Archive for the Health & Fitness Category

Optimium Body Composition; New Program Experiment

Posted in Current Events, Health & Fitness, Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2014 by Ronin

This cycle of Simple & Sinister is ending, taking its place as my go-to program among the kettlebell pantheon. I fixed the under recovery/overtraining issue by dropping the reps from 100 two-hand swings to 40 one-hand swings and not worrying about the time. My rest periods were decided by the highly scientific method of looking at the kettlebell while asking myself, “again?” I went when I felt like it I went to the next set with my time condensing naturally, as I got fitter. When three days passed with consistently good form under Pavel’s set time limits, I added a set or weight.

During the time, I read Easy Strength by Pavel and Dan John and was intrigued by the 40 Day Workout outlined in there. Five movements, same amount of reps broke up as you wish, lifting 85% of your one-rep max five days a week. I wanted to try this, looked for a kettlebell variation, and found Pat Flynn’s. He went for the five basic movements and I will keep three and the rep scheme of two ladders of 1-2-3. The Suitcase Carry and Snatches will fill the other two slots.

Diet-wise I just kept the carbs under 150, with the protein around 120 grams minimum. While I was not worried about calories, I still ran a deficit eating until I was satisfied. Started experimenting with creatine to see how my body responded, quickly learning the answer was ‘poorly’. Even at the recommended maintenance dose of 5mg, then 2.5, my kidneys hurt. Three weeks into it I stopped, the supplement and I do not get along. Then I focused on fish oil more after reading Dan John’s praises, so I tinkered with the doses. Increasing it, per his advice, daily from the 900mg of Omega-3s I originally took in. 300 milligrams a day until I hit 4500mg and realized I hit my limit. 3900mg (3.9 grams) is my sweet spot with them and I am feeling a lot better. I recommend researching and trying it yourself.

So, what has this done for my body composition?

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.3                   14.5               +0.2

Shoulders             44                   43.75            -.25

Chest                      37.50            37                  -.50

Waist                             33                  32            -1.0

Biceps                    12.5                 12.5             0

Forearms                   11               10.75           -0.25

Thighs                         22.55                 21.82        -0.73

Calves                          13.6                    13.62             -0.02

Weight                  155.6 lbs          152.2           -3.4

Body Fat %                16%                14%          -2.0%

Lean Body Mass    130.7lbs            130.9           -.20 lbs

Well, like I hear Mark Sisson say on his podcast a lot, ‘fat-burning beast’. My muscle mass grew slightly however the fat fell off at a healthy half a pound a week. Maintenance continues, and curious what the 40 Day Workout brings. With the warm weather coming back I’ll be back outside training again.

A good way to start the year…

First Competition Day Of 2014

Posted in Health & Fitness, Life with tags , , on March 3, 2014 by Ronin

During the last self-assessment post I wrote about testing my personal records in the kettlebell military press and the 5 minute kettlebell snatch test with the 24kg (53lbs) kettlebell. To prepare I trained 4-5 days a week with Simple & Sinister and on Saturdays I trained Special Presses from the ETK Special Report.

I had some video I was going to post on YouTube but it was being a pain so I did screenshots.

Press Test with Mjolnir


Right Arm: 3 Reps

(Weaker. 36% of my bodyweight. Down from 40%)

Left Arm: 5 Reps

(Weaker. 39% of my bodyweight. Miniscule decrease from 40%)

SFG Snatch Test/ 100 reps in 5 minutes

Snatch photo 3 photo 4

46 Reps in 5 minutes with the 24kg


After this cycle is over I’ll do the 40 Day Workouts with Pat Flynn’s twist. I have ground to regain and go beyond. And to figure out the assymetry in strength.

Who Needs Plexus When You Have Discipline

Posted in Current Events, Health & Fitness, Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 10, 2014 by Ronin


The New Year brought the new six-week cycle while I was in Oklahoma visiting family. Traveling I am not usually that strict on diet, so it was a bumpy start. What I did have waiting for me when I got home was my gift from my mother-in-law, a Rogue 70lb kettlebell; which even knowing my absolute strength limit was 62lbs overhead I had to try. Clean and Press was not happening, it barely got off my shoulder, was able to push press it though. With that out of the way I picked up where I left off with Simple & Sinister and using special presses practice on Saturdays so I can get closer to a ½ bodyweight one-arm press.

Week One: Random workouts by what I felt like doing that day. Saturday started the month of Back-Up Presses, an overload press with the 70lb/32kg kettlebell with the offhand helping.

Week Two: Back on track with S&S, swinging the 53lb/24kg ‘bell two-handed for 80 reps. The Turkish Get-Ups were three sets with the 30lb ‘bell and two with the 44lb/20kg of one rep. Overload Presses were 4 sets of one and a set of two reps.

Week Three: Up to 90 swings, keeping the TGUs the same, though I bumped up the overload presses to two sets of three and three sets of one. Discovered it was better for me to press to lockout and really lock down overhead for a 10-second isometric hold.

Week Four: Hit the 100-rep limit for the program on swings and replaced a set of 30lb Get-Ups with a 44lb set. Started to notice I was getting tired training 5-6 days a week so I split the mobility and swings from the TGU’s after Pavel recommended it to a time-crunched forum poster on StrongFirst.

Week Five: Trained just one day and crashed, my CNS tap test plunged to 55 where it is usually 58-62 taps in 10 seconds. I stopped training completely except for foam rolling and stretch until Saturday. Then it was High-Tension Presses to work on my goal for February with seven single reps with the 53lb ‘bell.

Week Six: Dropped way back to 40 swings with lighter TGUs. Saturdays are High-Tension Presses to train staying tight with my 53lb kettlebell.

The method I used to determine moving up on swings was when the TOTAL session was under 30 minutes I add a set. The TGU’s I went by the book, finish under 10 minutes, own it (same weight for another week without drop off) then bump up the weight. Still I pushed too hard and crashed so the final week I cut drastically cut back. Trained the harder one-armed swings, but only 40 reps along with greasing the groove with mostly 30lb TGU’s.

To keep from going overboard this time I will use the book’s time limit for bumping up swing weight determine when I add a set of swings. When I finish consistently under five minutes for swings for more than a week, then I will add on to it. You think I would have learned after Kettlebell Hell and that CNS burnout.

As for nutrition I ran a caloric deficit with the limit being 2228 calories a day which over the cycle averaged out too 2006.5 calories a day. I kept a steely eye on the carbs, making sure they stayed under 100 grams, and on average I took in 91.68 grams a day. Keeping my protein at a gram per pound of lean body mass to maintain it averaged out 132.68 a day. That is my method of dieting, watching macronutrients with a goal to cut fat, not to lose weight overall. It can go down, but as long as the muscles did not, I am fine. So, did it work? Let’s take a look…

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14                   14.3               +0.3

Shoulders             44.75                   44            -.75

Chest                             38.50            37.50     -1.o

Waist                             34                  33               0

Biceps                    12.62                 12.5             -0.125

Forearms                   11.12               11           -0.12

Thighs                         22.75                 22.55        -0.20

Calves                          14                    13.6             -0.40

Weight                  160.6 lbs          155.6           -5.0

Body Fat %                18.6%                16%          -2.6%

Lean Body Mass    130.8lbs            130.7           -.10 lbs

That worked out perfectly, over the six week cycle I leaned out considerably and still kept my muscle. The 16% of body fat isn’t where I want to be but it’s a marked improvement. I will bump up the calories to a maintence level and not be as strict on the carbs, with 150 grams being the top end limit and an eye towards around 100. I will keep working with Simple and Sinister for another six weeks with a ‘competition’ in three weeks. That being with the old fitness benchmarks met (average) to see where I am comparatively, now to see where I am with myself. Every three months on the 1st I see where my absolute strength is in the one arm press and how many 24kg snatches I can do in 5 minutes to check conditioning.

A good way to start the year…

Bad Food Derailed My Goals; Starting Simple & Sinister

Posted in Current Events, Health & Fitness, Life with tags , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2013 by Ronin

Read Pavel‘s new book, Kettlebell: Simple & Sinister, his first one under the StrongFirst name, three times actually. Per usual with his writing style it gets me pumped and wanting to press a cow overhead and push over a car. I was already motivated after the last self-assessment when my body fat went over 16%. Then I got stricter on my diet, except for Christmas week, I cheated until the 26th; I jumped into a Kettlebell circuit program until I saw that this book was out and after reading it I couldn’t wait till the next cycle.

Two and a half weeks in I started S&S’s Program Minimum Remastered with its hip and shoulder mobility drills at the beginning, which take me between 7-9 minutes. Then it’s time to swing a Kettlebell followed by Turkish Get-Ups for 6 days out of a week. That’s two changes to the old PM. I started with the recommended 50 two-handed swings with my 53lb/24kg Kettlebell with the intention to use the 44lb/20kg ‘bell for my Get-Ups. It didn’t move hardly at all and I’ve stood up under the 24kg ‘bell. I could see how it was sinister already and I hadn’t even worked up to the 100 one-handed swings yet. I humbly picked up the 30lb Kettlebell for my TGU’s.

When this posts I’ll be up to 80 two-handed swings and alternating the 30 and 44lb Kettlebell for the Get-Ups. So what’s all this done for me physically…

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.4                   14               -0.4

Shoulders             44.5                   44.75            +.25

Chest                             38.50                  38.50         o

Waist                             33.4                  34               +0.6

Biceps                    12.75                 12.62             -0.125

Forearms                   10.97               11.12           +0.15

Thighs                         22.25                 22.75            +0.50

Calves                          14                    14                   0

Weight                  159.2 lbs          160.6            +1.4

Body Fat %                16.7%                18.6%          +1.9%

Lean Body Mass    132.7lbs            130.8           -1.9lbs

A few increases where I don’t want them in the waist, weight and body fat areas. I sabotaged myself on that one with all the sweets I ate towards the end. To fix that, I’m dropping carbs under 100grams a day to hit optimum fat burning. Lean mass dropped, I’m guessing that’s from the neck area alone.  The Get-Ups get credit for the musculature increase in my shoulders. The Swings get the credit for the more musculature in the thighs and forearms.

Wasn’t what I wanted, good gains considering the short time on S&S, the losses are my fault with diet. It’ll be fixed by the next one on February  10.

Time To Get My Focus Back and Press On

Posted in Current Events, Health & Fitness, Life with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on November 18, 2013 by Ronin

Another six weeks has come and gone so it is time for another self-assessment. I slacked a little due to a pulled neck muscle and a case of vertigo. When the world starts spinning, I do not want to be holding up 97lbs of kettlebells overhead. No Bueno.

Last time I had done this I said I would go into another complex for hypertrophy, except this bit of pain in my lower back tells me to lay off the double kettlebells for a while. In its place, I will go into the hybrid programs in The Martial Arts Kettlebell Connection.

The different sessions work different attributes and aspects of the system you train. Day One is footwork, Day 2 is technique, and Day 3 is Weapons (Stick) for my grip. It is in a circuit of swings, cleans, presses, and squats with active recovery between rounds. The technique work will be my chosen technique to polish during that week both between exercises and in the recovery. I have a technique, I will test its structure, the optimum range of power, and I will just work that move so I can learn all the nuances so I have it ready when necessary.



Still, even slacking, I tested my one-rep max for the military press during the benchmark test. My left side I can press 39% of my bodyweight or 62lbs, it has stayed the same. My right side is stronger at 38% or 60lbs so that plateau was broken finally. So let us look at my measurements:

Fitness Progress Report:

Body Composition (inches)

Body Part                      Before                  After                   -/+

Neck                               14.5                   14.4               -0.1

Shoulders             3.30                   44.50            +1.2

Chest                             37.80                  38.50         +0.7

Waist                             32.5                   33.4               +0.9

Biceps                    12.55                 12.75             +0.2

Forearms                   10.95                10.97             +0.02

Thighs                         22.05                 22.25            +0.20

Calves                          13.7                    14                   +0.3

Weight                  154.4 lbs          159.2            +4.8

Body Fat %                14.6%                16.7%          +2.1%

Lean Body Mass    131.8lbs            132.7           +0.9lbs

Gains in size, muscle and fat. I expect the kettlebell circuits that are primarily conditioning to drop the fat percentage under 15% where I like it.



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