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The Quest for Conditioning

It’s a new day, and with a new day comes a new experiment. Another 10-14 day cycle of doing something slightly drastic and silly, to see if it’s the magic bullet that accomplishes the right combination of my five major goals: better metabolic conditioning, increased strength, increased muscle mass, fat loss, asthma control. Coming back from New Orleans, my priority rankings of these five would be:

1: asthma control – we’re back at once-a-day inhaler use, and that may be a conservative estimate
2: conditioning – I got in a lot of suitcase-carrying walking through NOLA last week, but I’ll say it – I kinda miss CrossFit and the crazy bodyweight WOD’s I was able to do 1-2 years ago


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3: fat loss – it’s beach season, and there have been requests for me to rock a pair of Daniel-Craig-as-James-Bond style trunks the next time I hit the Gulf
4: strength – I know I put this at #4, but I’m sure I’ll be pissed next time I struggle through 4 measly reps of 185lb bench press
5: muscle mass – eh, I feel like I’m big enough for now, especially considering it’s summer (see #3)

So, how to accomplish this? Obviously, a Paleo challenge, yes? Perfect! Except… the Magic City Brew Fest is coming next week, and the allure of sampling dozens of rare, high-quality high-gravity beers is too much to resist. POSTPONE. Which brings me to priority #2 – conditioning. I’ve put together a tough 10-day workout schedule that emulates what training-for-the-Games CrossFitters are doing to build strength and fitness capacity. If it works (and doesn’t kill me), it *may* just be the training regimen I use for the summer.

The Lifts: Reverse Pyramid training, with a 4-workout cycle that runs for 10 days (so I get 1-2 rest days after each lift). Sticking with 2 movements a day, 2 sets per movement. In the afternoon around 3-5pm, in accordance with Carb Backloading’s idea of lifting in a low-cortisol state.

1 – squats 5 reps / 6 reps – hang power cleans 8 reps / 10 reps
2 – bench 5 reps / 6 reps – dummbell rows 8 reps / 10 reps
3 – deadlifts 5 reps / 6 reps – overhead squats 8 reps / 10 reps (or farmer’s walk)
4 – weighted pullups 5 reps / 6 reps – shoulder press 8 reps / 10 reps

During these 10 days, I also want to do a bunch of quick 5-10 minute early morning conditioning workouts, on a 4-day-on/1-day-off schedule (so 8 WODs altogether). Simple things. 50 burpees for time, 100 kettlebell swings at 53 lbs, 4-8 uphill sprints, running the stairs in my condo. Obviously, I’ve already started, and my first round of 50 burpees took 4:08. Faster than I predicted, but close to a minute slower than my best-ever pace. And I was gassed. Had I extended to 100, it would have taken me 10 minutes easy.

In practice, it turns out like this:

AM metcon PM lift
22-May N/A squat / hang clean
23-May burpee N/A
24-May KB bench / dumbbell row
25-May stairs N/A
26-May sprint N/A
27-May burpee deads / overhead squat
28-May N/A N/A
29-May KB N/A
30-May sprint chins / shoulder press
31-May stairs N/A

Diet: obviously important, considering the heavy workload I’m doing. I’m eating as much Paleo food as I can, with lots of root vegetables including some regular potatoes (but preferably sweet potatoes). A couple cheat meals with ice cream or chocolate. And of course, the beer. I’m saving the high-carb loads for 60 minutes after a workout, but immediately after a WOD or lift, I’m going to take Robb Wolf’s advice and have a low-carb protein shake (50g whey protein, 10-15g fat of some sort). Otherwise, I’m going to eat as much as I want, not obsessing over counting calories or strategically stuffing myself.

And that’s the plan. The risks: injury, possibly, considering the relatively new met-con load. Overtraining. Not being able to build strength because of extra energy going to the morning WODs / not enough recovery time. The benefits: potentially losing some body fat, as long as I let the eating and sleeping take care of themselves and don’t restrict anything. Also, being in better shape, which I’m sure I already have a good handle on, but who knows? Maybe something about turning 32 has sparked me to rediscover trying to be obscenely fit.

Yummy photos from New Orleans coming tomorrow!

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