San Francisco here we come...

I am flying out with the family to San Francisco this morning for a 2 week vacation. I'm looking forward to Saturday when I will test ride the new Gary Fisher HiFi in Marin County. I'll take some pictures and post them up.

Yesterday and today were a scheduled 2 day rest from lifting, so my legs are enjoying the time off. My father-in-law will take me to his gym tomorrow so I can get back on track with hypertrophy.

Will I miss the ice and snow? ;-)


Knee is better, weight is adjusting...

Whew! The weight quickly dropped back to 191 and I am backing off on the upper body amount of weights I lift. I have about 10 - 15 days more of hypertrophy (doing a full 4 weeks of it) which will be interrupted by our flight out to San Francisco on Wednesday. My father-in-law will be able to take me to his gym, so I will not miss any training while there for 2 weeks. And I'm looking forward to test riding a Gary Fisher HiFi 29"er while there in Marin County. It's a bike on my radar and a fellow MTBR.com member invited me for a ride on the 22nd where I will get to ride is HiFi. I'm looking forward to it, although my legs will probably be shot from all this lifting. Oh well...

The knee is back to normal with no pain or twinges. I was in good form yesterday which was a scheduled lower and upper body "heavy lifting" day. I am amazed how quickly the amount of weight I can lift has grown since November 1st.

I still struggle with proper form on the stiff legged dead lift at the end of the reps in each set which is a sign I need to not increase the amount of weight or drop back to only 8 reps instead of 12. Even looking in the mirror and working on the form with each repetition is difficult with that lift. I still struggle with my son standing next to me screaming at me to keep my back straight. I've resigned myself to it being one of those walk, chew gum, pat your head and count with your fingers while whistling Dixie all at the same time type of a coordinated effort. It's a hell of a lift and I can really feel the benefits of it starting to kick in. Great for posture, core strength, leg strength, dynamic balance, downhill skiing and of course - sex. ;-) I'm only doing 3 sets with 12 reps of this lift, but I feel it has been the single most important lift in the series. I just cannot get perfect form every time because you have to mentally and physically focus so hard on the movement required.

My wife and I went to one Christmas Party last night where I managed to low-carb and control myself until my wife walked over with a piece of chocolate sin! Damn, that cake was good.... We have 2 more parties to attend today so I must watch myself and stay away from the goodies!


In the midst of hypertrophy...

Oy! These 2 day block weight lifting sessions are intriguingly addictive. I look forward to hitting the gym and doing my routine.

On the worry front, I felt the first "twinge" in my right knee on Tuesday. The adaptation phase and the gradual adding of plates to the weights is designed to let your body adapt and handle the weight. I did a lot of stomping to get snow off of my feet this week due to the storms as well as sitting with my legs crossed for hours in our final music tests where we hear 6-7 hours non-stop performing in the music juries at the end of the semester. I'm not sure if that contributed, but during the middle of one of my sets of the stiff legged dead lift on Tuesday, the right knee said "hello!" to me. Hmmmm....

I thought about stopping right there, but walked it off and things felt okay. I finished the session and then went back yesterday for the 2nd consecutive day of block lifting and I was due for a heavy lifting day. The knee held up very well and I felt no twinge whatsoever during the leg workout until my last set of leg presses. And of course, just like when on the bike and feeling that twinge - I immediately favor the other leg and make it work harder. That's not good for that leg either. Anyway, I made it out of there not feeling too bad.

Hmmm...then I woke up this morning and the right knee needs some rest. Feels like arthritis and stiffness from the tissue. I spun for 30 minutes on the trainer in zone 1 and the knee felt great aftewards after the bloodflow and warmth of spinning helped it. I have had this tender knee ever since I was scoped on the knee a few years ago, so it is nothing new to me. In fact, I usually feel it a couple of times in the middle of a season - especially after a difficult XC race where I do a lot of mashing while seated. I was pretty lucky this past season and my knees did not talk to me too much.

Under the Dave Morris plan (or any plan), one is advised when the joints start to talk to you, to back off a percentage of the weight and allow for healing. So I will back off with the amount of weight and add an extra day of rest before I go back for my next session. I don't want to push it too much right now and set myself up for months of knee discomfort and pain.

I am spinning a minimum of 30 minutes per day on the bike right now. In spite of the spinning and watching what I eat - the pounds are piling on!!!! I started weight training around 187 lbs. following a fall where I let myself eat and enjoy (put on 5 pounds). Since November 1st and the lifting, I am now up to 194.5 as of this morning. Dang! What gives? Is that all muscle weight I've gained? Hmmmm.....


Beefing out vs. power to weight ratio?

I know that I have the propensity to add bulk/weight in the upper body when doing weights. I pretty much did that over the past two decades when I had an opera role that required me to go shirtless on the stage (Don Giovanni, Maximilian, Malatesta, Guglielmo, etc...). I would put in 6 - 8 weeks of working on the arms and upper body to get a little shape so I could at least "pass" for looking buff. And even though my waistline would trim - I would actually gain about 5 pounds in muscle weight each time I did it in preparation of the role.

I really have not done much, if any, weight work on my legs. Back in my high school days in the 70's - we didn't really lift weights for the sports I participated in (basketball, cross country, tennis, etc...). I did lunges, walking lunges, calf lifts - but only with small weights in the 25 - 60 pound range. So this off season Dave Morris training program is really the first time I have hit the weights for the legs with this amount of weight. I did a shortened version last year because I started way too late to do the entire program once I found out about it. I had to modify the phases and focus in on the endurance/SMSP/MSP for my first crack at it due to the timing.

This year I'm doing the full monty. And I'm really only doing the prescribed leg lifts under the plan (stiff legged dead lift; leg press, squats, hamstring curls). I'm also doing the core and some upper body work. Since beginning the off season weights on November 1st, my waistline has trimmed up a bit, but I have gained 7 pounds. I guess my legs respond in the same manner as my upper body. Something I never really knew after going through life with my bird legs up to this point. Not to worry - they're still bird legs. And they had trouble getting out of bed this morning following a 2 day lifting block.

Hmmmm? I was hoping not to gain so much weight while working on developing the power. I know that whatever I put on, I have to pedal up the hills. So I am left with the question of wondering if my increase in producing power will be able to make up for the additional weight I will have to haul with me? Perhaps when I get back on the bike in January for the endurance phase (where I will most likely trim 10 pounds from all the hours), and going into the season next year that gained muscle weight will slowly trim back off since there is no in-season weight lifting under the Morris plan. I may need to back off the upper body work and focus in on the legs only - as well as make sure I am not piling on too many plates for the leg lifts....

Regardless, imagine my surprise as I have gone from my mid 180's up into the low 190's and seem to be on my way to the Clydesdale Category at this rate with 5 or 6 weeks of lifting to go. I think the latter part of January will be telling as I enter the endurance phase on the bike and stop the lifting. I'll pedal off all the holiday excess and then some if I do it correctly and keep my eating under control. 192 sure looks different on the scale in the morning than last summer's fighting weight of 182 every morning.


Oh the PAIN!!!!

Man, this weight lifting stuff is painful for a newbie like me. Sure, I've done weights off and on for the past 20 years - but not like this. Phase 1 of the Dave Morris plan entitled "Adaptation" went well enough, but this Phase 2 entitled "Hypertrophy" is not exactly the cat's meow. It's gut wrenching painful growth.

I managed to shower at the gym and make it home for some T-bone steak, sweet potatoes, broccoli and a glass or two of red wine after work tonight. I had my heart rate up around 175 a time or two just from the weight lifting. The guy running the gym took one look at me as I was recovering at the end of the session and he said "Man, you look gassed." Well he was right. I was. I decided tonight that I need to buy a weight lifting belt for safety's sake as the weights go up. Squats and leg presses hurt oh so good....


It's Official!

Yes. It is officially done. Over and out. Turn off the lights. Close the doors and move those boxes from the White House to the ranch in Crawford. For the few staunch supporters of the President of the United States, what more information do you need to let go of the little man from Texas? So you didn't vote for Gore or Kerry. Ah....you poor suckers. Now you are stuck with the reality of leftovers from a very bad choice on the menu. Unfortunately, those leftovers are stinking up everyone's refrigerator no matter who we voted for in the last two elections.

The NIE Intelligence Report released on Monday confirmed that Bush and his walking time bomb Dickster Cheney have once again totally misled the American people concerning Iran - just as they did with Iraq. Are these guys for real? Singing the same song twice without learning a new tune? That's the sad part about it - they are. Born and bred in our country and elected to represent us. That is something we should all be hanging our heads in suicidal shame about as Americans.

Can you believe people are still driving around with the W decal on their cars, pickups or trucks? Or the Bush/Cheney '04 bumper sticker? Now that hunting season is here, I would be afraid to drive around with such graffiti on my vehicle!

If Reagan was a dupe of Godless capitalism, what does that make Bush?

All one has to do to come up with an answer is check the graffiti to see what it is saying these days. I'm not talking just the anti-Bush sentiment in the US, but let's look at the anti-sentiment from around the world. Some powerful sentiment being voiced there in those pictures. No niceties such as the "dupe of Godless capitalism" that Reagan was saddled with... Oh no, this time around the world is very vocal and not mincing words for the sake of mincing words. They are telling it like they see it.

This sums it all up:


Do we all get a kick out of watching the Republican candidates focus on family, God and blah, blah, blah? Gee, I wonder if any of them noticed that the Democrats are talking about real issues and have a quality focus going on with reality?

I have to say that Bush has outsmarted himself this time around. No more credibility. It's time for our tolerance to be lifted and finish this poor chapter in American life.


P.S. Happy Hanukkah!


Winter Exercise Blues...

It is chilly outside with a howling wind. Today was perfect weather for some gym work which I did this morning with my son who spotted for me. I cashed in my chips and joined the Anytime Fitness Gym because the waiting line at the Simpson Gym is always far too long at the times I can go to keep my circuits flowing. So Anytime had a 3 month membership which is all I needed to complete my off season weight training and I ponied up the change. It's open 24/7 for members and I have yet to hit a crowd at the times I go.

Today was a heavy day in the growth phase and I took myself to exhaustion in all 8 of the target exercises (4 leg, 2 arm and 2 core) as junior was urging me on. Dang, he did some weights as well and I spotted for him doing squats in one round. 3 reps at 225; 3 reps at 245; 3 reps at 265 all like it was nothing for him. This from a 14 year old kid. He's got his grandfather's strength that's for sure - not mine. I won't tell you what the old man was squatting, but I did make my 12 reps most of the time until the final set where I was howling out loud and pooped out at 10. Walked out of there with my stomach hurting and shaking from the effort. The killer ones for me (since they are "new") are the stiff legged dead lift, inclined sit ups, inclined dumbell press, and back extensions. According to this article - I shouldn't be doing both the stiff legged dead lift and back extensions at the same time in this phase of training, but I am. I don't want to neglect my core work. I'm keeping the weight light on the dead lifts until my form really develops as I find that one the most difficult to do with proper form.

I've been careful to try and get at least 30 minutes a day on the bike (trainer or outside on the trails). We'll see how I feel tomorrow. My legs feel pretty good, but my lower back and arms are weak from today's effort. Dave Morris says during the hypertrophy phase it will be hard to do anything on the bike, so my 30 minutes are pretty much just lower zone spinning with a burst or two every now and then to keep myself tuned into higher wattage output.

Last week of the 1st Semester teaching for me this week. Yippie!