there is no substitute for experience

My new normal

I have been training steadily and have adopted a new standard program. I don’t get it all done every day, but am missing doing something on very few days. My new normal is to spend 30 minutes with a kettlebell and pull-up routine, 30 minutes walking with a weighted backpack, and 30 minutes performing Original Strength resets.

This morning I performed 20 goblet squats with a 16 kg kettlebell, 200 one-handed swings with a 16 kg kettlebell, and 12 strict, dead-hang pull-ups. This afternoon I strapped on my backpack with a 12 kg kettlebell inside, walked to the park near my house, circled the park three times, and then came home. This evening I got on my gymnastics mat in front of the TV and spent time practicing diaphragmatic breathing at a pace of 4 breaths per minute for a few minutes. Then I spent time rocking, performing segmental rolls, and crawling backwards and forwards.

The hardest thing I am doing is walking with 26 pounds in my backpack. Considering that I used to CrossFit 3-4 times per week when I weighed 30 pounds more than I currently do, I would not think that 26 pounds in a backpack would be a big deal, but it is. I’ve gotten a few tension headaches after my weighted walks. I can’t imagine walking for hours the way some people do. I may upgrade to a military grade rucksack to see if that helps.

My left forearm has been sore and tender for almost 6 months. I  had to stop doing Turkish get-ups because a heavy kettlebell irritates my left arm too much. I have been limiting how much time I spend crawling. I will schedule something with an orthopedic surgeon within the next few days to see what he thinks about resolving the issue. Massage and limited use does not seem to be helping.


Averaging 41 minutes of exercise per day

I started tracking what I was doing for exercise back in October 2014. I set a goal for 2015 to exercise at least 15 minutes per day, five days per week. So far I am averaging 41 minutes per day every day. I actually tend to take at least one day off per week and sometimes two, but rarely exercise less than 30 minutes and often exercise 60 minutes.

Most of what I am doing are Original Strength resets like rocking, head nods, segmental rolls, and dead bug work. I had set an aggressive goal of Spiderman crawling a significant amount every day, but suspended that plan in consultation with experienced Original Strength practitioners who warned me that the persistent soreness I was experiencing in my left forearm meant I should avoid Spiderman crawling until it was resolved. So now I am doing 10 minutes of baby crawling many days.

I miss picking up heavy iron, swinging kettlebells, and performing pull-ups, but have decided to give myself several months of performing Original Strength type work exclusively to see how much progress I can make resolving some of the “mechanical” issues I have had for years in my left shoulder, elbows, and now forearms.


Crawling in 90-second segments this week

I extended how far I am Spider-man crawling on the track around the Cogburn Road Park near my house this week in two ways. The first is that I am crawling across at least 80 sidewalk joints each day. The second is that instead of using 10 sidewalk joints as my standard crawl length, I started covering 15 sidewalk joints in some segments.

Today, after marching to the park in 7 minutes, I completed 4 sets of crawls covering 15 sidewalk joints, then 2 sets of 10, and then a quick finisher of 4, 3, 2, and 1 for an overall total of 90 sidewalk joints. I added the 4, 3, 2, 1 finisher to give myself more practice getting down and up from the ground.

Crawling across 15, or even 10, sidewalk joints gets my heart rate up. I walk down to where I started crawling and then back to where I just finished to recover before I start the next segment.

My overall outdoor workout lasted 37 minutes today and included roughly 18 minutes of marching, 10 minutes of walking, and 9 minutes of crawling.

Earlier in the day, I spent 30 minutes rocking, nodding, rolling, lateral baby crawling, and performing dead bug and bird dog work from the Original Strength menu of resets.

I am feeling good, but have one problem. My left forearm is sore. I suspect crawling on concrete is causing some strain. I have been avoiding the grass field inside the track because conditions have been wet, but I may shift to the grass if the rain stays away long enough.


Crawling on wet sidewalks in a light mist of rain

Today I Spider-man crawled on wet sidewalks while a light mist fell. The temperature was round 50 degrees. I liked it.

I have a process goal of working out 5 days per week every day of the year in 2015 – 260 workouts. My criteria for a workout is at least 15 minutes of rocking, nodding, rolling, cross-crawls, dead bug work, crawling, marching, skipping, and/or sprinting. The reason I am setting the minimum workout time as 15 minutes is because some hotel rooms are not conducive to spending a lot of time on the floor.

On a good day lately I have been active for 60 minutes and getting in at least 30 minutes on more demanding days. This week I worked out 6 times – Monday through Saturday – for a total of 270 minutes or 4.5 hours.

I have an achievement goal of being able to Spider-man crawl continuously for 5 minutes by 21 February 2015 when I am attending the Foundations Level 2 workshop in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina to continue my education in the Original Strength System.

I was able to crawl 2 minutes continuously 3 weeks ago. Over the past 2 weeks I have been going to my local park to crawl around the soccer field. This week I went to the park 5 times and completed at least 7 segments of 1 minute crawls on each trip. Next week I am planning to complete 8 segments of 1 minute crawls in the park. By going up one minute per week, I will be completing 10 segments of 1 minute crawls the week of 19 January.

Starting on 26 January, I am planning to crawl 2 minutes at the beginning of each workout, and then complete the balance of 10 minutes of crawling with 1 minute segments. The plan on 2 February is to start with 3 minutes of crawling, on 9 February 4 minutes of crawling, and on 16 February 5 minutes of crawling.

My training plan may be too aggressive. If it is, I will slow the pace and take longer to build up to 5 minute crawls. My forearms have been sore this week. I think I have not been crawling gently enough for a man who was not able to Spider-man crawl before November 2014. I was more careful about planting my hands gently today and think I am on the right track. I am confident I can start my workouts with 2 minute crawls by 26 January, but moving up one minute every week until I reach five may too ambitious. However, I won’t know until I get there.


Crawling has been the apex of my strength training this month

Loaded crawlI attended the Original Strength Foundations Part 1 workshop in Fuquay-Varina, North Carolina 6-7 December 2014 to learn from Tim Anderson, Geoff Neupert, and Dani Almeyda. I have been crawling, rocking, rolling, and nodding ever since. I did not expect to suspend all my kettlebell, deadlifting, and pull-up work, but have. Instead I am completing 30 to 60 minutes per day of “OS work.”

My new normal is to spend 30 minutes rocking, rolling, nodding, and playing around on a gymnastics mat in my living room mid-morning and then skipping to the park from my house in the early afternoon to practice Spiderman crawling until I am worn out. Then I come home, skipping as much as I can and walking the rest of the way.

It turns out that Spiderman crawling is much easier outside than it is in my house. I am actually crawling over 10-11 seams in the sidewalk every time I crawl in the park and when I timed my last crawl today it lasted just over 1 minute. That means I am up to 7 minutes of Spiderman work per day. I feel like I have been doing lots of pull-ups, push-ups, and presses! I am pretty sure my cardiovascular system is improving because I have not been getting winded so regularly in years.

Skipping is a deceptively difficult practice. I pick out landmarks and make myself skip through the landmark before I slow to a walk/march to catch my breath and let my legs rest.

I have a harness and 100 pounds of chain coming and plan to spend time marching and crawling dragging the chain when it arrives. I discovered in training that I found Spiderman crawling easier when loaded than unloaded. The weight changes my balance and lets me use my arms less and legs more so that crawling becomes surprisingly easy… at least for a while.

I am going back to the Foundations Part 2 workshop 21-22 February 2015. My fitness goal is to be able to Spiderman crawl continuously for 5 minutes by then. I crawled for 2 minutes continuously in my house 2 weeks ago and feel as if I am making rapid progress. I am going to increase my capacity by adding 1 minute segments to my daily work until I am doing 10 minutes of Spiderman crawling per day.

The reason I am doing what I am doing is that I believe this is the most direct route for me to become optimally functional physically and seriously strong.


Why the internet makes us think others are stupid or evil

Our main news source customizes what it tells us to confirm what we already believe. It hides conflicting information from us so that we are confident in thinking that others who believe differently than us are stupid or evil. Our main news source, of course, is computer algorithms that learn what we like and serve us more while hiding things we don’t like. Here is an explanation that appeared as the 18 December 2014 excerpt from delanceyplace.com. -Tom Denham

From The Filter Bubble by Eli Pariser. Because of the personalization of the internet, an internet search of the same term by two different people will often bring very different results. We are each increasingly being served not only ads for what we are more likely to want, but also news and information that is familiar and confirms our beliefs. The issue is that we are increasingly unaware of what is being filtered out and why — leaving us each more and more in our own unique and self-reinforcing information bubble. Author Eli Pariser calls this ‘the filter bubble’ — and it is leaving less room for encounters with unexpected ideas:

“Most of us assume that when we ‘google’ a term, we all see the same results — the ones that the company’s famous Page Rank algorithm suggests are the most authoritative based on other pages’ links. But since December 2009, this is no longer true. Now you get the result that Google’s algorithm suggests is best for you in particular — and someone else may see something entirely different. In other words, there is no standard Google anymore.

“It’s not hard to see this difference in action. In the spring of 2010, while the remains of the Deepwater Horizon oil rig were spewing crude oil into the Gulf of Mexico, I asked two friends to search for the term ‘BP.’ They’re pretty similar — educated white left-leaning women who live in the Northeast. But the results they saw were quite different. One of my friends saw investment information about BP. The other saw news. For one, the first page of results contained links about the oil spill; for the other, there was nothing about it except for a promotional ad from BP.

“Even the number of results returned by Google differed — about 180 million results for one friend and 139 million for the other. If the results were that different for these two progressive East Coast women, imagine how different they would be for my friends and, say, an elderly Republican in Texas (or, for that matter, a businessman in Japan).

“With Google personalized for everyone, the query ‘stem cells’ might produce diametrically opposed results for scientists who support stem cell research and activists who oppose it. ‘Proof of climate change’ might turn up different results for an environmental activist and an oil company executive. In polls, a huge majority of us assume search engines are unbiased. But that may be just because they’re increasingly biased to share our own views. More and more, your computer monitor is a kind of one-way mirror, reflecting your own interests while algorithmic observers watch what you click. …

“For a time, it seemed that the Internet was going to entirely redemocratize society. Bloggers and citizen journalists would single-handedly rebuild the public media. Politicians would be able to run only with a broad base of support from small, everyday donors. Local governments would become more transparent and accountable to their citizens. And yet the era of civic connection I dreamed about hasn’t come. Democracy requires citizens to see things from one another’s point of view, but instead we’re more and more enclosed in our own bubbles. Democracy requires a reliance on shared facts; instead we’re being offered parallel but separate universes.

“My sense of unease crystallized when I noticed that my conservative friends had disappeared from my Facebook page. Politically, I lean to the left, but I like to hear what conservatives are thinking, and I’ve gone out of my way to befriend a few and add them as Facebook connections. I wanted to see what links they’d post, read their comments, and learn a bit from them.

“But their links never turned up in my Top News feed. Facebook was apparently doing the math and noticing that I was still clicking my progressive friends’ links more than my conservative friends’ — and links to the latest Lady Gaga videos more than either. So no conservative links for me.

“I started doing some research, trying to understand how Facebook was deciding what to show me and what to hide. As it turned out, Facebook wasn’t alone.

“With little notice or fanfare, the digital world is fundamentally changing. What was once an anonymous medium where anyone could be anyone — where, in the words of the famous New Yorker cartoon, nobody knows you’re a dog — is now a tool for soliciting and analyzing our personal data. According to one Wall Street Journal study, the top fifty Internet sites, from CNN to Yahoo to MSN, install an average of 64 data-laden cookies and personal tracking beacons each. Search for a word like ‘depression’ on Dictionary.com, and the site [automatically collects and stores information about your computer or mobile device and your activities] so that other Web sites can target you with antidepressants. Share an article about cooking on ABC News, and you may be chased around the Web by ads for Teflon-coated pots. Open — even for an instant — a page listing signs that your spouse may be cheating and prepare to be haunted with DNA paternity-test ads. The new Internet doesn’t just know you’re a dog; it knows your breed and wants to sell you a bowl of premium kibble.”

The Filter Bubble: How the New Personalized Web Is Changing What We Read and How We Think
Author: Eli Pariser
Publisher: Penguin Books
Copyright 2011 by Eli Pariser
Pages 2-3, 5-7


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