Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Grind? What grind?

I woke up on Monday morning and felt like a pile of hot garbage. I have now gotten four good nights of sleep in a row and I am finally feeling human again. I skipped my MMA workouts this week to give my body a chance to really recover - I no longer feel any aches, pains, or bruises - and I pushed my Velocity workouts back to Thursday and Saturday morning. My diet has been ok by current standards - no real junk, lots of vegetables, protein, but the big victory is that I am going on 72 hours of no soda. It's been a day or two here, a day or two there, but I am waging the final battle for my soul this week. I'd had a can or two of lemonade the last few days so I am not completely off refined sugar, but the carbonation/caffeine/sugar mix is the demon I am trying to exorcise. Back to Velocity in the morning.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Back to the grind

It's been a whirlwind weekend. I had trouble bending my legs on Thursday at Velocity so we adjusted some of the build ups and excercises. My feedings were ok, I honestly can't remember them now. I was doing great with soda until Friday. I took the day off work to help my fiancee Amanda prepare for a craft fair she promoted. I spent more than two hours moving folding tables, chairs, and church pews around in an old theater. My back was in spasms by lunch time and I still had some running around to do. By dinner time I had acute pain in my feet (toes and soles), both quadriceps, groin, lower back, shoulders, and left elbow.

Saturday was a blur - up at 7 a.m., running until 11 p.m. Run the craft fair, tear it down, dinner with Amanda's parents, our friend's Halloween party/wedding reception. Feedings were whatever was on hand whenever I could put my hands on it. Lots of soda. Lots of indigestion. Slept in today and spent most of the afternoon on the couch. Today was a free day but I tried to get a lot of fiber in my system to push out all the crap I ate the last couple of days. My body feels better than it has in weeks and I finally caught up on sleep. I'm going to prep some food and then get to bed. Back to the grind on Monday morning.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Rest and recovery much?

I'm not getting restful sleep. I went to bed at 11:30 p.m. last night and slept through my alarm. I jumped up at a quarter of 9 and rushed to get ready. I couldn't pack a lunch and I flet nauseated for a good hour after I woke up. I didn't think I'd be in any shape for my MMA workout and frankly I didn't want to go but I did. Ninety percent of success is showing up, right? It was actually a productive session. Jake O'Brien worked on wrestling techniques and I picked his brain since I haven't shot a takedown since I was 13. I was nervous but I did ok with the wrestling. I'm more aggressive than I was as a junior high wrestler and less afraid of being hurt.

Diet No breakfast. What a way to start the day! Noon Subway value meal! Whoo-hoo! Tuna with lettuce and cucumber, chips, two cookies and soda. If I eat any more tuna this week I am going to grow gills. 9 p.m. Burger King whopper value meal...with soda! The perfect way to end a shitty day.

Conditioning Walk knees, grappling, takedown lunges across the room, pushups.

Skills Wrestling, wrestling, wrestling.

Tuesday, October 22

I jumped up at 5:15 a.m. and hit the road to Velocity. The time I have spent at Throwbacks has allowed me to increase the intensity of my work at Velocity. I took tonight off from BJJ because my body is worn down and I needed to work on a freelance project.

Diet 8 a.m. Leftover broccoli and garlic sauce with tofu and steamed rice. Sick, right? Right, but I didn't care that it was 8 a.m., I needed protein, vegetables, and rice. 11 a.m. Tuna salad sandwich, chips, carrots, cookies. 2 p.m. Nodding off at my desk. Grilled chicken salad. It helped. 7 p.m. Pizza again. Amanda's parents wanted to try the new pizza place where we ate last night. I like seeing them and they were buying, so pizza it was.

Conditioning Velocity - dynamic stretching, build ups, medicine ball exercises, full body lifting and calisthenics.

Skills Nope.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Please excuse the mess, we're remodeling.

I stopped short when I walked through the door at Throwbacks. Where there was once an office and storage room is now a half constructed cage. The workout started late because guys were assembling the cage. We did the same thing we've been working on for the last couple of weeks, but I felt stronger throughout and at the finish. Lo and behold, I am actually getting in shape.

Diet 8 a.m. Yogurt with strawberries and scrambled eggs. 11 a.m. Tuna salad sandwich, carrots, chips, a couple cookies. 2 p.m. Two slices of sausage pizza. 6:15 p.m. Banana and Gatorade. 8:30 p.m. A new pizza place opened up in our neighborhood and we are working with them for an event my fiancee is producing so we told the owner we'd stop by for dinner. I'd gone all day without soda, drinking more than a gallon of water along the way. I went to the bathroom and when I returned Amanda had ordered me a frosty Mr. Pibb. Damn it. No soda tomorrow or Wednesday, bare minimum. I've made dramatic gains with regards to cutting soda from my diet, I don't need to start backsliding now. I had several more slices of pizza and split some ridiculous dessert with Amanda.

Conditioning Walk knees, clinch work, 50/50 kicks, 100 skip knees, knee sparring, and push-ups and lunges.

Skills No skill development today outside of the Thai conditioning, but I did try a crafty little trick Jerry Showed me to break the clinch that totally worked.


John Eckles turned away from me, signifying that our round of sparring was over. "I was waiting for you to show signs of being tired but you didn't," he said. The veteran full contact fighter has been beating my ass for almost a decade, putting heavy hands all over me as I learned to read body mechanics and react without thinking. I've been improving technically for the last several months but I always get gassed after two or three minutes. Today I chased John around the gym for six or seven minutes and felt like I could go a couple more no problem. It was a nice piece of positive feedback for all the strength and conditioning work I've put in.

Diet The weekend was super busy, I pretty much had two "free days."

Conditioning Right after I shampooed.

Skills Worked with John and Bob Jarrett, another old kickboxer, on cutting angles tighter to stifle taller fighters and kickers. Jerry Smith showed me a few things to work on against traditional Muay Thai combinations, but I can't give away all my secrets.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

I Could'a Been a Contendah

I love The Contender. I got around to watching the Alfonso Gomez vs. Ben Tackie fight that aired this week and Teddy Atlas kept talking about how guys like Gomez wouldn't have the level of name recognition he enjoys without the television show. And that's a bad thing? Boxing is like the newspaper industry - planted solidly in the 20th century, wanting to join the present and almost totally incapable of doing so. The Contender introduces club fighters to the world, exposes their different histories, personalities, and styles, and then showcases fights in a way that is easily digestible for casual fans. If not for Hispanic immigrants and a few seasons of Sugar Ray's show boxing would be even worse off than it is.

I love the Sweet Science. Love it with all my heart. I hope that the boxing establishment learns the lessons The Contender has to teach and learns them well. It just might ensure the health of the sport for my children's generation.

Stay tuned - I will be churning out more book reviews and interviews with fighters, trainers, and promoters I am working with.

Diet My feedings were less than spectacular, but considering that I typically drank between 32 and 64 ounces of Dr. Pepper up until a week ago, no soda is today's victory.

Conditioning Upper body strength training at Velocity. I added more weight than normal today, I need to start pushing myself more in my morning workouts.

Skills Nada.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


After 72 hours without soda, a cold, refreshing cup of willpower-crippling carbonation is DELICIOUS. One cup satisfies the craving and I am good for another couple of days. Work was mind-numbing today, justifiying this whole project and the desire to squeeze something more meaningful out of my days on earth.

Diet 8 a.m. Spaghetti with meat sauce, bread, and a side salad. I was starving. Noon Hamburger and fries from the Front Page. God bless the Front Page. Water to drink. 6 p.m. Tuna salad sandwich, chips, and a cookie after my Throwbacks workout. 10 p.m. Amanda and I went to a screening at Herron School of Art downtown and we were both hungry. I had two pieces of pizza, a couple breadsticks, and one delicious Coca Cola.

Conditioning Forty five minutes of uptempo work at Throwbacks. Knee sparring, focus pad work, and eavy bag work for long stretches.

Skills Worked more on the Thai clinch - where a fighter clutches the back of his or her opponents skull and "clinching" the forearms on the neck, resting the elbows on the collarbone. It's a fantastic method of controlling your opponent, and I am mostly powerless to defend it when I am working with much stronger wrestlers. These guys are all much stronger than me and it's frustrating. I concentrated a lot on footwork while working out on the heavy bag - I realized how shuffly my footwork is. Need to fix that.

I have more pictures to post, I will get them up asap.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Very busy

Had to play another two shows this past wekend. It was fun, but it screwed up my sleep schedule and diet. Luckily I didn't slide into total soda debauchery. I took Monday night off of Throwbacks because my f'd up sleep schedule and dramatic reduction of soda intake left me feeling lethargic. Didn't have any soda today and I am feeling better. Monday seemed to be the recovery time I needed.

Diet 8 a.m. Three eggs, scrambled, yogurt. 10:30 a.m. Grapes. 1 p.m. Tuna salad sandwich, chips, carrots. 10 p.m. Qdoba chicken burrito. I drank approximately one and a half gallons of water today, and no soda. Small victories.

Conditioning My but got tougher from eight hours in the cubicle.

Skills Took Bob Mercuri's BJJ class - with so many new people and a grappling tournament coming up on Saturday, Bob split the class up into two groups. Wyatt Tompkins, the big lug I've mentioned before, worked with us on sprawls, giving us several variations to work with depending on whether a guy's got a single leg, a double leg, or a high C, and how deep he's got it. Good stuff, but hard to work at anything less than 75% intensity.

Thursday, October 11, 2007


Diet 9 a.m. Grapes. 9:30 p.m. Turkey sandwich, chips, carrots, animal crackers. I stepped it up to a junior high-quality sack lunch today. I switched my plan up this morning because I didn't eat anything right after I left Velocity. 12:30 p.m. Had to run an errand over lunch. Two slices of pizza and a fountain soda. One of my four "freebie" feedings for the next week, this was an experiment of sorts. I'll be honest, after almost 36 hours of no soda, Dr. Pepper is fucking delicious. But not delicious enough to have another one for another several days at least. Yesterday I felt clean inside and out. This lunch made me feel bloated and gross. 3:00 p.m. A peach. Almost through one gallon of water since I woke up. 7:30 p.m. Sausage jambalaya with bell pepper, onion, and garlic over dirty rice and a side of black eyed peas and greens and water. I polished off a gallon of water and then some today.

Not the most impressive day, but I feel pretty good about this two day stretch. My band is playing Friday and Saturday night so diet and rest will be difficult this weekend.

Conditioning Slept through my alarm this morning thanks to exhaustion from last night's workout and repeated awakenings by our dog, Bomber, who incidentally was neutered today. Payback's a bitch, Bomber. I got in about 40 minutes of a Velocity workout and felt like a zombie for most of it. Felt a little better by mid-day but I felt drained.

Skills Nope.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

There is sugar in everything

My shins are swollen, my back hurts, my sprained thumb hasn't healed and I have to wake up in 6 hours to run sprints and lift weights. I love my life.

Diet Today's goal is no soda. I have to make like a revival preacher and drive refined sugar out of my diet like its the devil. 7:55 a.m. One cup of vanilla Dannon yogurt, a banana and water. I spun the yogurt cup around to check the ingredients - sugar. Damn it all. 10:30 a.m. Half an apple and water. 11:30 a.m. Baby carrots, potato chips, PB&J, animal crackers. Grade school sack lunch style! I've downed approximately a half gallon of water since I got to work. 3:30 p.m. No caffeine and much less sugar than usual means I am draggin' ass this afternoon. A tall mocha from Starbucks and half a chocolate chip cookie gets me going again. 4:30 p.m. Half a grilled chicken breast over field greens with peanuts and raisins. I used a little honey dijon dressing which likely has sugar in it and downed another quarter gallon of water. 7:30 p.m. Granola bar. 8:00 p.m. Qdoba burrito and lemonade. This is today's treat. 10:30 p.m. Bowl of chicken noodle soup.

Conditioning Three rounds of shadow boxing, walk knees, 10 minutes of knee sparring, five minutes of pad work/grappling in one minute intervals, five minutes of pad work, five minutes of grappling, 100 crunches which became 105 and then 115 because I put my heels down twice.

Skills I've got a bad habit of crossing my feet when I box that I need to correct. I also need to commit to kicking through the target. I hate the sting of a solid kick, but it hurts more when I don't put my weight into the motion.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007

"Calling you out"

"And people do not pour new wine into old wineskins. If they do, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins." Mark 2:22

A friend offered some constructive criticism about my MMA project today. Not content to let me exist in a happy bubble where everything I do is flawless and awesome, he pointed out that after a brief flirtation with improving my diet I have resorted to describing my diet as "eh" or "crappy" or avoiding talking about it altogether. He told me he didn't want me to fail because I never made an honest attempt to change my eating habits.

My friend is a Christian; I am not. But he dropped the verse quoted above into our conversation and pointed out that if I "pour" a new training regimen into the "old wineskin" of my established eating habits, then the both the wine and the wineskin will be ruined.

So tonight as my body recovers from last night's work my focus turns inward and I am faced with the fact that my toughest fight won't take place in a steel cage, a ring, or on a wrestling mat. It will be fought in my head and heart, in my kitchen, on my lunch breaks, in drive-thrus and grocery store aisles.

Monday, October 8, 2007


Yeah, actually you're gonna have to wait on that monthly progress report. I worked out with the Integrated Fighting team (I guess that's what they still go by?) and it fucked me up bad. I know that I'll get in shape faster by just hanging in with them, but when I left the gym I was disoriented and I felt like I was driving drunk. It took me seemingly forever to get home, likely because I was driving 10 miles under the speed limit, drinking water and eating peanuts in an effort to not vomit and pass out (and yes, I was positive that was the one-two punch I was facing). I got home and showered and doused myself in Num Mun Muay liniment but I am still walking like an old man.

Diet Sucks. Workout schedule is the priority this week, diet next.
Conditioning Thai clinch work, knee sparring, kick sparring, 50/50 kicks, sit ups, leg raises, and Circle Jerk (everyone in a circle dropping to a knee 60 times). As per usual, my body simply failed at the end.
Skills Worked on clinch escapes at the beginning. I've got the mechanics down, and Adam was telling me not to muscle it, but I felt like I was at a strength disadvantage to the wrestlers I was trying to clinch. The clinch is absolutely devastating if your opponent isn't wise to it...shit, even when fighters know what's coming they get destroyed by fighters with a good clinch.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Busy weekend....

I'll post the second monthly progress update tomorrow.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Be the hammer, not the nail.

I begged off my Tuesday morning Velocity work out because I ended up having to work late Monday night. At this point an extra hour or two of sleep makes an incredible difference in my mood and energy level, so things are having to get pushed around in order for me to function. My lower back, glutes, hamstrings, and quads were killing me so I skipped my Tuesday night BJJ class in favor of recovery time.

Wednesday, October 3

Felt OK with walk knees, three rounds of shadow boxing, but my energy flagging towards the end of 50/50 kicks. Rolling two or three rounds (I honestly can't remember) with Pat, working mainly on positioning. Lytle offered suggestions during and after the last round, correcting my mistakes. It definitely makes a new guy feel welcome when the top fighter in a gym takes the time to demonstrate why you have to keep your head centered while in the guard, or how to position your arms to control your opponents trunk without giving up a joint lock. Did 100 skip knees after that, a round of shadow boxing with face slaps to ingrain the defensive pendulum (one fist goes out, one protects) then Thai squats and some kind of Jazzercize from hell - jogging in place, pushing our fists in the air like pistons, and then sprawling thirty times. I was nauseated and hyperventilating by the time we finished. I need to work on my breath control.

Diet Bah.
Conditioning See above.
Skills Adam Wilder told me my kicks looked stronger than they did on Monday. The definitely felt smoother. He hounded me about pivoting my feet and hips during shadowboxing and staying upright instead of in a boxer's crouch.

Thursday, October 4

I got good sleep and felt fine waking up at a quarter after 5 a.m. The Velocity workout was physically taxing but much easier mentally. I took a baby step this week with regards to mental toughness.

Diet Feedings weren't super high quality, but I mixed in a lot of fruits and vegetables and at five smallish meals.
Conditioning One hour at Velocity - dynamic stretching, ladder drills and sprints, full body lifting.

Monday, October 1, 2007


"The only thing worse than having a coach screamin' in your face is not having a coach screamin' in your face," says Chris Lytle. The gym cleared out and it's just me, Lytle, trainer Pat McPherson and Muay Thai instructor Adam Wilder talking about the importance of being motivated by someone else. Lytle jokes that when he trained himself it was too easy to cut workouts short or come up with a reason not to push himself. The mind is incredibly weak and incredibly strong at the same time. It tells us to avoid pain and discomfort at any cost, yet it can allow us to power through intense pain in the pursuit of an objective.

Wilder and McPherson worked me out for an hour. Wilder breaks each technique into the smallest mechanics and hounds me to do it correctly. McPherson provides motivation. I did a round of walking knees, three rounds of shadow boxing, ten sprawls, 50/50 kicks (50 Thai kicks with each leg while), 100 skipping knees on the bag and a lunge-walk/push-up calisthenics routine at the end. I had a hard time regulating my breathing and by the time I got into the lunges my lower back was screaming, locking up and throwing me forward in an attempt to alleviate the pain/tension. I wanted to quit real bad. I was unsteady on my feet and every movement was torture. But when I got to the last two laps I suddenly found my stride. I wasn't as weak and exhausted as I had convinced myself, I was just listening to brain too much and not letting my body do what it could.

On a side note, I was nervous all afternoon like a kid showing up to his new school halfway through the semester. It's probably friendlier than a lot of MMA gyms, but it's still weird walking in to a place where there is an established dynamic and routine - and you're not part of it.

Diet Not enough water, feedings were "eh" until after I worked out - a chicken breast and black beans sauteed in olive oil over rice with a mound of steamed vegetables.
Conditioning See above.
Skills See above.