Chocolate Malt

Friday, July 28 | A little bit of this, a little bit of that

As we had to pick up Jeff from the airport, Luke and I only went for a 3-mile walk this morning.

Yesterday’s workout nearly destroyed me, so I made sure not to program anything overly taxing.

10 45# plate thrusters
5/leg pistols
1-min weighted plank hold

Uhm, and this turned out to be more than challenging enough. I practiced pistols before I began the workout, recording sets to ensure proper form and execution. Well, mostly ensuring that I broke parallel when performing with both right and left legs. Even though my left leg is stronger, I’m more likely to not squat (less likely to squat?) below parallel, and I wasn’t going to allow that to happen. I also recorded the entire workout. I usually record using the time-lapse feature, but I forgot to do so today. This was fortuitous (sorry for the big word), as I could then review the recording to ensure that all reps were indeed below parallel. Nailed it. I completed all rounds of thrusters in unbroken reps, held all rounds of planks without breaking, and completed unbroken pistols about 6 or 7 (don’t make me review the recording again) of what amounted to 10 rounds, you know, because 5 reps per leg.

Time = 12:37

The ACA was not repealed nor replaced. Sometimes good does triumph over evil.

Saturday, July 29 | No Sandbagging For Me

Kevin, Meg, Claire, and Patrick are visiting for the weekend; thus, my exercise time is limited. Luke and I went for a 3-mile walk at Carrier/French Broad parks and then we all (including Jeff, of course) got together for breakfast at Sunny Point Cafe. After a visit to the Arboretum we attended the Grand Opening of the Archetype Brewery. And I got a little tipsy. Nothing that a power nap couldn’t (almost) cure!

25 RFT
45# sandbag clean + sandbag push press + pull-up + hop over sandbag + sandbag clean + sandbag push press + toes to bar + hop over sandbag

Thus, 50 sandbag cleans, push presses, and hops as well as 25 pull-ups and toes to bar. I worked at a relatively slow and steady pace, you know, so as to not to throw up. I also scraped my knuckles on the sandbag doing the push presses.

Oh, keep in mind that a thruster wasn’t allowed, i.e., sandbag full squat clean and then a sandbag push press.

Time = 20:51

Sunday, July 30 | Easy Breezy

Kevin and I went for a 6-mile ride at the Arboretum and Pisgah National Forest. Uhm, prolly doesn’t even count as exercise.

We also traveled to Cherokee, and as Luke and I had been going for shorter walks I took him for another 3-mile hike (we went for a 3-mile walk during the early morning hours) on some easy trails. ‘Twas beautiful!

Monday, July 31 | Ending on Eleven

I needed to exercise, as I’m feeling, well, fat. I’m not really fat, I’m just feeling fat. I probably need to run more frequently.

Establish 5RM T&G power cleans

I completed 5 T&G reps @ 95, 105, 115, 125, 135, 140, 145, & 150#. I failed final rep @ 155#. Nonetheless, lifts felt good.

11 RFT
5 95# T&G HPCs
5 burpee + 10 lateral bar hops

The 95# HPCs felt deliciously light. This was fun, and my goal was to work continuously and to finish strong. I did so. As I often do, I’ll include totals: 55 HPCs & burpees and 550 lateral bar hops. I didn’t miss a single rep, and rest was limited. I made sure to work continuously for last 2 rounds and was therefore exhausted at the end of the workout. Just the way I like it.

Time = 15:03

Scaramucci got fired today. Ha! What a shitshow.





AB Tech

Wednesday, July 26 | Two Loops with Brian

Brian (I started with your name for obvious reasons, Brian) and I went for a relatively short ride today, biking just over an hour and just under 7 miles. But it was tough. It’s the first time I’ve ridden on exposed rocks. Ascending wasn’t nearly as difficult as descending. I did indeed walk with the bike during part of the descent. Brian did not, but as he already has apparent head injuries, well, I guess it doesn’t really matter. JK.

As usual, Brian and I discussed many things, including politics. We both resoundingly agree that trump (I won’t even dignify with uppercase “t”) is a maniacal sociopath. And a raging asshole.

Luke and I began our day with a 4.5-mile walk around the neighborhood, traveling on Haywood past New Belgium Brewery, along French Broad river, and then Carrier Park. We ended the day with a 3-mile walk at Biltmore. We saw a deer!


Thursday, July 27 | Four Gruesome Rounds

Luke and I went for a 4-mile walk at Carrier and French Broad parks. The killer has been caught, so I now feel safe hiking at Pisgah. I nonetheless stayed close, as I had to shower and prepare for a job interview @ 11 but also had to be ready for a call @ 10. A call that was cancelled at 9:55. Yup, cancelled and not yet rescheduled. Whatevs.

I interviewed for an adjunct faculty position at AB Tech. Nailed it. I will be teaching two sessions of Public Speaking. I’ve always said that I’d someday like to return to teaching college and that day has come, probably sooner than I had originally imagined or expected. Full circle, folks. By the way, I was asked how I would handle a problematic student, specifically an individual who feels emboldened to belittle others. Hmm, I wonder why this is more prevalent now than, say, during the past 8 years?

My good friend Evelyn tagged me on Facebook letting me know that she revisited a workout we’ve done together in the past (if memory serves me correctly). ‘Twas programmed as a 20-minute AMRAP of 5 floor presses, 5 stiff-legged deadlifts, 25 double unders, 5 power jerks, 5 hang power cleans, and 25 double unders. The same activities were completed again, only 10 reps of lifting and 50 double unders. Once that round was complete, you returned to 5 & 25. Oh, Rx weight was 115#.

I wanted a workout that lasted longer than 20 minutes, as my focus is on endurance. The workout I pogrommed probably lasted too long, as I was near death by the end.

4 rounds; work 9:30 & rest 3 minutes between rounds
Floor presses (85, 95, 105, 115#)
Stiff-legged deadlifts
25 double unders
Shoulder to overhead
Hang power cleans
25 double unders

Thus a round consisted of 5 FP, SLDL, S2O, HPC, and 50 double unders. The reps decreased and the weight increased each round, beginning with 7 reps (other than dus, obviously) @ 85#, and then decreasing reps by 1 and increasing weight by 10# each subsequent round. In other words, 7 @ 85#, 6 @ 95#,  5 @ 105#, and 4 @ 115#, and always 25 double unders. Don’t make me explain again.

(By the way, I would never program this for others as, well, there would be many that just wouldn’t get it. I’d have to spend 30 minutes attempting to explain the workout. True story. (And you know who you are.))

My goal was to complete all rounds of lifting in unbroken reps, and I did not achieve this goal. I came close, though!

Why 9 minutes and 30 seconds? Why the hell not!

Scores = 4 + 10, 4 + 16, 3 + 48, & 3 + 7

During the brief rest between the last 2 rounds I filled an empty water bottle using the outside spigot. Ha! I even poured some water on my head, as it was hot and humid in the garage.

In order from least to most difficult: STDL, FP, HPC, & S2O. That was to be expected. I did, however, expect FP to be more challenging (as bench and floor pressing is still a major weakness) and hang power cleans to be easier. I knew S2O would eventually turn into a shit show.

I did, however, complete S2O in unbroken reps until the 4 last reps. And then I couldn’t even string 2 reps together. Yup, 4 power clean & jerks to finish. I was pretty much at complete an total muscle failure.

I completed all but 2 or possibly 3 rounds of dus in unbroken reps, even with exceedingly sweaty hands.

Monthly Bear

Sunday, July 23 | July Bear Complex

I had an awesome time at the Oskar Blues Burning Can Beer Festival yesterday! If Brian and I are still friends when I’m 65 I’ll refer to him as my BBFF (Best Brian Friend Forever).

Luke and I began our day with a very slow 2.5-mile walk at Biltmore Estates. It’s hot, thus Luke dawdles. And that’s okay.

As mentioned in May, I’m doing The Bear Complex every month. Uhm, I should’ve ensured that I knew weight I did in June, as I thought it was 100# when in fact it was 90#.

For load:
5 rounds of 7 reps:
1 PC
1 FS
1 PP
1 BS
1 behind the neck PP

You may not drop the bar between reps but may rest between rounds.

Last month I began with 65# and worked up to 90#. This month I began with 65# and added 10# each round, ending with 105# — a 15# PR. It’s not wonder that the 4th round @ 95# felt heavy, as it was already a 5# PR. Ha! I suck at math and, evidently, recall. I recorded all rounds to ensure proper form and execution. The behind the neck push press was the most difficult movement. I hit the back of my head the very last rep. Ha! And ouch.

As with exercise, rest from music is also needed, and I didn’t play the piano all day. And I missed it terribly. It was also the first day in 30 days when I didn’t play four octaves of major scales. And I even missed that.

Monday, July 24 | 75

I failed to record GoT last night, so I watched it on demand this morning. I thought the first 10 minutes was jaw dropping. Until I saw the last 10 minutes. I’m also enjoying randomly saying “Summon Jon Snow” and “Bend a knee.”

What watching GoT first thing in the morning allowed for was a walk at the Arboretum. Yup, our walk didn’t begin until 8. Luke and I hiked our usual 5-mile loop. As it rained last night, the weather was somewhat cool this morning. That didn’t mean, however, that Luke didn’t occasionally lallygag.

It’s always a challenge to program after The Bear. I was up for the challenge.

10 rounds
5 75# unbroken power clean & jerks 
5 unbroken rebounding 24″ box jumps
5 75# unbroken sumo deadlift high pulls
5 unbroken 24″ decline pushups
5 unbroken V-ups
Max unbroken rep total until 25

I guess I have some ‘splainin’ to do.

For power clean & jerks, receiving the bar in the power position was the dip of the jerk dip-drive-dip. This was a requirement; thus, no power clean, stand up, and then jerk. Not today folks, not today. The weight was certainly light enough to allow this, although admittedly the weight began to feel heavy as the workout progressed.

Yes, rebounding box jumps can be dangerous, and that’s why I don’t often program.

For SDHPs I also didn’t allow extension of ankles and thus I didn’t go up on toes. Why not? Because I wanted the benefits of the pull. That’s what he said.

For decline pushups strict plank and nose to the floor were required. For V-ups, of course, shoulders well above floor and both feet touched were required.

Immediately following the 10 rounds max good reps of PC&J began. I was able to complete a mere 10, as my elbows didn’t immediately lock as I pressed the 11th rep. I completed 18 unbroken and rebounding box jumps but missed 19th, as I didn’t fully open hips before jumping off box. Sixteen SDHPs and 19 pushups and V-ups. I should’ve gotten 25 V-ups but failed to touch both feet on 20th rep. I adhered to standards that my spectacularly awesome and tremendously good looking coach set.

For second round I made it to 19 PC&J. Yup, another mere nine reps before I didn’t lock out at top. I completed remaining reps of remaining activities and finished with six PC&J.

Time = 26:26

That was just what the doctor ordered.

Tuesday, July 25 | 5-7

Luke and I began our day with a 5-mile walk at Carrier and French Broad parks. Unlike in some parts of NC, Asheville has been relatively cool during the morning hours, and today was no exception.

I was somewhat rushed for time this morning as I had to wait until Duke Energy completed repair to start workout and then had to finish workout with time to prepare for dentist appointment.


I practiced power snatches and hang power stanches, as this was a good warmup for workout.

12 unbroken RFT
– 5 hang power snatch, 65#
– 7 wall ball shots, 20# & 10′

Rest 3 minutes

12 unbroken RFT
– 5 burpee with bench + Abmat jump overs
– 7 Abmat sit-ups

That’s 60 total hang power snatches and burpees and 84 wall ball shots and sit-ups. This was fun! And I didn’t miss a single rep.

Times: 11:19 & 10:38


The Piano Man


The lovely Jessica and her children Ben, Chloe, and Luke visited Monday (July 20) afternoon, and we enjoyed a wonderful meal and delightful conversation! BTW, I always list children from youngest to oldest.

I vividly remember a childhood event. I was perhaps 4 or at the oldest 5, and my mother had given both one of my older brothers, Anthony, and me a coloring book. Anthony is just 15 months my senior and we’re very much opposites. This often led to much conflict. Anyhow, Mother had given us both the same coloring book. Anthony said, “Let’s have a contest. We’ll color the same page and then show Mom and she can choose the winner.” You probably see where this is going. You’re also probably wrong.

We chose a picture right out of a Western, with a sheriff and a “bad” guy in a saloon and having pulled their guns as if in a shootout. Anthony colored the good guy in browns and the bad guy in, of course, black. The colors chosen were indeed what you’d expect.

I used almost every color in the box of Crayolas. The good guy wore shades of orange (of course) and red, and the bad guy wore pink. Yes, pink! The saloon was, for lack of a better word, festive. (Or maybe that is the best word.)

Anthony was sure that he had won. We took the pictures to Mother and Anthony asked, “Which one is best?” You’d expect our mother to say something like “They’re both very good.” She didn’t. She said, “Paul’s is the best. He shows creativity and originality.”

Ha! You could always count on Mother for an honest answer.

Friday, July 21 | Thrusters

It’s hot in Asheville! I watched “The Arrival,” one of my favorite films of 2016, and didn’t go to sleep until close to 1. I slept until 7:15, so Luke and I went for a walk at Biltmore. Did I mention it was hot? Luke tends to lallygag even more than usual when the temperate gets above 75, so we only went for a 4-mile walk. The sunflowers have been harvested, so the grounds aren’t nearly as appealing.

Establish 3RM, first rep must be cluster 

I hate thrusters. This certainly doesn’t mean that I won’t program for myself. I set a goal to complete 3 unbroken at 135. After warming up I completed 8 @ 75, 6 @ 95, 5 @ 100, 4 @ 105, and 3 @ 115, 120, 125, 130, 135, & 140#. I attempted 145# but failed final rep. Dammit. I was nonetheless pleased with performance. I recorded all rounds and ensured: 1st rep began with full squat clean (i.e., not a power clean), squatted below parallel, push pressed (i.e., no power jerks), and locked out arms at full extension.

Yup, I also went up on my toes as the weight got heavier.

I was itching for a workout that included shuttle sprints, so I put the sandbag in the Renegade and headed to Carrier Park.

1, 2, 3…8, 9, 10, 9, 8…3, 2, 1
Shuttle sprints (10m up and back = 1 rep)
45# sandbag hang muscle cleans
Complete 10 lateral sandbag hops after each round

If there was ever a day when I need an abacus today was that day. I’m certain that I completed additional rounds. There was also a time when I had convinced myself that I hadn’t completed lateral hops after the previous round, so I did 50 hops. Not just another 10, no that’d make the most sense, but another 50. Why 50? Because I convinced myself that if I had forgotten to finish with hops one round that it was likely that I forgot to do so other rounds as well. Ha!

This was a gasser, as none of the movements were so challenging to, you know, allow myself to rest; thus it was a sprint from start to finish.

Time = 20:53

Saturday, July 22 | Nothin’ But Metcon

Luke’s a funny dog. I had mapped out a 5-mile loop at Pisgah for us to hike this morning. We had made it just a mile when Luke stopped at trailhead of a trail we hadn’t yet hiked. And he kind of wouldn’t budge. I said, “Okay, let’s give it a try. ‘Twas a steep .2 miles downhill to the end of the trail. Yup, ’twas a steep .2 mile uphill. We then continued the planned course. What this meant is that we hiked close to 5.5 miles. In addition, we ran the last half mile. I was a sweaty mess from head to toe and Luke was panting loudly. Luke and I then met Jeff for breakfast at the Sage Cafe. I was so hungry that I had two pancakes. TWO PANCAKES!

5 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of twisting burpee + ring dip + strict toes to bar
7 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of twisting burpee + 2 ring dips + 2 strict toes to bar
9 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of twisting burpee + 3 ring dips + 3 strict toes to bar
11 reps of 225# deadlift + burpee over bar + backwards hop over bar
5 reps of  twisting burpee + 4 ring dips + 4 strict toes to bar

This was truly challenging, as it was exceedingly hot and humid in the garage. Yup, I took off my shirt midway through the workout.

I had originally programmed 185# deadlifts, but I thought that’d be too easy. I was probably right, as the deadlifts presented little challenge. I can’t recall a workout that included a backwards hop. This certainly added a new dimension, as I had to quickly glance behind me before jumping backwards. Why? So that I wouldn’t slip on my own sweat.

I was pleased that I was able to complete all rounds of ring dips and toes to bar in unbroken reps, for I was certain that during the final round I wouldn’t be able to do so. I did rest between reps, and in the long run I think/feel this saved time. Some workouts I know I should sprint from start to finish, e.g., yesterday’s metcon, whilst other workouts call for a little rest and recovery.

Time = 17:40

Today was the final day of the 30-day challenge of playing 4 octaves of all major scales! This also means that I’ve played the piano for the past 30 days, sometimes as much as 4 hours a day. I am amazed at how well the challenge worked, for I can confidently play all scales correctly, (i.e., with no missed notes), quickly, and musically.

I’ve been listening to Linkin Park for the past few days, for obvious reasons. The lyrics to many of their songs are much more meaningful and significant.


I realized that I don’t think “I have to practice the piano today.” I instead think “I get to practice the piano today.” I’m truly enjoying revisiting as well as learning new pieces.

Much as with CrossFit, effectively warming up is crucial. I’ve almost completed the 30-day challenge of 4 octaves all major scales; thus, I’m generally warmed up before I begin playing.

I’m now making much more of an effort to warm up prior to lifting. I used to do so effectively, you know, because I was attending a session where I usually programmed the warmup.

Warming up is good. Not warming up is, much like our kitties, bad. True story.

Monday, July 18 | Not Too Complicated Complex

I rested Sunday. Let me reword that: I made myself rest Sunday. Luke & I did go for a hike at Pisgah, of course, but we’ll just call that “active recovery.”

I did watch the season premiere of GoT. Ed Sheeran’s was the worst cameo ever. And I like redheads.

Luke and I began Monday with a 5-mile walk at Carrier and French Broad Parks as I needed to be home by 9 for solar power inspection.

Deadlift, hang power clean, front squat, push press
9 “reps” @ 65, 8 @ 70, 7 @ 75, 6 @ 80, 5 @ 85, 4 @ 90#
3 “reps” @ 95, 100, 105, 110, 115, 120, 125, 130, & 135#
Hands must remain on barbell for each rep

Rep was determined by round, e.g., round of 9 @ 65 consisted of 9 DL, then 9 HPC, 9 FS, & 9 PP. Nine final rounds all consisted of 3 DL, 3 HPC, 3 FS, & 3 PP.

I programmed movements from easiest to most difficult, and that was intentional. In other words, it would’ve been much easier to begin with push press and end with deadlifts.

I was occasionally distracted by inspector and this may have impeded performance. Or not, as I didn’t have any failed reps.

As mentioned above, I’ve been focusing on effectively warming up, and the rounds before final 9 could certainly be considered a warm up.

9-min AMRAP
All activities with 53# KB
Pushup + American swing + sumo deadlift high pull + Russian swing + goblet squat

‘Twas difficult keeping grasp on the handle due to excessive sweating.

I attempted to count in reps of 5 but may have miscounted. I completed 30, 31, or 32 reps.

I can’t stop listening to Rufus Wainwright.


Tuesday, July 19 | Nothing But Balls

Yup, began the day with a 5-mile hike at Pisgah. ‘Twas a glorious morning! Luke has mastered posting for pictures. Gotta start ’em young, folks.

Medicine ball cleans
21 rounds; rest 30 seconds between rounds
Rounds 1, 4, 7, 10, 13, 16, & 19 | 2 @ 20, 4 @ 25, 6 @ 30#
Rounds 2, 5, 8, 11, 14, 17, & 20 | 2 @ 25, 4 @ 30, 6 @ 20#
Rounds 3, 6, 9, 12, 15, 18, & 21 | 2 @ 30, 4 @ 20, 6 @ 25#

The goal, of course, was to complete all rounds within same time. Ha! The 20# medicine ball felt exceedingly light whilst the 30# medicine ball felt like it weighed a ton. I averaged 30 seconds a round, with the slowest taking 32 and the fastest (the last!) rounds taking 28 seconds.

That’s 252 medicine ball cleans.

Total time (including rest) = 20:39


Wednesday, July 19 | Over the Shoulder Boulder Holder

Extra points if you know the song referenced in the title. And the movie. And the singer.

I knew immediately upon waking that today was not going to be a leg day. Yup, 252 medicine ball cleans will wreak havoc upon one’s lower body.

Luke and I nonetheless went for a somewhat grueling trail hike at Pisgah, exploring yet another previously unexplored trail. We hiked downhill a mile, on relatively flat terrain a half mile, uphill another mile, and did the course in reverse. That last climb up Sleepy Gap is a gasser. For a change of pace, I didn’t listen to music or podcasts, but instead enjoyed the sounds of nature.

Luke, Meg, Zac, and I enjoyed breakfast (blueberry pancakes) on the deck, and then Luke and I traversed to the garage for today’s workout.

Bench Press
Max reps (albeit sans spotter so not truly max) @  45, 50, 55, 60, 65, 70, 75, 80, & 85% of 1RM
Max rep strict handstand pushups at the end of each round

Weights began @ 75# and increased by 10# each round, ending with 145, which is just shy of 90% of 1RM. Call me an overachiever. I don’t mind.

I completed 28, 18, 14, 12, 12, 7 (had issues with grip), 6, 2, & 1 BP and 2, 1, 1, 1, 1, 0, 0, 0, & 0 HSPUs. Yup, I wasn’t able to complete a single rep the last 4 rounds. I didn’t realize just how difficult this was going to be!

As you can tell, the focus was on volume of lifts, and I ended up completing exactly 100. I must, I must, I must increase my bust. In addition, I didn’t rest very long between sets, usually resting only the time it took me to change plates.

10 RFT
– 5 parallette pass throughs (you know, because more arms)
– 10 unbroken double unders (you know, because more shoulders)

Whilst indeed challenging, I was very pleased with performance. Whilst I did often rest before the 5th pass through rep (in a strict plank, of course), I did complete all rounds without removing hands from parallettes.

A pass through begins in plank position and consists of strict pushup (chest to parallettes), kick through to pike (with hips open and extended), dip, and kick back to plank. That’s some gymnasticy (not a really word, folks) shit there, folks.

And I didn’t miss a single double under! In addition, I completed 26 reps each round, as I have found that I’ll sometimes miss the very last rep and, well, if the very last rep isn’t really the very last rep than I’m far less likely to miss the very last rep. Read that again. It makes sense. Promise.

Time = 11:57

Those who know me well know that I suck at math. Yup, even basic addition and subtraction, and don’t even get me started on multiplication or division. Algebra and geometry are foreign languages to me, you know, like football and baseball. Yet I can see a chord on a piece of music and immediately read it. That’s a C# major with an augmented 4th! I have no idea why.

I have an interview for a possible teaching position at AB Tech. Details to follow.



Best Brian Friend

Thursday, July 13 | BBF

Luke and I began our day with a 5-mile hike at Pisgah. Yes, I stay vigilant and carry bear spray. I’m not, however, going to avoid hiking in the forest for fear that I’ll have another bear encounter.

Screen Shot 2017-07-14 at 6.26.02 PM

I postponed a Wednesday ride with my Best Brian Friend until today, as it was necessary for me to be here for the completion of the installation of our solar power system. ‘Twas a great ride!

Whether it’s intentional or not, our rides continue to get more challenging and, fortunately, I continue to get more comfortable on the bike. There were some steep and long climbs today, and I enjoyed every moment of the ride. Brian can always be counted on for lively conversation (and I always enjoy my conversations with him). One of the reasons we moved to Asheville was so that I could spend more time with Brian, and I’m delighted that we’re getting together just about every week.

We rode a little more than 14 miles. We cooled off by taking a brief swim in the river, and it was just what the doctor ordered. That and a cold beer.

BTW, Brian was born the year that I graduated high school. Pretty soon I’m going to be too old to be his friend. (Brian has promised to not return my texts when that day arrives.)

Brian likes IPAs. That’s really his only fault.

I continue to practice the piano each and every day. Yup, still playing four octaves of all major scales. I’m also enjoying revisiting pieces I’ve mastered in the past.

Friday, July 14 | Chin up, young man!

Luke and I explored new paths in Pisgah this morning, including Sleepy Gay Gap and Pine Loop. We also hiked all of the way to Lake Powhatan. ‘Twas much downhill climbing the first half of the 5+-mile hike; thus, ’twas much uphill climbing the last half. I was gasping for air and was drenched in sweat from head to toe. We nonetheless stopped by Edna’s by the River for a cup of coffee and a bagel for me, and a BAG biscuit for Luke.

Strength and Conditioning
100 strict chin-ups (on yoke bar)

‘Tis always a challenge to complete pull-ups or chin-ups on the fat yoke bar. Yup, I have to get a pull-up bar soon. The circumference of the yoke bar is certainly larger than that of a bottle or even can of beer. And I would know.

It got very hot in the garage, so I took off my shirt for the last 10 reps, and kept it off for the handstand pushups.

Former members know that I had a “shirts on” policy when I owned a box. Why? Because I wanted all members to feel comfortable, and many members felt uncomfortable around shirtless people. I know I often did. As I’m working out alone, well, you can see where I’m going with this.

Another reason I left my shirt on was for the heterosexual, married women. Why? Because if their husbands saw me with my shirt off they’d likely turn gay.

Time = 16:18

50 strict handstand pushups

I began with nine unbroken reps! I’m continuing to recover and regain strength. I began completing in reps of two and finished with nine singles. No failed reps!

Time = 11:44

I practiced the piano for about three hours today, playing “Out Here On My Own,” “Ralph & Monty,” and two pieces by Kabalevsky. I’m going to create a playlist, and focus on just those songs. The hard part is deciding on which songs to include on the playlist…

Form, consistency, and intensity. I’m focusing on both form and consistency with piano playing. I’ve decided I’ll focus much more on form and consistency with CrossFit. Read on…

Saturday, July 5 | Nothing but BJs

Catchy title, am I right?

Luke and I went for a 5-mile walk at the Biltmore, if for no other reason than so we could once again view the stunning sunflowers and cunning linguists. (How’d you like that reference to “Cabaret”?)

As just mentioned above, and for those of you paying attention, there will be days when I focus just on form and consistency. Yesterday might have been considered such a day if I hadn’t, you know, timed the workout. Today was most certainly such a day.

100 unbroken box jumps, 24″
100 box jumps, 30″
50 box jumps, 33″
25 box jumps, 36″
Max height box jump

Yes, 275+ box jumps was my plan, but I was unable to stick to this plan.

And that’s okay. There are times when one must listen to one’s body. Mine said “You’re stunningly gorgeous, you know, like the sunflowers, but you aren’t going to jump on this fucking box again today.”

I stepped off of box for 24″ box jumps and jumped off (because I’m too short to step off) box for remaining reps. I did not rebound for any jumps.

I kept track of reps with Abacus (and I’m glad that I did) and did not keep track of time.

Luke was very tired after our walk, and he immediately went to sleep on the blanket that I had moved to the middle of the box for easy access to the new solar panel box. I love him dearly, so I moved the plyo box. He slept through most of the workout, finally moving outside when, well, I got too sweaty.

The requirements for box jumps:
— 2-footed take off and landing (of course)
— full extension at top of box (of course)
— full contact with box, i.e., heel(s) may not extend off of box
— land in full squat, with elbows inside knees

I “missed” a few reps in that heels extended off of box. You, I redid.

I completed 30″ bjs in reps of 10, and 33″ and 36″ bjs in reps of 5.

And then it happened. I had completed just 15 bjs @ 36″ when I just couldn’t make myself jump again, try as I might. Kenny Rogers sang it best: You gotta know when to hold ’em, know when to fold ’em, know when to walk away, and know when not to jump.

I think that’s the lyrics.




Tuesday, July 11 | 150/75

Luke and I enjoyed a 5.5+-mile walk at Carrier Park, including a visit to the Dog Park. Unfortunately, two of the dogs wouldn’t leave Luke alone, one even growling at him. The owner said, “They just want to run with him.” I replied, “And it appears that Luke doesn’t want to run with them.” I ended up running with all of them, attempting to keep the two from knocking over Luke. Uhm, if you can’t (or won’t) control your dog, don’t take her or him to a public dog park, kthx.

I worked out in the garage as our new solar power system was being installed. Yesterday was all legs and today was all legs and abs.

-25 unbroken double unders
Then (with no rest)
– Press, push press, power jerk X2, starting at 45# and increasing weight 5# each round until failure

This was difficult. No, not the 25 unbroken double unders, as I easily completed on first attempt all but 1 of 14 rounds. ‘Twas difficult immediately beginning presses, as even 25 double unders can leave one winded. In addition, completing the 2nd press after the press+push press+power jerk was physically and psychologically challenging. Don’t make me explain why.

I completed 1 set of press+push press+power jerk @ 110# but failed the 2nd press. That’s 26 presses, push presses, and power jerk and 350 double unders.

25-20-15-10-5 presses @ 50% of bodyweight (75#)
50-40-30-20-10 Abmat sit-ups

I almost hate to admit that I enjoyed this workout. I ensured that all presses were strict. I’d start of each round strong, completing as many as 15 (round of 25) and even 11 (round of 15) unbroken reps. When muscle failure set in, however, it was often a struggle to string together 3 or even 2. The only time I only did 1 rep was the 25th rep of 1st round. I didn’t, however, have any failed reps.

I completed sit-ups in unbroken reps.

Time = 11:54

I then met with KC from Piano Lab. The location is just 5 minutes from our home! I wasn’t sure how long our initial meeting would last, and was pleased when KC willingly spent about an hour with me not only discussing my goals but also providing instruction. Uhm, I played a few arpeggios. Uhm, I haven’t played arpeggios in years. Uhm, I had forgotten about the importance of turning one’s wrists.

I very much like her approach to instruction and am looking forward to meeting potential teacher. I did request that my teacher be an effective communicator. I’m not going to be able to listen to anyone whose language is infused with “you know,” “like,” “so,” “actually,” etc. I. Just. Can’t.

KC agreed with my approach to coaching and its applicability to teaching the piano: form, consistency, and then (and only then) intensity.

I’m 20 days into 30-day challenge of 4 octaves of all major scales. KC suggested that I “lead with the left” and spend 3 more times on left than right hand.

Wednesday, July 12 | Roxanne

With my heart aflutter, Luke and I went for a walk in the Experimental Forest. I’m pleased to say that there were no bear encounters! I did (and shall always) carry bear spray.

The installation of the solar power system continues. I bought the crew members donuts from Hole, and they were very appreciative.

BTW, I don’t frequent Hole (that sounds dirty) that often, but every time I do I’m greeted by name. I also engage in delightful conversation with the employees. Jeff is shocked that this occurs!

Okay, I have avoided back squats since ACDF surgery for two reasons:

  1. I don’t want to put pressure on my neck and spine.
  2. Unbeknownst to most, I pulled a groin muscle a couple of months ago. I wanted to ensure that I was fully recovered before I attempted heavyish squats so as to not make things worse. I’m smart like that.

My goal today was to back squat 200#, so I programmed a series to help achieve results. And it worked even better than I expected.

Back Squats
10 @ 95# with 3-second count hold @ bottom of squat
9 @ 105# w 3-sec hold
8 @ 115# w 2-sec hold
7 @ 125# w 2-sec hold
6 @ 135# 2 1-sec hold
5 @ 145# w 1-sec hold 
4 @ 155#
3 @ 165#
2 @ 175#
1 @ 185#
1 @ 200#

Since I achieved goal, I continued.

1 @ 205#
1 @ 210#
1 @ 215#
1 @ 220#

The lift @ 220# was a struggle, so I didn’t attempt 225#. Again, I’m smart like that.

Roxanne, Take 1
Complete burpee + handstand when Sting sings Roxanne
Complete burpee when remaining Police sings Roxanne 

This was too easy.

Roxanne, Take 2
Complete burpee + handstand HOLD when Sting sings Roxanne
Complete TWISTING burpee when remaining Police sings Roxanne 

This was fun!

Blue text indicates handstand hold following burpee. ‘Twas a loooooong handstand hold mid-song. BTW, one of the solar power workers didn’t realize I was holding a handstand and was startled when he saw me. This almost made me come off the wall!

Roxanne you don’t have to put on the red light
Those days are over you don’t have to sell your body to the night
Roxanne you don’t have to wear that dress tonight
Walk the streets for money you don’t care if it’s wrong or if it’s right
Roxanne You don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne You don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light) Oh
I loved you since I knew ya
I wouldn’t talk down to ya
I have to tell you just how I feel
I won’t share you with another boy
I know my mind is made up so put away your make-up
I told you once I won’t tell you again it’s a bad way
Roxanne you don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne you don’t have to put on the red light
Roxanne (you don’t have to put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (you don’t have to put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)
Roxanne (put on the red light)