Archive | November, 2013

Training Session – 11/27/13 (Light-ish Upper)

28 Nov

Wasn’t actually supposed to go heavier with floor presses today, but said fuck it because I wanted to get some decent weight in my hands since it’s been a little bit.

For those who don’t know, I am focusing mainly on hypertrophy until February, and I am going to be resting my back more. Going to try and avoid rack deads for now as well.

Floor Press:

bar x bunch







145×3 (PR)

DB Floor Press:

35’s x 4 x 10

Chin-ups (palms in):



Seated DB Shoulder Press:

25s x3x12


Super Set w/Front Raises and Cable Laterals:

10 lbs. x12x4 (per arm/exercise) (30 sec. rest between sets)





Waiting Room

26 Nov

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You’re alone.

The silence is so thick you could cut it with a knife. You grasp the arms of your chair and sink your body further in, licking your dry lips and gasping in short, desperate breaths. You feel every vein in your body tremor as your heart palpitates.

There is a monster outside the room. And soon…soon it’s going to break through the door.

It’s going to break in and fucking kill you.

“Not much longer now”, you think. You clench your white-knuckle fists even harder. Every cell in your body braces for impact. Your lungs exhausted from the struggle to hold air.

But the monster is still outside. You are still safe in the present. It has not come crashing through the door, and perhaps it never will. It could walk right past you and that would be the end of it.

It might not even exist.

The problem is that you can’t see beyond the fact that there might be something waiting outside your door, and you have not yet seen its face. You don’t know how you will react. You don’t know what will become of your life, should you open that door.

So you wait.

Anxiety is different from fear. If you walk into a room and see a dead body, you might get scared from the shock. But if you are outside the room, and have an unfounded belief that there is a dead body in there, thus causing your heart to pound and sweat to seep out your pores…that is anxiety.Scary Door

Anxiety can be thought of as the apprehension of the future. It is the “fear” of the unknown. It is the excitement and dread that comes when you think about what has not happened yet. Often, these thoughts are over-exaggerated to the point where it’s no longer just a dead body in the next room…it is rows and rows of bodies. Possibly thousands.

Most of the time, our anxiety comes as a gut feeling. It is an emotion just like sadness, anger, happiness, and excitement. It’s your body’s way of warning you that there is danger ahead, making it a necessary reaction in appropriate times. The problems start arising when you have an overwhelming emotion that appears to rule your thoughts, and affect your life in a negative way.

We begin to envision monsters. Unimaginable terrors. Our thoughts become erratic, irrational, and like a ravenous beast we fuel them with even more thoughts. What begins as a harmless-looking tree on the surface of the soil turns into hundreds of feet of roots underground, that branch off in various directions and lead this way and that.

Similarly, when you are having anxious thoughts, what started out as a harmless idea of a future event became something extra complex. We then expand on the idea with every apprehensive thought, until it becomes something too large for us to handle.

Our downfall is that we keep focusing our attention on the monster outside the room. Whether it is very much a real entity or a product of our own fears and wild imagination, it is in control of our thoughts and actions. And the more you think about it, the scarier and more real it becomes.

Through anxiety, you have the power to not only create new monsters, but to invite existing monsters through the door subconsciously as well. Because our premonitions can often dictate our actions, and what you fear so much may just present itself to you by your own hand.

They say that you should be careful what you wish for, because you just might get it. Likewise, we should be careful what we DON’T wish for. Because with enough anxiety, it might just inadvertently happen; we often learn this the hard way.

I’m not here to tell you that you are crazy. I’m here to tell you that you are not alone, and to educate those who are unaware of just how debilitating an anxiety disorder can be.

I have fought with the monsters outside the room for over ten years now. Here are a few things that have really helped me to control it when it gets bad.


1. Self-Hypnosis/Meditation

I don’t mean having someone dangle a watch in front of your eyes, or running up to the top of a mountain in Tibet to become a hermit for a year. But there are many things you can learn from hypnotists, and also from Buddhists in regards to relaxation.

Self-hypnosis is quite possibly one of the most effective drug-free solutions to anxiety, with more than enough resources on the web. If you search YouTube, you will be able to find many videos and recordings from psychotherapists and psychologists. I promise if you take fifteen minutes out of your day, every day, to dedicate to meditating and relaxing, you will benefit greatly from it.

Here is one of my favorites:

2. Reading

It often helps to distract the mind when it’s spinning. To put away your own thoughts, you need to have something else to think about. Picking up a book when I begin to get anxious has helped with calming the nerves.

3. Philosophy Lectures

This one might be a bit out of the ordinary as an anxiety recommendation, but still deserves a mention, even for those of you not especially interested in philosophy. I found that listening in on lectures has been instrumental in helping me not only question my actions and motives, but also understand myself more as a person. It is wonderful for character development, and finding your direction in life. I cannot recommend Alan Watts enough. I wish I could meet him to tell him just how much he has changed my life.

4. Music

Namely, classical music. Why? Because it is completely unbias, and extremely therapeutic. Empty your mind and focus on the music. The complexity of the compositions, the tiny notes of each instrument. No words. Just sound. Don’t speak – just listen.


Above all, remember that you have control over your life. Whatever is happening right now that is causing you trouble will pass. Pain is not permanent. Nothing ever is. The present is finite.

And when you think that something might just be too big for you to handle this time, keep in mind that the fact you are alive indicates you have gotten through 100% of every hard time you have faced in life.

I will close with two of my favorite quotes:

“Tomorrow and plans for tomorrow can have no significance at all unless you are in full contact with the reality of the present, since it is in the present and only in the present that you live. There is no other reality than present reality, so that, even if one were to live for endless ages, to live for the future would be to miss the point everlastingly.”

– Alan Watts

“Worrying is carrying tomorrow’s load with today’s strength- carrying two days at once. It is moving into tomorrow ahead of time. Worrying doesn’t empty tomorrow of its sorrow, it empties today of its strength.”

-Corrie Ten Boom

Training Session: 11/16/13 (Light-ish Lower)

17 Nov

Today’s training went alright. I have been feeling sick the past couple of days so I went in a little nauseous…missed a PR attempt on front squats because I felt my breakfast coming back up my esophagus.

Should have just yelled “CROSSFIT!” and kept going. I’m such a pussy.

Starting next week I am going to get back on a solid training program, and hopefully be working with Alyssa again soon. I’ve also been doing a warm-up routine on my days off and sometimes before training that one of my friends put together for me that I will post up soon. Didn’t get to do the exercises today, so I just did a shortened version of my regular warm-up since I was a little pressed for time.


Also, I’m going to start listing sets in front of reps from now on, since it’s confusing even me sometimes when I switch it around, hah.



X-band walks (lots)

Banded clam shells (2o per leg)

Elevated unilateral hip thrusts (lots)

Planks – 2 x 30 sec.

Lacrosse ball – glutes, calves


Chin-Ups: (palms in)


Front Squats:

bar x bunch





175×1 (fast, easy)

190 x 0 (was re-tasting my breakfast in the hole…didn’t taste that great coming back up)


Smith Machine SLDL:

(NOTE: I normally don’t use the Smith machine for anything, but doing SLDLs this way takes all the tension off my lower back, and since I am still injured I need to be careful.)






Lying Leg Curl:







Bad Girl Machine:









What Do You Desire?

12 Nov

I don’t have quite a lot to say about today, except for what is expressed in this video…in words far greater than anything my own mind could conceive.

Alan Watts… thank you, my friend.


Training Session: 11/08/13 (Light Lower)

9 Nov

Back has really been feeling a lot better as of late, so I have been able to move up a bit with squats and deadlift-type movements. It leads me to believe it was just  very bad strain, but I am still not pushing it too much. Mostly form work today and just getting some extra time under the bar since it’s been awhile!

I have started playing around with a low-bar placement again for squats, and it seems to make me feel much better. I am assuming because my abs are still very weak, high bar squats tend to make my lower back hurt more because I can’t properly brace everything just yet. They tend to put more stress on my quads, low back, and abs…which are all quite weak areas for me. Low-bar seems like a good route until I can bring up all these weak areas to a point where they are not really hurting me.



Old Lady Warm-Up:

Stair-stepper – 5 mins (med intensity)

planks – 2 x 1 min.

X-band walks – 2 x bunch

Banded clam shells (lots)

Single-leg Hip Bridges – 1 x 15 per side

Banded squats (wrapped around knees, focusing on forcing the knees out through the whole movement)

Foam roll  (calves, mid-back, glutes) Foam



bar x bunch
















Natural GHR (feet wedged under squat rack)




Lying Leg Curls



Bad Girl Machine




Relentless Detroit 2013: Recap

5 Nov


I felt like this deserved a more in-depth description. It’s hard to find the words to describe this amazing weekend.

When we arrived on Friday, it was definitely a little overwhelming. Entering a room full of hundreds of people, including many well-known and respected lifters made me feel incredibly small. Thankfully there were people we knew there, who I stuck around the whole night (cause I’m a chicken). Despite how out-going I am when you meet me, this was my first real big meet, and I wasn’t sure what to expect. When Marshall Johnson walked past me I had a damn near heart attack.

The second day was definitely a lot easier to handle. If anyone knows me they know I have some anxiety issues in big crowds. But hiding behind my camera did help somewhat, haha. I got a lot of great shots that will be posted up over the next couple of days (bear with me here!)

It’s hard for me to describe the impact that this meet had on me emotionally though. This competition was so much more than just getting to meet and watch my “idols” doing their thing. It was an opportunity to help others by doing what we love, and physically seeing the result of all our efforts.

Marshall put it best in a video he posted today about what Relentless meant to him (watch at the end of this post). He said that he never thought that his talent would be used to benefit others…but it has. In such a huge way.

I resonate with that. Before I knew what Relentless was, I never really saw what we do as being able to be such a big help to other people. It wasn’t until I saw the children and their families walk into the room that I was hit hard with the realization that we DO have the ability to help others with our strength. I realized what all our donations were really going towards. I saw the look of excitement and happiness on these kids faces. It made me feel so honored and so blessed to have been able to help them and their families, and to help give them hope. It made me see that regardless of what bad things are happening in my life, there is always someone out there who is fighting a harder battle, and keeping their head up the whole time.

I want to be that strong. I feel like after having seen those kids fighting for their lives with a smile on their face, the least I can do is keep my head up high and not tap out. They aren’t quitters. I won’t be one either.

Regardless of any weight that was thrown up on Saturday, those kids and their parents were always the strongest ones in the room. I think most of us can only hope to be that strong-willed.

That being said. There were some awesome feats of strength I witnessed over the weekend. I watched Kathy Johnson squat over 500 lbs. Another woman (whose name I’m not sure) benched over 400 lbs.  I watched a 9-year old boy deadlift more than double his bodyweight. I watched Paul Carter tear his quad, only to get back up there and kill his bench with zero leg drive, and stiff-leg deadlift 600 lbs. I watched Marshall Johnson pull over 800 lbs, with every person in the room, including the children, up against the stage cheering him on. That is certainly a competition moment I will never forget.

It’s not often you see such camaraderie in sports. But powerlifting is one of the few where everyone supports the other person. It’s not about being better than someone else. It’s about being better than yourself. And this was the most selfless competition I have ever witnessed. Everything was for these kids.

Hearing the stats of the donations raised brought tears to my eyes. We raised a combined total of $137,000. Enough for each family to go home with $15,000 to use towards medical expenses, needs, and anything else they could possibly want. That is $107,000 more than this same meet brought in last year.

Thank you to everyone who helped with a donation. Everything was very much appreciated. Even if all you could give was a dollar…we wouldn’t have reached that total without you!!

Next stop…$300,000.

We may look hard on the outside, but we’re pretty soft on the inside. And our hugs are pretty killer.

Photo credit: Ashley Reed

Photo credit: Ashley Reed


Marshall’s full video “What Relentless Means to Me”: