Monday, June 18, 2012



it is occasionally a beautiful thing to be this wrong...

weighted bear crawls @ 2x35# dumbells. 800m.

it was supposed to be a mile.

within 20 feet i realized my mistake, realized that i had underestimated the work - overestimated my ability...

these are the moments i seek. moments when things get a little ugly. when you have to eat your words. when the dark voices have the weight and timber of another person, an attitude and a persuasiveness that must be fought with wits and will.

the first lap took 30 minutes. the second - 34. large angry blisters had formed, i was afraid to look - afraid it might be bad enough to make me quit. not "make" me quit. i knew it was hurt, not injury. that it wasnt going to be much worse if i finished. that the damage was done... no, i was afraid of an excuse to quit.

but now that its over, i need to review. what was the use of such a workout? my body is no where near as sore as those angry red holes in my hands... yes, the work was hard - but was it worth it?

for the first few years of someones training, everything works. in the beginning training is most often used as a tool for behavior modification - harder and harder workouts build confidence, increase tolerance and continually redefine words like "tired", "heavy" and "hard"... eventually though, hard is no longer enough. working harder often looks like progress  - but eventually you must ask if you are working hard in the right direction....

be critical. i would not repeat this workout. i would not prescribe it. i am going to do it with bodyweight for 1/4 mile. that should be more strain on my body, less tearing on my hands, and likely the same time frame (maybe a little shorter) . while i do not have a specific fitness goal, i do not want to fall into the trap of "hard for hards sake". difficulty can serve as a distraction from progress. sometimes we work hard to hide from questions we are afraid to answer.  we sometimes work hard to avoid progress - to avoid changing...

harder workouts are different right? i am getting better right?  it cant be a plateau, i don't need a change....

meaningful training.  intelligent training.

work hard. question everything.

is it worth the cost?

is it making me better?

if not, fucking change it.

in the end, there are questions to be answered. am i closer to my goal, or further away? was this useful? was this worth it? what now?

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


the truth is, it all boils down to utility.

to usefulness.

beyond true and false, there is the usefulness of an idea.

there are many examples, extreme and mundane, about the belief of something being useful. being a means to an end. it simply takes some understanding, some acceptance of the effect our beliefs have on our actions, and the willful shaping of those processes.

if you believe everything happens for a reason, you will find reason in every happening.

if you believe that you are always being observed, being judged, you will only make decisions you are proud of.

debating the truth of certain things is pointless, they are beliefs. as far as we are concerned, in this context, they are important only in their expression. in their usefulness.

usefulness is the reason that your coach may be lying to you. so many pieces of information are only half truths - are training wheels. they exist to help you along far enough to understand the next part.  they exist to get you moving, to get you feeling and thinking. they are rules that saved us all like "never cross the street" and "look up while you deadlift " they are not true. but they are helpful.

i often get stuck asking questions, digging and trying to understand details. this has served me well in the past, and continues to do so today. but at some point i need a gut check. i need to ask myself if more information is going to help. i can get so caught up in the chase from A to B to C that when i am busy figuring out the tricky transition from D to E i could be actually working on A. long term goals are important, but too much focus can be immobilizing.

it is important to understand why something works, but not at the expense of actually making it work.

anything can be taken too far.

it is why i see training as a craft. as a skill more than a science.

it is about usefulness. it is about timing. it is about "right action"

whatever that may be.

sharing photos of my dinner on instagram makes me eat better. i think it is a waste of my time and ridiculous  and, more importantly, that it works. so until i cook like this for myself as a default action, i will continue to use whatever tools are at my disposal until i am able to outgrow them.

crutches are useful. the danger lies in getting comfortable using them.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

the iron price

there is something profound about hard work.

about long, difficult work.

about ruthless honesty.

there are many possible reasons why you didn't get a PR, why you didn't lift a certain weight or missed a split time on a row. but whatever the reason, you still missed it.

things have honestly gotten so easy in out polite society that people seek out controlled discomfort. seek failure and frustration and those moments where there are consequences to actions.

we seek things, feelings that can not be purchased in the usual sense. we seek experience that is not bought, but earned. experience paid for not with cash or credit but blood and bone. 

hard work is a wonderful teacher. it is humbling. it is honest. it is terrifying in the best way.

hard work pushes us to ask uncomfortable questions. to weigh pros and cons. to understand the worth of a thing. to understand how far we as individuals are willing to go.

in the last few weeks i have redefined my relationship with the word tired. there has been hard, long work done. but the work has been paying off. the new space is moving, it is breathing, and seems to have a will of its own...

there will be some changes to the blog soon, more information. more notes, logs, and more frequent updates.

but, for now - there is work to be done.

we have been playing with longer efforts lately. 60 minute max efforts, SMMF, work capacity tests... this one started as a birthday celebration, but has interesting implications. the "interpretable" nature of the movements, the inevitable downward spiral when the work starts taking its toll, taking its time, eating up your rest... it will be making its rounds in the next few weeks.