July 30, 2016

post max slump

Last week I went heavy at the gym. Coach Chavez gave me a pep talk and then I hit a 100k snatch. His pep talks always gets the best out of me. He's a master motivator. I've dreamed of hitting a 100k snatch for a very long time. It was a dream come true. Next goal is a 125k clean and jerk. I think it will take awhile before I get there. I've found when I go heavy it makes me feel slow, sluggish, and my form goes to crap for awhile. I think maxing out does that for everyone. But it affects me a lot more severely and it takes me much longer to recover. My old coach told me the bigger the athlete the longer it takes them to recover. And that in Germany they only let their super heavyweights max once every two years. I'm a big dude. 300+ pounds. Plus I'm 40 years old. That's pretty old for a serious weightlifter. I have a weightlifting meet in August. I'm hoping i can get out of this slump quickly to hit my dream 100/125. If anyone can pull me out of a post-max slump Joaquin Chaves can.

July 23, 2016

change of work schedule

My Captain called me and told me my work schedule is changing.... again. It sucks being the rookie at my new job. But this time my new work schedule benifits weightlifting training. I'll be able to train with Joaquin Chaves of High Dessert Athletic Club on Fridays and Saturdays. On Mondays and Wednesdays I'll train at Iron Soul. Earlier this week I was struggling to decide which of my three gym memberships I should cancel. Because of the new schedule I'll be unable to continue training at Albuquerque CrossFit. In October I'll be doing my first post bid. My number one goal is to get a work schedule that I'll be able to train at High Dessert Athletic Club 4 days a week. I'm really impressed with the coach, training, and team enviroment there.

July 22, 2016

RMR the most elusive number

When I first started working with my sports nutrition coach I was eating 3750 calories a day and I was losing 3-4 pounds a week. About 4 weeks ago my weight loss stopped. I'm not saying it slowed, i mean it stopped. Like it hit a brick wall. I've been stuck at around 310 pounds. We've tried all sorts of changes to get my weight loss going again. We've dropped my daily calories. We've dropped my calories on non-training days. Still nothing. Usually if I drop my calories a little, I loose a little weight. If I drop my calories a lot I drop a lot. But the last few weeks no matter what we do I've lost NOTHING! I'm sure he's as befuddled as I am. By no means am I frustrated. I'm OK with my weight on a personal level. My desire to lose weight is completely sports related. I'd like to get down to the 105k weight class and break those state records. And I'd to accomplish a body weight snatch. So, back to my lack of weight loss. I made an appointment at the University of New Mexico exercise physiology department to get my resting metabolic rate tested. After I find out what my resting metabolic rate is that will help me make the decision of what my calories should be.

July 20, 2016

3 gym memberships

I've been going to High Dessert Athletic Club (HDAC) and have been trained by Joaquin Chaves since we moved to Albuquerque in April. HDAC is only open a couple hours 6 days a week. In case i miss the 2 hour training a day thatHDAC is open I have another gym membership at Iron Soul, a wonderful little powerlifting gym that has 24 hour access, drop plates, and a bar that spins. The only down side to Iron Soul is I'm usually the only olympic style weightlifter in the gym. And it sucks working out alone. I recently started lifting at Albuquerque CrossFit because they have weightlifting classes that are held at a time of the week that I'm unable to train at HDAC. So now I have three gym memberships. I think its resonable to have a gym membership at two gyms in case I miss training at one of them. But having three is rediculous. I need to figure out which gym I'm going to drop, Iron Soul or Albuquerque CrossFit.  Obviously I'm keeping HDAC. I'll train with Joaquin as long as I'm living in Albuquerque and Joaquin is coaching. But one of the other ones has got to go. Which one?

July 16, 2016

weightlifting coach Juaquin Chavez of High Dessert Athletic Club

Today after training my weightlifting coach Juaquin Chavez of High Dessert Athletic Club told me he wanted me to skip the 2nd annual John Davis memerial weightlifting meet next weekend to get in more quality training time with him. My old triathlon coach Pete Alfino of Mile High Multi-sport used to ask me the same thing all the time, "don't race this weekend, train instead. You need the training more than the race." I'd ignore my former triathlon coach and race. Every single time. Joaquin's the best coach I've ever had in any sport. I think the world of Joaquin. Both as a coach and as a person. If Joaquin asks me to not lift in a meet, then I'm not lifting in a meet. I do what he says no questions asked. Period. The only regret I have is not having found him to train under his tutlage earlier. He opened up High Dessert Athletic Club way back in 1998. I could have been lifting with him since I was 23 years old instead of starting with him at 40. I can't even imagine how my life would have been different if I'd of started lifting with him 16 years ago. For one, I'd be a beast by now. Jennifer Buckner has been lifting with him since 1998 and she's one of the strongest master weightlifters in the nation! But, I'm here now. And I love it. It's hard to believe when I left Santa Fe I was considering giving up weightlifting and becoming a powerlifter. My fear was I wouldn't be able to find decent coaching.

I've been stuck at 310 pounds for a little over three weeks now. In the past I'd of freaked out about not losing any weight for three weeks. But I'm OK with it now. I'll continue doing what my  sports nutrition coach Barry Schroeder says and eventually we'll get through it. If not, that's ok too. I've gotten to the point that I'm comfortable with myself. I like myself as I am at any weight. I believe the new fancy term for that is fat acceptance. Accepting myself as i am sure makes trying to eat for health and weightlifting performance more enjoyable. Now it's a goal and a process I can enjoy rather than feeling manic and obsessed about getting to a bodyweight that will make others and ultimately myself like me more.

July 15, 2016

4th session at Albuquerque CrossFit

Last night I had my 4th training session at Albuquerque CrossFit. My form was poor and I kept missing cleans.  Joe came over and told me what I was doing wrong. I did my last two sets of doubles at %80 and they felt great. I'm really impressed by his coaching ability.

The CF coach I call Dick was at Albuquerque CrossFit tonight. The first time i met him he was an A-hole. He jumped down my throat 3 or times over small stuff he should of left alone. Tonight he was great.  Very friendly and personable. Perhaps the first night I met him he was just having a bad night. Everyone has them.

My strength has been increasing so much recently I decided to start taking creatine monohydrate again. If i can gain that much while dieting and without supplaments, I can't imagine how great I'll do while taking creatine.

July 14, 2016

mammogram test results

I had my mammogram today. All is well. Nothing cancerous. There's a hardening of the fat between my left pectoral muscle and the skin. The people at the xray center kept calling it a breast. I refuse to call my pecs breasts. Its a pec or a chest. I dont have breasts. They suggested I look into my diet to see if that was causing the hardening of the chest tissue. I've logged my food consistently for the last 70 days so investigating  my food history was easy. I just logged onto myfitnesspal. I couldn't find anything that could cause a hardening of the tissue. No soy, etc. I did read some articles on gaining and losing large amounts of weight. Not only can gaining and losing large amounts of weight cause hardening of the fatty chest tissues, but it's also extremely bad for the heart. And I've gained and lost a 100-150 pounds a bunch of times.

July 11, 2016

fat acceptance and my nutrition plan

My weight loss has plateaued. My sports nutrition coach has decided to drop 250 calories from my non-training days. He was originally going to drop 500 calories from non-training days but he decided to wait until after the 2nd annual John Davis weightlifting meet on the 23rd to drop it that much.

My weight hasn't changed in a few weeks. But I have lost a total of 12.25 inches in 8 weeks. Which is pretty cool.

For a long time I was obsessed with losing weight. I wasn't happy with myself unless I was lean. I was constantly on this emotional and physical yo-yo of losing weight and being so happy and then gaining it back and hating myself. Last month after listening to a Pandora program called This American Life: tell me im fat, I came to the realization that I can like myself even if I'm over weight. I don't have to be thin to be happy or to be loved. I'm still using a sports nutrition coach to try to drop some weight. But it's not for the same reasons as before. Before I HAD to lose weight to be happy with myself, to be content with myself and my life. Now I only want to lose weight to break the state records of the weight class below the one I'm in now. Now that weight loss is just something for me to do to be more successful at as hobby of mine it seems to have made it much easier to accomplish. I'm not sure exactly how to explain why. I think it's like when my wife was in nursing school and she'd have a big test she had to pass. She had to pass or she'd be kicked out of nursing school. Ankxiety would cause her to bomb a test she knew all the answers to. Now that being in great shape and looking good isn't the most important thing in my life it seems easier to accomplish.

Weight loss was the most important thing to me in my life. It really was. Not anymore.  So if I lose the 75 pounds to get into the 105k weight class then that's awesome. But if for whatever reason I can't I'm OK with that too.

July 10, 2016

workout number three at Albuquerque CrossFit

Today was my third training session of olympic style weightlifting at Albuquerque CrossFit. It was great. Jen B ran the class. She has a tremendous amount of weightlifting knowledge and is great at explaining it. The first two training sessions were ran by Joe. He was also awesome.  I met a couple more of the coaches today. They were really supportive and friendly. So far only one of the coaches was a dick to me. I can ignore one bad apple for great coaching and a training time that works well with the odd hours at my new career. I've decided to join to train there the days I'm unable to train at High Dessert Athletic Club.

July 09, 2016

ready for the 2nd annual John Davis memorial weightlifting meet!

Today was the best day of training of my entire life. I did snatch pulls, snatch pulls from the blocks, snatch dead lift/snatch pull from the knee combo's, snatch cleans, and 17 sets of snatches building to %80! I didnt drop a single repetition the entire session! I'm really excited about the 2nd annual John Davis memorial weightlifting meet on July 23rd.  I think I may finally get my dream of a 225k total!

I'll be training at Albuquerque CrossFit for the third time Sunday morning.

July 08, 2016

strike one

Yesterday I went in for my 2nd olympic weightlifting training session at Albuquerque CrossFit. The first time I trained here I was so impressed I was planning on signing a membership contract while i was there. But my mind was changed real quick on my 2nd visit by an employee with a big mouth and no filter of what he says or how it comes out. I may still sign up later, but I'm going to pay a drop in fee a few times to see if that employee is always a jerk or if I just caught him on a bad day. If he treats me like crap again I won't be coming back, which is probably going to be worse on me than them. I need a place to train after work. And it's rare to find a weightlifting coach with as good of an eye for technique and knowledge of form as Joe Vigil. 
(Joe Vigil, weightlifting coach, super friendly and supportive Albuquerque CrossFit coach)

The first time i was at Abq CF I was told i could bring in my kids as long as they were well behaved. I couldnt find a babysitter last night so i brought my 2 sons. Usually my kids hate me taking them to the gym because they have to sit there quietly for an hour and a half. But this time I told them about the area for kids that had toys at Albuquerque CrossFit. They were SO excited to go there!  When we got there the kids went to enter the kids area and a dog that was locked inside the kids area started barking at them like crazy. One of the trainers came out in a rush and told me "we discourage people from bringing their kids here".  I told him last time I was here so-and-so said I could bring the kids. He barked "it's a liability". 
"So does that mean what so-and-so said was wrong?"  He mumbled something under his breath.  Still not sure what the hell was going on I asked, "So can I work out or do we need to leave?"
He said, "get some chairs, they can sit in  the hallway. Don't let them near the dog he's scetchy." Three questions popped into my head:
1) why is there a kids area if no kids are allowed in there?
2) why the hell is someone bringing a dog who doesn't like people to a buisness where's there's always people?
3) why's this guy being so nasty to potential customers? Isn't that bad buisness? 
The only chairs I saw was in the kids area where apparently no kids are allowed. So I went to get the chairs and the dog got pissed off and started barking again. The employee ran over and stopped me from going in and told me in a rude  tone, "just let me get them." After he got the chairs I set my boys up in a way that they both could watch a movie on my phone but still be out of the way. While I was setting up the chairs the guy mumbled something while walking away from me about "no kids". Not 5 minutes later a lady walks right by him into the workout area with her very young child, about 14 months old, in a stroller. He doesn't say a danm thing to her bringing a baby into the training area where people are throwing weights around but he jumped all over my ass for my kids being in a hallway away from any training and barbells getting thrown all over? I think it's wonderful shes able to bring her kid with her when she works out. But why is it ok for one person but i get an ear full? Not cool. Not cool at all. I hope this problem doesn't repeat itself. I really want to train olympic style weightlifting here. Its the only place I've found that has oly weightlifting with a coach (a fantastic coach!) that late in the evening, and the location is perfect because it's on my way home from work.
Here's a picture of the "no kids allowed" children's play area. And there's my youngest staring longingly at all the toys no children are allowed to play with.

July 07, 2016

mammogram for men

Today was the first apointment ive had with my new primary care Dr. He was concerned about a  lump in my chest. He had me make an appointment for a breast ultrasound and a diagnostic mammogram. I feel very imbarrassed and emasculated. But mostly I feel pissed off. I'm a dude getting a breast ultrasound and a diagnostic mammogram. Sounds like a bad joke. You never hear of a female running tests for lumps on her testicles. Don't gotta worry about that because they don't have any. I don't have breasts. I don't even have man boobs, but somehow I'm still the guy who has to get a mammogram. The appointment is for July 14th.

Forgive me for sounding fatalistic, but the average life span for a correctional officer after retiring from a prison is less than three years. I worked at the penitentiary of New Mexico for 21 years, I retired a little over two months ago. Correctional officers have the lowest life expectancy for any profession, including cops and firefighters. I can't help but feel anger and resentment for the 9 years I was forced to work 80-90 hours a week in that hell hole. I knew working that many hours was bad for me. I was constantly exhausted and felt like shit for years. I knew what it was doing to my body. I even warned the person who was responsible for me working that many hours that if I continue to do this I won't live to see my 50th birthday. Fucking shit. I'm angry as hell. And resentful. But I'm also kind of relieved. I've always been great at avoiding drama and never making decisions that are life wrecking. But since 2007 I've been forced into one fucked up situation after another. I'm tired of having to work so many hours and stress so much to clean up other people's bad decisions. At least tonight I have weightlifting. Weightlifting always makes me feel better.

time for my doctor appointment

I found a lump in my chest in May. When I retired from the state there was some problems with our medical insurance so I wasn't able to get it looked at right away. Since then it's doubled in size and is a bit painful when touched or bumped. Our insurance through New Mexico health care connect finally went through. So I made an appointment to see a primary care provider. The appointment is today. Wish me luck. If your a believer I'd be greatfull for some prayers.

July 06, 2016

Olympic style weightlifting at Albuquerque CrossFit

My work schedule has changed and I found myself only able to train with my coach and my team on Saturdays. That left me training 3 times a week without a coach and without my team. Alone. Weightlifting by myself sucks. I found out Albuquerque CrossFit has a weightlifting class starting at 7pm on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. Those are exactly the days and times I'm available to lift with my new schedule. So tonight I tried Albuquerque CrossFit's weightlifting class. First thing I noticed was there was more people there who had 6 pack abs than I've ever seen in my life. In addition to being in incredible shape they were all... well..... georgous. I'm nothing like them at all. I'm 40 years old, bald, wear glasses, and weigh 310 pounds. I haven't seen my toes in half a decade. I've finally gotten to the point in my life that I'm comfortable with myself and how I look, but i felt really out of place there.

I did the group warm up and then started doing my weightlifting program. I noticed I was the only one doing my own program. Everyone else was doing the exact same weightlifting workout. I was afraid that was going to be a problem. But everyone seemed fine with it.

The coach, Joe, was really knowledgeable and threw out some really great advice on fixing some of my bad form. He noticed right away my calves are really really tight and he suggested working on my calf mobility. I wasn't expecting a CF coach to be that good at coaching weightlifting. Out of the 4 weightlifting coaches I've tried out I'd rate him in the top two! I was there an hour and a half. I was focusing on weightlifting as best I could and doing my best at ignoring all the beautiful people around me all doing the same thing and looking great doing it. I was hoping like hell I didn't stick out as badly as I felt I did.

All in all I'm happy I went there and i tried it out. I was impressed with the coaching. He had a great eye for technique. Which is rare in weightlifting.

I'm really happy I found Albuquerque CrossFit. It's only $75 a month for the weightlifting classes. No contract. Very reasonable. I think I'll like it a lot. I'm hoping I'll feel more comfortable and fit in a little better with the other athletes as i train there more.

July 05, 2016

dreaming of a 100/125/225

My lifting has been amazing. My form has been the best it's ever been. And I'm stronger now than I've ever been. My next weightlifting meet is on July 23rd. The meet is at my old gym in Santa Fe. I'd love to have a great meet among my friends and former coach. The best meet I could possibly dream of would be a 100k snatch, a 125k clean and jerk, for a 225k total. And.... I think a 225k is within my reach. A 225k has been a huge dream of mine for a long time. I'm so excited I can barely sit still!

July 03, 2016

weightlifting 4 days a week! Hurray!

It's funny how things end up working out for the best even when I'm not expecting it to.

The only reason I was willing to move to Albuquerque was because of the amazing weightlifting. Outside of the weightlifting i dont really like this city. But Albuquerque is a meca of weightlifting. And I really love weightlifting.

Recently my work schedule changed and I'm only able to train with my coach once a week. Training three days a week on my own without a coach or team mates sucks. Last night I was talking to a couple of my weightlifting team mates about my predicament. They let me know there's a place who's coaching schedule fits my new work schedule perfectly. I'm not changing gyms, I'll still be training with my primary weightlifting coach, Joaquin Chaves of High Dessert Athletic Club, on Saturdays. He's the bomb, I love that guy.

So on Tuesday after work I'll be checking out Albuquerque CrossFit. If the coach at Alb CF is a good fit for me and it's affordable I'll be training there on Tuesdays, Thursdays, and Sundays. On Saturdays I'll be training at High Dessert Athletic Club. Man, I can't tell you how badly I hope I can afford it and their coaching is good!

July 02, 2016

work infringes with weightlifting

My new job had me working different days and shifts. Sometimes I'd work days, sometimes swings or graveyard. I was getting frustrated because the chaotic schedule was causing me to miss workouts. In the hopes of missing less workouts I asked my supervisor to put me on a set schedule. He did. I'm working mon's, Tue's, Wed's, and Fri's 6am-6pm. My plan back fired. My weightlifting coach trains weekdays 5-7pm. Now the only day I have coaching and am able to train with my team is on Sat's. I came close to quitting my job. I'm a retired correctional officer. I'm collecting a pension and am able to have the flexibility in my life to do pretty much what ever I want. If I want to job hop I can. If I decide to look for a job that is willing to work around my training schedule I can. Een if I want to stay permanently retired I can. Before I put in my two week resignation letter my wife talked some sense into me. I love this new job. It pays $5 and more than what I earned at the prison after 21 years of service. And I'll only have to tolerate this new schedule until the post bid October. By October I'll have enough senority to bid for a post that works with my weightlifting schedule. So until October I'll just have to suck it up. It's only 4 months. After that weightlifting can be my number one priority again.