November 30, 2013

Olympic weightlifting updated goals

Since I'm so new to Olympic weightlifting I've been changing goals more often than my daughter changes outfits. I've realized my goal of getting to the 85k weight division is unattainable. When I got my body fat tested at the UNM exercise physiology center a few weeks ago I had 179.9 pounds of lean mass. As I'm continuing to weight lift I'll build more muscle, so attempting to get to 187 pounds would be ridiculous. I think for now I just want to get to the lower limit of the 105k+ and maintain there for a year or so. While maintaining my weight I'll be building more muscle and strength than I would if I was dieting and losing weight.

I'm currently 268 pounds. I now have 34 more pounds to lose. 34 more pounds to lose sounds a lot better to me than 81 does.

November 27, 2013

New Mexico Olympic weightlifter Barry Schroeder sets records and inspires

When I first started triathlon I was 292 pounds and couldn't swim, bike, or run worth a crap. Heck, I was so out of shape I could barely walk without breaking into a sweat and hyperventilating! Early on in my triathlon career I raced against a couple Clydesdales who were unbelievably fast. Arnold Ceniceros and Brian Pilgim. I was amazed and motivated by them and thier athletic dominance in the Clydesdale division. I used these 2 triathletes to motivate myself. By using these 2 amazing athletes as motivation to transform myself from the obese and sedentary person I had been to a triathlete who lost 117 pounds, qualified for 6 national triathlon championships, 1 national duathlon championship, and 1 world championship (the 70.3 world championships).

Now that I've given up triathlon and picked up Olympic weightlifting I've found another athlete who is equally unbelievable. Barry Schroeder. He's in my age group of 35-39, but he's probably even more impressive at Olympic weightlifting then Arnold and Brian were at triathlon. He has set 6 New Mexico state records in the 35-39 age group, 3 state records in the 85k (169-187 lbs) weight class and 3 in the 105k (206-231 lbs) weight class. Barry is a trainer at CrossFit Sandstorm in Albuquerque NM, and Barry's a beast! 

I've found that my body is not  particularly gifted for Olympic weightlifting, but I have the work ethic, determination, tenacity, and exellent coaching that very few do. And now I have found something- someone- that will fuel me. It's going to take a tremendous amount of time and hard work, but I'm going to out lift him someday. To compete with him will push every one of my physical limitations. I know I'll have to work twice as hard as him to get to where he's at. But once I get something in my mind I never let go.

                                   This is Barry Schroeder

21 Tips for Getting Through the Holidays Abstinently

21 Tips for Getting Through the Holidays Abstinently

(Excerpted & edited from 21 Tips For Getting Through The Holidays Abstinently, OA Workshop, Port Charles, NY, 10/29/97, Summary of Members Suggestions )

1. Focus on the true meaning of the holiday or event rather than the food orgy that sometimes accompanies it.
2. Don't set yourself up to feel bad because of unrealistic expectations of what the holiday will bring. Sometimes we're with family, sometimes with friends, sometimes we are alone. Face the reality of the situation beforehand. For example, if a family occasion almost always turns unpleasant, plan not to be part of the unpleasantness. If you're going to be alone, face that you may face sadness. Plan to deal with it, without excess food.
3. Build up your recovery bank account before and during the holidays by attending lots of meetings, working extra hard on your 12-Steps and using all the tools, especially service. Keep in constant contact with your sponsor. The disease doesn't take holidays, nor should our recovery.
4. Keep your OA phone numbers with you at all times. Use them.
5. Know the limits of your recovery. When in doubt, avoid persons, places and things that have in the past triggered overeating. The party is not worth it. Choose not to attend if you feel it may be a major problem. Remember that abstinence, one day at a time, has to be the highest priority in your life. Without it, all other things suffer.
6. From the food perspective, treat the holiday like any other day. Our disease never takes a holiday.
7. Plan something special for yourself when other people are eating sugary desserts that you choose not to include in your food plan. Special teas, hot water and lemon, fruit, or anything that's a little special for you.
8. Whether attending a holiday gathering or ordinary party, choose to focus on the people rather than the food. Pick out people and engage them in "real" conversation. If they don't want to play, go to the next one. People like to talk about themselves. Ask them about themselves, their life, their work -- and really listen.
9. Try to really connect with people at the holiday table. Make food a secondary thing.
10. At Halloween there is no law that says you have to give out candy. We're not doing these kids a favor by giving them junk food. Give nutritious things or money. Do not give out things you would not consume yourself. Then there's no problem with leftovers.
11. Set an extra place beside you (in your mind or for real) at the table for your Higher Power.
12. Remember step two. It says that with the help of a Higher Power we can be restored to sane eating behavior. Call on your Higher Power. HP can keep you sane, one day at a time, one meal at a time.
13. During the holidays get out of yourself by giving service, any service, whether it's to Program, to needy individuals, or to the community. Do something that may be a little hard for you, but that you know you will feel good about later. Give yourself something to respect yourself for.
14. Plan! Plan! Plan! Be proactive toward the holidays and the meals. Don't just lay back and hope for the best. Rehearse in your mind over and over exactly what you will do, particularly what, where and when you will eat. Pray just before sitting down to the meal.
15. Just before sitting down to eat, or just before being served, go to a private room somewhere in the house or restaurant, call your sponsor, and commit what you are about to eat, as well as what you will choose not to eat. It makes no difference whether you get your sponsor or an answering machine. It's your commitment.
16. If you're visiting others for a holiday dinner, it's up to you to know what is being served and whether it is something that you choose to eat. Call the host. Plan accordingly. People understand others' food limitations. Even people without our disease have foods they don't eat for one reason or another. Volunteer to bring something that's good for you. The host thinks you're gracious and you're taking of yourself!
17. Remember that you are responsible for what you eat. It's easy when sitting with family to slip into old childish roles where you feel you must eat whatever you're given. It's not true. We are adults and responsible for our own choices. It's up to us to take care of ourselves. It's up to us to set whatever parameters or boundaries we need to set with our families.
18. Gratitude, gratitude, gratitude. There is nothing as good for staying abstinent -- particularly during the Thanksgiving season -- than focusing on the many things we have, rather than what we don't have. Do gratitude lists frequently.

19. How about writing a little card/note to each person who will be at the Thanksgiving dinner table telling them why you're grateful to know them? Leave it at their dinner place. The focus will quickly get to the real meaning of Thanksgiving rather than on the food.
20. For many of us the most dangerous period for our abstinence is after we have successfully gone through a difficult occasion. The insanity of our disease subconsciously or consciously tells us to reward ourselves with food because we did so well yesterday. Or, we suffer some kind of letdown about the occasion. It didn't meet our expectations. Some of us feel an emptiness after holidays that in the past we have tried to fill with food. For these reasons, plan to go to meetings the next day after the holiday.
21. A holiday is not a crisis. Holidays come every year. They are simply calendar times set aside to honor certain things. We deal with the holidays just like we deal with the rest of the days in the year. You can do it. Relax and work your program the way you know how. One Day at a Time

November 25, 2013

Thanksgiving, overeating, and Olympic weightlifting

In the 2 years I've been out of triathlon I've gained 105 pounds. I'm currently in my 3rd week of Olympic weightlifting training, so far I've lost 12 pounds. I'm currently 266 pounds. My goal is to get to the 85k weight class by the time I'll be competing in the masters 40-44, which is 13 1/2 months from now. I'm finally on a roll with training and weight loss.

Who doesn't struggle with their eating during the holidays? I know I do. Overeating on Thanksgiving wouldn't be that big of a deal if I could stop after that one day. But the next day there's leftovers- can't let them go to waste! After a couple days of binge eating pumpkin pie, stuffing and cranberry sauce, etc I've gained back a month of weight loss! And even after the leftovers are gone I've so thoroughly enjoyed eating whatever I want and however much I want that I still can't get my eating back under control. Sometimes I can't stop eating tons of crap until well after the new year. This year I want to make sure I keep on track to make my goal of dropping 79 pounds and reaching the 85k class by Jan 1st 2015, so I'm not going to have Thanksgiving with my family this year. I'm volunteering for a 16 hour work shift at at the prison. I'm not sure if this is a great idea to keep my eating under control or a bad idea because I struggle with social situations and have a tendency to keep myself isolated. Either way I have to lose an average of 5.86 pounds a month for the next 13 1/2 months to reach my goal and this year I WON'T be binge eating during the holidays!

November 19, 2013

2nd week of Olympic weightlifting

I'm in my 2nd week of Olympic weightlifting. I'm really enjoying it. My coach, Shane Miller of Miller weightlifting is awesome. His athletes have over 450 national records.

I'm starting to build up a lot of excitement and starting to dream big. Partly for fun and partly for motivation I looked up the New Mexico Olympic weightlifting records for my age and weight divisions I eventually want to drop down to.

I was only scheduled for 3 workouts this week but I was so motivated I threw an extra one in one Sunday.

Age 35-39 105k+ (232 lbs+)
Snatch- Richard Kahl- 105k (231lbs)
CJ- Richard Kahl- 135k (297lbs)
Total- Richard Kahl- 240k- 529 lbs

Age 35-39 105k (206-231 lbs)
S- Barry Schroeder- 94k (207 lbs)
CJ- Barry Schroeder- 116k (255 lbs)
T- Barry Schroeder- 210k (462 lbs)

Age 35-39 94k (187-206 lbs)
S- Barry Schroeder- 93k (204lbs)
CJ- Barry Schroeder- 109k (240lbs)
T- Barry Schroeder- 202k (445 lbs)

Age 35-39 85k (169-187lbs)
S- Eric Johnson- 108k (238lbs)
CJ- Eric Johnson- 130k (286lbs)
T- Eric Johnson- 238k (524lbs)

November 14, 2013

Why Olympic weighlifting?

My wife and I became members of a CrossFit box earlier this year. She and I both loved it. It didn't take me very long to realize my favorite part of CrossFit was Olympic weightlifting. Shortly after that my employer cut my hours back big time. My wife and I couldn't afford to go to CF anymore. Miller Olympic weightlifting rents a space from the local CrossFit gym and is significantly cheaper, so thanks to a generous birthday gift from my natural father I was able to start at Miller's Olympic weightlifting. My wife loves CrossFit and will return to our local CF gym as soon as we're able to afford it again. If I had unlimited funds I'd do Olympic weightlifting 3 days a week and CF 2 or 3. But unless I hit the lottery, I think Olympic weightlifting is my niche. I'm not sure if I can explain what it is about Olympic weightlifting that I enjoy so much. It reminds me a lot of triathlon. It's an individual sport. My gains are based on what I do. Each workout I'm pitted against myself. How I perform during my first Olympic weightlifting competition is a direct result of how well I push myself during each workout, how clean my diet is, how much rest and recovery I get. I'm a driven person, once I set on a goal I don't let go. This will be fun. Strength training, a new and unexplored goal. One that I believe I will end up kicking butt at, just like I did at triathlon. Perhaps even more than I did at triathlon because I've always responded better to strength training than I ever did to endurance athletics. Now just need to get out of the super weight division (231+) and into the 85 kilogram division (187 pounds and below). I started at 280 pounds, I'm down to 273 pounds, 86 pounds to go!

November 13, 2013

day 2 of Olympic weightlifting

I think my body is built more for Olympic weightlifting than it was for triathlon, and I eventually got pretty fast at triathlon. I'm already starting to get pretty excited, to dream, to have visions of grandor. It's been a long time since I've been excited like this. Since I gave up triathlon 2 years (and 105 pounds gained) ago.. With enough hard work........ We'll see.......

November 11, 2013

my first day of Olympic weightlifting

Today was my first day of Olympic weightlifting at the Millers gym. After a thorough warm up I did a few sets of press, cleans, hang cleans, squats. He has me starting off very light. My max squat right now is around 127 kg (280 pounds), and my heaviest squat set today was only 55 kg (121 pounds). He said formerly trained athletes are the most at risk for injuries because our muscle pathways are accustomed to pushing much larger weights, but our muscles are not. That's the reason he wants me to start off with such light weights. I meet with him again on Wed. One of my co-workers is interested in going also. I'm hopping he shows so that I could have a buddy that could get into this sport with me.

I have an appointment tomorrow at the University of New Mexico's exercise physiology department to get my body fat tested. That will show me my starting point. I'll continue to get my body fat tested, and take pictures as I go along to see how I progress. I'll post my beginning weight, body fat percentages, and pictures tomorrow.

November 08, 2013

cyclling and Olympic weightlifting

I asked my Olympic weight lifting coach ,at least he will be my coach starting on Monday, if I could bike to burn some extra calories. His response was fascinating. He told me that since I am just starting out at Olympic weightlifting I could do any kind of exercise I wanted to help me loose weight. But once I get closer to my genetic max of lifting I'll need to stop doing any workouts that build slow twitch muscle tissue so that my body can build the most fast twitch muscles possible, particularly IIB, because they produce greater peak power and more force at higher velocities. Once to that point I'll still be able to bike, but will only be able to do short explosive interval training. (I highlighted the pertinent points in red below).

I wanted to find out more about the subject of the different types of muscle fibers and I found a great article on . I fact checked this by reading 3 or 4 articles on other web sites and they all seem to agree. This is the info I pulled off of the web page

The advantages of a certain fiber composition on performance in various sports is both obvious and well established -- For example, marathon runners have 75% slow twitch fibers while sprinters have 75% fast twitch fiber (both IIA &B combined).

The ratio of your fiber type is a result of:
(1) What you were born with
(2) Transformation of slow to fast or fast to slow through training influence.
Transformable Fibers

If you were to look at a muscle biopsy you’d see both red and white along with various shades of each. The white being pure fast twitch and the red being pure slow twitch. Think of eating chicken, the white meat (breast) is fast twitch. The dark meat (legs and thigh) is slow twitch. Chickens don't fly around very often yet when they do those muscles have to fire quicker, thus, their breast meat is fast twitch. Chickens walk around on their feet all day long thus their legs are slow twitch and better suited for endurance.

As mentioned before you can't take a completely red (pure endurance fiber) and turn it into a completely white (fast twitch) fiber but the intermediate fibers (IIA), which would be the various shades you see in a muscle biopsy are plastic and you can transform them into more of a red (slow twitch) version or more of a white (fast twitch) version. You can also take a pure white fiber and make it a little redder, or take a pure red fiber and make it a little whiter.
Canadian scientists, Drs. J. Simoneau and C. Bouchard, have estimated that 40% of the variance of fiber type is due to environmental influences (i.e. exercise) while 45% is associated with genetic factors. So that means you have about 40% control of your muscle fiber type, the other 45% you can do nothing about.

Real World Application

So how can you use this information and apply it in the real world? Well take someone who is say 50/50 fast vs slow-twitch. Over time and with proper training if he trains his nervous system to utilize 90% of all those available FT fibers and also increases the size of them he well then be able to outperform someone who has say an 80:20 fast to slow-twitch ratio.
In training you can accomplish this by focusing your training on strength, power, and speed dominant activities. By doing so you train your nervous system and all your muscle fibers to behave in more of a fast twitch manner. The reverse can also occur. For example, if one is blessed with a high % of FT fibers and starts marathon training the opposite will occur. I haven't talked much about endurance training but let me mention that it causes a rapid fast to slow transformation (IIb to IIa and IIa to I) without any increases in strength or power, and thus should be minimized by those wishing to maximize speed and power.

Now, for those who really want to zero in on ultra fast twitch muscle conversion there is plenty of ammo out there to use.
First a little background.

Proficiency vs Efficiency

There is a big difference between increased proficiency and increased efficiency. As mentioned in the previous article, a IIB to IIA conversion is more efficient when it comes to meeting metabolic demands. So if the body can get the job done with IIA then it will. Therefore, if you want your body to increase IIB content you need to make sure that the adaptive signals you're sending deem it necessary.

As an athlete you stress your fast twitch fibers a lot. Therefore, your body already perceives that it's a funny car and you're trying to run it on the highway. If your body needs more efficiency what do you think it's gonna do? It's gonna try to find away to make the funny car either run at a low RPM or quit burning up so much gas!! It's gonna make your engine more efficient if it can. How does it do that? One way it does that is by making your fast twitch IIB muscle fibers more endurance oriented.
So how do you get around this and what exactly does send a signal for an increase in IIB?? Well, as mentioned in the earlier article, detraining or "sitting on your butt" is one. With detraining the muscular expression reverts back to its default "fight or flight" readiness. Yet another is hyperthyroidism or overeating.

Complete detraining is not much of an option because you lose more neural efficiency and muscle cross sectional size then can be made up for by any enhanced muscular subtype. Partial detraining and tapering may be an option and I'll get into that one in just a minute. But what about training? Well, if one were to analyze the IIB fiber and MHC IIX expression he could easily come to the conclusion that this fiber type is made for dealing with simultaneous high forces and high speeds.
Some studies show IIa fibers to produce equal force at low velocities compared with IIb, so a rep done under typical strength training conditions (loads only as high as the concentric 1 RM and low velocities) can be adequately handled by IIa. Maybe if the velocity component was increased, and force was maintained or increased, and performed at a volume low enough not to signal the need for more efficiency, we'd see an increase in IIB.

From here one could logically conclude that a training program incorporating movements with a premium on creating a lot of force at high velocities would preferentially induce more expression of these fibers (IIB). Thus far, there are a few studies that have looked at this and found this hypothesis to be true. Training methods that duplicate a lot of the tasks seen in gymnasts do exactly this.

Exercises That Increase IIB Expression

These include:
plyometrics utilizing loads, plyometrics, "drop and catch movements", jump squats, olympic lifts, drop jumps, depth jumps, speed squats, speed benches, Reactive squats, as well as most ballistic type activities in which either high speeds, and or supramaximal forces are employed.

The force from a "drop and catch" type movement utilizing loads, or a plyometric type movement, exceeds that which is created with weight training. More importantly, the velocity component and the speed that force must be created is much greater. Put into practice one could start from the top and perform a quick "drop and explode" in a chinup, dip, squat, or olympic lifting movement. The force created at the reversal from eccentric to concentric is great and must be applied extremely quickly or progress will not occur.
Another option would be to simply perform the drop and attempt to stabilize the load towards the bottom as quickly as possible. Yet another option would be to simply de-emphasize the lowering phase of a movement by letting the load come down fairly quickly yet still under control. From here you'd then concentrate on an explosive positive phase. Fred Hatfield stated he used to train like this when he set his world record squat of 1014 lbs. and said it made him 15% stronger.
Short duration heavy isometrics (<10 seconds) in the weakest joint angle of a movement may also be useful to create strength gains without causing negative fast to slow conversions but the jury is still out here. The one thing that should be avoided at all costs is any eccentric movement incorporating loads below 100% of 1rm done at low speeds such as done under typical bodybuilding protocols and/or normal regular paced repetitions. This type of training induces the type of damage that signals the exact adaptations we're trying to avoid. With the aforementioned "high force" methods if the body wants to increase the true "proficiency" of the movement it has no choice but to create a more effective and faster muscle to do it with.

Stimulate Don't Annihilate
There is one caveat with this training and that is it must be prescribed in a dose so as to induce better proficiency without inducing efficiency. In other words, you don't want to be sending any signals to the body that would cause it to think it has to create adaptations just to better deal with the "volume" of training you're throwing at it. You also wouldn't want to send a signal that the body is under a lot of stress or food shortage, thus dieting is a no no. The message you're sending needs to be loud and clear but "stimulating" not "annihilating". Whether you're creating the proper adaptations should be manifested in your results.

To illustrate, if you do highly intense plyometrics everyday you'll soon get to the point where you can do them practically all day without getting tired as your legs will "adapt" to handle the volume. You'll probably see an immediate VJ increase as you become accustomed yet over time the magnitude of performance that you can demonstrate, or the maximum height you jump, will either stagnate or be negatively effected as the body adapts to the excessive volume. Therefore, performance should take precedence over junk volume.

To better describe this think of a movement like the jump rope. Say the goal is to perform 6 consecutive 3 minute rounds. Initially there is a learning period as one learns how to swing the rope and how to coordinate the feet and arms etc. After this, the main limiting factor is the ability of the feet and lower legs to tolerate the lactic acid induced from the repetitive jumps. In someone who jump ropes chronically, (eg. 30 minutes 4-5 days per week), all things such as bodyweight and strength being equal, you will tend to see a decrease in maximal vertical jump as this adaptation sets in. The opposite is also true. Lower the volume down to 1 day of jump rope per week and you'll see an improvement in VJ as muscular efficiency lowers.

A Sample Cycle

If one wanted to put together a short mini-cycle strictly to focus on this one could set up something like this.
fairly low volume - 2x per week per bodypart
progress at every session (If you're not improving then take an extra day of rest)
No lactic acid
No Cardio (dynamic warm-ups, easy gpp, walking, and very easy intervals are ok)
Eat at least enough to maintain bodyweight **(some fat loss will be ok but once you have to substantially restrict food intake as opposed to simply engaging in better eating habits you're gonna reach a point where you start to shoot yourself in the foot)
Get plenty of sleep
Rest Intervals should be fairly long (2-5 minutes)
All movements should be performed at relatively high velocities

My first 2 goals for Olympic weightlifting

Like I said in my previous post, I'm starting Olympic weightlifting on Monday.I'm currently weighing 280 pounds, so my first goal of Olympic weight lifting is to get down to 230 pounds so that I'll no longer have to compete in the super heavy weight division. I'd like to eventually get down to to 190 pounds so that I could compete in the 85k division (169-187 pounds). That means I have to lose 90 pounds. My body has always responded well to low carb diets, so that's what I'm doing. I'm in my 3rd day of low going low carb. So far so good.

Here are the men's weight classes of Olympic Weightlifting:
56 kg≤ 56.00kg 123.3 pounds
62 kg56.01kg – 62.00kg 123.22 pounds-136.4 pounds
69 kg62.01kg – 69.00kg 136.422 pounds-151.8 pounds
77 kg69.01kg – 77.00kg 151.822 pounds-169.4 pounds
85 kg77.01kg – 85.00kg 169.422 pounds-187 pounds
94 kg85.01kg – 94.00kg 187.002 pounds-206.8 pounds
105 kg94.01kg – 105.00kg 206.822 pounds-231 pounds
+105 kg≥ 105.01kg 231.002 pounds

November 07, 2013

starting Olympic weightlifting

After getting ran over while cycling a couple years ago I've decided cycling isn't worth the risk. It's amazing how a brain injury can change a persons views on what is important. So now I need to find a sport to replace triathlon. Since I can't afford CrossFit right now I've decided to attempt Olympic weightlifting. I'm starting Monday!

This weekend I'll be helping out with the 1st annual Buffalo Classic Olympic weightlifting competition, next year I'm going to compete in it! I'm very excited. This is the first step in a new goal. Hopefully I'll enjoy Olympic Weightlifting as much as I did triathlon.

56 kg≤ 56.00kg 123.3 pounds
62 kg56.01kg – 62.00kg 123.22 pounds-136.4 pounds
69 kg62.01kg – 69.00kg 136.422 pounds-151.8 pounds
77 kg69.01kg – 77.00kg 151.822 pounds-169.4 pounds
85 kg77.01kg – 85.00kg 169.422 pounds-187 pounds
94 kg85.01kg – 94.00kg 187.002 pounds-206.8 pounds
105 kg94.01kg – 105.00kg 206.822 pounds-231 pounds
+105 kg≥ 105.01kg 231.002 pounds