View Full Version : Gittit's Experiment

Gittit Shwartz
03-08-2008, 02:29 PM
Some background:
I've been doing Capoeira (at Ido Portal's place, Hacasa) for 7 years. In the past 3 years my routine has been 2 hours Capoeira or Gymnastics training every day, six days a week, plus strength training, equilibre, yoga, and of course more Capoeira and acrobatics...
I've made a lot of progress in these years athletically. Gained a good deal of muscle mass, and at one point (just a few months ago) I was doing 6 pull-ups, and starting to hold a tuck planche. However my progress was much hindered by yo-yo dieting.
In September I did almost 3 weeks of the Velocity diet. I lost weight (some muscle in there too) at a ridiculous rate and in the end I was leaner than I had ever believed I could be, hence all the low-bodyweight benefits mentioned above. At the time my training was ridiculously high volume - 4-8 hours a day. I stopped V-dieting because I experienced several frightening dizzy spells - everything would go black and I actually started to fall down, then caught myself.
Shortly after that I had an equally spectacular rebound. In 2 months I gained over 20lbs (and lost 5 pullups). Just to put everything on the table (not trying to offer excuses) my personal life was in a bad mess at the time, so I can't attribute it only to the extreme low cal-high volume combination as I do have a history of emotional binge eating.

Two weeks ago I decided to take a break from Capoeira and acrobatics training, with several goals in mind:
- To work on some nagging problems with both wrists and both shoulders. My ROM in both joints is very poor and naturally they've taken a lot of wear and tear and are a big limiting factor in both my sports.
- To improve my sport-specific conditioning, come back in better shape - since I am a bit detrained and way too heavy right now.
- To see how I felt with less training volume (which makes more sense to me from an evolutionary-fitness point of view).

This is my plan:
Velocity Diet (started Feb 25), then 2 weeks transition.
(Using whey protein, 1 tsp coconut oil & 1 tbsp fresh ground flax seeds with each shake. No Hot-Rox or Surge, emergen-C after strength training.)

Sun, Tue, Thu (morning) - Strength training.
Mon, Thu (evening) - Short session of hill sprints.
Sun, Wed, Fri - Work on handstands and bridges, progressing very gradually and carefully to walkovers. Planche and Front-lever progressions.

I am living with a Feldenkrais teacher so I get to do a one-on-one lesson Every morning Sunday through Wed, right before or right after training.

I'll be doing this for at least 4 more weeks, depending on how I progress.

Now for a starting question: I feel since I slashed volume considerably I can up the intensity... And frankly it feels strange not to be burning so many calories. I wonder if I could throw in a MetCon once a week while on the V-diet? I admit it is hard to do the sprints, I'll tough it out, but I wouldn't want to push myself over much physically and end this turn on the V-diet the way the last one ended. Opinions?
I guess I'll give it a shot and see how I feel.

Gittit Shwartz
03-09-2008, 06:03 AM
This is my strength training plan:

Workout A
(A) Deadlift 5X5, rest 2 min
(B1) Overhead Squat 5 reps
(B2) Skin the Cat and back 2-5 reps
*Perform B for 5 cycles.
(C) Isometric splits

Workout B
5 cycles of
(A1) Weighted Pistols 5 reps
(A2) Pull-ups (gravitron assisted at this stage) 5 reps
(A3) Dips (assisted, emphasis on full depth) 5 reps
(A4) Hanging Jacknives 5 reps
(B) Shoulder Prehab with bands.

I alternate workouts A and B on Sun, Tue and Thu so one week I do A twice and B once, and the next week the reverse.

The gym is being renovated now and all the barbells were in the closed off area, so last week I subbed DB deadlifts and one-arm OHS for the barbell equivalents.

This morning I walked to the gym to do B and found it was closed for the last day of renovation. I walked on to a playground. I was thirsting for punishment so I decided to do the same routine MetCon-style: 7-6-5-4-3-2-1 reps of pistols, jump pull-ups, jacknives, frog dips (legs hooked around the vertical pole for assistance) for time.
I completed it in 11 minutes - welcoming the rising nausea with chants of "Growth Hormone! Growth Hormone!" Then I lay down on a plastic slide for a bit...
My conditioning sucks right now but it was just what the doctor ordered. A welcome bit of acute stress. Too much serenity isn't a good thing for me.

By the way, this (Workout B) is Ido's classic Capoeira conditioning routine.

Gittit Shwartz
03-10-2008, 03:22 AM
Yesterday was strange.
I had been feeling a little down in the mouth for a few days, for no apparent reason - throat dry and hot, occasionally naseous, restless, irritable. There's a flu going around here too, so I thought maybe I was fighting it behind the scenes. Or maybe I was just being soft with myself and all I needed was a good kick in the pants.
So yesterday morning when I found my gym was closed I decided to do a little (11 minute) MetCon to shake myself straight again. Of course I felt great for a little while after. I fell asleep in the early evening, and woke up after an hour grumpier than ever. I couldn't concentrate on the reading and writing I was supposed to do. I jumped at sudden innocuous sounds as if my life was in danger. Every muscle in my body was tense. I could see and feel my pulse fluttering irregularly in one temple. I felt generally angry with no object. I wanted to sprint. I couldn't fall asleep, and late at night began craving sugar madly (I rarely have carb cravings). I felt like a werewolf. I had an extra shake and a few tsp of almond butter and finally fell asleep. Slept like a log.
I wonder what's going on...

Garrett Smith
03-10-2008, 07:12 AM
Sounds like a good homeopathic case to me, hopefully you know someone.

At the very least, get some true rest.

Gittit Shwartz
03-10-2008, 01:39 PM
I'm better today but still feeling a little crazy.
I'm going to turn in early and get as much sleep as I can today. Probably push tomorrow's strength training to Wednesday, and just do some handbalancing. Also, I think I will lay off the shakes or any food for at least 15 hours. Who knows what those artificial sweeteners are doing to you brain. Stay off the computer / cell phone too.
I think that answered my question about doing metcons on the velocity diet.

Garrett Smith
03-10-2008, 02:03 PM
All that Splenda could be getting to you, absolutely...

Gittit Shwartz
03-10-2008, 02:07 PM
Dr. G - I am taking some liver support stuff as per your recommendation - the Solgar detox formula (http://www.solgar.com/labels/imgviewer.aspx?vitamin=/getattachment/fa6b626c-4f5e-45e1-8cdb-8aaeb95b537f/SFP-Herbal-Liver-Complex-Vegetable-Capsules.aspx&swf_width=469&swf_height=154). I'm not sure what effects to expect but I guess the liver can always use some help.

I can never understand how people shrug this kind of thing off, "it's just one of those things..." There's nothing more fascinating to me than how the mind works and as little as I know I just have to try and figure out causes and effects...

Gittit Shwartz
03-10-2008, 02:08 PM
I wish it was Splenda (and I've already caught sucralose in the act of messing with my mind). My stuff has acuselfume-K...

Gittit Shwartz
03-10-2008, 02:16 PM
Huh... It does look like I might be shooting myself in the foot with this diet. I hate to quit something I committed to but I got nothing to prove to anyone, I've already done the Velocity diet. I'll see how I'm doing the next few days and make a decision.

Garrett Smith
03-10-2008, 05:22 PM
If you could find a non-artificially-sweetened whey protein, I don't see why you couldn't continue your experiment.

Also, your symptoms could be related to the liver product increasing certain detox pathways.

It's likely a combination of both.

Gittit Shwartz
03-13-2008, 01:41 PM
I decided to put the V-Diet on hold for a few days while I hunted around for a non-artificially sweetened protein powder.
On Monday night I had a bowl of fruit salad (with yogurt and honey). I don't do dairy at all and fruit usually makes me stuffy, but unexpectedly I woke up Tuesday morning feeling GREAT. I was energetic and focused throughout the day, good food choices and small portions. I let go a bit too much at night though, more out of habit than anything, and it was all downhill from there. On Wednesday I just ate too much and felt like crap, and today I have a headache and runny nose and am back on the V-Diet.
Once again I proved with my own flesh that the combination of bad food, no exercise and no sunlight is the shortest route to mental depression...

On to more positive things, the gym renovation is finally finished so this was today's workout:

(A) Deadlift 5X5 - 55kg
(B1) Overhead squat 5 reps with 25kg
(B2) Skin the cats 3 reps
(C1) Weighted pike stretch - 3X30 sec with 20kg plate

After 3 days of nada I was ready to chew up the iron. I bounced around doing light snatches and handstands for fun.
Several gym veterans who were watching me lift walked up individually to make casual conversation, making sure to drop the word "deadlift" and look me in the eye - like a code word for special agents to identify each other (OK, I've been reading a book about the KGB!)

1. I didn't find an alternative protein powder. Unless things get really weird, I think it's worth it to just push through another 14 days. I may permit myself a metcon right before my solid meal.
2. My grip is woefully weak right now, to the point where it's a bottleneck for deadlifting and Skin-the-cats. Seems like it's the first thing I lose too.
3. My shoulders are much better for the break from Capoeira. They used to kill me in OHS'ing.
4. I can't wait to get back to Capoeira and Gymnastics! I really miss DYNAMIC stuff.

Garrett Smith
03-13-2008, 01:58 PM
Two things.

You might gain a lot of benefit by mixing in just a tiny amount of yogurt into your V-diet (dairy-based) shakes.

Also, food allergy testing (by blood, not skin-prick) could be very helpful for you at this point.

Gittit Shwartz
03-13-2008, 01:58 PM
At the end of the last episode (yesterday) I sent this email to some friends. For what it's worth:

I read this a while ago on a random website (Jonathan Wong (http://coachjon.com/blog)):

"...the most interesting thing I read was about elephants. Thai elephants in particular and how they are domesticated.

When the elephant is very young and weak, it is prevented from running wild by the owners tying it to a stick stuck in the ground and teaching it that it cannot escape.

Makes sense.

But when the elephant is older, the fully grown, powerful animal that can uproot a tree can still be held captive by the same small stick stuck in the ground!

Same thing happens to people doesnít it. Negative experiences, negative words from others and failed attempts often prevent us from reaching our potential. That last diet didnít quite work? That last personal trainer got you injured? That last fitness fad (swiss balls anybody?) not quite as good as advertised? Now isnít the time to give up on your goals.

The stick is not as intimidating as it seems once you really try to rip it out of the ground."

It came to my mind again because I was thinking of something along the same lines (but different):

If you have a habit, the habit is still part of you even when the thing that caused you to form the habit is long gone. Don't expect it to disappear along with the original cause.

(I won't give an example, I'm sure you can all come up with one from your own life or somebody you know.)

This is different from the elephant's predicament because the elephant can easily rip out the stick... He just doesn't know it. But habits aren't as easy to change or get rid of.

So in summary, there are two steps to getting rid of a bad habit:

1. Get rid of what made you form this habit - if the force is still there then the best you can do is to replace one bad habit with another.

2. Address the habit in itself.
Both parts are required.

I think this applies to every type of habit - habits of motion, eating patterns, emotional/thought patterns. Let me know what you think.

Gittit Shwartz
03-16-2008, 07:38 AM
Dr. G,
Why yogurt? Will probiotic pills do?
I'm looking into food allergy test centres in Israel - thanks for the suggestion!
I still have the knee-jerk reaction "Suck it up!" to these issues... But having realized that this approach didn't get me very far... Trying to get to the bottom of things, and to stop beating myself up about it.

Gittit Shwartz
03-16-2008, 08:21 AM
I have very "closed" shoulders - limited ROM (when it was bad I would struggle to pull my shirt off or scratch my head). I've accumulated a lot of minor injuries doing things like back limbers through the pain.
I think the route to solving this problem eventually, will require me to work on 3 aspects:

1. Rehab - breaking down scar tissue.
I use a tennis ball to work on the rotator cuffs where they can be reached. Unfortunately no ART in Israel yet, but I will definitely look for it when I'm in the US.

2. Developing rotator cuff strength throughout the ROM and especially at the weak extended position.
I've never noticed any benefit from traditional rotator cuff exercises. Perhaps I was not targeting the right angles. One thing that has been very helpful is isometric pull-over stretches, and the "bodyweight" version - bridge pull-outs from the wall (that is, both feet elevated against the wall, gradually lowering the starting point). Bridge walking (limb by limb) is a good exercise; bridge "hopping"/see-saws - dangerous, to be practiced carefully and gradually.
One thing I have found to be very detrimental is pushing through the pain. Not only does it aggravate injuries, it also builds bad coordinative patterns as the body tries to protect itself. Which is partly why I decided to take time off from gymnastics/capoeira and work on this very gradually and carefully, putting ego aside.

2. Changing coordinative patterns involving the scapulae and more.
Many people say that Feldenkrais makes them feel good for a short while, but the effects don't last. They won't, if you go back to your old movement patterns. To get long-term effects, to change the harmful or limiting patterns of movement that led you to seek therapy, requires constant awareness and self-correction, in the simplest, most everyday of movements.
I don't even presume to connect the work I've done so far with my grandmother (my Feldenkrais teacher) with back bridges yet... Just working on things like reaching for the top shelf! I think I'm starting to see some connections when doing handstands, but I guess it's going to be a long journey. (My grandmother says "years" so easily. I try not to think about it or I feel rebellious. I guess perspective is different when you've been around for 75 years...)

Garrett Smith
03-16-2008, 08:29 AM
On Monday night I had a bowl of fruit salad (with yogurt and honey). I don't do dairy at all and fruit usually makes me stuffy, but unexpectedly I woke up Tuesday morning feeling GREAT.

I said that because I thought the yogurt (or probiotic pills) might help you digest the dairy-based protein shakes better than you have been.

If you can find someone who uses the ImmunoLabs or Alcat food allergy tests over there, that would be great. I'm very close to running a 200-food panel on myself.

Robb Wolf
03-16-2008, 08:49 AM
Are you SURE you want to take in the bulk of your calories from shakes? Can I warm you up to a CLC with some paleo foods instead?

Gittit Shwartz
03-16-2008, 09:23 AM
I decided on the V-Diet because of the psychological aspect for the most part. I really needed to get rid of as many stress-inducing aspects of my life as possible, and with my long history of yo-yo dieting and binge eating... Well, I just didn't want to have to deal with food at all, as the only thing that freaked me out more than trying to do Capoeira with a built-in 20 pound xvest (that's what it felt like because I had gained the weight so fast!) ...was obsessing about WAM.
By now I'm feeling more psychologically robust (I honestly feel ketosis has been my best medicine) so I'm thinking as my transition I may do a very strict rotation diet - one protein source, fat source and vegetable for each day. It's a near no-brainer (hence low stress) that has worked for me before.
CLC=cyclic low carb? Any recommendation as to where to search to read up on it?
I'm open to new ideas as I try to find what works best from me. Thanks for your suggestions!

Gittit Shwartz
03-16-2008, 12:29 PM
I went to the gym late today (8PM). It was full of curling boys and cardio suffering.


3 cycles of
(A1) Weighted Pistols - 5kg X 5 reps
(A2) Pull ups - 2kg assistance X 5 reps
(A3) Dips - 2 kg assistance X 5 reps
(A4) Straight hanging leg raise (aka jacknives) - 5 reps

(B) Shoulder prehab with bands
(C) Isometric splits - 30 sec. each variant (front, side, side) X 3 sets

Actually I grabbed 10kg for the first set of pistols... I stayed at the bottom on the third rep.

Gittit Shwartz
03-18-2008, 04:45 AM
7 sets of
3 X Pull ups (2kg assistance)
3 X HSPU assisted with legs hooked on a ladder - this doubles as a hamstring exercise, haha...

The pull ups felt strong to the last set. Next time I will use less assistance.
HSPU - concentrate on shrugging the shoulders and sticking in correct handstand position before lowering into the next rep.

Note to self: Never try to use pushup handles as parallettes!

I haven't been in an ordinary commercial gym in years. I never cease to wonder. Those people on the floor doing various twisted ab exercises with zero ROM look like they are in paroxysms.

Gittit Shwartz
03-18-2008, 03:11 PM
Tucked Planche
Tucked front lever
6 sets of 10 seconds each for a total of 60 seconds.

5 short hill sprints - not sure how long the hill is. They take me 20-25 seconds.

I was wondering if I should be doing these. Everyone warns against overtraining on the V-Diet - I sure as hell overtrained when I did it last fall, but none of it was metcon, and I had a big rebound though I didn't get sick. These are short sprints (the hill is 250m long - my best time to the top is 48 seconds, but I'm not going to the top).

I wish there was a red light that went on when you were overreaching. And a pink one that went on when you were just being a p****.

Gittit Shwartz
03-19-2008, 01:04 PM
I was feeling playful today, more in the mood for jumping than pulling.
I haven't done oly lifts in over a year, so I was just messing around:

Clean & Jerk -
30kg triplets X 3
35kg singles X 5
Missed 40kg (my personal best)

3 rounds of
OHS 25kg X 5 reps
Pull up + 2 Skin the Cats

"Pancake" stretch

Went home and foam rolled my shoulders til they were happy.

I'm not being very consistent with my program. I'm just so thrilled that I actually like training again, I let myself play, as long as I'm covering all my bases.

This was a good day.

Gittit Shwartz
03-20-2008, 02:14 PM
OK, no more Velocity diet for me. The headaches and hoarseness are not going away. I hate to think what's going on beneath the surface. Guess it's never wise to think we can outsmart Mother Nature...

Gant Grimes
03-20-2008, 02:53 PM
Good decision!

Gittit Shwartz
03-23-2008, 07:35 AM
Update from the weekend:
The headaches disappeared as soon as I stopped drinking shakes. My voice is still hoarse though, no idea what could be causing it.
I ate too much sugar at a Purim party on Friday night, and woke up the next day (at 3PM) with a sore throat & temperature. Slept through most of the day and had just a small meal before bed, so it turned out I fasted 22 hours - this was the longest fast I've done since my last Yom Kippur maybe 10 years ago.

Workout today:
Warmed up doing some quick snatches with just the bar... Someone told me one of the gym instructors was an O-lifting champion in one of the Soviet countries. Bowlegged, in his late 50's I would guess, short with shoulders as broad as a house, stalks around the gym all day with the biggest ankle weights I've ever seen. I can see him in the mirror looking at me out or the corner of his eye when I lift but he always turns away and pretends that he wasn't. He's the only one that hasn't yet joined my fan club :D but it looks like I'll have to be the one to quit the game and ask him for some help with the O-lifts!

3 rounds of
5 X Pistols + 5kg

Push ups (knees on the floor) 21 14 10 8 7 7
Reverse sit-ups
Pull ups (assisted)
BW Squats
I messed up the timing in the last 3 so I won't post numbers (they were pretty pathetic anyway).

No PWO shake. I ate when I was hungry, about an hour later: salmon, broccoli and brussels sprouts with a dash of olive oil.

I'm really feeling disoriented now with rethinking practically every rule I've lived by in the past 5 years. I'm not sure what to do with diet now that the V-diet is out, how to balance training between progress, fat loss and recovery. Basically this is the first time I'm planning for myself. I'm rereading lots of posts and articles I just skimmed over a while ago. But most of all I just need to pick a plan and be consistent.

We're in the middle of the first heat wave of the season... And I vowed months ago that I would not wear shorts until I got my weight back under 49kg...

Gittit Shwartz
03-25-2008, 02:52 AM
Yesterday was a long weighted walk and some tennis ball rolling on my tabata- pushups-sore shoulder girdle. I didn't do the triceps and today it's still difficult to lock my arms.
Only 5 hours of sleep today (hard to fall asleep on super low carbs). I got up feeling pretty alert though, must have wakened at the right point in the sleep cycle. What with lack of sleep and the tabata soreness, I didn't expect much from this morning's workout but I was wrong as I will tell:

Warmup - Coach Sommer's wrist prehab routine, upward facing/downward facing dog to prepare the wrists and shoulders.
C&J - working up:
35kg 1-1-1-1-1
37.5kg 1-1-1-1
Almost didn't try for my PR...
40 kg - missed first attempt
40 kg - GOT IT! I matched my PR - and this is my second Oly workout in over a year! I think it was just a matter of deciding to drop under the bar no matter what, and going for it with confidence.

Finished up with
25kg X 5
30kg X 5 - but I was not locking my elbows so went back down
25kg X 5

Coach Valery (the Bulgarian Olympic lifter from my previous post) saw me grinning all over the place after the C&J PR and came over to comment on my technique (it sucks :) ) So that was two triumphs in one day! He coached me on the empty bar for a few minutes. I'm going to have to start using the false grip.

Gittit Shwartz
03-26-2008, 01:14 PM
Tuesday afternoon:
Tucked Planche (knees pressing against elbows), Tucked Front lever 6 X 10 seconds

5 rounds of
Gravitron Pull-ups 1kg assistance X 3
Gravitron Dips 1 kg assistance X 4
Skin the Cats X 2
Wasn't in the mood for anything else.

Gittit Shwartz
03-27-2008, 03:41 PM
I wasn't even planning to go to the gym today - got off the train back from teaching the kids and spontaneously told the cabbie to take me to the gym instead of home.

Prep - Coach Sommer's wrist prehab pushups, OHS with broomstick

Played around a bit with just the bar doing drop snatches (I think that's what they're called? Start with the bar in back squat position with a wide grip, and try to drop into an overhead squat - ideally the bar should not move from its absolute position).

I'm starting to see the results of all the recent month's work on upper body mobility. I remember a year ago OHS's were excruciating and drop snatches nearly impossible. Feeling good now!

Regular snatches - feeling out the technique

The angle of palm to forearm in the snatch grip aggravated my wrist pain so I stopped.

Finished up with
Handstand holds
Tucked Planche/Front lever 6x10 seconds

I'm going to start posting diet too to keep myself accountable. I won't usually use a scale, I'm pretty accurate with the eyeball method.

Between 1:00 PM and 8:30 PM

Green tea
Chicken breast ~ 500g
Coconut milk - less than 1/2 can
1 tsp coconut oil
1 cup of coffee (instant)
*gulp* 1/2 bar (50g) 85% dark chocolate

100g Pro, 85g Fat, >20g Carbs, ~1200 kCal

*I had salt cravings all day - I get that when I've been overdoing caffeine. I really shouldn't have more than 2-3 cups per week.

Gittit Shwartz
03-28-2008, 10:39 AM
By the 11 AM (15th hour of fasting) I was getting spacey. It was hard to get started with the workout (at 1PM - the 18th hour) though not necessarily harder than usual to do it.

Sumo Deadlifts:
45kg x5
45kg x5
50kg x5
55kg x5
60kg x3
60kg x3
60kg x3

Grip was the bottleneck again.

Tabatas: (timed with one of the Tabata music tracks in my mp3 player)
Push ups (on knees) - 20 12 9 8 7 7
Pull ups (gravitron assistance level 5) - 10 10 10 9 9 9
*The gravitron was slowing me down in the eccentric part - next time I should stand with my feet on the elevator rather than kneel. I don't feel I got anything out of this session of pull-ups except for a pump in my forearms.
Squats - 21 20 17 17 16 16

Food today:
Had a few almonds, tsp of coconut oil before heading to the gym.
Shabbat dinner with my family so food sources are all over the place:
Between 15:00 and 19:30
Protein sources: chicken breast, lean beef, 1 egg
Fat sources: coconut milk, tehini, fish oil
Veg: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower (ladies, cruciferous veggies are your friends), zucchini, onion, mushrooms and carrot
1 square of 85% chocolate
No coffee (yes green tea)
135 Pro, 121 Fat, 54 Cho - 1806 kCal

Gittit Shwartz
03-30-2008, 02:38 PM
Rest/Refeed day - I managed to pull that off without feeling too guilty and without it turning into a binge. Step in the right direction.

Walked to the gym with my very sprightly grandmother. I did
30 Pullups in sets of 2-3, in about 30 minutes
(on the gravitron with assistance level 1)
Why am I not seeing improvement here? I could not do 1 dead hang pull-up. I hope it was just a bum day.

Food - between 1PM - 7PM:
1 cup turkish coffee
Protein: canned tuna, eggs
Fat: olive, coconut & fish oils, avocado, pecans
Veg: cucumber, lettuce, cabbage, brussels sprouts
1 packet Emergen-C
Breakdown: Pro 110g, Fat 90g, Carb 43, Calories 1385

Gittit Shwartz
04-01-2008, 04:17 PM
Monday 31 March 08
I mostly ate almond butter and 85% dark chocolate.

Tuesday, April 1
Long day with lots of travel (I currently commute by train, bus and taxi to teach, 3 days a week @ 2-2 1/2 hours each way... gets tiring).

11 PM at the gym:
Warmup - Coach Sommer's wrist prehab pushups
Upward/Downward facing dog
Dislocates & OHS with broomstick
30kg X 5 power clean

Clean and Jerk -
Feeling out the new technique Coach Valery taught me:

30kg X 1
30kg X 1
30kg X 1

35kg X 1
35kg X 1
35kg X 1

37.5kg X 1
37.5kg X 1
37.5kg X 1

40kg - caught it in the squat but fell over backwards and had to dump it
40kg X single

In a momentary lapse of commonsense I decided it would be a good idea to do Fran:
Thrusters - 30kg (no jump left in me by now, had to break it up into sets of 1 to 5 reps)
Pull ups - gravitron assistance level 5 (too easy)
Just under 11 minutes

They closed the gym on us so I will have to make up the planche/front lever tomorrow.

Food - 3:30 PM - 1 AM
Protein: light & dark chicken, 3 eggs
Fat: coconut oil
Veg: broccoli, cabbage, onions, mushrooms, some dried vegetable mixture for seasoning (no potatoes in there, I checked)
2 squares 85% chocolate
1 double espresso (hardly felt it)
3 fish oil caps
Breakdown: 104g Pro, 64g Fat, 24g Carb, 1102 Calories
Except for the coffee, this day was about right.

Now I know some of my entries belong in a blog rather than a workout log, I hope this is OK for now -
I had a long talk today with a wise person I know, about what I've been going through and learning lately. I came out with my own spontaneous take on the "pillars of happiness" for me and here it is (in no particular order and in the words that came out of my head):

- Don't overtrain.
- Do short-intense-burst of effort activities.
- Don't abuse stimulants.
- Eat in patterns, quantities and food choices that will nourish you, not do you harm.
- Spend time with people you love every day.
- Get some sunlight.
- Never sink into boredom.
- A little sting is a good thing to have in your life.
- Be passionate about something, work and make progress in it.
- Actively seek to learn new things.
- Invest the greater part of your time and energy in things that are meaningful to you.

Thank you for reading (and sorry if I accidentally plagiarized somebody else's blog entry!)

Gittit Shwartz
04-02-2008, 11:51 AM
Wednesday, April 2:

This is a cute workout (Ido's design as far as I know) that appeals to the geometrically inclined:

You do one exercise for each of these vectors (body position relative to the floor): 90 degrees, 0 degrees, -90 degrees. Or in plainer words, standing, lying and upside down. Direction of work is against gravity. Can also be viewed as angle of the arms to the body (180, 90, 0) but this definition doesn't apply to ab work.
I worked upper body pull, upper body push, and abs, as follows:
Upper body push: Weighted Pushups/Dips/Handstand Pushups
Upper body pull: Pullups/Body Rows/Upside down Pullups
Abs: Hanging leg raises/Jacknives on the floor/"Bats" or headstand pike "presses"

I did 2 rounds:

5kg X 5reps / 1kg assistance X 5 reps / Leg assisted X 5 reps
1kg assistance X 3 reps / BW X 5 reps / Leg assisted X 5 reps
5 reps / 15 reps / 5 reps (bats the first set but found it over my head, headstand press the second)

I've forgotten all my terminology from high school... Hope this is a passably clear description!

2:30 - 9:30 PM
Pro sources: Chicken, turkey, beef, whey
Fat sources: walnuts
Veg: broccoli, cauliflower, cucumber, tomato, mushrooms
6 fish oil caps
1 square 85% chocolate
1 cup coffee with cinnamon
Breakdown: Pro 135, Fat 94, Carb 42, kCal 1520

Gittit Shwartz
04-02-2008, 12:00 PM
Wednesday continued

I was so caught up explaining the protocol for the main part of the workout that I forgot the second half...

Planche / Front lever progressions - 6 sets of 10 sec

Push ups: 21 13 8 6 5 5
*these sucked
Pull ups: 11 X 10 9 8 9
*I was timing with tabata music in my mp3 player and the buds fell out of my ears in the beginning of the second set. So I just skipped that set. Should've rested a minute and started over, I just thought of that afterwards.
Squats: 22 21 20 20 18 18
*This is an improvement - both in the high numbers and the variation!

Gittit Shwartz
07-03-2008, 03:28 PM
Long time no update...

The slight sore throat, fever, and swollen glands I had in March (and didn't pay too much attention to) turned out to be mono.

So one day I was all bouncy and excited about my getting back in shape plan, and the next day I could hardly drag myself out of bed. I felt in a half dream, I was so unfocused I would have to write myself a note for every little thing I had to do... Then I would forget the notes. I would fall asleep at every opportunity.

For two months I thought I was just depressed. It's not unusual for me, and usually the first sign of too much stress/overtraining: I never get sick like most people do - I get depressed. But - I had no apparent reason to be now. I was disappointed with myself, even scared. I tried to keep up with my training program... In the gym I would feel a bit better, but try to do Tabatas, and the next day I would be lying in bed staring at the ceiling.

Lucky I'm staying with my grandparents. They told me I was tired and made me go to a doctor. I had a conversation with Dr. Garrett Smith and he gave me some excellent advice for adrenal fatigue. Some supplement and nutrition advice, avoiding caffeine, cutting down drastically on workouts, rest rest rest. Also (and this was important), not to beat up on myself for what happened till now.

I took rest very seriously. For 2 months I did absolutely no metcons and refused to stress over ANYTHING. I started feeling a gradual, steady improvement. About at this time I took the tests that confirmed mono.

I wanted to put that out there, not just to explain why I've been MIA but because I've run across several people recently, who are going through the same things and really beating up on themselves for it. So folks, it's worth talking to a doc who deals with this sort of thing.

Now, four months after getting sick I'm finally feeling that I can do more, train harder, lose some bodyfat without crashing. Time to resume the experiment!

Steve Rogers
07-03-2008, 03:43 PM
Welcome back and good luck with your experiment.

Gittit Shwartz
07-06-2008, 01:57 PM
After several months of doing whatever I felt like doing whenever I felt like it, I feel ready for some structure, a program. Especially, for some measurable results.

My current goals, in order of importance:
1. Lose (a good deal of) bodyfat
2. Improve upper body flexibility without injuring my wrists and shoulders
3. Get a good, solid handstand
4. Regain the strength I lost in the past months, especially after I got sick. I've regained some muscle mass already. I don't usually have a problem in that area so it is not a priority.
5. Improve conditioning
6. Full splits, 3 ways - don't know why, I just want to. Improve pike/pancake flexibility to help with HS presses in the future.

* Note on the possible incongruency of #1 and #4: I'm biased for relative strength. In the past my biggest "bang for the buck" both in relative strength and performance in Capoeira/gymnastics has been from fat loss. And I can always work on strength later but right now I'm thoroughly tired of feeling like aliens kidnapped my body and replaced it with a miniature whale.

My "dreams"... I have no idea of the time frames:

- Press to handstand (never been close)
- Back tuck (on a trampoline...)
- Tucked planche 15 seconds (had 10)
- Rings muscle up (was reasonably close)
- "Ripped abs" :D (had those)

Sunday - HS, Feldenkrais, Upper body strength, planche+front lever, Lower body flexibility
Monday - HS, Feldenkrais, Lower body single-leg based, pfl, LB flex
Tuesday - HS, hill sprints
Wednesday - Same as Sunday
Thursday - HS, Feldenkrais, Lower body oly/squat/dl type, pfl, LB flex
Friday - Tabata squats
Saturday - off.

Handstand workouts include "bananeira" pull-outs - this is an arched handstand with feet against the wall and hands several feet away. Great for shoulder strength and flexibility.

This is realistic I think.

Gittit Shwartz
07-06-2008, 02:15 PM
Warmup: upward facing/downward facing dog, wrist push ups, bands, overhead shrugs with broomstick
handstands - sets of 15 seconds, against the wall only.

Warmup: bands, dislocates, scap pullups, overhead shrugs with broomstick and whatnot
A1: One-Arm Braced Overhead Dumbbell Presses (last workout of this - from Poliquin's "The Lost Art of Overhead Pressing" (http://www.t-nation.com/readArticle.do?id=922014)) (from t-nation so not quite safe) - 11.4 kg
reps: 6 6 6 6 6
A2: Assisted pull-ups level 3
reps: 5 5 4 5 5

Planche - knees pressing against elbows, 6 x 10 sec
Knees to elbows x 40 (in sets of 5-7)

DB cuban press... with 1kg db's but at least my form was perfect :o

Pancakes, pikes and splits before bed

Gittit Shwartz
07-06-2008, 02:23 PM
How could I forget... lost 1.5 kg in the past week.

sarena kopciel
07-06-2008, 04:32 PM
Awesome for you!! But I think I may have found it:-(

Gittit Shwartz
07-12-2008, 08:33 AM
Monday 7/7 AM

I didn't think the gym supervisors would take well to my jumping on the benches, so I just went into the hall and used the stairs for plyos:

3 rounds of
5 X Standing jump onto stair #3 (What?? So I can't jump!), turn, jump down and stick

5 X Punch jump (start from stair #2 and bounce off the floor trying to touch the ceiling... in my wildest dreams)

5 X 5 bodyweight pistols
Between the last 3 sets I also did 2 sets of calf raises on a step, just curious if it would affect the pistols in some way. I think it actually made them a bit easier to do.

2 rounds of
Weighted pike stretch - standing on a bench holding a 15kg plate for 30 sec
Weighted pancake stretch on the floor with the weight on my back, trying to keep the torso extended, for 30 sec

Monday PM
5 X 30 sec isometric splits (right side only), 30 sec rest

Tuesday 7/8 PM
Planche & front lever - 6 X 10 sec (both tucked and with knees pressing against elbows)
3 X hill sprints (if you can call them sprints... they take me around 60 seconds)
Handstands - against the wall
Forgot my splits

Wednesday 7/9 AM
Another vitamin C flush (18g) since I've been having trouble falling asleep again. This was really draining with the incessant diarrhea. I think I better lay off the experiment for a while, it is doing me more harm than good as far as I can tell.

Handstands against the wall

Wednesday PM
Upper body warmup
A "shoulder building complex" from the latest t-nation article I felt like trying out:
5 X hang power snatch
5 X clean & press
5 X clean
5 X high pull
No rest between exercises, repeat 3 times with rest between rounds.
Worked with the empty bar (20 kg).

This was more like a metcon than an upper body strength routine. Maybe it could work for somebody with better technique on the exercises. I won't be doing it again.

Planche/Front lever

5 X 30 sec left side split (isometric), 30 sec front split

Thursday 7/10 AM

Upper body warmup
3 X 3 snatches with olympic bar - working on dropping low
3 X 45 kg
3 X 50 kg
3 X 55 kg
3 X 55 kg
3 X 55 kg
My grip was again the bottleneck. I didn't feel like this was heavy enough.

Weighted pike and pancake stretches - 2 rounds with 15 kg

Thursday PM
Planche/Front lever
5 X 30 sec right side isometric splits

Friday - front splits

Saturday - rest

This is a lot more than I've been doing in a while. Add in some heavy life stress and by Wednesday I was exhausted. I stuck to the plan though, except decided not to do the Tabatas I had planned on Friday and rather let myself recover. Other than that I did everything I had planned for myself. I'm officially OK now (cortisol is right on the lower end of normal), so hopefully I'll be able to adapt to the higher volume and intensity, as long as I don't do stupid things.
Modifications for next week: I want to try to move the sprints to Monday, tabata squats to Thursday (my "leg days") so I have Tuesday, Friday and Saturday to rest and recover. I may also add in some yams or berries PWO on the same two days and see how it affects performance and fat loss. Basically, I want to be able to continue with the same plan and eventually add to it (more Capoeira, gymnastics eventually) - so no point in running myself into the ground. I hope I learned something from doing that in the past.
I'll weigh myself on Sunday.

Gittit Shwartz
07-13-2008, 04:25 AM
Well, I weighed 400g more this morning than last week. (Stay calm, Gittit...) Guess I better be tracking my intake more closely.

Gittit Shwartz
07-17-2008, 03:53 PM
Sunday 7/13 AM
Shoulder warmup, bridge pullouts (bananeira)
(A1) Seated barbell overhead press (part 2 of the Poliquin program) - the Rx was to do wave-like loading : 5,4,3,5,4,3. I messed it up a bit by starting too high and resorting to back arching to complete the press.
25kg X5, 20X5, 25X3, 22.5X5, 25X4 (with good form this time), 27.5X3
(A2) Gravitron pull-ups (assistance level 2)
5, 4, 4, 4, 3, 4 reps
So close... I can't wait to get my first pullup in over 6 months!

Planche/Front lever (PFL) 6X10 sec each

DB cuban press 1 kg X 12, 1.5 X 12
Squat calf raise - this is where you sit at the bottom of a bodyweight squat, shift to your toes without rising, and back to your heels. 50 reps burned like nothing else.

Monday 7/14 AM
Plyometrics: 3 sets of standing jump to stair 3, alternating with
3 sets of punch jump starting from stair 2
(Same as last week)

5 X 5 bodyweight pistols

2 rounds of
Standing weighted pike stretch (20 kg X 30 sec)
Pancake stretch on floor (20 kg X 30 sec)

* Had 200g yams after this. I think it helped in that I wasn't as drained after this as last week with no PWO carbs.

Monday PM
5 X Hill sprints to the halfway point

* Whey protein and 1/2 cup craisins

Front & Right side isometric splits

Tuesday 7/15 PM
Tuesday is usually an easier class physically because we do Capoeira Angola or "traditional" Capoeira. This week we had a tough class, high-speed, and we did a lot of bridge variations. I've been trying to avoid bridges... Sure enough my hands were throbbing after this class because they were forced past 90 degrees (I have bone spurs on the back of both hands/wrists which makes it excruciatingly painful to go past 90).
Front splits

Wednesday 7/16 AM
Shoulder warmup and bananeiras
(A1) Eccentric pull ups (maybe they should be called "let-downs"!)
1X20 seconds, 1X20, 1X20, 1X15, 1X10, 1X10
(A2) Eccentric HSPU (feel resting against wall for balance)
1X20, 1X10, 1X10, 1X10, 1X10, 1X10
These deteriorated very quickly. Going for maximum from the first set was a mistake. Next time I'll pace myself - maybe 10 seconds but focusing on not crashing through the bottom part.

Side lying rotator cuff 2 sets X 2kg X 12 reps

I was completely drained after this. Feels like my body is compensating for a calorie deficit by leaving me with no energy to do anything but lie down.

Wednesday PM
Right split
No handstands, my hands are hurting from the Tuesday class. Massaged them with Traumeel.

Thursday 7/16 AM
Was pressed for time so no warmup or auxiliary stuff - just deadlifts, neat.
40kg X 5
50kg X 3
55kg X 3 (hmmm... Last week the bar almost fell from my hands...)
57.5 kg X 2
60kg X 1 (!!!)
65kg X 1 (?!!)
67.5kg X 1 (---) <== gritted teeth
70kg X 1 (Jump for joy and grin at the gaping biceps-curling mirror-glancing metro boys... Ah, nobody here to understand my heart... Call up friend whom I recently goaded into lifting over twice this weight. I'm not even sure I've ever pulled 60kg!)

* Earned those yams!

Thursday PM
Bridge pull-outs
Handstands - did a few sets but my hands are still too messed up to get into proper position.
Left side splits

Gittit Shwartz
07-17-2008, 04:31 PM
I tracked my calories meticulously this week, with some days as low as 1100 kCal. I did not lose one ounce of my weight.

I stuck to my program but outside of the workouts I was completely exhausted the entire week. Even on the rest days. Feeling like I regressed to where I was two months ago, before Dr. G prescribed REST.

I'm feeling a ton of pressure, both internal and external, to get back in shape fast, since the tests I took last month were technically in the normal range... (I bet they would not be if I took them now.) Anyway, I've been really stressed from this and a couple other things.

Well Dr. G talked some sense into my head (thanks, Dr. G)... My adrenals are NOT back to normal, they were at the bottom of the range and I can easily squeeze them out and be back where I started. So jumping into lots of stress, training more and harder and eating less was doing just that. I need to rethink my plan. Hard work leading to exhaustion and weight gain means something is not right.

Thinking it out a bit:

Things that leave me feeling completely drained:
- Monday's workout - Plyometrics and 5X5 pistols
- Negatives (Wednesday's WO)
- Deadlifting triples
- Days with super low cals
- "Forced" fasting (some days I feel like fasting and feel good after, but some days I wake up hungry and it kills me)
- Doing too many sets of a taxing exercise
- Full hill sprints (they take me over a minute)
- Training 5/2 (training days / rest days) - I didn't feel much more recovered after 2 days than 1. 3/1/2/1 should be better.

Things on my plan that feel good:
- Pulling singles!!!
- The PWO carbs were very helpful
- One tbsp coconut oil in hot water before breakfast every morning (picked that up from Poliquin's site somewhere. It's supposed to help the thyroid regulate itself - I don't know but I just feel good when I do this).

Gentle reader, if you're still with me at this point, comments/suggestions are most welcome!

sarena kopciel
07-17-2008, 05:53 PM
Hey great job on identifying things that stress you and/or may not yet be available to you!! Now the step is to slow down and recognize those things and find a way to resolve that they may not be worth tackling just yet!!

Heads up to you!! Listen to your body, somehow it does know what is BEST!

Gittit Shwartz
07-19-2008, 06:52 AM
I've been eyeballing my meat portions, used to be able to hit the exact weight to a gram... I got suspicious yesterday and pulled out the food scale, turns out my "eyeball portion" has evolved to about 60% of the true size. I guess it would be smart to do periodic calibration in the future.

Gittit Shwartz
07-23-2008, 07:00 AM
Saturday to Wednesday, forced layoff... A wisdom tooth acted up and I was running a slight temperature for several days. I'm on antibiotics, the fever is gone, but the worst part was I couldn't fall asleep because my face was hurting, and when I did sleep I would wake up every two hours and have to go stuff my cheek with frozen peas... Last night I (shamelessly) took some Ibuprofen and managed to get about 9 hours (though I still woke up for a couple hours in the middle).
I'd been ignoring the periodic inflammation around that tooth ever since it started to poke its way out because I hated the though of having it extracted, but it looks like I'll have to if I don't want this happening again.
I love how the dentists explain why EVERY wisdom tooth needs to be extracted: "Paleo people didn't have dentists, toothpaste or fluorinated water, so the wisdom teeth would only be replacing teeth that rotted and fell out." Makes me want to hit them on the forehead with my prized Weston A. Price "Nutrition and Physical Degeneration" :mad: .
I didn't do too well with diet in those days, and I'm a bit disappointed with myself. I can't chew or eat anything warm, so I've been doing whey protein shakes, veggie shakes, boiled eggs, lots of fish oil... but also way too much almond butter, soft fruit, and a load of plain old farmed, non-organic, pasteurized, cow's milk dairy, which would make me feel sick even if I wasn't already. At least I logged everything... I pulled myself together today and made a "mush" of chicken, vegetables and coconut milk in the blender (doesn't look attractive but actually tastes pretty good).
I feel better now, heading for Capoeira class - we'll see how that goes.

Gittit Shwartz
08-02-2008, 12:17 PM
The wisdom tooth was taken out on Sunday. Another week's course of antibiotics. I've been sleeping erratically (for some reason it starts hurting more at night). I was lethargic and spaced out all week and opted against training except for Capoeira and some handstands and pistols. That's two weeks off of strength training...
Diet - chewing still hurt so I made shakes of whey protein powder, mixed veggies steamed and cooled, and ice, with almond butter or fish oil for fat. A few fresh figs and berries did get in there too. They say Eve's apple was actually a fig (the Bible doesn't say "apple" in the original, just "fruit"). When I see a fresh fig I lose all will to resist...

Finally got back in the gym yesterday and dragged through a workout:

Friday 8/1
Circuit x 3:
5 Pullups (assistance level 4)
15 Reverse Hyper
5 Dips (assistance level 4)
5 Knees to Elbows

No warmup, no flexibility, no auxiliary stuff.

Today after taking my glandulars and a big breakfast I felt 10 times better - energetic and focused, in spite of poor sleep. I felt like a big workout and here it is:

Saturday 8/2

Shoulder & wrist warmup
Bridge pullouts
Free handstands (these felt really good - held for about 10 seconds each time with good form)

Hang squat snatch technique with 10 and 15 kg

Clean and Jerk: 3 singles with 30kg, 4 singles with 35

Snatch-grip DL: 55, 55, 55, 57.5, 57.5

Weighted standing pike stretch and pancake stretch - 2 sets of 30 seconds each with 20kg plate

I made sure to "leave something in the tank" in this workout.

Gittit Shwartz
08-03-2008, 09:05 AM
Sunday 8/3

I finally slept through the night today, but for some reason I'm feeling a bit slumped, compared to yesterday. It showed in the workout:

Shoulder and wrist warmup
Bridge pullouts
My back has been hurting in these and in cobra stretches. I need to do some squats. Also, work on "L" bridge pullouts - with the entire length of the legs resting against the wall, because I feel I'm putting most of the arch in the lower back where I'm reasonably flexible, and not opening the thorax/shoulders to the fullest, which is the area I want to work on.
Free handstands

Medium grip pull-ups: 5@3 (5 reps with level 3 assistance), 4@2, 4@2, 4@2, 4@2 Started getting dizzy after the 4th set.
Seated Barbell Shoulder Press:
20x5, 22.5x4, 25x3, 22.5x5, 25x3 Set #5 was supposed to be 4 reps, I could barely lock out the 3rd rep and I felt dizzy. Decided to call it a day.

Lateral raises 2x10, 2x10, 2.5x8

Since I haven't been making progress with fat loss, I decided to try an "eskimo" diet - as close as possible to zero carbs. I won't be counting calories as I've been really obsessing over that (fitday junkie). I will be using some dairy. 15g fish oil per day, and I'll allow myself a nibble of cucumber, celery, seaweed if I feel like it. I'll give it a week: if I lose weight, I'll keep going; if I gain or I don't lose a significant amount, I'll start counting calories and/or cut out dairy. I'm not worried about energy levels - I always feel fantastic on zero carbs.

Garrett Smith
08-03-2008, 12:03 PM
Make sure to get some source of good bacteria coming in ASAP (probiotics or cultured food) during and after the antibiotics.

You may not be leaving enough in the tank if your subsequent day's workout is still suffering.

Gittit Shwartz
08-03-2008, 01:46 PM
Make sure to get some source of good bacteria coming in ASAP (probiotics or cultured food) during and after the antibiotics.

Absolutely. Taking plenty of probiotics - I haven't had too much trouble.

You may not be leaving enough in the tank if your subsequent day's workout is still suffering.
I can't think of any other reason... Although it felt good as I was doing it.

Thanks for the input!