In Omnia Paratus – Ready for anything
A generally good credo, one the boyscouts have made their own as “Be Prepared”. Having your house in good order, having a wide breadth of life knowledge and wisdom, and generally having life flexibility to react and come up with contingency plans to situations as they arise are all signs of a Leader. Being “ready for anything” means you can deal with situations with cool aplomb and be a rock that others depend on rather than a scatterbrained ball of stress. Which do you think is better?
This post will be the first of several on health as we start 2013.
Before I get into the meat below, I thought I’d share a link for those trying to lose weight in 2013. It’s an old one from MarksDailyApple (of which I’m a huge fan) but still applicable:
Having just finished the book Primal Body, Primal Mind: Beyond the Paleo Diet for Total Health and a Longer Life, I think the biggest thing people can do to improve their diet (and drop fat) is eliminate all flours and pastas and breads and cereals (including those with whole wheat) and processed foods (with all the partially hydrogenated oils and HFCS). I’ll do a post on this soon, but the book above was pretty eye opening to me and I’ve read most of the ones on the subject. MarksDailyApple is a great place to start a new healthy journey in my opinion.
[WARNING: Workout/Training Post Ahead!]
As you may know, I’ve been doing Crossfit or Crossfit-esque training for a little over a year, after being an endurance junky with triathlon events. Quite the change to go from 143 lbs long distance triathlete (skinny fat, when just endurance lean with low BF I was about 135 lbs) to a 165 lbs strong, lean and hitting some half-way decent strength numbers in about 18 months was challenging. To go from long-slow workouts to short, heavy and intense workouts was mind-bending for me and very challenging. After doing some semblance of the stronglifts 5×5 and Starting Strength linear progression workouts for approximately a year I was plateaued or stalled out, only making limited progress. I was also pretty bored with it and needed something new. I was dropping into our local Crossfit gym (which does decent programming that I generally agree with) about once or twice a week to mix things up, but programmed mostly myself. That is to say it was somewhat by feel and consisted of linear progession-esque heavy lifting as the core with short to moderate length metabolic conditioning (high intensity) efforts. I got stronger but it was a slow and arduous process and wasn’t thrilled with the results. I also competed adequately in a local Crossfit competition and had a blast. As a competitive person, I wanted to get better faster. Enter The Outlaw Way.
The Outlaw Way is primarily designed for competetive lifters/crossfitters and had a number of athletes in the last couple Crossfit Games, which if you’ve caught on ESPN or ESPN2 know those men and women are BEASTS.
Designer and Outlaw programmer Rudy Nielsen knows his stuff. According to this great article, he primarily been working with Louie Simmons Westside system Conjugate Method. This method was generally designed to squat more, bench more and deadlift more and use supportive exercises to increase those. Rudy backed off the bench (though we’ve been doing a bench once a week this winter as part of the strength block) as well as deadlifts (they do submaximal deadlift work and stuff throw into workouts) and added much more olympic style weightlifting as many of the Crossfit exercises are similar and use similar type explosive movements. Add in gymnastic stuff (rings, pullups) and that’s the basis for his program. Basically with limited core lifts and movements, he programs it so we’re ready for nearly everything that we could expect to see – In Omnia Paratus is their motto.
Some members of our gym, including my wife and I, are competing in a 2-day competition later this winter and I wanted to get the ball rolling on accelerated improvement. When programming myself, especially with the linear progression stuff as written, I struggled to make progress, recover adequately and generally stay healthy with anything deadlift related. I was skeptical about how well this would work, especially since my olympic lifting left a lot to be desired. I dipped my toe into Outlaw in early September for about a week and a half, then had my vasectomy, traveled some for work and started for real in the mid-part of October, so about 12 weeks at the time of this writing. I’ve done most of the workouts, but have to drop the weight a bit on the standard workouts to roughly 80% of what the big-boys are doing.
Here’s what I found in my brief time following it. Since I’ve started, we’ve been in the competition off-season. Rudy breaks up his training into blocks, and right now we’re in a strength block with enough interval work to keep us relatively lean and honest. The training isn’t designed to peak for my own personal competition this winter, but workup to a spring and summer peak. As it stands, I’ve made some huge jumps in strength and ability to move weight in that time… as noted below. The biggest thing I immediately felt was sore shoulders and traps from all the overhead work we were doing that I wasn’t used to. Beyond that, it was getting used to doing snatch work and clean and jerk (which I know I’m still ugly, but getting better) about 4 days a week. Normal Crossfit gyms may do it once or twice a week per oly lift.
I don’t do a lot 1 rep max (1 RM) testing, but here are some examples of improvements since Outlaw and generally over the last year or less. These numbers are ok at my bodyweight, not great and there are a lot stronger dudes (and ladies) out there that cream my numbers. The bottom line is that I’m making steady improvements.
1 RM (squat) Snatch: 135# pre-Outlaw (Sept. 2012), 155# after about 8 weeks (early Dec. 2012)
1 RM Clean and Jerk: 170# pre-Outlaw (Sept. 2012), 205# after about 15 weeks (early Jan. 2013)
Overhead Squat: tested previously January 28, 2012 at 135#, tested again on Oct. 26, 2012 at 185#
Finally, one of the Regional Crossfit Games workouts last spring (March 2012) was what they call a “snatch ladder” [sounds hot!]. It tests both conditioning and strength. You have 10 minutes to do 30 snatches at 75#, then 30 at 135#, then 30 at 165#, and finally 210#. I did this workout on March 10 and got through 13 of the 135# snatches before time expired (if you look at my max weight that’s heavy for me, even now). I did this workout again just before Christmas and got through 26 reps at that weight (simply ran out of time and had a couple failed reps in there).
So improvements being made all around.
My bench (225#), back squat (260#) and front squat (225#) are all as high as they’ve been and are slightly higher than pre-injured condition from earlier this year so I’m good with that and still making minor gains there as well.
Probably early February, I plan to show some photos over the last year and a half of how my body has changed from skinny-fat endurance guy, to after I completed INSANITY to before Outlaw (this summer) to after about 16 weeks of Outlaw. I’m training for strength, muscular endurance and short bursts of power, have been eating my face off and as a result I’ve gotten reasonably strong and [BONUS] Look Good Naked but am carrying a little more fat than I’d like. Obviously, you can accomplish the LGN part by P90X or numerous other ways, but this method is meeting my goals of improving for competition at the same time.
Stay motivated this year and start 2013 off on the right foot, whatever your goals may be.