the spaz of fitness has arrived

Holiday Musings

In General, Training on November 21, 2012 at 2:46 pm

I need to thank those of you who’ve asked me about the blog lately. It’s nice being reminded that actual human beings read this, and surprisingly wonder about it when I’m negligent. Actually, screw “nice.” It’s not nice. It’s phenomenal. It’s humbling and absolutely staggering to me that there are individuals– real, three-dimensional friends and all you imaginary folk via the interwebs– that care enough about what I have to say to slog through my half-brained ramblings. Thank you. Thank you for caring enough to give me a few minutes of your day. Thank you for the act of acceptance you make in continuing to read– in sticking with me on my bizarre little bumblings through life.

To be entirely honest, I haven’t posted lately for two reasons. Firstly, it’s that awful time of semester when deadlines loom on the horizon and I spend my pitiful days in my cubicle until roughly 9:00pm, whereupon I return to my basement to continue working. I’m not sure if I’m doing it wrong because there are no other grad students there at these hours, but I’m assuming most of them are home for the Thanksgiving holiday. I guess that brings me to reason number two that I’ve been a neglectful Jo. Thanksgiving has always been my favorite holiday in concept. In reality, it’s never really panned out for me. I love the idea of a holiday not centered around a single person, or a religious tradition (not that those aren’t enjoyable either), but one whose purpose is food, family, and reflection– a moment out of our arduous years to pause and think about the many ways in which we’re so fortunate.

A lot of the people I care about are scattered about the country (or the world) now, and the chances of being able to see all of them in the same year are pretty slim, let alone the same month. Some others who’ve played significant roles in my life have dropped out– due to life circumstances, due to poor communication on our parts, or due to shitty interpersonal drama that I wish could be reconciled but apparently can’t, at least not right now. I’m the only member of my family born and raised in the US, so “family” for me has always indicated more than blood relatives. While my relatives are all wonderful people–most of whom I’m just starting to get to know– I’ve met them maybe a dozen times in my life. Tickets to Taiwan cost $1,000 apiece and for a lot of my life, my parents and I couldn’t afford the trip. As for me and my parents, we had more than our share of conflicts as I was growing up and we’re starting to finally get along, but… now I live 1,800 miles away and can’t afford the $800 plane ticket just to get from Pennsylvania to Arizona. Regardless, my parents are the opposite of sentimental (and in many ways, the opposite of me, hence all the childhood issues) and have never felt any affinity for holidays. We’ve passed many Thanksgivings and Christmases and Birthdays unnoticed. And, in a way, I see their pragmatism… holidays are, like my dad says “just another day.” But the romantic in me also likes the fact that sometimes we can choose to elevate something above “just another day” — that this day can be about community and love and showing each other how much you just fucking matter, regardless of all the trivial crap that trouble your lives.

Anyway, I guess that’s been weighing on me for the past few days and made me generally difficult to interact with. Sometimes my head gets wrapped up in these fogs of overthinking– and really, overfeeling (my parents also told/tell me often I’m oversensitive, which is true… if I had a remedy for it, I’d take it in a heartbeat). But the fact that I’m writing/blogging about it now must mean that I’m emerging from my self-imposed malaise.

That said, let’s get to the CrossFit stuff. I’m still on my Westside-based template, and it’s going well. I know a lot of you (you imaginary interwebs people who stumble unknowingly into my site) get here because Google sends wandering souls to my blog when they ask about CrossFit and strength programs). For me, Westside-Conjugate seems like the best approach for integrating strength training and metcons. It’s not the most efficient if you’re looking to maximize beginner gains (try any brute linear progression for that), but for anyone who would like to take their strength training seriously while also working on their metcon ability, I think this works well, and the CrossFit community seems to agree. I know the Chans (CrossFit Verve) use a Westside-based template for their advanced athletes, Outlaw CrossFit is based off a Westside template, and Katie Hogan also shared that she uses a Westside framework.

Right now my four-week plan looks like this:

Jo’s Bumbling Conjugate Adventure 3.0

  ME Lower Body ME Upper Body DE Lower Body DE Upper Body
Week 1 3RM Squat 3RM Bench 10 x 2 Pause Squats (50%, 55%, 60%)

8 x 1 Deadlift (try 75%)

3 x 8 Bench with chains
Week 2 3RM Deadlift 3RM Press 10 x 2 Pause Squats

8 x 1 Deadlift

3 x 8 Bench with chains
Week 3 3RM Safety Bar Squat or Front Squat 3RM Floor Press 10 x 2 Pause Squats

8 x 1 Deadlift

3 x 8 Bench with chains
Week 4 3RM Deficit Deadlift 3RM Push Press 10 x 2 Pause Squats

8 x 1 Deadlift

3 x 8 Bench with chains


Accessory Work:

Lower Body Days:

3 x 10 Good Mornings

3 x 10 Stiff-legged deadlifts

3 x 10 Bulgarian Split Squats


Upper Body Days:

3 x 10 Kettlebell bench press

3 x 10 Barbell Row

3 x 10 Kettlebell Press

I’m using 3rm instead of 1rm because, as a still relatively new lifter I feel I can benefit more from spending more time under tension. I’ve eliminated the chains on my squat because I’ve read a lot about them being less popular/beneficial for raw lifters. Also, I have enough things I need to work on for my squat that I don’t think adding the extra factor will help me right now. I’ve just switched to a low bar back squat and PR’d my 3RM by seven and a half pounds last week. I’ve also PR’d my deficit deadlift, and my upper body lifts have seen small gains as well. So thus far, no major complaints.

I’ve also realized that now is a good time to think about my goals and to articulate them. I will make a better, more thoughtful post on this later… but it occurred to me. I’m not training to be a competitive CrossFitter– I’ll never be at that level, nor am I competitive enough to be a Games-hopeful. But I would like to be a CrossFit coach. What do I want out of my state of fitness? Really… I want what CrossFit advertises itself to be a proponent of– I want to be a solid, all-around athlete. I want to be competent enough in all the movements, and at doing things RX’d that people will trust in me as a coach. But also, for myself, personally… I want to be in such shape that I can do things like long mud-runs/obstacle courses for fun. I want to be like Jefe who can sign up for a 10k on a whim the day after a powerlifting meet and feel okay (though admittedly it’s still not the smartest thing to do). Yeah, I kind of want to be in exceptional shape just so I can have fun with my body and what it’s capable of. That seems kind of ambiguous… but I will find a way to derive concrete training goals from this in the near future.

Until then, though, I have to get back to that work I was talking about.

Thank you for reading. Happy Thanksgiving… I hope your holiday is so full of love and comfort and warmth… I hope you spend it with people who care about you, who embrace you regardless of what shit you’re worried about at work, what small ways you feel like you’ve failed this week or next. I hope there’s turkey and bacon and a distinct lack of burpees. This year, I am thankful for you all.

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