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Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Spider Games 2007

You outperform when faced with the only option of winning. Sunday, Nov 18, was the first competition in my life. I never competed in anything, because I never trained any sport that I was serious about and honestly, I never had it in me to go out and play against others. Last year, Milko had the idea to start an annual competition with 12 events that would give our clients, friends and other trainees that work out religiously, something to train for. He called it Spider Games and the trial competition was such a great success that we were happy to have it again for a second year! I decided to compete a few months ago mostly for the fun of it, but when the time came, I felt determined to win.

Here are shortly, the feelings, thoughts and events of November 18!

The waking up part
It was a mixture of sleepy, excited and anxious. I drank tons of water and coffee, made some scrambled eggs, had an apple and took a long shower. I visualized going through the events that were hard for me.

The shoulder part
I woke up with pain in my left posterior shoulder. I got it slightly impinged a week ago and it had gotten better, but here it was again! I thought could this be just psychosomatic, maybe I am scared of losing. I was dreading the push ups, one of the events I could be easily beat in, had the pain persisted.

The husband part
Jonas was extremely supportive, talked to me, calmed me down, rubbed my shoulders and the world seemed brighter. Sometimes I feel like he's right out of an American movie, but I guess that's what I get for marrying an actor.

The rain part
On the day we had 4 events outside, it was raining and the temperatures were freezing. Just the type of motivating weather I wanted to see through the window. I jammed more warm clothes in my bag.

The music
On the way there, it was all about getting high on music. Disturbed did it.

The competition site
The competition was happening in a large hall where there were about 100 women dancing with touring aerobic instructors from all over the world. It was extremely noisy and we set camp at the farthest end. The music was loud and it both helped and didn't help focus. Loud music numbs your brain, but if you need quiet to focus, like I do, you are screwed.

The support
My mom and dad came. Some of our clients were there, taking pictures and cheering! Most of my trainers were there, and most were also competing. I didn't lack support!

Тhe sound of "alone"

Once the events started I thought man how am I going to focus, but then as soon as it was my turn, everything shrank to insignificant sounds and sights, people and friends and family disappeared and I was all alone doing what I was supposed to do - my best.

The events

1 RM deadlift

Out of the 7 women, most lifted over 80 kgs. The only girl that could beat me can't deadlift all that well, so I thought she won't do over 80. I had planned to lift 90 kgs and save my strength for the other events. She did 90, and I went crap, what now...I went for 92.5 and it was no problem. Then the boys said go for 100 kg. So I did.

1 RM Military Press

I had only done 35 kgs for max attemps. I lifted 37.5 kg. It was ugly hard.

1 RM lunge

I was sure noone could beat me here and I had done 65 kg before. To my utter surprise the girl next to me did 70. I did 72.5. It was scary, but I did it. I was amazed at how concentrated I was after I failed one of my attempts because my step was too short. This one was thanks to Milko, who believed I could do more. To me, the 72.5 kg attempt was the absolute max.

Push ups

This was never my strongest. The girl, who was my only competition is a natural born athlete, really broad shoulders and she could always do a lot of push ups and pull ups. She got 28 and I got 19. Milko didn't like her form on 11 and mine on 1, so I ended up winning. Close, huh!

Airborne Lunges
The most a girl did was 10 per leg. I cranked up 35 with my right leg and then stopped at 12 with the left because I had already won, I didn't need to show off. Truth be told, I could have done 50 per leg, it's just easy for me. Тhis was the only event where I was smiling!

The L-sit
With the L-sit, there was no way to win, I had to stay there, hold and not listen to the pain in my palms, hold, stay and just bite it. All I got was 46 seconds, enough to place second.

weighted pull up
The mechanics of how I do a pull up changed dramatically with posture correction so I lost a lot of my strength there. I feared I wouldn't be able to do 1 but I got a pull up with 5 kg weight on my waist. I attempted 6.25kg and failed. I placed second.

pulls ups
At this point I was so exhausted that I only got 3. I would have gotten more fresh on a good day. Not my strongest and something to really focus on for next year.

By the time we got on the track for shot put, long jump, sprint and 1200 m run, I was tired, cold and beat. Waiting between events was the hardest part. The sprint, I ended up second. The run was the event that was going to win it for me. So I ran. The first two laps I was ahead of all runners, even the guys. Milko told me to slow down. Even then, the freezing rain and cold got me. The last two laps were agony. Then I beat the girls.

Here are the videos from the inside events:

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Still not losing fat?

I spend at least an hour a day explaining to frustrated people why their fat loss has stalled, slowed down or not ever happening. I see a lot of explaining, complaining and meet a lot of resistance when people find out they need a pretty accurate estimate of how much they are eating! I loved this video that Leigh Peele shot to portray just how easily we can fall into the trap of thinking we are doing everything right!

Here is my list of foods that people love to measure more of!

* olive oil

* peanut butter

* nuts

* cheese

* butter

* sour cream

* fruit

* honey

* cream or milk in coffee

I have been measuring and eyeballing food for more than 12 years now. While some people might find it obsessive, I feel that being aware of not only what you eat, but also how much you eat is a key to maintaining or changing your physique. If you're not progressing toward a goal, the quantity of your otherwise healthy food might be where you need to look for an answer!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007


When I design training programs I play with sets, reps, load, tempo, rest intervals, just like I hope every other trainer or trainee does, whether aware of it or not. Becoming truly aware of those components is what will distinguish a brilliant working plan from a plan that will just work, compared to no plan.
It's been long since I sat and thought of that specifically, but I've had exceptionally great workouts in the past few days thanks to my new toy, the Timex Ironman Triathlon.
The manual was too long for the technically challenged, so I went to the good part that explained laps and split timing and I was done! I easily figured out that little girly watch can time 100 laps,remember 50 of them and make all the right noises! Funny enough, seems like time goes by faster! Talk about time perception and distortion!
Unlike loads and sets and reps, rest intervals and tempo are often overlooked. You never hear anyone say: oh yeah and I rested for 30 seconds between sets of squats and pull ups today! Most trainees will brag about their numbers and will rest until they are done talking, reading, switching songs on their i pods or when they feel like it's time to start. And that's absolutely fine, unless you are actually training for something.
Rest will always be based on your primary goal, whether it's strength, energy hypertrophy, or different types of endurance. Then rest will be based on your loads and the primary requirements of your sport or event. You won't take 30 second breaks preparing for a maximum lift, nor will you take 5 minute breaks getting ready for a kick boxing match.

Here is a quick recap of major RI schemes:

reps 1><3><6><10=><12=>12 = 30'-60' RI
Energy System Training = maximum rest interval equals max length of maximum effort, try to decrease RI each training micro-cycle.

Learning to time your rest intervals is just as crucial for training success as are reading the numbers on the weight plates and learning proper form. If you are not doing it, start doing it today. Match your goals to your rest intervals, then time, then adjust accordingly the next time you plan a change in your training program.

Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Getting ready for Spider Games III

It's been intense this week. I am working hard on my program with Bill Hartman, and the added work for Spider Games is still not putting me over the edge of what I can handle, but I get close some days.

Good news is that nutrition is very easy, this is how my day goes now:

Upon waking up:

500 mg L-lyrosine
1/2 cup half skim coconut milk


3 eggs with 1 tbsp butter
2 oz feta cheese
cup veggies


4 oz meat (fish or pork)
1 cup veggies or 1 apple

3 cups vegetable and meat broth
1 oz cheese
2 cups plain yogurt

I am not a crazy fan of supplements, usually I only take fish oil, but I've added some for a few weeks:

fish oil - 9 caps a day
Abs + - 3 a day
BCAAs - if I am feeling weak and tired from work, that helps me push through workouts
creatine/glutamine - on heavy lifting days (2-3 times a week max)

Lifts so far go like this:

Military press 1 RM = 35 kg

pull ups
= 3 good ones with neck touching bar

push ups - 16 great ones

lunge 1RM = 65 kg

deadlift 1RM = 87.5kg

L-sit = 50 seconds

airborne lunge = 30 per leg

I am running these days to see how sprints and 1200 meters are.

I am feeling strong these days, want to stay focused on the goal, while still having fun.

These guys have made the process awfully easy!