5 for Friends 11/19/19

Quote:  “Be a practical dreamer, backed by action.”- Bruce Lee
This is the foundation of my life philosophy that captures sometimes big hairy audacious goals sound nice, but they still need to be grounded enough so I know how to take the first step.

Book currently reading: The Subtle Art of Not Giving a F*ck: A Counterintuitive Approach to Living a Good Life by Mark Manson
Late to the game this was a refreshing read of the stoic approach to my own life, that has a modern sensibility, well very plainly states how we care too much about matters outside of our own control.

Article worth a read: Stop using public USB ports
That’s right, according to LA county district attorney advised against using the default data cable to charge your phone at these public ports, due to the risk your data could be compromised.
The silver lining to the doomsaying, the comments section did mention you can always use a charge only cable to ensure no data connectivity is an option.

Small Purchase: By no means is this an endorsement of this specific branch, but I took advantage of finally seeing a chiropractor. There was a chain called The Joint that accepted a walk in who commented on there isn’t so much as an apparent skeletal issue, which is a relief, but confirmed I do sit like a goblin while I hack away on my keyboard.
And for $29 for an assessment and adjustment is just the kind of arb
https://www.thejoint.com/

What am I working on:  One more competition down; Critical Fit put on another great annual tournament at Gett-it where the team I drafted got to experience their physical limits and go beyond, in an obstacle course relay race that was my wildest elementary school dreams. The stipulations of the draft with 5 friends who wanted to captain was to form a team with 1 male and 1 female with less than a year of weightlifting/training experience. Mostly to keep from doing exactly what the top 3 performing teams did which is like gamers optimize teams for the challenges.
Moving on with this team work kick in the next couple weeks the gang will be heading down to South Florida for a December Tough Mudder! So to train I broke down the demands and keeping my training geared towards building explosive pulls and stabilizing.

Warm-up 2min bike
5 Romanian Deadlift
5 Hang Power Cleans
5 Front Squats
5 Push Press

Mobility
10 Good mornings
10 PVC Windmills
10 Toy Soldiers
10 WGS
10 Cossacks
10 Scorpions
10 Crash Victims
:30 Pigeon
Weightlifting
Thruster (5-5-5-5-5)
building E2MOM
Metcon (AMRAP – Rounds and Reps)15min AMRAP
4 Bar Muscle Up
8 Deadlifts (135/95)
12 Alt. Pistols

5 for Friends 11/04/19

Quote: “As long as you’re being a copycat, you will never be the best copycat.”- Dr. Eric Thomas
The more work I do on efficiency and productivity I fully recognize how when learning to do something we’ve never done before we apprentice and copy those who have come before us. You don’t have to change the world; just remember being the best version of yourself is a great goal.

Book currently reading: African Samurai: The True Story of Yasuke, a Legendary Black Warrior in Feudal Japan by Thomas Lockley & Geoffrey Girard
As a history nerd I really did enjoy the accounts of one the most historically significant times in Japanese history, to be clear the unification of Nipon under Shogun Oda Nobunaga, and the many factors that contributed to his rise of power. So kinda like the reverse of the last Samurai, a warlord’s embrace of technologically advanced weapons from the Jesuit missionaries. Along with all of the baggage that we can muster from living in the future, but the context of the authors reminded me the world is still a harsh place. And, how both cultures believed the others to be barbarians.

Article worth a read: How to Send the Perfect Thank you Note a 1 minute read, and the advice isn’t as important as the reminder that first you should be following up with something meaningful. 1. Handwritten is better 2. Use stationary and a pen 3. gifts are also nice
This article summary is longer than the article because of a long conversation I’ve had this week about standing out after a party or investor meeting.

Small Purchase: This week I finally got around to purchase Team Shirts for the an up and coming Critical Fit Tournament, despite my marketing suggestion they did not go with Crit Fit 2 the electric bugaloo, but the more Fantasy appropriate Champion of Legerran to go with their fitness card game being launched. The t-shirts came from 6dollarshirt.com and have to say a pretty nice deal for a shirt I was going to turn into a cutoff anyway.

To go with my rowdy demeanor this 100% Heel for this event lol

What am I working on:  My own crossfit training is continuing to take a back seat while I am writing training plans for my Critical Fit team, and organizing how the team can train together. But, the corporate challenges I have been preparing for in addition to my continuing education work I’m trying to complete before the year ends I have been interested in going further in my lean six sigma training. More because it is a great tool, even though how I’ve seen this tool wielded by non engineers has felt akin to using an oven and calling it a toaster.
So, let’s go a level deeper and see if I can understand where the disconnect is occurring. And improve my own processes.
Anyone that really comes to see what I’m training for the day
Today to match the output for CritFit Challenge 1 we’re keeping it simple with
3 Rounds
1K Row
40 KB Swings (53/35)
20 Pull Ups

Five for Friends 10/09/19

 Quote:  “Nothing in this world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not: nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not: the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.” – Calvin Coolidge

Every year I better appreciate the words of Silent Cal; despite talent and educations, it has been planning, and perseverance has more often success.

Book currently reading: Traction by Gino Wickman 

This book has been a great read and teaches how using systems to track and improve processes in business can dramatically change your results. Six Sigma and Agile often use esoteric terms that require time to understand the terms before it becomes helpful the uninitiated to use to improve their business. Similar to what a professor once insisted to me, without a solid thesis (specific, tangible, and relatable), then you do not have a good argument.

An article worth a read:  Do your best also means self compassion

In a refreshing and short read, Molly hits home to a notion that I and other perfectionists alike could really use, when some days you are off your game. The article makes a subtle acknowledgement that “things be like that sometimes”. Since “your best” isn’t going to be what an idealized version of yourself can accomplish. It will be what limited to what resources you have available.  

Small Purchase: On a lark, while picking up some supplies for a hike, I saw a Walmart carries a Zinc Magnesium (ZMA) supplement, that is apart of my bedtime routine and not suggesting choosing on mega-conglomerate for another. One less item that I need to include ordering through Amazon or Bodybuilding.com

What am I working on: The open is coming, and at the same time, I’m bitten with the competitive bug to resume playing Magic at a high level. So in between reps, I aim to think about unifying the ideas of the rigorous physical demands of CrossFit and the mental marathon of magic share. 

Training Looks a little bit like this: Lucky Me!

 Weightlifting

Back Squat (1-1-1-1-1)

building E2MOM

Metcon (Time)

10 Rounds (@115)

7 Power Cleans

7 Front Squats

7 Push Jerks 

5 for friends 9/30

Quote: “Once a year, go someplace, you’ve never been before.” – Author unknown. I’m not sure when I first heard this piece of advice; likely it was during High School around my Senior year. But, with that mantra it has spurred meditating underwater falls, exploring underwater-cave systems, and even finding out that gator really does taste like chicken.

Book currently reading: Endure: Mind, Body, and the Curiously Elastic Limits of Human Performance by Alex Hutchinson
More or less always has been on my reading list, as it does cover what the physical limits of humans are and how thinking is the most significant moderator or what limits or expands our capacity. 

Article worth a read: How to Craft a Perfect Email My guilty pleasure as an adult is scouring LifeHacker for essential tips on how to be a human in the real world. Today’s article hit me in a big way after handwriting letters, and interpretative dance email is my favorite mode of communication. Mostly because of the asynchronous nature I can pour a stream of consciousness out and can whittle away the excess and eventually understand what I mean around the same time as I hit send. Despite the ads more often than not this was a reminder of what I should be looking for and can speak to the contender for Quote of the week: Writing is 80% organizing your thoughts 20% actual writing. From Malcolm Gladwell, whose new book will be arriving at my door soon. 

Small Purchase: In the grand scheme of things, I question how small is my purchase; because it relates to the most excellent game of all time Magic: The Gathering and my decades-spanning collection. To the point over the weekend, I went to my local game store to play in the pre-release event for Throne of Eldraine (the 82nd expansion). For the small cost of a trip to the movies with popcorn, I spent my Friday evening with great friends of mine that I have not had time to see in months. The gameplay and format have been the best I’ve seen since my all-time favorite set from 2014 (Khans of Tarkir). $25 paid for just over 4 hours of pizza, exciting games of magic, and stories of harrowing victories and defeats we could still laugh about all night. 

What am I working on:  This month continuing in alignment with my goal of training to complete a Spartan Beast (last piece of the Trifecta) without too many injuries. So, my 3rd month at the Hive has my body starting to adapt to the high volume of reps under heavy load. With my increasing aerobic capacity and marginal strength gains, things are coming up Milhouse! Month 4 is my time for putting together my ever-improving endurance and will power to finally tackling the often neglected skill gymnastics.

Slowly but surely each WOD or trip to the globe-o gym will include 1 or more bodyweight movement. The aim is to work on pacing and strengthening my core and stabilizer muscles.  

Warm-up
2min bike
10 Hang Power Cleans
10 OHS
10 Kip Swings
10 Alt. Step Ups
Metcon
21-15-9
Lateral Burpees
Overhead Squat OHS (95/65)
Chest to Bar Pullups C2B

Five for friends

Powerful quote:
“Among men who rise to fame and leadership two types are recognizable—those who are born with a belief in themselves and those in whom it is a slow growth dependent on actual achievement. To the men of the last type their own success is a constant surprise, and its fruits the more delicious, yet to be tested cautiously with a haunting sense of doubt whether it is not all a dream. In that doubt lies true modesty, not the sham of insincere self depreciation but the modesty of “moderation,” in the Greek sense. It is poise, not pose.”
B.H. Liddell Hart


Currently Reading: The Ryiria Revelations Book 3:
The TLDR reason this series is so engaging is purely because for a character driven fantasy nerd you get a simple story of how a thief and mercenary, different as the sun and moon, work together to accomplish some of the most impossible missions; meeting some of the most interesting/compelling characters I’ve ever read along the way. The first book Theft of Swords  introduced me to a combination of friends that reminded me of my first D&D campaign with my best friend back in middle school: A surely lithesome rouge and broad shouldered charismatic fighter taking on a simple job that proves to be everything but.

New Work out: I was sent a differently paced workout than usual to tax my energy systems and maybe my very soul.
Technical – 5×4 Snatch
Metabolic – 30 Toes2Bars(TTB) / 30cal Row / 15 Squat Snatch (115lbs) / 60cal Row / 15 Squat Snatch 30cal Row/ 30TTB
Stabilization – 3 x max Muscle ups

Useful Lifehack: keep this one in your back pocket
Sometimes reaching a goal means adding new habits or learning a skill, but other times it simply means getting rid of some bad habits. If you want to identify what’s keeping you from your goal, invert it.Inverting your goals gives you a new perspective on what you’re trying to accomplish. The best example would be trying to lose weight. Ask yourself, “What do I have to do to gain weight?” Any answer you get is probably a habit you should avoid
Possible answers:
1. Eat whatever you want, whenever you want and how much ever you want.
2. Don’t exercise…ever
3. Don’t do any household chores that require physical activity
4. Don’t play any outdoor games.
It may seem absurd but

+EV article: Here’s What You Need To Negotiate At Each Stage Of Your Career – Negotiation is one job skill you’ll always need. But the things you’ll want to negotiate should change with your career. (Link below)

http://www.fastcompany.com/3062320/hit-the-ground-running/heres-what-you-need-to-negotiate-at-each-stage-of-your-career

Any input is always welcome

Training model notes

Over the last few weeks I have been in touch with some of the best trainers I know to keep up with the corner stones to build a training routine for the fall, from the ground up.
I hope some of my notes are helpful to others

  1. Total body training requires: Knee dominate movements i.e. squat
    a. Zercher squat, rear foot elevated split squat, front squat
  2. For every squat (knee dominate) exercise do a hinging/ hip dominate
    a. Kettle bell swing, glute/ham raise, glute bridge, single leg RDL
  3. Upper body movement, use horizontal and vertical press
    a. Push ups, single-arm press, push press, OH press
  4. Upper horizontal/vert oull
    a. row, pull up
  5. Core – Spinal Stability i.e. Carry heavy
    a. Farmer walk, OH carry
  6. Training All planes –
    Frontal, Transverse, Sagittal
  7. Use Bilateral and unilateral variations
    ex. zercher squat > SL RDL 5 x 4 SApress >Bench Press 3 x 8 Neutral pull ups > Farmer carry…

Worst than losing

“Success is stumbling from failure to failure with no loss of enthusiasm.”
– Winston Churchill

Today marks a week and a day where I have spent a ridiculous  amount of time contemplating how bad should I feel. With what you ask? Not competing in an event that I’ve dreamed about but knew I wasn’t going to personally: to nominally win, improve my understanding of an experience or practice, or to leverage my personal brand to create future opportunities. These might sound very ivory tower definitions (other than winning for the sake of winning) but there is more to the story.

This is a very Bobby Fisher method, I figured out once I was old enough to experience the life lesson: Either you win or you learn. For those not in the know, the calculated brilliance of the prodigy went beyond the board and also came from selecting which tournaments to put his prowess and prestige on the line for.
This week, I followed the same strategy, and without any fanfare or commotion withdrew from a small time Ninja Warrior feeder competition; an easier affair than expected. The only fallout was telling the few people expected to see me flail about the course. News that I was nursing a minor injury was apparently enough for my thick-skinned coworkers to agree competing shouldn’t be in the cards.

So that should be the end of the adventure. Yes, 8 weeks of training, often twice a day ended with no competition. But, if anything I’ve learned from life is things unceremoniously come to an abrupt end all the time. Let’s all thank George R.R. Martin for making a career of it, so we can be better adjusted. I do however still feel bad about withdrawing. Even with the knowledge that a full time rock climber obliterated the course, and I wasn’t even very obsessed with this competition.
What I may have an issue with is putting in the work, caring, and then having to rationalize away the invasive thoughts that: I did not train for the level of the competition. And, I was aware of that lack of preparation, the entire time. In my opinion an infinitely worse feeling than the sting of losing… Recently I wrote about the frustration I was having with my training process. Breaking it down, I am confident that the foundation work I started on wasn’t long enough nor did I have the schedule to adhere to the aggressive training schedule that I’m used to. Quickly recapping, the time commitment to either go to bed earlier or squeeze in work outs during lunch were on the table, but like many people that overpromise to themselves; I didn’t put enough systems in place to make it easy for me to go from

Wake up – morning run, 1pm (MWF) – yoga, 12pm (TTh) – Barbell complex, evening – plyometric conditioning.

It has been in these last few months I’ve really understood that when motivation is high it is an easy ask for your body to train hard for a few weeks. But, to straddle the idea of always innovating your training or keeping different ways to stay motivated is entirely a myth. Especially when I have to admit to myself this salaryman life at a desk is increasingly making me weaker and more susceptible to the most egregious offense than accepting a loss and that’s accepting mediocrity.

work of the day
Technical work –

5×4 Sumo Deadlift
Met – 4 rounds
10 Handstand Push Ups
20 Sumo Deadlif High Pulls
50m KB Farmers carry

Extra Credit –
500m Row
50 pistols

Can ninjas have fans? (a tale of over-training)

“Strength does not come from winning. Your struggles develop your strengths. When you go through hardships and decide not to surrender, that is strength.

With a lot of humility, I can admit I went through a phase of spinning my wheels, frustration, and ultimately experiencing burn out. Only because I lacked the self-awareness to slow down so I could preserve my progress: as an athlete, a hyperactive know it all, a mediocre writer, or even aspiring ninja warrior.  For the uninitiated, burn out is a miserable experience that feels and looks like a dozen disorders rolled into one, but during that time projects I had taken on felt unimportant. Anything that was easy enough to complete before losing my minimal motivation would feel like or really was just fluff. Cleaning out an inbox was a daunting task. Deleting spam email was challenging for a growth-oriented, hyper-competitive guy that asks for feedback on how to hole punch a binder more efficiently. I find myself writing out this experience first to give myself a task that can offer me clear feedback so I can refine, course correct, and continue to level up. Second record what writing while in the throes of burn out looks like **spoiler alert** more terrible than it reads!

To best capture this I have to say for the last couple of weeks, I was semi-conscious of the fact that phoning it in at work, actually that would be too kind. Not putting any effort towards my most important goals that mattered. Currently, I’m still not sure to why, but I would pick some “weakness” to work out, bonus points for any internet article that hyperbolized “If you aren’t doing X you might as well smoke a carton a day and binge on cartons of ice cream.” It didn’t have to matter, of course. Except to feel like I was doing something and then I would shift my focus on the next new thing influencers wanted to promote. Thanks obsession with over-training and love of all things novel. This was the first signs of burn out I was ignoring. I also could be seen regularly: training during lunch and after work; running more miles far beyond any reasonable returns; asking for and taking on projects I could have delegated to someone else on my team; and can’t forget going to bed later and later each night to get negligible things done.

In hindsight, I desperately needed a week off and 56 hours of sleep. What I chose instead was two more weeks of jamming multiple cups of coffee like it was a #challenge, terrible sleep, irritability and downright exhaustion, even occasional nausea after even low intensity conditioning work. I hope it goes without saying, feeling weak is terrible, but notion of having to slow down quite literally drove me mad. Getting visibly upset that running a mile hurt and would be giddy for the days that were schedule to work yoga or my meditation practice. This is the terrible lack of awareness I was meaning. Pretty sure I would have kept doing scores of kettlebell swings, pull ups and box jumps until I had a full blown injury. What prevented a trip to MRI scan city was the fact that eventually an hour of ‘power’ yoga was too taxing and heavy bag work was actual torture on my joints.
This gave me some serious doubt staying in the ninja warrior challenge; since it would involve climbing, jumping, and well ninja-ing about while warrior one made my hips tremble.

I was ready to send ‘a please cancel my registration’ email. Until the person who first suggested trying out for the American Ninja Warrior competition said “I still believe you’ll do well.” We chatted for a bit about how friends were dropping out left and right; also I may have admitted I was suspect of my ability to finish the course, at my current level of training, let alone in any semblance of a competitive time. (As selfish as it sounds, but it’s hard to see the point in something if I can’t gain value from it.) The effect I didn’t expect though was after having a fellow cynical jerk (*reads friend*) authentically say that they believe you can hit your own ridiculous benchmark for success was more powerful than expected. It helped! Maybe just short lived dopamine hit, maybe but my brain just wanted a platitude. Bonus points for the bit of validation coming from someone I look up to who’s been crushing it. Strangely enough despite my aching joint and commitment to doggedly throwing my body into training, working and not sleeping I chose a different set of workouts for the day to shake off the rust and see where I stand. Prognosis: Time to skip some yoga, take midday nap and remember sometimes it takes a fan/friend to share that they believe in you.

My morning and evening work outs.
A lot of resistance cardio, mobility and functional movements:

Warm up
Jog 10min,
Scapula push ups/dip
KB swing w/ T-spine twist (35lbs)
Cardio
5rounds 3minute round of heavy bag work
(used medium resistance band to stay mindful of footwork)
2 x 15 Threaded lunges (70lbs)
2 x 2hand KB Swing (70lbs)
<Some technical convoluted CNS strength based exercise?>
130lbs X 12 (3sec hold) Single arm cable lat pull

Evening ‘s effort to work out things I hate :
Front squat 3×10 @155, 185, 205lbs.
DB Snatch 3×5 70, 90, 110lbs.
Weighted sit up 3×20 & mason twist.

5 step diet plan *revisit*

Today I am revisiting a one-shot blog post on the topic of dieting, a subject I am always finding something new about so never feel I can adequately cover. In the style of Tim Grover no one is more important than the other, so they are all no.1. 

Recently a friend coming to me, pain in their eyes as they said, “Aqueel, I need to get with you to work on a nutrition plan. I’m sick and tired of being fucking fat!” My usual apathy and distracted nature couldn’t ignore his knee that was visibly swollen, angry, and red. I still gave my generic prepared response, “Please get in touch with X, who is much more qualified in the field of nutrition than I am.” Since then and several days of being mauled by my guilt of inaction; here are the distilled method for creating a diet that will never make you feel like you’re on a diet ever again.

Still feeling the sting of their words and knowing what it’s like not having the body you once remembered today’s thoughts aren’t going to be validated by science journal, for the sake of time… and laziness, but will have greater efficacy than my usual training advice “Just train more.” and with that I defer to the favorite format of the internet: lists!

  1. EAT BREAKFAST.

What we gain from eating breakfast, more significant than the dubious studies that suggest it’s a great way to kickstart your metabolism; is think of it as a timestamp and a habit that successful athletes, CEOs, and even jerks on the internet like me can do which frames the rest of your day. “Most important meal of the day” is correct because no matter what time you wake up regularly you have to break your fast eventually. So, if for the next four weeks (or any other pop psychology study length of time that determines how long it takes to establish a habit) shove food in your gullet after you wake up. More so before you get sidetracked with the rest of your day and rationalize stopping at Taco Bell on the way to work.

  1. DRINK MORE WATER PERIOD.

Eight 8oz glasses of water a day is the accepted convention, and I find no fault with this. However, when we take a moment to think about this and remember how often you see me (or other mindful, fit people) walking around with a gallon jug of water or canteen. Here’s why: I have to be reminded to drink water, or I won’t remember. Moreover, like many of you getting up for water is terrible for my workflow. The solution 8x8oz=64oz the magic number so while at the gym bring a gallon jug (128oz) or for my desk, a 32oz canteen to fill up twice and I hit my water goal, for the day.

  1. ORDER A SALAD WITH LUNCH AND DINNER

Before getting meta with this entry, the simple reason is once again behavioral. In America, we have terrible portions. Too large if you were unaware, and people generally will end up eating an extra 280 calories in chips/fries, starchy carbs and trans fats that are beyond necessary. Start your second and third meal of the day with a simple salad or extra serving of greens; not because it is the historically popular option. It is so you feel better about eating your vegetables, and it pairs well with many popular meal options. In addition to curving your desire to obliterate that giant burrito of your daydreams.

  1. EAT LESS SUGAR

Don’t merely willpower through skipping the cookies, extra brownies, or one more mixed drink during happy hour because you deserve it. You deserve to hit your goals, so level up your strategy by setting rules for yourself to make it easy to say no to the extra sweets. (Like the laugh factory you can have a two-drink minimum, that can also be your maximum.)

  1. FIGURE OUT YOUR MACROS GOALS

I’ve attempted to save the most straightforward and most challenging step for last. Challenging since it is easy to put off and become distracted by the deluge of information that comes when searching for: what is a ‘Marcos calculator’ and ‘What are my Macros.’ Only that is the task enter your height, weight, level of activity and have churned out a guideline of how many grams of protein, fat, and carbohydrates your body requires to stay alive. Adjust the numbers as recommended if individual goals are to lose or gain weight.