2014-07-30 training log

Today was fine. Just a nice bench day.

What’s really on my mind is starting up with Renaissance Periodization. I’ve been in contact, Nick sent me the questionnaires, which I returned. We’re hammering out a few things, then I’ll send my money and get started.

What hit me tho was orginally I wanted to wait until I was done with this Strong-15 cycle, then start. But when I did the math on when that actually would be, that’s so far away and I really don’t want to wait that long. I’m about 98% decided that I may call today “it”. Take Friday off, then next week do my testing — if I make my lifts I do, if I don’t I don’t. Either way, just call it and get on with things. It’s not what I want in terms of my lifting, but it is what I want in terms of the fat loss, which is of growing importance to me.

I’ll document my work there as I go along.

Based upon Paul Carter’s Strong-15 (LRB365)

Phase 3-3, Week 2-3

  • Bench Press – cycle goal: 245
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 125 x 5
    • 145 x 4
    • 165 x 3
    • 185 x 2
    • 200 x 1
    • 210 x 1
    • 220 x 1
    • 195 x 10
  • Incline Press
    • 105 x 10
  • Machine Flye
    • 65 x 20
About these ads

Aim at something – specific

When aiming a gun, it’s vital to aim at something.

But what should that something be?

When hunting, people talk about the “kill zone”. It varies from animal to animal, but they talk about a general area… a zone… a somewhat large space. Take a look at this feral hog kill zone:

Look at the description: behind the shoulder. While it’s true anywhere in the zone is good, that’s not really how you should aim.

When talking about defensive firearms skills, people often talk about the notion of “center of mass”. I don’t care for that phrase because it’s not accurate enough. The center of mass relative to what? If of the whole body, I guess the center is around the bellybutton. If just the torso, then it’s around the diaphragm. Neither of these are good places to aim for. Consider an article I wrote a few years ago about “ignoring the X-ring” on a B-27 target because it’s not anatomically correct. At the end I suggested a better aim point:

Thus if you’re using a B-27 target, aim at the target where the upper “8″ and “9″ are printed.

But since I wrote that, I’ve stopped offering that suggestion and offered a better one: to aim at the line between the 8 and 9 rings (really, it’s the 9-ring’s outline line). And I point to where to aim.

Why this? I’m trying to give a more specific aim point.

Claude Werner writes:

I tell my students that one element of my plan is that as soon as I meet someone, I pick out the spot on their body that I am going to aim at, should it become necessary to shoot them. Then I describe to each person in the class what the aiming point for them would be. This tends to generate considerable discomfort but makes the point very clear.

Pick out something specific. How about a button on their shirt? Or if it helps you visualize better, you know how a button tends to have 2 or 4 holes in it so you can sew the button to the shirt? Pick one of those holes – a smaller, more specific target. Granted, sometimes getting too small and too specific is tough because you cannot see it. But the intent is to impress in your mind a very specific target to aim at, not just “center of mass” or “the A-zone/-0 zone” or “within the 8-9-X rings”.

Trick shooters like Bob Munden and Tom Knapp knew that the center of a target, the center of a coin, the center of an aspirin — they were all the same size. That whole “aim small, miss small” thing.

Yes, there are trade-offs, yes there are different sorts of sight pictures (see: Brian Enos). But the key take-home here is that somehow, on some level, you do have to aim. And when you aim, aim at something specific.

2014-07-28 training log

Good day.

I wouldn’t call it a +10%, but it was still good. Got a lot more sleep over the weekend. I realized my problem is simple: I’m stressed. This new life of freelancing is causing me a lot of stress. So I fall asleep, I wake up when I do for whatever reason (have to pee, body alarm says so, whatever), but then instead of allowing myself to go back to bed my brain starts running at a million miles an hour because I think about all the things I have to do or that are stressing me out or whatever… and I slowly create a sleep deficit. So this past weekend, I napped a bunch. That helped. I need to allow myself to nap — isn’t that part of why I started freelancing? so I could have more control over my schedule? I just haven’t been allowing myself because the stress work is getting to me and there’s always something that I feel I need to address now. Well… the lack of sleep is causing everything to suffer. So, if that means I only get 6 hours straight but then I take a 1-2 hour nap or a couple 30 minute naps, then whatever so be it. I HAVE to allow myself to recover and manage stress.

In fact it’s funny. At the gym this morning a new issue of Flex magazine was there. I flipped through it between sets. There was an article about recovery, and of course all it did was shill for some supplements — not one word said about SLEEP! I know sleep is key, I just need to, once again, remember to make it a priority. It’s the only way I’m going to manage the stress in my life.

Otherwise, the lifting went well. Squats were a little messy because I was just so focused on powering up out of the hole — I refused to be stapled, I refused to cut the squat short, so my main focus was full body tightness and power…. but so much on the power I sometimes lost the tightness and would find myself falling forward a bit. Oh well.

One thing that got me was the pause squats. 230# will always be a significant number for me because it was the plateau I hit so long ago with my squats and I struggled to get over. And now? I hit 295 for a pretty easy single, and 5 pause squats at 230 and didn’t really have a problem. It’s a constant reminder to me of my progress.

Deads were heavy. Felt good to get over 400 finally, but it’s all getting heavy. Not impossible, but heavy for sure.

Looking forward to finishing this cycle, seeing how things test out, then starting down a new road. Which reminds me… I need to send my questionnaire back to the Renaissance Periodization guys today.

Based upon Paul Carter’s Strong-15 (LRB365)

Phase 3-3, Week 2-3

  • Squats – cycle goal: 325
    • BW x 10
    • BW x 10
    • bar x 5
    • bar x 5
    • 160 x 5
    • 190 x 4
    • 220 x 3
    • 245 x 2
    • 260 x 1
    • 285 x 1
    • 295 x 1
  • Pause Squats
    • 230 x 5
  • Deadlift – cycle goal: 445
    • 225 x 5
    • 265 x 4
    • 315 x 3
    • 355 x 2
    • 375 x 1
    • 390 x 1
    • 415 x 1
  • Deadlift – Back off
    • 355 x 3

The right time, captured

Herra Kuulapaa has spent the past 7 years involved in high speed  ballistics photography.

Here’s a gallery of his work.

Here’s his website to see more.

What’s so awesome is how he’s able to capture the moment. Shooting a gun happens extremely quickly, but there’s an amazing amount of things that happen in that short time. Watching the moment the powder ignites, the bullet leaving the barrel… it’s truly fascinating from a ballistics, scientific, and artistic perspective.

You also get to see a lot of things that you may not have known happens when a gun is fired. For example, if you go to this page and scroll down to “19. July 2013 – 9mm STI”, look at the massive amount of debris that flies out of the muzzle. In fact, you see debris in a lot of pictures, which prompts Herra to repeat over and over:

Safety first: Remember to wear your safety gear always when shooting. Some pictures show clear burning particles flying backwards to shooter!

If you want to see some really fun pictures, go look at the “high power” revolvers. That will make it pretty clear as to why you need to keep your thumbs (and other body parts) away from the cylinder (gaps) when shooting.

2014-07-25 training log

Hit 265 today… which is not a number I’m proud of.

After waking up this morning, on a whim I stepped on the scale.


Holy crap. I’m getting fat.

I remember hitting 240 and thinking how that was the heaviest I’ve ever been in my life. Obviously that makes 265 the (new) heaviest.

I know what it is. I’m eating too much.

Yeah, I gotta eat a lot more than usual, but I know I’m eating excessively — that’s the problem.

I’m a stress eater, a comfort eater. I’m under a LOT of stress these days, trying to start up life as a freelancer/indie-developer. It’s a startup, and it’s just work work work, and lots of stress and worry about things. I am very happy, don’t misunderstand. But there’s no denying the higher stress level because I just don’t have the comfort of the assurance of a paycheck every 2 weeks, that there will be work for me tomorrow, and so on. Have to spend time doing a lot of not-fun things to run a business, and being a new adventure (read: making mistakes, learning a lot) well… it’s full of stress.

So I have 2 bowls of ice cream… with chocolate chips. I have one of my wife’s awesome cookies… then another… then another. Next thing you know? 500-1000 extra calories in a day. And that obviously adds up.


So I’m angry with myself. Today’s session didn’t have my head in it because I was pissed at myself.

“Gee, you could get more pullups if you weren’t such a fat ass…”

Or trying to do the 100 rep curls, well… I hate doing reps, so it’s more of a mental thing than a physical thing. I stopped at 80 reps because I just didn’t have the mental in place. I rested 10 breaths then cranked out the last 20. But I was just so distracted and pissed off at myself.

But it’s been coming for a while. I’ve been struggling over the past few years to shed the fat. If you’ve read my logs, you’ve seen my ups and downs, my attempts and failures. But a few months ago I realized what I need: help.

I cannot do this alone. Part of it is just not knowing the right things, being overloaded and confused by so much information out there (so much of which is conflicting), and well… accountability. I understand as an educator that for all the self-teaching and self-driving one can do, sometimes you need a teacher because that’s the best way.

I decided a few months ago that I was going to get someone to help me. Recently I settled upon Renaissance Periodization. I haven’t contacted them yet, but the plan is to finish out the Strong-15 cycle, tho I may shorten it (e.g. instead of finishing the 9 weeks, taking a 50% week, then a week off, then testing; I may finish the 9 weeks, take a short break, then test… like rest up with a long weekend, then test squat and deadlift on a Wednesday and bench on a Friday, or take the whole week and test all 3 on the Friday). But I want to finish out the cycle. Then contact RP and get on their 6 month diet program. I figure if people lose 1-2# per week, I need at least 6 months… at least. While on that program, I’ll probably do more bodybuilding style lifting, maybe Paul Carter’s basebuilding — it will be about trying to preserve muscle mass, tho I’m sure I’ll be fighting a losing battle of muscle mass and strength, but that’s OK because I finally want to win the fat battle.

Meantime, I won’t change my diet much, but I gotta ease up on the meaningless food. I can’t go cold turkey, I’ll go apeshit. But instead of a cookie here and there, just have one cookie after dinner or something like that. I just gotta ease back. I doubt I’ll lose any weight, but I just don’t want to gain any more.

So… that’s the plan ahead.

Based upon Paul Carter’s Strong-15 (LRB365)

Phase 3-3, Week 1-3

  • Wide, Neutral-grip Pull-ups
    • BW x 2
    • BW x 1
    • BW x 1 x 3 – negatives only
  • BB Rows
    • 135 x 10
    • 135 x 10
  • Meadows Shrugs
    • 70e x 12
  • BB Curls
    • EZ-Bar x 100
  • Austin purse snatchings – What can we learn?

    Some women around Austin have become victims of purse snatching.

    Full story. Alas, cannot link the video, but it’s important to watch so we can learn… so yes, click through. (h/t Julianna Crowder)

    Seems they are driving around, see a woman and a proper environment (e.g. alone, no one else around), pull over, run up to hear, rip her purse off, then jump in the car and take off.

    What can we learn?


    Honestly, I’m not sure if “awareness” would have helped here. Everything unfolded quickly, and unless you were jumpy about everything around you, the sounds were normal sounds of the city: a car stopping at an intersection, running footsteps (lots of joggers in this town).

    We have to realize, no matter how much training and education we have, while that certainly helps us fare better, it doesn’t make us invulnerable. Shit still happens. So when it does, what can you do in response?

    Fight Back

    I cannot blame the woman for her reaction: purse came off, she started to fight for her purse via a tug-of-war. It’s a natural reaction, but one she was destined to lose. It doesn’t matter how much you are pro-feminism, pro-women’s rights, etc.,the laws of nature are pretty clear: males are (designed to be) stronger than females, and in a test of strength like a tug-of-war, the man is likely to win.

    So what I wonder is, what could the outcome have been like if the victim had a different mindset? Instead of trying to retain her purse by tugging on it, she went on the offensive and tried to retain her purse by attacking the snatcher?

    Granted, it might lead back to my first problem of the reality differences between males and females, and she could have gotten hurt more. But if studies have shown that fighting back dramatically increases the likelihood of stopping a rape attack, I think it’s fair to extrapolate that fighting back betters your chances of not being a victim in general. Criminals don’t want a fight, they want a payday.

    Another thought is if there was enough struggle, the attacker’s accomplice in the car might jump out and join the attack. No telling what might unfold. This is where weapons help, because multiple attackers is force disparity, and weapons are a force equalizer.


    About a month ago, Greg Ellifritz provided some commentary on a purse snatching in Houston.

    - What could you do to prevent the attack in the first place? How do you hold your purse so that access to potential thieves is limited? How close do you allow people to get in public spaces? Is that distance different for men than it is for women? If so, why?

    I don’t carry a purse, so my advice may be of minimal value. But I have played the role of a purse snatcher in force on force training sessions in the women’s self defense classes I teach. I’ve found that purses held under the arm (like a football) are the hardest for me to take. I would strongly advise women to carry their purses in this manner to reduce theft attempts. I don’t like having the strap wrapped around the woman’s body or neck. The strap may cause injury if the woman is dragged by the attacker, especially if the attacker is in a vehicle like she was here.

    It appears in this video the purse was over her same-side shoulder. What if she had the purse across her body (e.g. purse on the left side but strap over the right shoulder)? Granted there’s what Greg said, but certainly such a carry method makes it harder to obtain a purse. Would the attackers have driven on and looked for another (easier) victim? Hard to say, but I do wonder.

    As well, she was walking alone. Why? Sometimes it’s unavoidable, but what could she have done to prepare? Could she have kept a canister of OC spray in her right hand, ready for immediate deployment?

    Consider the contents of your purse. Since it’s something that could get stolen, are there contents that you may not want to keep in there because they are too precious to lose if stolen? Can your contents be replaced? This is one reason people discourage carrying a gun in your purse, because purses are traditionally such ripe targets for theft – and now they have your wallet, and your gun. Not just the “gee, now there’s another gun for criminals to have and use” but also it means you cannot access yours while in-fight. Same goes for kubatons or OC spray or any other weapon – in your purse isn’t useful to you, once you lose control over your purse.

    What did you see?

    What did you see in the video? What were your learning points?

    Please share in the comments.


    About these ads

    Writing about whatever interests me, and maybe you.


    Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

    Join 792 other followers

    %d bloggers like this: