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GETSTRONGRRR's Recent Blog Entries's not you, it's me!

Sunday, August 03, 2014

So, when we lived in Florida, I worked out with a trainer for over 3 years straight. Many of you remember I affectionately referred to him as "Stasi Guy", a sadistic brute of either East German or Russian origin, he grew up learning advanced torture techniques somewhere behind the Iron Curtain. He had no soul and put me through endless tortures under the guise of helping me "get in shape". I hated him, yet I kept going back, 3x/week for 3 years.

When we moved to Virginia last year and I developed my own personal training program based on my 3 years with Stasi Guy. Even on my own, I kept hearing his thick Slavic accent in my brain, egging me on whenever I felt like quitting, "Vat izz dees? (What is this?). U must doo tree more reps before vee moof on! (You must do three more reps before we move on!)"

Well about 2 months ago, I hired a new trainer, thinking I'd found someone with whom I could perfect my kettlebell technique. Somehow, he (let's call him "granola-eater"....I haven't been able to find any better way to describe him) pulled off a successful bait and switch on me, because in 3 months we haven't once touched a kettlebell, but have instead been doing all sorts of mobility and range of motion drills. (see blog )

Yesterday, I read the Current Status of one of my Sparkbuds, NancyAnne55, where she said something about how her trainer had made her do some crawling type moves, which I thought was pretty cool, because just the other day, a guy in one of the on-line kettlebell forums I hang out in mentioned the benefits of doing crawls as well. (see video )

How much more karma do I need!

So when I showed up for today's session, I told granola-eater that I'm going to start my next round of Strength Training to get ready for another Powerlifting meet at the end of October (see blog ).....and oh by the way does he know anything about how to do crawls.

He almost chokes on the mouthful of trail mix in his mouth. As he washes it down with a sip of some frothing mocha latte cappuccino crap from Starbucks, his eyes light up and he launches into a tirade of, "Oh my God Yes! Do you mean Bear Crawls, Panther Crawls, or Spiderman Crawls? Watch!" and dives down to floor to give me a demo of 3 different and painful ways in which you can contort your body on the ground

I look down at my shoes, shake my head and mumble, "I don't know, dude, I just heard they were good for you."

Now he becomes super-animated, on some trail mix/caffeine high and says, "OK, here's what we're going to do, to get you ready for your Powerlifting meet, we'll do some deadlifts, some Spiderman Crawls, and some ball slams!" (I didn't like the sound of that last one, but decided to get my mind out of the gutter)

"What's a confortable deadlift for you, a number where you'd feel good doing about 6-8 reps?"

Now he was in my territory.....this is where the Lion pounces on the Gazelle!

I shrugged my shoulders back a little, "Well, I did 395 lbs at the end of June (see video ). I'd be OK doing 255-275 lbs" I said as I man-stared right into his 20-something baby blues.

"Hmmm, OK, tell you what, let's just shoot for 225 to make it easier to load the bar"

The Lion was about to enjoy the feast!

At one end of the gym, he sets up a bar with 225 lbs for deadlifts and at the other end he places a 20 lb slam ball.

The Lion is wondering what kind of crazy evasive move the prey just pulled.

"OK, so here's what we're going to do, I want you to do 8 deadlifts, then Spiderman crawl to the slam ball, give me 8 ball slams, then run back for some more deadlifts"

"Yeah, OK.....what's a Spiderman crawl again?"

He gives me a's a picture and a video I found on Youtube ( )

The Lion's wondering whether or not this gazelle is worth it....maybe I should turn around and go after that one I saw limping at the end of the herd

Anyways, I chalk up my hands and crank out 8 perfect deadlifts with 225 lbs.....piece of cake. Then I contort myself into a pretzel on the ground and start Spiderman crawling over 20 yards to get to the Dynamax Slam Ball. By the time I stand up after the crawls, I am out of breath. I pick up the 20 lb slam ball, thankful to be doing some more strength moves.

But after slamming that thing down as hard as I can just 5 times, I am beat. I finish up 3 more then saunter back to the deadlift bar.

Granola-eater is still nursing his frothing mocha latte cappuccino crap, peers over his rimless glasses and says, "OK, take a minute to catch your breath, then let's do this again."

I am seriously starting to hate this guy.....fond memories of Stasi guy begin to form in my mind, like an abused child remembering only the good times in an abusive household.

I gird myself up for another round, finish off the 8 ball slams, and make it back huffing and puffing.

Hands on my knees, my head hanging low, I look up at granola-eater and plead with him, "Please don't make me hate deadlifts.....they're my favorite exercise....I don't want to associate them with these traumatic memories"

He chuckles into his frothing mocha latte cappuccino crap, almost horking some through his nose, "You're fine, just take a minute and keep going"

We did 8 rounds of that felt tike the universe just slowed down and focused all the pain it held into those tiny few minutes from when I picked up the bar for that first deadlift to throwing down the last slam ball.

Finally, we were done.....the whole session took less than 30 minutes.

As we unloaded the bar, I looked over at Granola-eater. "Dude, unless you're going to give me some massage therapy for the remaining 30 minutes of our time today, we're done!"

"Ok, that sounds fine. You did really good. I can see that was a challenge....oh by the way, you need to renew your lessons before next week"

As I walked down to the desk to charge up another 5 sessions with this madman, I told myself it wouldn't be too late to just make a beeline for the door, find another gym to workout at on Sundays and never look back.

But no, I renewed for another 5 sessions, telling myself, this was all good for me, this was all good for me, this was all......

So, maybe the problem all those 3 years I cursed Stasi Guy out under my breath, wasn't really about Stasi Guy....maybe it was me....maybe I just secretly hate anyone who trains me....maybe it's not's ME!

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    emoticon I agree with ADVENTURESEEKER, any trainer with less than a drill instructor personality would go down like the ancient lame gazelle on the outer fringe of the herd.

The last time I did crawls in karate class, maybe "army" crawls or something where we dragged our legs behind us using only our arms to gi pants kept being pulled down so I had to keep stopping to pull them back up. Not a productive exercise IMHO!

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    :) LOVE IT!!!
Some of my clients love to hate me too:) Gotta keep pushing!

Keep us posted on your progress! Sounds like a great program!

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    Baha! Being a type A, you would thrive in a competitive setting, under the watchful eye of a bootcamp instructor/trainer. Keep up the hard work. I am going to have to look up these crawls you speak of. One of these days. Maybe. But then I'm sure I'd try them. And where am I going to fit them into my day? And how do you track them? LOL

Anyway, glad you enjoy your hipster trainer. emoticon emoticon

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HAKAPES 8/5/2014 3:28AM

    I enjoyed your writing! :-)
So you like "torture coaching" or you don't?
Do you miss the iron curtain guy or not?

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JUNEAU2010 8/4/2014 8:58PM

    I am impressed!

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BERGBA7 8/4/2014 3:46PM

    What a great blog and what a great way of writing!
I could hear you pant in my living room after your training session with granola-eater!
Once I can do some push-ups I will add those spiderman crawls to my routine
Keep pushing! You will get even STRONGERRRRRR

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WOUBBIE 8/4/2014 1:52PM

    You might be onto something, George....

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BEATLETOT 8/4/2014 3:29AM

    Such a good blog...really enjoyed reading about your session. =)

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    bwahahahahaaa....... I do spiderman crawls - and hate them with a passion, but love the results. You will too, I promise.

Hang in there! I like the Granola eater!


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NANCYANNE55 8/3/2014 10:38PM


There. I am done yelling. But let it be known that you read more into it than I implied.

Although they probably are good for me.

I've only done these once. And I hate it. So we are even. And I'm actually sorta glad I have someone to join me in my misery. Although I also feel sorry for you.

So I apologize. Kinda.

My guy has me doing all of the panther/bear crawls (my choice) I can in 5 minutes, non-stop. (I can go sideways if I want, too. I tried this, thinking it would help alleviate some of the pain. It does not. It is harder. Don't mention this to Granola Guy unless you want to be side-crawling down to that medicine ball, then side crawling back to the bar when the ball slams are done. Because you KNOW Granola Guy will make you even up your sides.) Anyhow, I'm doing the crawls, forwards then backwards to the beginning, for 5 minutes, then KB swings for 10 sets of 10 , and then 5 KB get-ups on each side. (Funny: I'm doing KB work, yet you are the one who went to the trainer to learn KB's). That's all I have to do. 3 moves. Just like you. 4 days a week. The same thing. Every day. Yeah. Not so happy about that.

It's supposed to help me burn fat. I'm starting to consider liposuction.

I think next I'm going to post a status that my guy has me doing inverted wall push-ups and then see what Granola guy does to you. Maybe that blog would make me laugh as much as this one did. :-)

Very well written,. I'm so glad I posted that status update. (It seems there are no evil grin emoticons.)

Comment edited on: 8/3/2014 10:40:06 PM

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    Great story! I know they mean well but I wonder if they do have a sadistic streak. I've never had a personal trainer, but at my local gym a while back I noticed they had a feedback slips, so I started filling out slips putting in a good word for any of the floor staff whenever they would spot me on a strength exercise. Apparently, they get a big bonus for that or something because it backfired on me big time. The floor staff started stalking me all around the gym and making me squeeze out a few extra reps on every exercise, or add negatives, or do an additional exercise to blast the same muscles I had just worked to failure. I did get pretty strong back then, but I was just there to do a normal average joe workout so it was a little overwhelming. Now I exercise at home mostly.

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SAFARIBABE 8/3/2014 5:58PM

    Gotta love it when the gazelle wins. LOL What's that phrase.....oh yeah...."Be careful what you wish for." LOL I'm kinda surprised with all this powerlifting you do, that you've not gotten into crossfit.

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RTGRAFF 8/3/2014 5:53PM

    Oh my goodness! That had me laughing! It's like you're going from one kind of torture to another and you (chuckle) seem to like it and relish it. Still trying to picture a trainer, especially nicknamed "Granola-eater" drinking a foo-foo coffee drink while training a client. I never heard of crawls and though I got a bum knee, gonna look them up and try one, even if the distance is only a foot.

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Could Less Be Better Than More?

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Admit it Spark friends, when we were kids, more always meant better.....hell even today how many of us secretly believe that more is better than less....

.....come on raise your hand and admit it!

Many of us are here because more food was always better than less food, more dessert was better than less dessert, more lazing around was better than less lazing around, etc, etc, etc.

Maybe the only thing that contradicted this thought was......


Less exercise was always better than more exercise.....hell, no exercise was just damn fine (at least it was by me, your story may be different.....but was it really?)

Well many years ago, at the tender age of 47, I decided to reverse my body's decline. I stopped smoking and started running. At first I could barely do a 1/4 mile at the track. I huffed and I puffed and slowly began to extend the distance.

Being a lifelong Type A kind of guy, it wasn't long before I got the running bug and decided that if a 3-mile run was good, then 5 miles was better.....but really, I should shoot for 10 miles. But if I was going to do that, why not a half-marathon? Half-marathon? Why the hell not just go for the Full Monty and train for a full marathon.

More is always better than Less

A few years ago I started lifting weights and shifted from Running to Strength Training. I started barely able to squat, press or deadlift 50-100 lbs, then slowly got the hang of it (with the help of a sadistic trainer who had some ties with various former Soviet Block interrogation agencies!). All of that was good, but late last year I decided to take it up a notch and began competing in some Amateur Powerlifting Competitions. The Gold Standard there is to be able to lift over 1000 lbs between squat, bench press, and deadlift.....and I finally achieved that last month (see blog ).

More is always better than Less

But a strange thing happened as I trained for my last powerlifting competition......I trained less

I trained for shorter amounts of time and with less weight......but I trained more frequently

Instead of spending 90 minutes in the gym, doing 5 sets of 10 repetitions with various leg exercises, then the next day spending 90 minutes in the gym, doing 5 sets of 10 repetitions with various back exercises, and the next day, get the picture

Instead, 3-4 days a week for about 45 minutes, each day I focused doing the exercises that worked the most muscles, but I did only 2 sets of 5 repetitions, and I did them with between 60-80% of my max limits. At the end of each rep, I asked myself, "OK, can you do that again tomorrow?" If the answer was yes, I continued. If the answer was no, I stopped.

Doing it this way, I ended up working out my whole body more frequently during the week, but to keep myself from burning out, I actually dialed the volume down a few notches.

Less heavy, but more frequent workouts......Hmmmm. Could Less be better than More?

Well the results speak for themselves.....In June I lifted 50 more lbs than my previous competition in February and finally crossed the 1000 lb barrier.

So what's my takeaway from all of this? Well I'm an avid reader and researcher, and have been finding plenty of good discussions and experienced people that advocate working out in a sustainable manner, getting away from no pain, no gain, and constant soreness to working out in a manner where you always have some gas left in the tank at the end of a workout, enough so that you can do the exact same workout the next day and the next. Workout just a little less hard, but workout more frequently

Bodybuilders and Olympic Lifters keep pushing the limits because they live in a totally different realm of training and experience.....I am not one of them. I just want to keep getting better and better, and to stay injury free while doing so.

So I'm trying something new....micro-workouts.

Before I get into that, let me say that I fully intend to keep working out in the gym. I've recently fallen in love with Kettlebells (see blog ) and so will continue training with them. I'm also going to start back up with the Strength Training in August (I took a 1 month break after June's Powerlifting Competition).

What I'm going to do (I actually started doing this Monday) is to incorporate some micro-workouts into my day.

Here's the deal. I don't know about you all, but I have a job that keeps me seated most of the day. During my morning & afternoon commute, I walk about 15-20 minutes each way. I get up and stretch my legs some during the day, but aside from gym time, I'm pretty sedentary most of the day.

So Monday, I brought my kettlebell and ab wheel to work

For the last 3 days, every hour on the hour (almost), I close the door to my office (yeah, I'm lucky to have an office....this might be tough to do in a cubicle farm) and do 20 one-handed kettlebell swings (10 left and 10 right) and 10 ab roll-outs

These go real fast, less than a minute. They're somewhat intense (explosive is more like it). At the end, my heart rate is up some and I'm breathing a little heavy, but nothing major.

So far so good. I feel good and balanced. My thinking is that 90 minutes of activity in a day, followed by 22.5 hours of sedentary living isn't a good balance. Maybe a little more constant activity spread out through the day is a better way to use our bodies.

We'll see!

Let me know what you think Spark buds, can less can be better than more?

Have a great night!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I say a switch in the routine is refreshing every now and then! Keep us updated on how the micro-workouts are going.
My trainer pushed me to actually be able to do deadlifts. I went from 'f-this! I am NOT bending forward or being unbalanced with weights lest I hurt my back again!' 0 lbs on deadlifts because my back was so weak, then to the bar, and then to doing over 100 lbs on deadlifts. We took it in little steps utilizing different movements to strengthen my back. Little by little, progress is made.
I do need to train more frequently at the gym lifting though.

However, less food than I am eating now would be better. Less in this case is better than the more I've been indulging in.

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 7/27/2014 6:33AM

    You're lucky to have the space to do this type of workout:) I will sneak pushups in on a counter at school or dips lots of times right in front of the kids because they are driving me nuts:) A co teacher and I squat out all our problems or walking lunges around the kids' desks.

I did a workout similar to this on one of the days I was snowed in and couldn't get to the gym. Every hour on the hour I did some sort of physical activity so I got a whole body workout.

I think you need to do what works for you. Ask yourself what the end results is. If you're not training for a specific competition then go for it. Think about it the best way to run a marathon is to run. The best way to participate in a weightlifting competition is to lift weights. The best way to participate in life is to have fun:)

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LISAINMS 7/26/2014 5:47PM

    Breaking up your extra time over the course of the day is far more beneficial to your performance. You are getting the benefit of the workload without going to max effort in that short period of time. You are recovered between each "session". Also, it has a bonus effect to increase fat utilization for fuel. Keep it up as long as you continue to have the results you want.

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WOUBBIE 7/26/2014 1:19PM

    I think you're on to something. From an evolutionary perspective, less probably is better than more. That's gotta be why things like HIIT are so effective. Compressed time, intense effort, rest and repair.

My cubicle challenge this month has been to designate a couple of tasks as "standing only" and to add a couple of intense stair runs to the day. It's taking me a lot longer to master those stairs than I would have thought, but, hey, progress is progress.

Good going, boss!

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JUNEAU2010 7/25/2014 4:41PM

    The biggest thing you said for me is asking that question about whether or not you could repeat the intensity of activity the next day. What a great measurement that is. I'm telling you right now I am going to adopt that!

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FANGFACEKITTY 7/24/2014 11:47PM

    Is it really less...or just more in a different way? That is the question lol. Sounds like interval training an a longer cycle, you're just on the "easier" part for awhile right now. Which can be a good thing. Constant training at ever creasing levels, without those "less" periods really just sets you up for burn out and injury.

I'd love to see someone try kettle bell swings, ab roll outs and the like in a cube challenge each day is navigating all the chairs people leave pushed out from their desks, kind of like a mini obstacle course.

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BERGBA7 7/24/2014 6:41AM

    I would call it - Exercise smarter to get better!
I am very interested to see where it will lead you for personal reasons. I keep telling BF to get up from the laptop a few times a day and just do 10 squats and some push ups so that the chair won't kill him. I thought that I would get him to move a little that way without him having the feeling to commit a lot of time to exercise, time he thinks he doesn't have. I will read your blog to him (lol) maybe it will have an effect.
Just keep moving!

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SAFARIBABE 7/24/2014 5:53AM

    I don't know....sounds to me like you are still in the more is better mindset. It's just that instead of more intensity, you're getting more time with the weights and with fitness by slipping them into your office and adding them to your workday. Don't get me wrong...I think it's awesome that you're slipping some fitness into an otherwise sedentary day, But it is MORE fitness than you would have otherwise gotten, not less. LOL

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395 lb Deadlift!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Here's my 395 lb last lift of the day at the 25 Jun Powerlifting Competition where I totalled 1005 lbs.

Not bad for a 54 year old adult onset weightlifter!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Tres bien!

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 6/30/2014 5:20PM

    Nice job, dude!! That was great! You had great form and I love the crowd's reaction:)

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SPARKMCKENZIE 6/30/2014 2:47PM

    Wow, that's great! Congrats, you make it look so easy, but I know it takes alot of work. Thank you for sharing your video. You are a star ! emoticon

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GREGINPROGRESS 6/27/2014 11:36AM

    You made that look easy! Amazing strength and control!

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DOUGDC 6/27/2014 10:54AM

    Can't say how impressed I am. I cannot imagine handling such weights. Huge effort and Huge Success. Congrats.

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BILL60 6/26/2014 9:25PM

    You're an animal. Super well done!!

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KA_JUN 6/26/2014 9:19PM, beast! *high 5*

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JUNEAU2010 6/26/2014 9:08PM


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SAFARIBABE 6/26/2014 4:44PM

    emoticon I agree with Woubie...Staszi guy would be very proud!

Ever used VersoGrips? or are you not allowed to use them in competition? Just curious.

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    WOWSER... love it!

Thanks for sharing... and your smile kinda says it all, don't you think? Just a hint of proud and smug, ha!



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WOUBBIE 6/26/2014 1:10PM


Stasi man would be so proud! Not that he would ever say so, of course...

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SETTIMIA 6/26/2014 12:36PM

    Well done, you can do it!

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1005 lbs of VICTORY!!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

How do you communicate the sweet taste of victory in a blog?

Well, there's always a good meme out there;

Maybe a kitschy ad sporting a storm trooper;

Or you could just show a glass of beer;

Then again, you could write about it, describing the adventure, the drama, the struggle of man vs.......

OK, let me just get on with it

Today I lifted a combined 1005 lbs between squats, bench press, and deadlifts....a personal record, beating my previous score of 955 lbs set last February!!

Hmmm, where to begin....

Well I got there early to cheer on the women. They started an hour before the guys. There weren't too many familiar faces, most of the women I have competed with these past few times had stopped lifting for the summer, shredding down for bikini season. Knowing that, the sponsors of this event opened it up to many folks from the greater DC area. Some were first timers, others were experienced (One beast of a gal finished with a total score of 855! But the high drama was from a first-timer who eked out 525 total....she was focused, dedicated, and gave it her all!)

At first there were only 3 of us guys, then, right before starting time, 4 young Marines showed up.....strapping young lads in their 20s, they looked straight off of a superhero movie we had a show!!

I had planned all my lifts, starting off with a weight that was challenging but that I knew I could get. For squats I started at 315. It was a piece of cake, so for my second squat I put 345 lbs on the bar. It was a good lift, not pretty, but I straightened back up.

I struck up a conversation with the lead Marine (He was warming up with the 315 I did for my first lift!) He was made of rock-solid granite, but as is usual with serious lifters, real easy to talk to and ask for advice and pointers. I noticed he and his buddies were wrapping their knees before squatting.

"So what's up with the wraps?"

"Oh these are real good for stability, they keep your knees tight. I can add 40-50 lbs to my squat with knee wraps"

"Really!?!? So, can you guys wrap me up for my next lift?"

"Sure, but we should only do it a minute or 2 before you lift, these things really block off your blood flow"

With that, I told them to add 10 more lbs to the bar for a 355 lb total.....and nailed it!! The judges said it was the best of my 3 squats today and that I could have done another 20 lbs easy!

Overall this was amazing, because I had been most concerned with my squats. I'd been working hard on them, but struggling with the depth....well smooth sailing from now on, so on to bench press!

Same deal, I started with a weight that was hard but that I knew I could get.....255 lbs. So I added 20 and went for 275 on my 2nd attempt....

....2d attempt failed! I got the bar 4-5 inches off my chest, then no mas. So by the rules of the competition, I had to do the same weight for my 3d attempt.

I chalked up, psyched up, got under that bar, and pushed.....and pushed.....and pushed, but I couldn't straighten my arms out! Arrghh

So overall I was at 610 lbs total (355 squat, 255 bench). Deadlifts were next, and I felt most confident with them, but I had to shake off the disappointing bench press episode.

Again, I started with a tough but achievable weight, which for me was 345 lbs. It was almost easy, so for my 2nd attempt, I added 20 again, for a 365 deadlift.

Almost easy, but not bad at all.

Now I had to do some math in public.

So far I had a total of 975 lbs (355 squat, 255 bench, 365 deads), 20 lbs better than my previous 955 in February (see blog ). I was thinking I could safely add 10 lbs to the bar, then thought, "Nahhh, push the limits and add 20 lbs".....that would give me a new PR of 995 lbs....

....but seriously 995 lbs?!?!?!

Could I really get that close to 1000 and not go for it? I'd have to deadlift 395, that's a lot of weight.....that's 40 more lbs than I have ever lifted before....but.....but...

"But WHAT!" I told myself!! I had already set a PR, the worse that could happen was that I lift the bar a few inches off the ground and drop it. Last February I was real concerned about my deadlifts, but these past few months I have been really focused on my form and proper lifting technique.


I high-fived each of the Marines, had them each give me a big Hoo-Rah!, went over to the bar.....and pulled that bad boy straight off the ground letting out a victory cry as the bar passed over my knees!!!

10005 lbs of victory!!!!

Man, was I a happy camper!!

So here it is, 8 months after I set my goal to lift a combined 1000 lbs, I made my goal (see blog ). I wasn't expecting it.....I really figured it would take me till October to reach it.

Now what?!!?

I had already decided to ease off the lifting through the rest of June and July, focusing on kettlebell work. I've got some goals for the kettlebells. I'm taking my 35 lber on vacation with us this summer (we're going to Boston then over to Niagara Falls for about 2 weeks) After that life's a wide open book....I'm sure I'll figure out what to do next while blogging with all my Spark buds!

For the rest of tonight....all I want to do is eat, watch TV, and go to bed!

Have a great night Spark friends!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    Damn! You the man!

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BEATLETOT 6/27/2014 2:48PM

    That's SO AWESOME!!! WOW!!

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GREGINPROGRESS 6/27/2014 11:31AM

    That's awesome! Congrats!

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DOUGDC 6/26/2014 10:36AM

    Great story and description. Props to you for your effort, and to the Marines for their generosity. Great day, and congratulations on the PR. emoticon

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STRONG_SARAH 6/26/2014 5:04AM

    Awesome! I LOVE this! You have worked so hard and deserve all your success. I'm really happy for you.

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 6/26/2014 4:44AM

    So cool! I love the sportsmanship:) Congrats and I can't wait to read about what's next:)
Enjoy your kettlebellling!

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BERGBA7 6/26/2014 3:06AM

    emoticon emoticon
A victory earned through dedication, training and focus! Great! You deserve to celebrate it well! I love the fact that you did not get impressed by the bunch of dreadful marines, but that you "used" them to push you to do better! You learned from them, and I guess you used the positive feeling of competition with those alpha-males to go to your limit. Fabulous!

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I love this... and I'm so dang jealous at the same time with my lifting restrictions still in place... but I digress....

WELL DONE! emoticon


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MAVERICKDR 6/25/2014 9:11PM

    Very, very good achievement for you. Celebrating with you, too (but skipping the beer).

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JUNEAU2010 6/25/2014 9:02PM


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PMRUNNER 6/25/2014 9:00PM

    Hoo-rah! Way to go! That is some great progress, well done!

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SAFARIBABE 6/25/2014 8:44PM

    emoticon emoticon

WOW! The amount of weight is staggering! Way to Go!! All those sessions with Staszi Guy really paid off! Get some rest. You definitely earned a night off!'s the martial arts going?

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JAMBABY0 6/25/2014 8:03PM


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WOOOHOOOO!!! I knew you could do it! Was just a matter of when.

emoticon emoticon

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AJB121299 6/25/2014 7:32PM


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New Trainer, New Mission!

Sunday, June 08, 2014

Many of my long-time Spark buds will know about my love-hate relationship with Stasi Guy, the sadistic trainer I worked out with for over 3 years when we lived in Florida (see one of my many previous blogs on the him at; )

Stasi guy knew his stuff. He pushed me hard, helped me make incredible improvements, and to this day, I credit him with giving me the strength and confidence to lift heavy weights correctly and for teaching me the tools I needed to help design my own strength training program that helped me lift 955 lbs in my last Powerlifting meet (see blog )

We parted ways last summer when I moved the family up to DC. I still lift heavy weights 3x/week and have now incorporated Kettlebells into my daily routine ( ). Lifting heavy weights help me get stronger (what a great SparkPeople name, huh!) and kettlebells are a great overall conditioning tool. But something has been missing.

Flexibility.....stability.....range of motion.

Now I've never been a flexible fellow. Even though I know should stretch more, I hate doing it.

Well a few weeks ago, adversity met opportunity.

On Sundays, I go to a gym a few miles down the road from our house. It's pretty decent and they've got good equipment; 2 squat racks, 3 Concept2 Rowers, and a HUGE Kettlebell collection....all the way up to 100 lbs!

They've also got a bunch of trainers hanging out near the aerobic equipment.

For the last 8 months, I've watched them train their clients. Most of them have their people do all sorts of weirdo exercises and I'd just sigh under my breath as I remembered how hardcore Stasi Guy approached my training....he was pretty much like Burgess Meredith training Rocky Balboa

So a few weeks ago I approached one of the trainers who seemed to look like he knew what he was doing and asked him if he knew anything about kettlebells. He said yes, watched my technique on some Turkish Get-ups and Swings, then gave me a few pointers for free. I asked him about his rates and said I was interested in cleaning up my form with the Kettlebells and we agreed on an introductory couple of lessons.

I got a little busy and wasn't able to start with him right away, and in the meantime had taken an 8-hour Kettlebell clinic with some serious Russian style dudes and have felt real good about my kettlebell training since then, but I figured I'd train with this new guy for a few weeks anyway.

Well, before we start training, he gives me a head to toe fitness assessment. He took a 3-point body fat measure with calipers (18%, thank-you very much!), strength assessment (I crushed it!), aerobic capacity (Top 10% percentile), and.....flexibility.....

....I bottomed out! I'm probably in the top 10 percent of least flexible people in the world.

So then he launches into his spiel about the importance of flexibility and stability and how it's the core of any good fitness plan, blah-blah-blah.....I had to struggle to keep from rolling my eyes and felt exactly like my teenagers must have when I lectured them for the umpteenth-time about the importance of punctuality, cleanliness, not drinking and driving etc, etc. etc.

Once the droning stopped, I realized that he was telling me we had to start off with range of motion and functional movement training before we could start on anything else.

Wait a minute, who's hiring who here?!?! I thought I was in charge! I want to clean and snatch kettlbells, not sit on my ass all day bending and twisting into all sorts of uncomfortable positions. At least that's what I was reality, I just nodded and said, "OK sure, let's do it!"

Somehow my deep unconscious has always helped me make good decisions even when my inner monologue wants to do nothing more than yell and scream when I don't get my way.

So on our first session, trainer guy (I don't have a nickname for him yet....granola-eater comes to mind, as does hipster-doofus, but that's just because....well just because he's both of those things), introduces me to Mr Lacrosse Ball and Mr Foam Roller

The goal for Mr Lacrosse Ball is to hit trigger points....those tight little knots of muscle wedged deep into your shoulders, back, hamstrings, quads, calves, etc. You roll the ball on to one of those tight knots....then push and pulse against it while trying to relax and breathe. The goal for Mr Foam Roller is for Myofascial release...separating those groups of muscles that are bundled together with that muscular sausage casing known as fascia. Same deal, except you start at the top of a joint and slowly roll down to the next joint (imagine starting at the top of your thigh and rolling down to the knee)

Well it seems like every point of my body that touches either of these evil little devices is chock full of painfully tight muscle. I'm balancing on my arms and legs, calibrating the pressure I put on that lacrosse ball, knowing that the slightest little slip and it'll slam into a tight spot and I'll start crying like a baby.

After an hour of this, I'm sweating like a race horse. Granola-eater then gives me some homework, telling me to do this every other day until our next session. I'm already hating him....he's making Stasi Guy come off like the Pope.

But today we finished up our third session. I went out to Dick's Sporting Goods and bought myself a few Lacrosse Balls and have been using them religiously every night, alternating between upper and lower body every other day.

I do this before going to bed for 30-45 minutes and have got to tell you....I have been sleeping the sleep of the dead every single night! I really had no idea how chronically tight and sore I was till I started doing this. After 3 weeks, I am just now starting to see how my range of motion is improving and how less sore I feel during the day. I've got a long way to go, but I'm pretty well sold so far.

Somehow, I've always hated stretching, mostly because I suck at it. The trigger point & foam rolling thing is more like a massage than stretching. Yeah, it can be painful, but I've found that I can adjust the pain by adjusting the pressure. And unlike going for a massage, I can hit the EXACT spore spot with Mr Lacrosse Ball, and let me tell you, that is how I now spell relief!

More to follow in the coming weeks. Ive got 5 more sessions paid up for with granola-eater, so we'll see how far this goes.

Have a great night Spark friends!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:


    I was introduced to the foam roller through running, and it is amazing. I also used it when I hurt my calves in my bout, and cried while using it. I don't use it enough when I am not feeling tight though. As for the you lay on it? What muscles do you use it on? I'm a little like you in the 'yeah right, like I'll be spending 10 minutes of my precious time rolling my muscles over a ball and a roller everyday? Give me a weight. Stat!' So a little more eyeballing your posts and accolades for the use of these items regularly may be in my future.

Did I mention? (I know I haven't) I did my first set of deadlifts ever this past week. With my trainer. Crazy stuff!

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JULIAMOONCHILD 6/18/2014 12:55AM

    This is really interesting stuff. Like some of the others here, I have never used a foam roller or lacrosse balls, but when you mentioned better sleep, as in sleeping the sleep of the dead, I was nearly ready to run out right now (after midnight) to try to find some of those sleep inducers for myself.

When I was working out with a trainer in the past, I used to see a few people using the foam roller at the gym. And all of the people who were using them consistently were people who ran in marathons. Hmm. So, starting to see a connection here. Flexibility - a critical element to physical exercise and, I'm sure, to physical health, yet too often over-looked. And now I want to seriously look in to it.
So do keep us posted. Having you reporting these workouts is like having our own personal trainer for FREE. Of course, you will need to give us more detailed instructions as things go along. OK?

BTW, I love the nick name you chose for Granola-eater. It's just all warm and fuzzy sounding - Until he wises up and starts talking to ya like Burgess Meredith, that is. emoticon

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NANCYANNE55 6/9/2014 3:10PM

    GREAT blog!

I know this is different than anything you've done before, but one suggestion: Don't jack with your program! Don't do stuff he doesn't say to do at the end of his workout, or on off days. Just let him progress you. I'd bet money he has a plan, and you not sticking to what he is saying can seriously jack that plan up!

Not that you are planning to add extra, but I thought I'd just give you a word of warning. It would make me nutso when a client would come in and say "I lifted for chest and bi's yesterday", and the workout I'd planned for that very day required chest and bi's to be fresh and ready to go.

Comment edited on: 6/9/2014 3:12:13 PM

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WOUBBIE 6/9/2014 12:20PM

    Why am I suddenly picturing a movie:? GranolaEater Vs. StasiMan; the latest Marvel Comics adaptation!

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DOUGDC 6/9/2014 11:41AM

    Glad you've found another guide you can trust. I've got a physical therapy consultation lined up for next month to address some chronic problems in the area of the Iliotibial Band that foam rolling has not really helped. I'm interested in hearing how your rolling and stretching pans out.

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CONFIDENTLY_FIT 6/9/2014 11:40AM

    Very interesting connection between the use of the foam roller and your sleep:) I may have to bring mine out more often. I usually use it after long runs, not enough:)
Can't wait to read about your progress!

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    My first encounter with foam rolling came from P90X2, which uses it heavily, and my first reaction was "what the heck is this thing for?" That's also the reaction of anyone who comes over to my house and sees that thing (I have a rumble roller like the smiling lady in your blog). Now I love it. I use a very firm medicine ball on my glutes, though, because I have trouble hitting the right spots with the roller, and I use a rolling pin when the bottom of my feet get sore.

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BILL60 6/9/2014 8:08AM

    I'm waiting to hear how the next sessions go. Thanks for sharing.

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SAFARIBABE 6/9/2014 5:32AM

    I've been using a GRID foam roller for months, Has really improved my flexibility, Never heard of Lacross Balls but will ask Stazi Jr about them today. As much as the roller hurts it is nothing compared to when he lets me lie down on the nice sot massage table and then HE rolls me. That's when the blood curdling screams, whimpering and begging start! Using all of his very impressive strength he leans into every sore point. with the little "points" on the GRID. The only advise I can offer is keep breathing....breath thru the pain. Good Luck!!

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BERGBA7 6/9/2014 4:17AM

    Very interesting - it is true that we usually do not think of stretching or foam rolling as exercise, but you make it sound like it! Or maybe I should say it is sports hygiene, maybe. I will take it as example and do more stretching to stay flexible!
Thanks for the blog!

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PROT358 6/8/2014 11:22PM

    An interesting perspective. I have some chronic stiffness too, and know next to nothing about how to use a foam roller. I've been trying to work through the kinks by soaking in the hot tub. Hey, you could pitch that idea and see how it goes? ;) I might have to look into this foam roller business further. I miss hearing about Stasi, but it sounds like you're in good hands!

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CHEEKYGEEK 6/8/2014 10:30PM

    Wow! You almost have me sold on the foam roller. Like you, my range of flexibility is seriously limited these days (gone are the times I could curve my leg, tip my head back, and touch my toes to my head).

Thanks for the update!

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JUNEAU2010 6/8/2014 9:46PM

    Very cool! Here I am on the couch thinking I should be doing something else!

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    Yep - it's a love/hate thing... every one of my 14 trainers have pushed the ball and foam roller.

Good luck with your granola guy!


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