Tuesday, November 30, 2010

feeling the bday love

"All you need is love."
~ John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Thanks everyone for all the birthday love I'm receiving today!!

L2R: Mark, myself, and the "Jordanian juggernaut" Firas after some post-workout recovery tacos and coffee!

A. 800 meter warm-up run, 300 single-unders, max double-unders in 1 minute

B. muscle-up skill work, max muscle-ups in 1 minute

C. Aaron’s B-Day Special!!
***5 Rounds:***
-31 seconds hold chin over bar
-31 seconds hold active squat
-31 seconds hold ring dip extension
-31 seconds hold handstand

D. tabata shuttle run (20 yards)

Monday, November 29, 2010

unleash yourself

“You cannot be great if you never try to be greater than yourself. That's where true greatness really lies. Unleash yourself.”
~ Erwan Le Corre

You gotta read Blair Morrison's latest post: Fitness is...

Hey! What's this still reading here stuff?? Go. Read it. Then re-read it. Absorb it. Apply it. Unleash yourself.

box squat
10x2 @ 85% of 1RM, sets across
4-count down, fast up

All at 185#, felt good.

WOD from CrossFit Football
for time:
kettlebell American swing @ 2 pood
dumbbell thruster @ 50lbs DBs

7:59 rx'd

Slow. Swings and pull-ups unbroken, but I took all day long on the dumbbells. Hellllloooo Monday!

I hope everyone's Thanksgiving was as great as mine! I spent the weekend in Pearland with my family, where I met my cousin's baby girl Charlotte!

Charlotte and me

Charlotte with her mom and dad

Life is great! Peace.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


"At times our own light goes out and is rekindled by a spark from another person. Each of us has cause to think with deep gratitude of those who have lighted the flame within us."
- Albert Schweitzer

If I tried to list all that I'm thankful for I'd inevitably, mistakenly, forget someone. So...

I am thankful for all the blessings and challenges in my life. I have a great life! I try to never take it for granted.

Have a wonderful Thanksgiving y'all. Stay safe and watch out for each other. Peace.

Monday, November 22, 2010

spirit polishing

“The purpose of training is to tighten up the slack, toughen the body, and polish the spirit.”
- Morihei Ueshiba, founder of Aikido

Happy Monday! I'm crazy busy today - throwing up a short post to start the week. I did strength training this morning.

back squat
5x3 @ 95% of 1RM, sets across



Friday, November 19, 2010

this day

"Nothing is worth more than this day."
- Johann Wolfgang von Geothe

A little fall color in the Texas hill country.

hang power clean


That ****ing third rep! On the first set @ 175 I wasn't lifting like I meant it. I was in my head on the second set @ 175. On the last set @ 175 I lost my grip. An OK day. I need to practice more footwork on the receiving position...

I'm hill country bound for the weekend! Have a great one y'all. Peace.

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

define your destiny

“Your thoughts will become your words. Your words will become your actions. Your actions will become your habits. Your habits will become your character. Your character will define your destiny.”
- Gandhi

Positive Self Talk: Defining Your Destiny

Roundtable in Tahoe: The Psychological Component

Holy psoasinator Batman - it's a rest day!!

And check out this sick "speedflying" video!!

Tuesday, November 16, 2010


I walked into SICFIT Austin on sore legs this morning. Since I missed "Fran" yesterday, I was pumped that Winchester had another gut check lined up for us. I was just hoping my legs would hold up...

"Lumberjack 20"
for time:
20 deadlifts @ 275lbs
400 meter run
20 kettlebell swings @ 2 pood
400 meter run
20 overhead squats @ 115lbs
400 meter run
20 burpees
400 meter run
20 chest-to-bar pullups
400 meter run
20 box jumps @ 24" box
400 meter run
20 dumbbell squat-cleans @ 45lbs DBs
400 meter run

32:02 rx'd

I took forrr-evvv-errrr [gratuitous Sandlot refrence] on the deadlifts. Did those in three's until 15, then 2,1,1,1. The two pood swings were cake but I had to break up the OHS. Posterior chain was pretty well done after the deadlifts - truthfully it was pretty well done after yesterday's squats - but I digress. The stretch with bodyweight stuff was gravy. Did the burpees, pull-ups, and box jumps all unbroken. That felt damn good! The DB cleans became a matter of willpower. Thanks again Firas for getting in my face on those! Even managed to pick up the pace on the last 200 meters back into the gym. Lying on the floor was quite a reward today!

Good times. Hopefully I can walk normally tomorrow. Life is great! Peace.

Monday, November 15, 2010

the iron and Andy Irons

Good $h!t here... if you've already read it, read it again. You might be surprised at what jumps out at you this time.

The Iron
by Henry Rollins

I believe that the definition of definition is reinvention. To not be like your parents. To not be like your friends. To be yourself.


When I was young I had no sense of myself. All I was, was a product of all the fear and humiliation I suffered. Fear of my parents. The humiliation of teachers calling me "garbage can" and telling me I'd be mowing lawns for a living. And the very real terror of my fellow students. I was threatened and beaten up for the color of my skin and my size. I was skinny and clumsy, and when others would tease me I didn't run home crying, wondering why.

I knew all too well. I was there to be antagonized. In sports I was laughed at. A spaz. I was pretty good at boxing but only because the rage that filled my every waking moment made me wild and unpredictable. I fought with some strange fury. The other boys thought I was crazy.

I hated myself all the time.

As stupid at it seems now, I wanted to talk like them, dress like them, carry myself with the ease of knowing that I wasn't going to get pounded in the hallway between classes. Years passed and I learned to keep it all inside. I only talked to a few boys in my grade. Other losers. Some of them are to this day the greatest people I have ever known. Hang out with a guy who has had his head flushed down a toilet a few times, treat him with respect, and you'll find a faithful friend forever. But even with friends, school sucked. Teachers gave me hard time. I didn't think much of them either.

Then came Mr. Pepperman, my advisor. He was a powerfully built Vietnam veteran, and he was scary. No one ever talked out of turn in his class. Once one kid did and Mr. P. lifted him off the ground and pinned him to the blackboard. Mr. P. could see that I was in bad shape, and one Friday in October he asked me if I had ever worked out with weights. I told him no. He told me that I was going to take some of the money that I had saved and buy a hundred-pound set of weights at Sears. As I left his office, I started to think of things I would say to him on Monday when he asked about the weights that I was not going to buy. Still, it made me feel special. My father never really got that close to caring. On Saturday I bought the weights, but I couldn't even drag them to my mom's car. An attendant laughed at me as he put them on a dolly.

Monday came and I was called into Mr. P.'s office after school. He said that he was going to show me how to work out. He was going to put me on a program and start hitting me in the solar plexus in the hallway when I wasn't looking. When I could take the punch we would know that we were getting somewhere. At no time was I to look at myself in the mirror or tell anyone at school what I was doing. In the gym he showed me ten basic exercises. I paid more attention than I ever did in any of my classes. I didn't want to blow it. I went home that night and started right in.

Weeks passed, and every once in a while Mr. P. would give me a shot and drop me in the hallway, sending my books flying. The other students didn't know what to think. More weeks passed, and I was steadily adding new weights to the bar. I could sense the power inside my body growing. I could feel it.

Right before Christmas break I was walking to class, and from out of nowhere Mr. Pepperman appeared and gave me a shot in the chest. I laughed and kept going. He said I could look at myself now. I got home and ran to the bathroom and pulled off my shirt. I saw a body, not just the shell that housed my stomach and my heart. My biceps bulged. My chest had definition. I felt strong. It was the first time I can remember having a sense of myself. I had done something and no one could ever take it away. You couldn't say s--t to me.

It took me years to fully appreciate the value of the lessons I have learned from the Iron. I used to think that it was my adversary, that I was trying to lift that which does not want to be lifted. I was wrong. When the Iron doesn't want to come off the mat, it's the kindest thing it can do for you. If it flew up and went through the ceiling, it wouldn't teach you anything. That's the way the Iron talks to you. It tells you that the material you work with is that which you will come to resemble. That which you work against will always work against you.

It wasn't until my late twenties that I learned that by working out I had given myself a great gift. I learned that nothing good comes without work and a certain amount of pain. When I finish a set that leaves me shaking, I know more about myself. When something gets bad, I know it can't be as bad as that workout.

I used to fight the pain, but recently this became clear to me: pain is not my enemy; it is my call to greatness. But when dealing with the Iron, one must be careful to interpret the pain correctly. Most injuries involving the Iron come from ego. I once spent a few weeks lifting weight that my body wasn't ready for and spent a few months not picking up anything heavier than a fork. Try to lift what you're not prepared to and the Iron will teach you a little lesson in restraint and self-control.

I have never met a truly strong person who didn't have self-respect. I think a lot of inwardly and outwardly directed contempt passes itself off as self-respect: the idea of raising yourself by stepping on someone's shoulders instead of doing it yourself. When I see guys working out for cosmetic reasons, I see vanity exposing them in the worst way, as cartoon characters, billboards for imbalance and insecurity. Strength reveals itself through character. It is the difference between bouncers who get off strong-arming people and Mr.Pepperman.

Muscle mass does not always equal strength. Strength is kindness and sensitivity. Strength is understanding that your power is both physical and emotional. That it comes from the body and the mind. And the heart.

Yukio Mishima said that he could not entertain the idea of romance if he was not strong. Romance is such a strong and overwhelming passion, a weakened body cannot sustain it for long. I have some of my most romantic thoughts when I am with the Iron. Once I was in love with a woman. I thought about her the most when the pain from a workout was racing through my body.

Everything in me wanted her. So much so that sex was only a fraction of my total desire. It was the single most intense love I have ever felt, but she lived far away and I didn't see her very often. Working out was a healthy way of dealing with the loneliness. To this day, when I work out I usually listen to ballads.

I prefer to work out alone.

It enables me to concentrate on the lessons that the Iron has for me. Learning about what you're made of is always time well spent, and I have found no better teacher. The Iron had taught me how to live. Life is capable of driving you out of your mind. The way it all comes down these days, it's some kind of miracle if you're not insane. People have become separated from their bodies. They are no longer whole.

I see them move from their offices to their cars and on to their suburban homes. They stress out constantly, they lose sleep, they eat badly. And they behave badly. Their egos run wild; they become motivated by that which will eventually give them a massive stroke. They need the Iron Mind.

Through the years, I have combined meditation, action, and the Iron into a single strength. I believe that when the body is strong, the mind thinks strong thoughts. Time spent away from the Iron makes my mind degenerate. I wallow in a thick depression. My body shuts down my mind.

The Iron is the best antidepressant I have ever found. There is no better way to fight weakness than with strength. Once the mind and body have been awakened to their true potential, it's impossible to turn back.

The Iron never lies to you. You can walk outside and listen to all kinds of talk, get told that you're a god or a total bastard. The Iron will always kick you the real deal. The Iron is the great reference point, the all-knowing perspective giver. Always there like a beacon in the pitch black. I have found the Iron to be my greatest friend. It never freaks out on me, never runs. Friends may come and go. But two hundred pounds is always two hundred pounds.


Over the weekend, thousands of people around the world took part in a 'paddle out' to say goodbye to Andy Irons. RIP Andy.

I did strength work today.

back squat
5x5, sets across

185-185-185-185F (x4)-185

I didn't take long enough rest between sets 3 and 4... otherwise, I'm feeling good. Peace.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

be manly

"Manliness consists not in bluff, bravado or lordliness. It consists in daring to do the right and facing consequences whether it is in matters social, political or other. It consists in deeds, not in words."
- Gandhi

Since it's "mo-vember" check out the 35 manliest mustaches of all time.


Saturday, November 13, 2010

Defiant Saturday

This morning I picked up Ingrid and we headed to Pflugerville's Defiant CrossFit for their free Saturday workout. This was the first time I'd been up to Defiant since coach Heather Hodges opened it's doors. It was great to see some familiar faces - Lory and Chardonnay were there - and to make some new acquaintances. After warming up we got after a team workout.

15 minute AMRAP for total reps
team of 6, one person at each station, one person resting, rotate upon completion of sandbag run:
sandbag run
bicycle crunches
kettlebell swings
box jumps

I don't recall my team's total count, but it was a fun one!

Heather and her crew have put together a great gym with a fun and welcoming environment. Thanks to Defiant CrossFit for hosting a great workout this morning!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Friday PR

I did strength work this morning.


285(5)-295(5)-300(3)-300(3)-305PR TIE-310PR-315PR

Feeling great! I tipped the scales at 156 today, so that's double-bodyweight! I gotta say, it's fun getting the beginner's jumps in strength gains. I finished up with HSPU and weighted ring dips.

Check out this solid piece on doing squats to warm-up for deadlifts.

And just 'cause, old-school powerlifter/bodybuilder Franco Columbu deadlifting heavy.

Have an excellent weekend y'all. Peace.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

what are you busy about?

"It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?"
~ Henry David Thoreau

I've let my "busy schedule" get a little outta hand recently and nearly got sick at the end of last week. Lessons are usually learned the hard way - OK well I usually learn lessons the hard way! Driving myself to near exhaustion got me thinking about my focus and how I've been chasing my goals. Some serious reassessing is underway...

Anyway, this post at zenhabits.net has some great tips on slowing down yet living life fully. It's a read that's definitely worth your time.

I slept in today. It. Was. Excellent. Make mine a REST DAY!

Heavy deadlifts are on deck. Can't wait!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

happy birthday Marines

On this day 235 years ago, two battalions of Continental Marines were organized in Philadelphia, forming what is now known as The United States Marine Corps. Happy birthday Marines!

CrossFit.COM WOD
overhead squat
155PR TIE-165PR-165F-165PR TIE-170F

front squat
155-165PR TIE-175PR-180PR-185PR

back squat
195-200-205-210PR TIE-215PR

Feeling good! Weak numbers maybe but they're moving in the right direction...

Tuesday, November 9, 2010


"He is a wise man who does not grieve for the things which he has not, but rejoices for those which he has."
- Epictetus

This morning I rolled up to the gym feeling well but still a bit tired. Honestly, knowing that recovery work was going to be on the whiteboard helped get me there today.

"mobility recovery/week"
A. 10 minutes foam roller/trigger point
B. 800 meter run
C. shoulder work:
*figure-8 with a 15# bumper, 30 seconds each direction
*small circles, arms extended with 5# plates, 30 seconds forward, 30 seconds backward
*large circles with 5# plates, 30 seconds forward, 30 seconds backwards
*figure-8 with 15# bumper, 30 seconds each direction
D. KB work @ 16kg
-10 Russian swings/10 American swings
-10 windmills each side/5 TGU each side
-10 1-hand Russian swings each side/10 snatch each side
-10 windmills each side/5 TGU each side
-10 Russian swings/10 American swings
-10 1-hand/1-leg (opposites) Romanian deadlifts each side/5 clean&press each side
E. 10 minutes shoulder/chest/lat mobility work with bands

Felt good to move. Speaking of moving, check out this free running show reel by 3RUN!

Think I'm ready to go full speed again! "Hump day" is coming! Peace.

Monday, November 8, 2010

keep advancing

"If you would attain to what you are not yet, you must always be displeased by what you are. For where you are pleased with yourself there you have remained. Keep adding, keep walking, keep advancing."
~Saint Augustine

I've been fighting off being sick since Friday. Took today as another rest day. I'll be back at it maƱana.

Sunday, November 7, 2010


“Greatness is primarily a matter of conscious choice and discipline.”
- Jim Collins

Congratulations to the SICFIT ladies who dominated at Saturday's Hammer and Chisel competition!

1st place: Lindsey Smith
2nd place: Chardonnay Poole
3rd place: Ingrid Kantola
4th place: Brittany McKenna (not shown)

Friday, November 5, 2010

trust yourself

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live."
- Johann Wolfgang von Geothe

It's a REST DAY!! Peace.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mumford & Sons, snatch work

Last night Ingrid and I saw Mumford & Sons at Stubb's. They put on an outstanding show!

I've been in "GO! GO! GO!" mode so much lately my "down time" usually involves eating a quick meal and passing out. Occasionally I've even cut out the meal part and gone right to sleep! So it's hard to describe how special it was to just slow down and take in a great show - all in the company of a wonderful, beautiful woman! Life doesn't get much better.

Here's Mumford & Sons performing their song "Awake My Soul:"

This morning at SICFIT Austin we worked the barbell snatch...

800 meter run
3 rounds of "Cindy" w/strict pull-ups
100 jump-rope double-unders

snatch deadlift 3×3

snatch high-pulls 3×3

hang-squat snatch 3×3

OHS 3×3
I only did one set at 135 lbs. My legs were talking to me after yesterday's backsquats, so I skipped on to full snatch work.

squat snatch 3×1
105-115-125F-125PR TIE

Just missed 125lbs so I got an extra one in and hit it. My squat snatch still needs lots of work, but it's getting better. And I got 'em all without using my crutch: the split-snatch... improvement feels good!

Peace y'all.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

busy hump day

"Opportunity's favorite disguise is trouble."
- Frank Tyger

Quick post today... got a lot to do and little time to do it!

back squat
65%W1RM x5 @135 lbs
75% W1RM x5 @155 lbs
85% W1RM x5+ @175 lbs

Warmed up with 135 lbs x 10, and 155 lbs x 7, then checked the "working" percentages. Oops. First two sets were easy. Again. 9 reps at 175lbs.

muscle clean

All at 135 lbs. Feeling good!


Tuesday, November 2, 2010

election day

"Polling gives me an election."
- El Arroyo sign

It's election day boys and girls! I hope you exercised your right to vote.

800 meter run
3 rounds of "Cindy" (5 strict pull-ups, 10 push-ups, 15 squats)
100 jump-rope double-unders

A. Turkish Get-Up
3x 5R,5L

16kg KB- 20kg KB - 50lbs DB

B. AMRAP 10 minutes
7 squat cleans @ 115lbs barbell
12 pull-ups
21 jump-rope double-unders

3 rounds + 4 cleans rx'd. The weight and pull-ups felt solid, but my double-unders sucked today. I got one round unbroken and then struggled with the rest in small sets. Otherwise, fun one today!

Monday, November 1, 2010


"Weak points come from not doing the things you suck at doing. The difference between a successful athlete and a crappy one is they always do the things they have to do, not what they want to do."
- Dave Tate

Today I'm starting Jim Wendler's 5-3-1 strength program. It's a percentage based system designed to build consistent strength gains over time.

You start by taking your one-rep max (1RM) for the squat, deadlift, standing press, and bench press, then base your working percentages on 90% of that 1RM. I'm calling it the "working" 1RM or W1RM. Mathematically it looks like this: W1RM = 90% 1RM.

Then you go through the 4 week cycle below for all 4 lifts:

Week 1
Set 1 65% x 5
Set 2 75% x 5
Set 3 85% x 5+

Week 2
Set 1 70% x 3
Set 2 80% x 3
Set 3 90% x 3+

Week 3
Set 1 75% x 5
Set 2 85% x 3
Set 3 95% x 1+

Week 4
Set 1 40% x 5
Set 2 50% x 5
Set 3 60% x 5

Each time you see 5+, 3+, or 1+ you are supposed to go for max reps with that weight.

At the end of 4 weeks, adjust your W1RM by adding 10 lbs to your squat and deadlift, and 5 lbs for the presses. Then begin the 4 week cycle anew.

You can also check out T-Nation's article covering the 5-3-1 program.

65% W1RM x5 @195lbs
75% W1RM x5 @225lbs
85% W1RM x5+ @255lbs

The fives at 195 and 225 felt easy. And I didn't really mentally prepare myself for the fight that 5+ @ 255 became, and only managed 13 reps. That set was work! Truthfully though, a bit of a cupcake:

cup⋅cake [khup-keyk]
1) to wimp out
2) giving in to the pain

Being a disappointed with my 5+ set, I felt like getting more lifts in, but I reminded myself to be smart and follow this program by the numbers. So live and learn right? The next 5+ set I do definitely won't be weak sauce!

Perhaps not the greatest start to 5-3-1... but still feeling good on a Monday! I'll take it. Peace.