Saturday, June 27, 2009

first full week back at it

Accomplished three days of training this week - two of bjj, one of beginner's mma.

While I have plenty of improvement to make, I'll celebrate the tiny victories of NOT gassing out after the first hour, the hallmark of my other scattered visits this month.

For bjj, I'm looking at reprogramming a lot of moves/positions. Granted, this happens all the time over the course of anyone's bjj practice, but damned if it didn't initially make me wonder what the sam hell I've been doing/learning/half-assing up until now. But I've trained with so many different gyms/schools/people to know that there is NO definitive armbar, guard pass, or scarf hold. And every time I think I've found the new ultimate variant, I'm proven wrong.

But that's cool. Refinement is key.

And I surely won't be getting bored anytime soon, not that that's much of a threat with bjj. I have plenty of refinements to make. How I set in kesa getame (and how my school's theories on it compare with the new Kesting vid I've been watching on it). Utilizing the cross grips when applying the armbar from guard (maybe I'm lazy, maybe it's my short arms, but I tend to rely more on applying an armbar via leg/hip mobility - a trend that pervades probably the vast majority of my techniques... damn I need to work on shoulder instability so I can grow some balls about my arm strength). Utilizing pants grips.

MMA class is mostly for ego gratification. I'll admit it. I came from stand up, and it's something that I'm not necessarily wanting to focus on full time, but it's something I can feel some degree of aptitude at and have less reason to be critical of myself. I say that now, but I'm sure I'll find a way to start tearing apart my stand up in due time.

I haven't had my boxing gloves on in probably the better part of a year. I didn't expect to last long at all. I managed a round on the mitts, five on the heavy bag, and another round doing ground and pound on a grounded bag. Sure, my biceps are a little sore today, handwriting has been tough, and the spread across my back from shoulder to shoulder is fatigued, but other than that, all is well. I'd forgotten how much fun it was.

We also worked on some throws that I'm assuming were judo based, but I recognized more from my study of Gracie self defense. Those were fun as well, especially with the advantage of having a crash pad to land/throw on. Takes the apprehension out of being tossed. Well, it did until my partner misjudged the distance and plopped me down on the floor.

I finished my first full 4x7 protocol this week as well. I will certainly stick to this idea when I can, although I really can't control the intensity of bjj/mma training. I can, however, control the supplemental training, and maybe that will do. I've not yet started a new 4x7 but I plan to soon. I'm just trying to suss out what aspects of CST I will encorporate this go round.

the first protocol was a bodyweight exercised based one for fat loss. Being that I ballooned up 10-15 lbs. on prednisone in the middle of the protocol, I have no idea what the effectiveness was. I'm nearing my pre-prednisone weight now, so I can surely attribute the protocol's work to that. However, I honestly felt as though I could've been doing more this whole time. Maybe not on the low and no intensity days, but on the moderate and high intensity days, I felt as though I should've been doing more.

The next protocol will involve weight-bearing exercises for sure. That may only be clubbell work, or it may be clubbells and going back to doing some lifting at the regular gym. I'm also abandoning hamster wheel cardio. LSD cardio isn't doing much for me besides burning calories in a slow and boring manner. I will, however, try to shift to interval cardio. I know the ArcTrainer has a dandy interval program or two, but the elliptical machine does not. I may alternate the arctrainer with rowing or the airdyne for intervals and see how that goes.

I'm also re-reading John Berardi's Precision Nutrition. I did some cleaning up of my basic diet a year or so ago, and the few (very few) changes I made yielded great results-- consistently lower cholesterol, and just feeling better overall. Clearly I have more work to do. Being that my new job will keep me in a controlled setting, that means I can better control what I'm consuming. I need to figure out what the smart things to pack in my lunch pail to graze on all day are.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

other training/suck it up.

So I'm kinda thinking that I may as well document my "side" training in CST - circular strength training - as well since it's quite aligned with my bjj training.

Last week I started my first dedicated attempt at a 4x7 protocol on intensity cycling that I really think may be of benefit to me, since it keeps me from redlining all the time. You're basically starting on a moderate day, then a high intensity day, then NO intensity, low intensity, then repeat.

Note: rest is forced. I need this in my world. I am an idiot and will go go go until I mess up a knee, shoulder, spleen, whatever. This was a fine procedure to follow back when I was in high school, and maybe through my 20s, but those days, sadly, are long over.

The hilarity I'm finding in this 4x7 thing is that I have the most difficulty out of my low intensity days. Those are reserved for prasara yoga flows and maybe some intu-flow sequences. But mostly, it's the yoga. And yoga is kicking my ass.

Yoga isn't hard in the conventional sense, but it has brought a new humiliating factor to training for me. It's like going from playing an overdriven electric guitar to a 6-string acoustic. All of your sloppiness is going to be blatantly obvious, if not amplified by the lack of noise to cover it up. You cannot force your way through yoga, there is no muscling through it, nor rushing. You do either, you're probably going to eff yourself up nicely.

and then you're going to feel ultra stupid explaining that no, you can't roll or whatever because you hurt yourself doing yoga. you've spent the prior 3 days doing jumping squats, spinal rocks, leg swoops, clubbell swings, etc. but NO, you hurt yourself trying to hold a pose for a few breaths. You wiped out, pranged your wrist or tweaked an elbow and now you're all zen injured. idiot.

it's been a long while since yoga was a regular part of my training, and I know why now. because it doesn't have that immediate gratification of say lifting, or swinging clubbells or kettlebells, or ripping off 400 calories in 20 minutes on the cybex machine, etc. you don't necessarily emerge from yoga with your shirt discolored with sweat, in a pattern that says "I can pick up really heavy things and crush them in my mighty hands" and if there's a high five involved, you're giving it to yourself internally. such celebration might seem, I don't know, brutish and eff up everyone's chakra. or something.

but here's the thing: yoga forces your lazy ass to be present in the moment of what you're doing. It forces you to see what parts of your structure are faulty, and no amount of muscle is going to fix it for you. you're just going to have to deal with it, work around it, and work up to it.

because it is giving me this much grief, maybe that's my sign to work a little harder on it. and so I will.

in other quasi-related blabbering, I think I will go back to bjj this week. my burnout isn't getting any better sitting at home. I didn't use to structure bjj around whatever was going on in my life. it WAS my life, and things got scheduled around bjj. I'm making myself more bummed out staying away than I could possibly feel going back.

I've spent all weekend reading updates on the world championships in CA this weekend, so clearly the interest is still there. I finally plowed through that Gracie mag, too. All good signs. :)

Monday, June 1, 2009

burnout/lost muse

while it's far from the first time I've experienced it, I'm amidst one of those horrid burned out phases.

and the timing sucks. I'm starting to go to a whole `nuther gym to train at. Plenty of new people to roll with, new things to learn, etc. and I can't seem to generate the usual compulsive level of interest for training. A new Gracie Mag showed up in my mailbox today, and all I can think is "Gee, I haven't even finished the last two issues."

Normally I tear through those the day they arrive. I leafed through mine a little while, but then sat it down.

It's still the reason I drag myself onto a hamster wheel cardio machine at the gym for boring half hours upon half hours. Why I lift heavy things and put them back down until my body whines for me to stop, and then do it a few more times. Why I subsidize several supplement companies with my purchases. Why I keep looking into new means of improvement to flexibility, recovery rates, endurance, stamina, functional strength. Why I have no room for regular clothes. Why my truck windows are littered with bjj/mma stickers until it looks like a Nascar contender. Why I no longer bruise easily (and rarely care when I do).

It breaks my heart when these phases come into my life. Sure, they've always passed, but damn, never quickly enough.

It's ridiculous. For as many nagging "why don't you just quit" thoughts, there are just a few more "you can't stop now" ones.

hmm. Tarsis Humphreys does look triumphant on that cover, though. Maybe I'll just check out a few more pages of Gracie Mag.