Sunday, November 10, 2013

10,000 Kettlebell Swings In The Air

    Once again I'm approaching that time of the year where my thoughts turn to what sort of crazy sprint I'm going to do for what I call the "Turkey-to-Tree" period.  As you can probably imagine, it's that month between Thanksgiving and Christmas where holiday parties abound, complete with tons of horrible for you food and drink all laid out in the spirit of festive giving and sharing.  Now, I have no problem with festive giving and sharing, but I decided a while back that I didn't really want to follow the pattern of bloating, err, sorry, bulking up over the holiday hibernation period and taking the following quarter to shed the accompanying...well let's just call it what it is, fat, for the beach season.  So I (try) to do what I call a Turkey-to-Tree sprint every year, or T2T (catchy, eh?).

    I started doing Turkey-to-Tree sprints a while ago, but didn't do one last year for a few reasons (bad relationship, busy at work, etc), nor the year before for a few reasons (bad relationship, moving, changing jobs, etc), so I'm pretty committed to doing one this year, and since there are no relationships whatsoever anywhere near me, other than those of my dear friends up in Seattle, who I'm very much looking forward to spending a long and incredibly inebriated birthday weekend with in a few months, what better time to re-visit an old ritual that's always done me some good? I really like the T2T for a few reasons:

  • It springboards me into the next year really well.  I want to get back to being big and strong like I was a few years ago when I started seriously powerlifting, and I've made good progress in the past coming off of a good, high-intensity, moderate-to-low calorie resistance program.
  • It's the end of the year, why not just go out in a balls-to-the-wall, all-in, sprint to the finish?  I love the holidays and everything we associate with them (well except, Black Friday, that's just some BS), but no need to shut down.  In fact, I say take advantage of the empty gyms and empty offices and go hard and heavy.  Cross the end of the year finish line at a dead sprint and keep going into the new year.

  • It's a great way to burn away all the BS that may or may not have happened during the year.  If you had a fabulous year and are riding high, awesome!  Keep it up, crank hard, and finish up knowing you set one more challenge in front of yourself and killed it!  But maybe you didn't have a GREAT year.  Maybe there were some things that you just want to slough off and in the process refocus.  Take a month, go hard, crank those endorphins up the best way possible and get yourself right.


    Look, I know a relationship, according to conventional wisdom, is the worst reason to stop training.  No!  They say, you should train through it!  Use training to get right!

    That's all well and good but you know, sometimes things just add up.  I'm not saying this as a woe is me sorta thing, i'm just setting some context.  It wasn't just the "relationship", it was alot of the things surrounding it as well.  It had me questioning my self worth, my interaction with other people, even my value to my company, everything.  Basically, it played on every insecurity I have about myself and put me in the lowest spot I've ever been personally, and because of some of the specifics, I wasn't able to really talk to anyone about it, and the other party was pretty much unwilling to try and talk, resolve, come to closure, anything.

    So, I need to do something different (and yes, I know, I need to man up.  I'm working on that as well).  I need to do something that gets me focused, gets me breathing, gets me moving, gets the rest of this fat off, and just gets me reset.  I know it's all in my head, because outside of that one thing, everything else has been pretty solid.  Work's gone...ok, my other training, Kajukenbo, Silat, grappling, even lifting, have all been spot on, even with the knee and shoulder problems.  Sometimes things just get too big and out of control because you didn't stomp em down and walk away when you should've.  So, anyway...(and for those of you who have some idea what I'm talking about, this is the last I'm going to say on it.  Sorry if I've been a dick or treated you less than well.  I can't promise it's going to get better soon, but I'm working on it.  That's what I got for now, hang out and deal with my BS (which I will attempt to minimize for social grace), or check back in 6 months.)


    It's funny, because you all probably know my take on extreme volume/intensity/etc programs that are poorly thought out or just done for the sake of being difficult.  Well, I've been a Dan John fan for quite a while, and if there's one thing I've learned about his work, he doesn't just do random things.  Everything that makes it to the public from Dan John comes from testing, observation, and of course, Dan's quite considerable amount of experience.  So when I saw this, it seemed like the perfect way to end the year.  5 weeks, 20 workouts, 10,000 Kettlebell Swings.  Me being me, of course, I also saw this as a chance to do that other thing that I love doing so much, which is plan around/design programs.  I've spent a little bit of time planning (obsessing over) a nutrition and supplementation plan to go along with this, and it's funny, i was mucking about in my spreadsheet today, tweaking some final numbers and it almost literally just appeared.  Total serendipitous moment, it was like the clouds just parted and revealed my nutrition supplementation plan...sounds silly, I know, you had to have been there.  Nutrition and supplementation isn't something Dan touched on in the article, but he does make a few statements that bear some thinking on (from me):
  • "Every person who has completed this 20 workout plan has increased lean muscle mass while dropping body fat."
  • "Everyone got leaner, dropping a waist size or two, in 20 workouts."
  • "Every coach or athlete made visual muscular improvements in their physiques, adding lean body mass."
  • "Abs were more visible..."
    These statements give me pause, not because I don't believe them, but because after years of training, I have a good understanding of how my metabolism works, and I know that if I want to make significant changes, I can't just hop on a really hard program and look markedly different in five weeks.  I have to consider all facets, and I have to hit a bit of an extreme with those other facets too.  I'm not going to sugarcoat it, at the end of the day, part of my drive is I want to look good enough to hook up when I go back to Seattle for my b-day (not that that's on the agenda, but a little positive female attention would do some good for my self-esteem).  I also set a goal of being back around 12-15% BF by the end of the year, and given where I am now, that's doable, but not without some diligence.  Last, while I respect Dan John quite a bit, I also respect my own experience enough to know that, with some tweaks to nutrition and recovery, I can hit this program pretty hard and still hit the dojo as well.  I have another goal of wearing my green belt when I hit Vegas next year for the KSDI Tournament, so no skipping Kaju unless absolutely necessary.  Kickboxing may or may not be necessary for conditioning, we'll give it a test and see what the effect ends up being.

    So that's the preview, I'll talk more about the specifics of my plan at the end of the 5 weeks, what worked, what didn't, and what all I used specifically. November 25th is D-Day, time to do it up.