Dance with the fear

“How do I get rid of the fear?”

Alas, this is the wrong question.

The only way to get rid of the fear is to stop doing things that might not work, to stop putting yourself out there, to stop doing work that matters.

No, the right question is, “How do I dance with the fear?”

Fear is not the enemy. Paralysis is the enemy.

- Seth Godin

There are some things in my life where fear drove me, but into paralysis. Fear is neither good nor bad, it’s what the fear does and what you do with that fear that matters. For me, it was keeping me from doing particular things.

No more.

Yeah, I’m still scared, but at least now I’m going to try dancing.

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2014-04-21 training log

Not a good day.

Based upon Paul Carter’s LRB-365 and Base Building

  • Incline Press
    • 45 x 5
    • 45 x 5
    • 110 x 5
    • 130 x 4
    • 150 x 3
    • 180 x 2
    • 200 x 1
    • 155 x 12
    • 155 x 5
  • DB Bench Press
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 10
    • 60e x 8
  • BB Upright Row
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
    • 60 x 15
  • 20 minutes elliptical

Not one of my better days.

First, while I normally do inclines on the dedicated incline bench, today I opted to use one of the portable benches and put it inside the half-rack. Reason is, next week I’m going to try to establish more proper every day maxes on incline bench and squat. I’ll discuss this more below. So I wanted to get myself in the rack and get one run through that to find positioning and so on. I also opted to wear my belt today just to see how it went.

I’m not sure what happened, or rather, why it happened.

When I did the 200, I got that weird lose-off-vision-dizzy feeling again. It was actually kinda scary today, more so than usual. I haven’t experienced this feeling in a LONG time, but it really hit me hard today during the 200 set. Why? I don’t know. Maybe the belt constriction? Maybe I just got my breath wrong? The way the bench and pegs were, it was great because I didn’t have to do a half-press to get started, it was almost perfectly positioned, but yet it was maybe just a hair too far away and having to “shrug up” to unrack was too much? I just don’t know… but it was enough to cause that dizzy/loss problem and it wasn’t good. I did manage to crank out the 1 rep, but still…. unsettling.

I don’t know what it was then, but that was “it” for me. The rep sets were crappy, and I just felt like today needed to become a “jack shit” day. I realized I’ve been running this program for 12 weeks straight. Between that, poor sleep as of late, work/life stress… well, I think my body is run down enough because I am not feeling it. I think it’s time for a deload. But I was planning on that anyways.

I didn’t feel like totally cashing it in tho. I did a few other sets of things, then that was that.

Here’s the longer-term.

I’ve been working Paul’s program here, which is based off his “mass building” template in his “Basebuilding” eBook. I’m fine with continuing this, but I just picked numbers and have been working those same numbers for a while, just to get me back into the groove. I want to find my max on the incline press and squat, then reprogram the template using his percentages and those numbers. I think most everything else is pretty close, or close enough, so I don’t need to do much adjustment, but I do want to do some because when I made some rough guesses and ran the numbers, I’m way off and would rather see how running things more closely to his prescribed program will go.

So this week? I just keep going as normal. If the rest of the week turns into the same sort of “jack shit” then it does. I’m OK with this.

Next week Monday I test my incline press to find my new max. I may or may not do assistance work afterwards, just depends. Wednesday I will test squat. Friday will be off.

Then I take a full week off. My focus will be on rest, getting as much sleep as possible. This will dovetail with some other life things just nicely.

Then I will come back with new numbers, doing this same program tho. I’ll stick with it for at least 6 weeks. After those 6, I’ll see. I may take a week off then do another 6. Just have to see how things go. But I am looking then at transitioning to trying Paul’s basebuilding templates, then after that for about 9-10 weeks doing his Strong-15 short cycle for a little strength peak. After that? Probably back to mass building. We’ll see tho. It’s mostly experimenting and learning at this point.

2014-04-18 training log

Based upon Paul Carter’s LRB-365 and Base Building

  • BB Rows
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 8
    • 140 x 7
  • Seated Cable Rows
    • 95 x 15
    • 95 x 15
    • 95 x 13
  • Shrugs
    • 155 x 20
    • 155 x 20
    • 155 x 16
    • 155 x 15
  • Wide, Neutral-grip Pulldowns
    • 95 x 15
    • 95 x 15
    • 95 x 15
    • 95 x 15
    • 95 x 13
  • BB Curls
    • 30 x 27/12/8 (rest-pause)
  • Today was an 80% day.

    I only got a few hours of sleep too, which didn’t help. But you just get up and keep going. I should be able to rest alright this weekend.

    Still trying to focus a lot on being slow and controlled in the movements, really feeling the muscle, letting it work, focus on the negative, etc.. It’s such a different way to lift.

    Have a reason

    I know.

    “It’s cool.”

    But so what? What does it really gain you? What true purpose does it serve?

    In his book, Strength, Life, Legacy, Paul Carter writes about having a reason for everything:

    Every movement, set, rep, volume, frequency, everything you do, you should know WHY you are doing it. Are you doing this because someone said you should, or are you doing it because someone said you should be doing it? If they did, did they tell you why you should be doing it?

    When you sit down to write out your routine and your programming, everything should have a reason for being on that piece of paper. And it shouldn’t be vague, like “I do this because I wanna get jacked.” That’s not really a clear cut reason.

    I bench press because I need to build my bench for competition. I do inclines after that because I have found that inclines help my bench press very much. I get very good carryover from it.

    I do pause squats to build my bottom position strength.

    I do block deadlifts and shrugs because block deads have helped me off the floor as do shrugs (yes shrugs have helped me off the floor). This is where I am weak in the deadlift.

    I do some curls because it helps keep my elbows feeling good.

    I do ab work because I compete beltless, and I know my abs need to be very strong.

    That’s basically my whole competition routine breakdown. Everything I do has a very particular reason for being in there. If you have movements in your routine, have a reason for each one being in there. Otherwise why is it in there?

    Always ask yourself these kinds of questions in order to help make yourself a better programmer and planner.

    Yeah, it’s about powerlifting, but it applies to anything in life.  If you are doing something, you should have a specific, known, and articulable reason for it.

    I’m going to apply it to firearms.

    During classes at KR Training, we see all sorts of equipment selection, we see people that come from having other training backgrounds. We question people as to why they have this equipment, or why they do some skill in some way. This isn’t to prove that our way is right and theirs is wrong, it’s about ensuring there is a solid reason. I can think of two illustrations.

    I remember we had a student that had a lot of training from another school. At that school, they taught to always rack the slide. Yes, this often meant they ejected a good round. We asked why he did what he did; “because it’s what I was taught”. Of course, but why? “To ensure there’s always a round in the chamber.” So far, so good, but didn’t you know there was one? “Yes, but it doesn’t matter because always doing it eliminates the need and time consumed doing a diagnostic check.” Fair enough. He understood the trade-off of losing the round (and being “down by 1″), and he knew that in a more administrative situation to just do things like press-checking. But when he was “in the fight”, it was a far simpler mode of operation to just always rack it and ingrain that motor habit, instead of having diagnostic branching and decision making. That’s not how we do it, but he knew what he was doing, why he was doing it, the trade-offs, was willing to accept the trade-offs, and basically had a thoughtful decision instead of blindly following tacticool dogma. No problem there, man.

    We have seen various types of equipment, including those ultra-minimal holsters that are nothing more than a clip of kydex that covers the trigger guard, with a string attached so the kydex breaks away when you draw the gun. OK, why do you use this equipment? What does it gain you? What are you losing? Is this the best equipment for a class (you’ll be drawing and reholstering numerous times; is this going to facilitate or inhibit class)? Outside of class, how do you expect to reholster? If you did have to draw your gun in self-defense, how much fiddle-farting are you going to have to do to reholster that gun (because you will need to)? and do you think you’ll always have a nice, calm opportunity to do so? Let’s not get into the SERPA holster either…

    In the end, there’s not always One True Right Answer to things. Those little clips may wind up being the right answer given your particular daily circumstances. Me, I don’t like carrying really small guns, nor do I like changing my carry gun to match my pursue or the weather. But time to time it happens that circumstances force me to make choices I wouldn’t normally make. At least I can explain and articulate my choices and reasons.

    Don’t take this as a dis on your personal choices. In fact, don’t let ego get involved in the first place. Make sure you have solid, articulable reasons for your decisions and choices. Make sure they are helping you achieve your goals.

    2014-04-16 training log

    Wow. I haven’t worked this hard in a while.

    Based upon Paul Carter’s LRB-365 and Base Building

    • Squat
      • BW x 10
      • BW x 10
      • bar x 5
      • bar x 5
      • 155 x 5
      • 185 x 4
      • 215 x 3
      • 245 x 2
      • 275 x 1
      • 185 x 15
      • 185 x 6
    • Stiff Leg Deadlift
      • 205 x 8
      • 205 x 8
      • 205 x 6
    • Leg Press
      • 160 x 20
      • 160 x 17
      • 160 x 17
      • 160 x 15
    • Standing Calf Raises
      • 40 x 12
      • 40 x 12
      • 40 x 12
      • 40 x 12

    Wow. Today kicked my ass.

    I continue to go up in weight and reps, trying to find my place again. I’m getting there tho.

    I opted to wear a belt again. I haven’t worn a belt in many many months. I wore it on my 2 and 1 sets, and forgot how tight to pull it. When I was in the hole with the 275, I’m pressing out with my abs and was like “where’s the damn belt?”. It was tight, but not tight enough. One more notch would have done it, and I did that on the 185′s. In most respects, this was a “remembering” effort on using the belt.

    That said, I felt wickedly worked after this session. I skipped lunges because I was wiped. Looking back, I probably shouldn’t have, but too late now.

    One thing I’m thinking about is what to do next. I’ve been running Paul’s program for about 10 weeks straight, but it’s not been an exhausting 10 weeks since it started out as ankle rehab. I do think I’m finding my weights — like I probably will go up to 285 next week (with belt), but keep the reps at 185. I did play with Paul’s percentages and I’m way off his numbers — mostly because I started out just picking numbers, and have done simple +5 or +10 increases to keep things simple while I found my way back.

    So, I think I’ll go another 2 weeks (end of April) and find where my weights should be. Just stay the course, minor changes just to try to settle in. Take a week off. Then come back and start on more formal application of Paul’s protocols. I’m not 100% sure how I’ll do it, but I might do something like another 6 weeks of Big-15-style work, then maybe do 9 weeks of Strong-15. I dunno, we’ll see. Still thinking through stuff, but I think that I can call “rehab” done, and that I should be finding my way back. There’s no question I’m adding muscle mass, which I like. But I do want to get some strength back because I lost a bunch.

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    Writing about whatever interests me, and maybe you.

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