Category Archives: personal training

52 Cards

…and a helluva lot of burpees.

 

R’s newest idea for our training sessions include his idea of some sort of ‘fun’ card game.

 

He went out and purchased a deck of cards JUST so we could train with them. Tell me I’ve got a dedicated boyfriend.

So we decided this week’s training session we would break out the cards. Since I’ve been waiting to officially transfer over to R’s gym my cardiovascular tolerance has decreased. (sad face) We warmed up with jumping jacks, BJJ drills and pommeling before we drew the cards.

 

 

I asked to split the deck so that we would take turns flipping cards. Hearts – burpees (because, apparently I love burpees), Clubs – pushups, Diamonds – situps, Spades – squats.

1/3 of the deck!

We would do the number of reps as dictated by the value of the card. Face cards equalled to the number 10, the lucky Ace was 11. We started off at a fairly good pace but I burned out pretty quickly. We drew mostly average deck numbers (7,8,9′s) and a helluva lot of squats and burpees. My lungs were burning near the end and R called it quits when it was clear that I was lagging behind. I was nauseated (the good kind) from the workout and paced around the mats and sipped water.

Then it hit me. My legs started burning, then got weak and I was stumbling and laughing as I tried to control the jelly-like feeling in my legs. R counted the cards – and we did 1/3 of the deck for our first time through! He’s optimistic that we’ll be going through the deck easily in a couple of months. Me, I’m a little more reserved. In any case, it was a fun workout and a nice change from our usual cardio sessions.

Onwards and upwards! Except, next time I get to shuffle the deck.

 


A weekly update!

INSANITY!

3 weeks until I leave for NYC, and with 5 days lost in Chicago for a work-related trip, time is flying by! I’ve only made 2-3 classes/week these past few weeks. Because I’ll be away for almost 2 weeks from May – June, I’ve picked up lots of overtime at work which subsequently leaves less time to train. :( On the other hand, R has concocted some stupidly crazy cardio workouts to push me through. I don’t usually quote him, but here’s his idea of a ‘fun’ workout.

A deck of 52 cards… the goal is to work up to the point where we can complete the deck of cards at the end of the workout as the final cardio “push”. For example: After a good hour of technique, dri…lling, sprints etc. we would break out the deck of cards. Hearts would be burpees, diamonds would be burpees, clubs would be crunches, spades would be triangles. Final goal to work up to – the entire deck completed without rest between sets.Shuffle the deck thoroughly – if you get an ace you would do 11 of that exercise, J/K/Q you would do 10 and then just follow the numbers from 10 – 2.For example; if the following 4 cards came up: Ace of Hearts, Jack of Diamonds, 3 of clubs, King of spades – that would be 21 burpees, 3 triangles and 10 crunches.

If we were to make it through the whole deck of cards that would be a total of 190 burpees, 95 triangles and 95 crunches – all completed without rest.

This is a slightly modified version of a routine I stole from an old boxing coach. Mine is better (or more evil) depending on your point of view.

I don’t think we’d make it through the whole deck on the first go of course, but it would be a cool thing to work towards. I figure if we’re able to sail through that at the end of the main part of the workout we’re in pretty good shape.

Did I mention I love burpees?…

Our big grapple party is this weekend as well! I’m spending the day cleaning the loft and giving the mats a good cleaning before our friends come over! It’s looking like it’ll be a great mix of friends from both gyms!

My new Fenom Gi also arrived a few days ago! I’ve already washed and sent the Kimono through the dryer once to shrink it slightly. The Fenom A1 gi is a little larger than my Red Star A1, but a more detailed review will be coming once I’ve run it through a few classes! On my first attempt at trying it on, it’s incredibly soft weave was definitely noticeable!


Feels like burning.

I’ve been fairly consistent with training the past few weeks and I’m now officially down to the last 6 weeks before heading to NYC. I’ve got 8lbs to lose to make 128lbs. (with a 2lb allowance with my gi on)

I still tend to favour guard attacks from one side, and it’s become fairly obvious as I’m nursing repetitive mat burn on both my left knee and left elbow. I’m hoping to pick up a pair of knee pads this weekend at UFC FanExpo being held here in Toronto. Speaking of which, it’s only 4 days away until UFC 129! I conceded and decided I’m going to watch the fight with R and his gym after we spend the day at FanExpo.

I’m noticing is that I only tend to get mat burn when I’m wearing my gi. I don’t seem to have a problem when it’s bare skin exposed to the mat or wearing a rash guard. Considering my gi is made of 100% cotton, I can’t imagine it’s abrasive enough to give rash burn. I’ll definitely have to test it against my new Fenom Lotus gi that’s hopefully going to be arriving sometime this week.

(I do want to document and share my journey online, but you’ll notice I don’t use real names, nor do I name competitions or the gym I train at. As much as I have only good things to say about the instructors and the school, it’s a matter of privacy. If you do read my blog and would like to comment, my only request is that you do keep the names/details away from the posts. Thanks!)


Recovery phase complete!

I had to inadvertently take a recovery week as I was working insane hours last week at the hospital. I was away from the gym for an ENTIRE WEEK. It seems almost impossible to believe! Good thing R came over last week and trained a few hours with me. We mostly worked on technical points for my stripe test this weekend. Holy $hit.. that’s this weekend.

Considering I’ve never tested before, I’m a little (read: very) nervous about the whole event. Long blog post to come after the whole event perspires!

I have to say though, even with most of my injuries on their way to full recovery, I feel stronger, faster, and well rested. I tried to measure my resting heart rate last night and I’m around 55bpm again! Win! My heart is happier – I think.

I went to class last night and met up with N and we drilled attacks from guard and single leg takedowns. It was actually a great class to practice the cross collar choke and scissor sweep which are both on the stripe test this weekend.

Time to hit up the gym!


Putting in the hours

In Malcolm Gladwell’s Outliers, he speaks of talent and ultimately the dedication and persistence people put forth into developing a skill/habit/character. That magic number: 10,000 hours. As a child, I’d always heard that nothing comes without hard work. Persistence and dedication were the two major ideals that were drilled into our head as kids. As the first born child of conservative first-generation immigrants to Canada this particularly held true for whatever ambitions I had.

Joking that I’m dedicated to ‘putting in the hours’, doing a bit of rough math equates to the following numbers:

Training 5-6 times/week 10 hours week/520 hours a year / 19.3 years. That number is an average which should ‘hopefully’ include competitions once I get to that point! In short, it means that if I can achieve any type of measure of proficiency in BJJ in the next 19 years, I’ll be more than happy. That puts me at an age of…45. I’d be happy if I was still actively training and competing at 45 years of age!

There’s belt stripe testing at the end of the month at the gym, and I’ll be testing for my second stripe. Sort of exciting, and sort of nerve wracking at the same time. R’s going to come over and go over the test requirements next week and put in some extra training. Wish me luck!


Another slow start

March has been a really slow start thus far. I had to miss out on training the whole week last week because I was working night shifts. There’s nothing that puts a damper on my mood than being sleep deprived, and being deprived of a sport I’m learning to love.

R made up for a lacklustre week in training by putting me through my paces twice last week. We trained on Thursday and threw another quick workout yesterday (Sunday). In addition, I also had the chance to roll with some friends at a big grappling event on Saturday night. So, I did get my grappling fix in this past weekend!

I had a bit of a discouraging morning on Sunday though. I came out of the shower and was slightly puzzled by the image in the mirror. I can’t say that I’m happy with the rate of improvement thus far. I haven’t lost any weight (still at a steady 130lbs) but the fat isn’t being converted to muscle fast enough. I think I over-estimate the amount of caloric intake my body really needs. I’ve been training consistently for about two months now and June is approaching faster than I anticipated. I’m not particularly vain about my looks, and I’m feeling pretty well-rested and healthy these days. It helps when I’m sleeping consistently of course, but the occasional naps are still a fairly regular occurrence. It’s a bit embarrassing to admit that I have to stop everything I’m doing and lie down for 15-30min in the mid afternoon every day just to keep at a healthy functioning level well into the evenings.

There’s stripe testing at the new gym at the end of the month, so that’s even more incentive to get going on the increased fitness regime. I’ve upped the cardio by putting in at least 1km swims in the mornings three times a week before BJJ class on days that there aren’t two classes back-to-back. I went this morning with a good friend who lives in my building and practically felt like dying after the first 700 meters. It’s really quite sad considering I swam competitively for 7 years of my life.  But nobody needs to know that… right? :P


When you can’t train…

I’m back on a series of night shifts which really means that I’ll be missing out on training until Wednesday (it’s Monday now). Even then, I’ll have to squeeze in the quick class after my third night shift in a row which is going to be rough. It’s vaguely familiar to a decision I made a few weeks ago. I came off nights, didn’t eat or sleep and showed up to wrestling class… that was *not* pretty.

I can’t wait till we move into our new gym – They’ll be adding a slew of morning and afternoon classes at our new location since it’ll be our gym space exclusively. No more setting up and taking down the mats! It’s all pretty exciting. The photos of the new space look amazing, and the new set of mats come in sometime this week!

Until then, I’m stuck with workouts/drills from home and swimming at the local pool for cardio. My night shift schedule, which is almost the entire month of March consists of coming home, sleeping and waking up midday usually around noon/1pm, working out, food, shower, errands and then back to work for the evening. It’s a pretty constant cycle that doesn’t really allow for any semblance of a social life. My free time during the night shift is spent watching competition footage and BJJ tutorial DVDs. So at least mentally I’m practicing…

Was supposed to have a good training session with R over the weekend, but we got ourselves up to some other fun activities instead! Looks like I’m in for some major ass-kicking this week though… I was even telling him I had to mentally psyche myself up to push my body to train with him. How ridiculous is that? Talk about some sort of emotional masochism.. :P

Anyway, time to set up for another workout with my new toy! I have yet to find the time to go to a shipping yard.. or some other climbing facility and purchase a climbing rope! For now, doing pull-ups and flexed arm hangs are going to have to do… pictures to come!


Active Rest

I finally took some time off to take it easy and let my body heal itself. Unfortunately, I’ve noticed an awkward pattern to my workouts. I have trouble sleeping – and staying asleep if I haven’t sufficiently tired myself out during the day. I’m unsure if this self-induced insomnia is a good thing or if I’m just overtired.. Either way, it’s doing bad things for my circadian rhythm.

Classes have been very technical-based all weekend. We drilled a variety of different takedowns on Sunday and because Monday was a holiday, they hosted a two hour gi choking seminar instead of usual classes. I barely worked up a sweat in either class so I’m looking forward to training with R this weekend and getting my heart rate up.

I’m thinking of going to the gym and hitting up a good workout today with some good cardio and a strong leg/back workout today. If there’s one thing I’m lacking it’s the back strength to maintain and perform pull-ups. I’ve finally installed the hard points in the loft, now to go and purchase a 14′ climbing rope for the rope climb I’m going to install in the loft. Yes, I live in an pretty awesome space.

//

The workout was rough, and didn’t go as smoothly as planned. I was feeling tired after the first 30 minutes on the elliptical, and quit early and headed over to the free weights for some dead lifts. I paced myself through the lifts and my lower back started to spasm on the back extensions so I finished up the last of the back workouts and called it a day. Overall it felt pretty good to lift some weights again even though I was more tired than usual.

Not really looking forward to working nights again. March is a killer month for me as I hit the part of the work schedule that has very few day shifts and plenty of nights. Looks like I’ll be sleeping through most of March!


The Endorphin Rush

The hardest thing about being consistent with training is overcoming some of the injuries/stiffness I’m experiencing.

I’ve been going to about 6-7 classes/week and I’m starting to feel the toll it’s taking on my body. My exercise tolerance has improved by leaps and bounds, and attending back-to-back classes are a breeze. I’m finding it easy to surpass, and keep up with the warmups and drills in class. I’m pushing my body at a rate with which I’m happy with.

However, the next morning after I feel like I’m as stiff as a board. I’m running for hot showers twice a day just to try to get my muscles to relax, and spend a good hour stretching after the hot shower. I’m not sure if my body just isn’t recouperating fast enough or if I’m just feeling the effects of my age. (Who am I kidding, I’m still in my mid-twenties!) I’ve been extremely grateful for friends who are willing to give me a brief back rub, or finding time to mooch off my parents’ massage therapist for an hour or two.

My strongest incentive to train, is the amazing feeling after I’ve pushed my body through class. R compares it to being as ‘high as a kite’ and he couldn’t be more concise. I can feel my heartbeat in my fingertips and I could just stand there and listen to it pound in my ears. It’s an amazing to relish in the feeling of being ‘human.’

I went to train with R at his gym, and I felt like running a marathon after Monday’s no-gi class. I think I was so excited and bubbly that I was talking a mile a minute the whole way to the pub. It didn’t matter than I crashed after my pint of ‘Omg I’m so HAPPY!’ beer with some friends.

I was going to train yesterday (Tuesday), but decided against it when I could consciously feel every muscle in my body throbbing with a dull ache. I still felt motivated, but think my addiction/desire to train needs to be tempered a bit. Does anyone have any suggestions? Home remedies? More rest?

I’ve been getting at least seven hours of sleep a night – thank god. I think I would collapse otherwise. It’ll be interesting to see how well I hold up once the work hours switch back to night shifts again.

I’m heading back for two more classes tonight. I can’t wait till I feel like flying afterwards… :)


On injuries.

As a child, I’ve always been very accident-prone. In fact, I think it was a fairly known fact that my family thought I was a bit of a klutz. Even growing up, I think my propensity towards ‘individual’ sports such as competitive swimming and paddling helped to solidify those theories.

I’ve got poor hand-eye coordination when it comes to spherical objects – seriously. Please don’t throw a ball at me. I’m not sure what I would do. I might duck, but I also might try some sort of heroic dive to catch it (and thus, hurt myself by falling.)

Anyway, training in BJJ is one of those things that I figured it would be fairly difficult for me to injure myself. I mean, I’m surrounded by padded mats all the time, right? :) Naturally, my theory proved me wrong. Aside from the recurring mat burn on my knees, feet and ‘knuckles of my toes’, I’ve managed to re-aggravate some old injuries. I sprained my left ankle as a teenager playing basketball and now I re-sprain the same ankle every single summer – sometimes more than once per summer season. Last week I stumbled during the warmup and tweaked that same ankle.

I’ve also got an old knee injury that hurt after training last week. I’ve been wearing my knee brace when I can, but also working on some leg exercises to strengthen my knees. I’ve got a poor family history of bad knees and knee replacement surgeries. I’d like to keep my biological knees for as long as possible.

I’m trying to be deliberate with my movements, and take things slow during training while I work on the fundamentals. Rolling with R has really helped with this. The goal during our sessions is for me to be aware of body positioning and move with purpose. They tend to be really slow, and when I move too quickly I tend to injure myself.

For example, I asked R to roll with me after a noon class at our gym last week and he patiently obliged. We started off well, and fresh from my class, I was practicing the stack pass with fairly good memory. He started to come forward and attack me with a kimura to my left arm and for some odd reason I panicked and brought my head to my left shoulder to ‘protect’ it. Which would have been fine except that as R leaned back to complete the submission, momentum pulled me forward and I tried to roll forward. I heard this sickening string of cracks and felt my neck pulled in an awkward direction. I rolled out and brought my hands up to protect my neck (R had thankfully let go when I cried out at that point). My neck felt weird, with a twinge of pain but thankfully it was nothing serious. I know he felt horrible since he was visiting my gym, and he thought that he hurt me. I think I was more startled by the sound and the awkward feeling rather than the roll itself. I convinced him I was fine and we kept going. Which ended up being a great segue into how to protect your arm from the kimura.

In the end, I’m learning to protect my body instinctively, but also work harder so that I’m not so prone to injury in the future. This is also why one of my goals this year is to be able to do a handstand (without the assistance of a wall or another person!) I believe that being able to do a handstand will help me with body awareness and balance which then becomes practical when I rely on my body to defend and position itself naturally.

 

 


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