.

Strong words, but true.

You can read the whole post here.

Monday Training, 7.18.11

First day back at training after a week off. I kept things fairly simple, but still challenging.

I warmed-up with some yoga  joint mobility work before moving on to 3 sets of 10 Hindu Push-Ups and 20 Hindu Squats, along with 3 sets of 5 Neutral Grip Chins. For my kettlebell workout, I did a routine from Kettlebell Basics I first tried two weeks ago: 3 One Arm Swings, 3 One Arm Squat to Overhead Presses, and 3 One Arm Snatches, all continuously and on the same side, repeated 10 times on each side. Very quick, but very challenging, and definitely in keeping with my new focus on conditioning.

Resetting After a Week Off from Training

I took last week off from any type of training. My wife had a cold, my swim coach had a cold, my kettlebell training partner had a cold, one of my Kali partners had a cold… so inevitably I caught a cold. Well, sort of. I was able to more or less keep sickness at bay (thank you black tea, garlicky pasta, and red wine!), but still spent most of the week feeling far less than 100 percent. Not wanting to get sicker, or to make anyone else sick, I figured it was best to just take it easy for a few days.

In a way, taking a week off worked out well. I’m planning on tweaking the focus of my training by ramping up the conditioning side of things. This will mean some workout sessions will be shorter, but more intense. I want to blast away some pockets of flab while improving my fighting performance, and trust me, being a good fighter requires top conditioning. Think of the saying “Fatigue makes cowards of us all.”

So instead of feeling bad about missing a week of training, I think of this as a chance to reset for new challenges ahead.

Monday Training, 7.04.11

Went to the beach this morning and did about 10-min of yoga before going for a 400m ocean swim.

This afternoon I warmed-up with some joint mobility work before moving on to 3 sets of 15 Hindu Push-Ups along with 5 Pull-Ups, 6 Neutral Grip Chins, and 7 Chin-Ups. For my kettlebell workouts, I’ve decided to make them a bit more conditioning oriented. So today I did a routine I found onKettlebell Basics. Here’s a description and video:

To perform this combo, you’ll do 3 One Arm Swings, 3 One Arm Squat to Overhead Presses, and 3 One Arm Snatches, all continuously and on the same side.

You’ll then switch sides and complete the circuit again on the opposite side.

Complete ten rounds of this on the right and ten rounds on the left for a complete workout.

This was a great kettlebell workout, and more challenging then you might think. It took me about 12-min to finish, but in those 12-min I worked up one hell of a sweat.

Active Rest Weekend, 7.02.11-7.03.11

I felt unusually energetic Saturday, so I decided to do a light workout. Specifically, I wanted to do something that would complement my martial arts training (no doubt because I’ve been bouncing back and forth between reading Barry Eisler‘s awesome John Rain novels and Sgt. Rory Miller‘s Meditations on Violence).

I warmed-up with about 10-min of yoga. Then I just did a bunch of moves one after another: 15 Hindu Push-Ups and 30 Hindu Squats; Planks and Side Planks; Triangles, Rocking Chair, and other BJJ-related core work. I did this circuit three times before heading outside to do a couple of 4-min rounds on the heavy bag.

Sunday was a more mellow day. I went to the beach, did 10-min of yoga and then swam 400m. No Hindu stuff… I figured it’s always good to take a day of rest to let the body recover.