Tuesday, July 22, 2008

I kicked my house's ass.

Boosted from Natalie Dee dot com.

Worked today, went to the gym, grappled for a while, and then out-wrestled a dishwasher for a unanimous decision. It took Amanda's dad and I four hours and one trip to Lowe's to return stuff we bought last week but we totally kicked my house's ass.

Diet 8 a.m. Banana, slice of Danish. Noon Indian buffet, water. 3 p.m. Turkey sandwich, chips, cookies, water. 9 p.m. Frozen pizza, minestrone, water.

Strength & Conditioning Nada.

Skills Worked on positioning, passing the guard, keeping my position, regaining it if I lost it, scrambling, etc.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Single legs suck.

Ah...back on the wagon. Cooking real food again, going on one month as an ex-smoker, and finding ways to get into the gym more often.

Diet 8 a.m.Half of a small bowl of cereal. 10 a.m. Small bowl of leftover jambalaya. 2 p.m. Turkey sandwich, chips, cookies. 7 p.m. Three homemade tamales in lettuce wraps, corn on the cob, stir fried green beans.

Strength & Conditioning 255# daedlift, ring dips, knees to elbows, hand stand push ups. Seven reps, seven rounds for time. 20:18.

Skills Single leg takedowns and a couple rounds of grappling. The gym was boiling hot and my technique was sloppier than a roofied sorority sister. I lasted a little more than a hour and a half.

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Working all weekend.

Catch up on Monday.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Finally, a night off...OH WAIT

So I get home at 6:30 p.m. tonight with nothing to do for the first time in weeks. I am looking forward to making soup and setting up my office before turning in and getting a good night's sleep before my day off. I have to work all weekend so I wanted to take Friday off to hit the gym, CrossFit and MMA, hang out with my lady and our dogs, cook good food, and get some work done around the house. Then we find out that Amanda's grandpa had been hospitalized. That would have been manageable if her Mom's van hadn't broken down in Avon (20 miles from our house?) at 10:30 p.m. Grandpa Collier is under observation with a minor infection in his leg and will be released tomorrow. There goes catching up on sleep. I honestly don't give a fuck about summarizing what I ate today. Pissed off.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

I'm not fat...

Pat is in Vegas with Jake O'Brien this week and there it was mostly new or random dudes at the gym tonight. We warmed up before splitting up into two groups. Chris Lytle went over submissions and escapes while other dudes did rounds of Muay Thai sparring. After that we did Thai drills and calisthenics. Adam, the Muay Thai instructor I have seen rarely in the last few months, told me I gained weight since the last time we talked. I told him I just expand in the heat.

Diet 8 a.m. Banana. 11 a.m. Salami sammich, chips, carrots, cookies. 3 p.m. Two slices of cheese pizza and water. 9 p.m. Jambalaya and greens.

Strength & Conditioning Just moving in the heat is a conditioning program.

Skills Worked on escapes from side control, submission chains from keylocks and counter strikes off kicks.

Jake O'Brien vid from the Indianapolis Star

Monday, July 14, 2008

Back to the grind.

I have a confession to make: I just quit smoking. A light smoker for the last several years, I promised Amanda that I wouldn't smoke once we were in the new house. I had cut back from a half a pack a day to one to three cigarettes a day, but it needed to stop. I won't lie - I really enjoy having a couple of cigarettes a day. But when I get busy or stressed two smokes becomes 20 and then I am back to trying to scale it down, all the while promising loved ones that I am seriously going to quit soon. The move into the new house dovetailed conveniently with a week-long trip to Texas; no routine, theoretically no stress. I've had a couple of irritable moments and close calls, but tonight is my two week anniversary without a cigarette. I've experienced some weird detoxing like allergies and my throat generally feeling like shit but overall it's fine.

Diet 1:30 p.m. Beef hot dog, fries, small soda. Crappy lunch because I was stopped on my way out to do a breaking news video. 7 p.m. Turkey melt, chips, soda, cookie at McAllister's. Got highjacked by Amanda's family after CrossFit. Our kitchen hasn't been functional until...well, Amanda is cleaning the rest of the assorted junk from the counters as we speak. Tomorrow I can make food in my own kitchen for the first time since...June. 10 p.m. Burrito from Taco Bell. Hungry again after weeding and mowing our yard (which hadn't been cut since the former owner accepted our offer).

Strength & Conditioning 21-15-9 Front squats, pull ups, 600m, 400m, 200m runs. It took me forever to get through the first set of pull ups. I had no grip and my hands kept slipping. Finished in 19:53.

Skills Is "stick-to-it-iveness" a skill? Sportscasters say it so it must be a real word.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Can't catch my breath.

Back from the honeymoon, trying to get the new house functional. Hopefully I will be back to my routine on Monday.

Saturday, June 28, 2008


I am sitting in front of my house overseeing a yard sale so I figured I'd take the opportunity to muse on an argument that seems to be coming back into vogue. The idea that certain martial arts are too lethal to test in competition was bandied about a lot in the early days of MMA. Unfortunately, it's back.

There's a double-barrel kind of idiocy that keeps this argument alive and both sides bring shells to the shooting range.

First is the notion that so-called traditional martial artists are privvy to secret, dangerous techniques that would overwhelm a "sport fighter." Iron claw, dim mak, yada yada yada. I'm sure that in the mists of history some martial artists honed certain techniques to be lethally efficient. Because in the past martial artists actually, like, you know...fought. The average 2008 kung fu dude may have amazing chi and thousands of hours of practice slicing watermelons in mid-air with giant scimitars but he doesn't have a lot of experience, like, you know...fighting. You're going to tell me that your preying mantis strikes are lethal because your teacher was told they were by some dude at a seminar in in 1974? In a perfect world they might be. Those strikes are pretty accurate on a wing chun dummy - not so much in a real fight. So traditional martial arts dude - don't overestimate myth when you have no practical experience fighting people who know how to fight. You might end up like this guy.

Now, the truly amusing part of this tragic comedy is MMA fans and practitioners who think that wrestling, BJJ, and Muay Thai comprise the sum total of effective fighting styles. That's a stretch, as it seems that a lot of MMA fans think the double leg takedown is the most devastating technique in a fighter's arsenal. It's funny that fans of a sport that embodies Bruce Lee's "style of no style" are so quick to settle on a handful of arts as being the total repository of worthwhile fighting theory and practice. There are things to be learned from so-called traditional arts - the counter striking of silat, the fast gap-crossing attacks of point fighting to name two. To my mind, the point of MMA is to give practical experience to martial artists who want to distill the pure, effective elements of various arts into one seemless package. So MMA guy - don't throw the baby out with the bathwater.

Friday, June 27, 2008


Closing on a house. Packing and moving. Leaving for a week's vacation on Tuesday. Back to our regularly scheduled programming when I return.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Chariots of Fire

"Thirty four-forty," Jeff shouted. "That's your best time ever."
Actually, Jeff, it's my only time ever.

Today was day two of the Indy CrossFit Challenge. The workout was simple: Run a 5K. Problem is, the number of times I've run 5000 meters, or 3.1 miles for you 'Mericans, is between not-on-your-life and fat-fuckin'-chance. I had a decent pace for the first mile but I kept slowing down. The trick, I decided, is to not stop. Every time I stop in a CrossFit workout, it gets worse not easier. If you drop the weight you start thinking about how much it's going to suck to pick it up. If you walk during the run, you think about how much your lungs burn, or how heavy your feet feel. Better to suffer for the shortest possible amount of time. So mark it on your calendars, another milestone for Taffy.

Diet 8 a.m. Homemade sausage muffin with ze egg and ze cheese. OJ. Noon Chicken fajita sammich, chips, sodee pop. Haven't eaten dinner yet - the future is unwritten!

Strength & Conditioning I rode my bike to work and back. See above.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008


Have you ever asked a question you knew the answer to but were still stung by the response?

"Hey, Pat, honest opinion. Do I need to be in here more?"
"Yes." He didn't even look up from what he was doing.

All my workouts have been sporadic for the last month. My wedding, other people's weddings, packing up our house, closing on another one, changing jobs and getting busier: my "project" has taken a backseat. But that's kind of the point. "Supposebly" there will be a much more flexible, and later, schedule at Red Cobra/Integrated Fighting so I can go in on Mondays, Wednesdays, or Fridays to work on my jiu jitsu or Muay Thai.

Diet 8 a.m. Eight ounces of milk, EAS protein powder, banana, assorted berries. Delish. Noon Tuna sammich, chips, water. 4 p.m. Grilled chicken salad, water. 7 p.m. Steak 'n' Shake meal, dog. Father-in-law paid so it was his call.

Strength & Conditioning See below.

Skills Jumped in on the latter part of the MMA workout and worked takedowns and armbars. It was one of the more constructive drills I've done in a while and made me more excited for a formal BJJ class. After that we did shots back and forth across the room, then shots with resistance. After that we did pushups in the round which suuuuuuuucked.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


I was listening to National Public Radio the other day and there was a piece on a Japanese heritage celebration in Sao Paulo, Brazil. It bore no immediate relevance to MMA but it set some thoughts in motion. Dana White talks about how MMA is THE global sport because everyone understands fighting. While that's true I think he is glossing over a greater truth, which is that MMA embodies globalization. The open-source sport sprang out of challenges issued by masters of Brazillian Jiu Jitsu, itself a mingling of Japanese science and South American soul. Now MMA, like the economy, world music, fusion cusine, is a multi-ethnic stew, the true sport of the future. More on that thought as it develops.

Diet Soda in the morning, couldn't eat lunch until 3 p.m. because of work bullshit, sandwich and chips for dinner, sandwich and chips after the gym.

Strength & Conditioning I missed the MMA workout today so I went swimming at the Y. I feel really good after we swim laps but it makes my heart pound like crazy, so hard that it hurts my sternum.

Skills Nopers.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Workin' for the man every night and day

Still tired from last night, I overslept CrossFit and went to work at 8 a.m. so I could leave early. The ride in was super easy, I felt like I was gliding. Ran around like crazy, at like crap, but I did get shoot clay pigeons all morning and sit in on Ice-T rehearsing with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra.

Diet 9 a.m. Sausage egg McMuffin, Dr. Pepper. 2:30 p.m. Pizza and breadsticks. 7 p.m. Qdoba, goddamn.

Strength & Conditioning 10-9-8-7-6-5-4-3-2-1 Sumo deadlift high pull, box jumps, and double unders. I asked Jeff what a good time would be for me. He said 12 minutes. I pushed and pushed and pushed and stopped just enough to breathe and finished in 11:34. Not amazing but competitive with the other guys lifting to prescription.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Yes, dear

I've been dealing with women, oh, all of my life now, but I'm still slow to catch on to the fact that discussions are never just about what you are talking about, noooooo, they are about 100 other things women won't mention until they burst into tears and make you feel like an asshole for not being psychic. The moral of this story is that when your wife asks you to go swimming at the YMCA at 8 p.m. after dinner with her family which was after your MMA workout which was after work the simple answer is, "yes, dear."

In other news my weight is holding steady now at 250. I am down a pant size and my overall fitness level is rising, but I am not losing a pound. My diet still sucks and that is the hardest thing to fix when my home life is so chaotic. Hopefully we can close on the house and not live amidst boxes forever.

Diet 8 a.m. Small bowl of leftover spaghetti, two eggs. Noon Two slices of pizza, two breadsticks, small soda. 7 p.m. Italian beef sandwich, small soda. 9:45 p.m. PB&J, chips, carrots.

Strength & Conditioning Swam laps at the Y. Nothing serious, and definitely not high intensity, but it was definitely tiring.

Skills Two five minute rounds of shadow boxing, two ? minute rounds of grappling. Pat wasn't there today and almost everyone there was getting ready to fight on Saturday so I drilled by myself for a bit - boxng, Muay Thai, BJJ - and took off.

Monday, June 16, 2008

I'm back

(My sweet steed.)

I did more before 9 a.m. than most people do all week. I felt really good all day. Strong like bull, a little sleepy in the afternoon, but I crushed my ride home.

Diet So damn hungry today.8 a.m. Spaghetti with meat sauces. 10 a.m. PB&J and half an apple. Noon Tuna sandwich, chips, couple cookies, carrots, can of soda, water. 3 p.m. can of soda, water. 7 p.m. Split a frozen pizza with the lady.

Strength & Conditioning 6:30 a.m. CrossFit - Five pull-ups, 10 push ups, 15 squats, max rounds in 20 minutes. I knocked out 11 which is...um...half a good performance? At least I am doing workouts to prescription and my GPP is improving. After CrossFit I went to the Y for a little and kept the sweat going on the treadmill, went home, ate breakfast, and rode my bike to work.

Skills Nope.

Friday, June 13, 2008

(Sweat lodge from Prairie Net.)

Yesterday was my first day back at MMA workouts. The garage doors were up in the gym and there was a nice cross breeze but after the six rounds of ground and pound against the cage I was sopping wet. Jake O'Brien worked on takedowns with me and another guy and for the first time I think I may actually be able to include them in my tool box. Two five minute rounds of rolling with strikes wrapped up my day. Then I walked over to the garage door and dry heaved before wringing the sweat out of my shirt.

Diet Nothing in the morning. 12:30 p.m. Indian buffet - salad, rice, vegetables, chicken, bread, water. 7 p.m. Two beef hot dogs, baked beans, mac and cheese, potato salad, steamed broccoli. Can you say wedding weekend barbecue leftovers?

Strength & Conditioning See above.

Skills See above.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


(GIS for sleep.)

I got off work late yesterday and couldn't fight through traffic and construction to get to the gym on time to workout. We're already packing up the house so I ran some errands and picked up a truckload of boxes from Amanda's parents. I crashed out at a reasonable hour and felt halfway human by 7 a.m. this morning. Ate a little less like crap yesterday but I did kill another salad. Club sandwich today, looking forward to getting in the kitchen tonight to prepare some better food to take to work with me and clear the remaining soda and beer from the fridge to donate to the homeless. With any luck I'll make the PM CrossFit workout this afternoon.

Diet Noon Club sammich, chips, soda. 6:30 p.m. Spaghetti and meat sauce, water.

Strength & Conditioning 21-15-9, hang clean press, wall ball, box jumps. 18:28. I started out like a maniac, flamed out by the second round but finished strong. My back hurt so goddamn bad today.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Thunder thighs

(From Exrx.)

Yesterday was my first day back at Indy Crossfit. It wasn't the worst experience of my life, but I was gassed about a third of the way through the work out. It seems that taking two and a half weeks off from the gym, working two weekends in a row, getting married the weekend after, and living on a diet of meat, chocolate, and booze makes you feel like shit. Whoodathunkit?

Diet 8 a.m. Soda, leftover pizza. NoonTurkey and bacon wrap, chips, diet Coke, big salad. 8 p.m. Qdoba burrito, soda. Not a lot of water, lots of soda. It's funny how far and fast you can veer off track when you stop making a conscious, daily effort.

Strength & Conditioning Seven front squats (115#), seven knees-to-elbows, seven ring dips, 385 meter run, max rounds in 20 minutes. The squats and knees-to-elbows were cake, the ring dips were tough, and the runs killed me. I almost finished my fourth round but didn't have enough time for the run.

Skeeels None.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

The Day After

Day one of married life. It would be nice to relax now but we are closing on a house in early July so there is no rest for the wicked. Back to work on Monday - at my job and at the gym.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Out Rocky Mountain Way

(GIS for "Denver." From the Onion.

I am in Big Sky Country until Saturday evening to interview Roger Huerta for FIGHT! My body clock is all screwed up but I am a little more relaxed than I have been the last couple of days. The wedding is eight days away, Amanda and I might be putting an offer in on a house, and I am under the gun with 9-to-5 and freelance work.

Diet Crap, morning, noon, and night. Short term derailment.

Strength & Conditioning 400 meter run, 50 push ups, 400 meter run, 50 sit ups, 400 meter run, 50 squats, 400 meter run. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 minutes.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Walk, walk, walk

I rode my bike to work at 10 a.m. on Saturday, got home around 2:30 p.m., then went back to work at a quarter to 7 a.m. Sunday to work the race. Since I'd be done at 3 p.m., I was told I could carpool home early. Problem was, the early carpool left without calling me. My options were to wait until 8 p.m. and leave with the other photographers or walk home from the track. I started walking around 4 p.m. Five and a half miles with thirty pounds of gear after working all day. Sucked.

Be the hammer

"That's how you do it," Jeff Chapman said. "That's how you do it every time."

I was bent over gasping for air after the day's CrossFit workout when Jeff contragulated me on a good effort. Before I started he told me he wanted me to finish in less than 18 minutes so I started strong and managed to keep a pretty good pace throughout. When I headed out for the last run Jeff told me I had just over two minutes to make time so I decided to push it and finish sub-17. I ran as hard as I could manage and came in at 16:44, my best CrossFit performance to date.

That good news is tempered by bad news, or at least bad news in my little world. With just a couple weeks to go until the wedding and the Indianapolis 500 and a freelance work trip to Denver between now and then, I decided that it is in my best interest to take a couple weeks off of MMA workouts. It's not a ton of time each week but it's a huge energy expenditure and one more thing to accomodate in my schedule. It sucks, but life will be much less complicated the second week of June.

Diet Honestly I can't remember.

Strength & Conditionin 50 squats, 200 meter run, 50 push ups, 200 meter run, 50 sit ups, 200 meter run, 50 box jumps, 200 meter run, 50 double unders, 200 meter run.

Skills Nada.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Dull Ache

Days are peeling off the calendar quicker and quicker and the wedding that seemed so far away is hurtling toward us. Juggling work and last minute wedding details gave me a dull, achey headache that made me want to lie down after work and not get up until tomorrow. In a moment of will power, self abuse, or stupidity, I figured that CrossFit would either eleviate my headache or make something else hurt bad enough that my head wouldn't be foremost on my mind. Sure enough, after the workout my headache was gone. I chilled out for an hour after I got home and then went to Self Defense Systems for a class Jerry Smith is calling "secrets of the temple." It's an invite-only class for his longtime students so that he can teach techniques and strategies he learned from Joe Lewis while competing. Fifteen-year old Neal would have attended the class and gone home. Twenty-nine-year old Neal took notes and did drills on the bag afterwards.

And Amanda just told me that she spent $280 dollars on books at Teacher Appreciation Week at the Scholastic Book warehouse. Jesus fucking christ. I think the headache is coming back.

Diet 9 a.m. Soda and mini-donuts. Fuck me. Noon Pizza and water. Feeling worse. 6:30 p.m. PB&J, water. 9 p.m. Wendy's. Why not finish the day on a high note?

Strength & Conditioning 21 15 9 Hanging clean, pullups, 600/400/200 meter run. Finished in 16:30. Felt faster but pull ups kill me. At least I am doing workouts to prescription now.

Skills Worked on slip kicks, squeeze steps, switch steps and entry kicks off angles. Jerry gives me a hard time about throwing my lead hand down when I kick now but when done quickly and correctly you're shielding your chin with the shoulder. You can't be 100% protected 100% of the time. I am accepting the fact that learning Muay Thai is changing how I approach American Kickboxing but my AKB colors my Muay Thai, too. I started working on karate-style kicks again just to have them in my arsenal, adding mechanical elements from Muay Thai to add a little oomph to them. I would explain more but these are secrets of the temple, man.

Does this guy look like a good secret-keeper?

Tuesday, May 20, 2008


Couldn't get to the gym today because Amanda needed my help cleaning out her classroom. Moving crap from the second story of the school into our basement got my blood flowing. I chopped wood when we got home to blow off steam. I am training someone to take over the more tedious aspects of my job which I am happy about but spending a day discussing something you hate in fine detail is maddening.

I am starting to get wound up about wedding details. Between now and my wedding day, I have to finish a feature story for FIGHT!, work through race weekend, fly to Denver to work on a cover story for FIGHT!, and finish 100 little things before my bachelor party and the rehearsal. In lighter news, Amanda is watching NCIS and tonights episode features Oleg Taktarov in a bit role as well as a scene shot in what appears to be the same desert diner as this Bleeding Through video.

Diet 9 a.m. Sausage sandwich and fruit salad. Noon Chicken burrito, cookie, water. 8 p.m. Leftover pizza, water.

Strength & Conditioning Nope.

Skills Jack and shit.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Exhausted from the upheaval of the weekend, overslept CrossFit. Rode my bike to work again. It's getting easier and easier. Riding home in the cold (November) rain? Not so much. Had to work late, missed my makeup CrossFit workout.

Diet 8 a.m. Smoothie (milk, EAS protein powder, blackberries, banana), tuna sandwich. 1 p.m. Thai chicken wrap, chips, soda. Had to get out marriage license during lunch. 8 p.m. Pizza, breadsticks. Out of groceries, too broke and exhausted for shopping.

Strength & Conditioning Does the commute count?

Skills Nothin'.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Bike to Work Day

It was Bike to Work Day so I rode into work, shot and edited two videos, and rode home. That and some discssions with Amanda about finances wore me out before I made it to CrossFit. Not much to tell, just a busy day.

Diet 7 a.m. Smoothie - milk, protein power, banana, blackberries. Noon Two slices of pizza, two breadsticks, water. 7 p.m. Spaghetti with meat sauce, garlic bread, soda. 9 p.m. Pitcher of Budweiser, haha.

Strength & Conditioning 21-18-15-12-9-6-3 Sumo deadlift high pull, ring push ups, double unders. 18:56. I feel like my cardio conditioning is the only thing holding me back at CrossFit now.

Skills Nada.

Thursday, May 15, 2008


Pat is encouraging about my jiu jitsu but it gets frustrating when the only measure of progress is how long it takes to get tapped out. "At least you rolled," Pat said after one round. "I mean, I still had your arm but you bought yourself another 20 seconds." I am learning to fight through chokes and joint locks, to keep being explosive when I feel spent, to do that whole cliche "never say die" thing.

Diet 8 a.m. PB&J, chips, chicken noodle soup. Weird breakfast? Surely. Noon French fries. Busy day. 7:30 p.m. Steamed vegetables, spaghetti, garlic bread.

Strength & Conditioning About an hour of grappling, off and on.

Skills Worked on submission defense and positioning, how to break body triangles and chokes, how not to be weak and afraid.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Just 'cos the egg's broke don't mean it's cookin'.

My schedule has been bumper to bumper the last couple of days. On Monday I put on thermals and a sauna suit and hit the treadmill at the Y for 45 minutes. Then it was the 7:15 a.m. workout at CrossFit, home for a protein/fruit smoothie, walk the dog, shower, and ride my bicycle to work. I rode home in the afternoon, chilled out for a bit, wrapped up a freelance story and then worked late on my nightlife article.

I was able to sleep in a tiny bit on Tuesday but I rode my bike to work again (approx. 10 miles round trip) so my legs were shot by the time I got to the gym for Tuesday afternoon's MMA workout. To hear other people tell it I am getting skinnier and my ground game (while still shitty) is improving. I was trying to pass Pat McPherson's guard and I was combining two movements rather than take one and wait for the other. "Knee up is knee up, passing is passing," McPherson said. "Just 'cos the egg's broke don't mean it's cookin'." He told me my breathing is getting better and that I'm not "spazzin' out" when I don't need to. I'll take his word for it. I grabbed dinner when I got home and cleaned up before going out to shoot a video and didn't get home until midnight.

Today was a wash. I need to rest.

Friday, May 9, 2008

I cried during CrossFit.

I cried during CrossFit. I admit it. We were doing the Bear - deadlift, hanging clean, push press, full squat equals one rep. Seven reps per round, seven rounds for time. The Bear is on par with man-makers in terms of sheer sadistic abuse. About four rounds in my back is screaming - I turned my toes outward a bit to open my hips during the squat. Everything's good. Except when I bring the bar up and over after the squat I dropped the bar, thus setting myself to turn the 95# deadlift into a Good Morning, lifting the weight with my back. I had trouble standing after round five. I was sweating so much no one could tell that I was crying. I stretched it out, knocked out two more rounds in total agony, and collapsed in a heap. I laid on the mat, swatting at what I thought was a hair in my eye, but it was actually steam rising from my head.

Cloudy days, chasing the sun away

It's been cloudy and raining for days which really screws with my mood. If that weren't enough I was on deadline for two freelance stories, Amanda was all wound up about the fact that the principal of her school is a total beast and oh yeah, someone tried to kick our door in when we were at work. Super. No MMA workouts so far this week but I am going to the gym tomorrow, and I've gotten good work in at Indy CrossFit. Wednesday was brutal - 265 meter run, 20 55# kettlebell swings, 20 wallballs, seven muscle ups (see video below), five rounds for time. It took me just over 33 minutes. My back locked up so bad it felt like someone "loopied" a muscle, pulling me over to the left as I ran or walked. I gotta warm up and stretch more. We're short on groceries, eating too much crap, need to be more goal-oriented.

(We did jumping muscle ups on gymnast rings, but Mango here will give you an idea of what the exercise is.)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I'm checking out.

I got up at the ass crack of (pre-) dawn to shoot and edit videos about the election today. Presidential primaries, Congressional seats up for grabs, and Indiana is in the global spotlight. I ran into people from Al Jazeera America. I bet they never get hassled. I am beat - no workout tonight, just rest.

Diet 5:30 a.m. 24 ounce coffee, mini-donuts. 7 a.m. 32 ounces of water. 11 a.m. 12-inch veggie sub, chips, cookies, soda. Thanks, Jared!

Monday, May 5, 2008

I want to ride my bicycle, I want to ride my bike...

I am beat. CrossFit, ride to work, have a shitty day at work, ride home. I have to wake up at 5 a.m. to shoot and edit video of the Democratic primary election tomorrow, so I am knocking this off and heading to bed.

Diet 8 a.m. Turkey and swiss on an English muffin, water. 10 a.m. Tuna sandwich. Noon Pizza, breadsticks, soda. 8 p.m. Turkey melt, carrots, soup, water.

Strength & Conditioning Cinco De Mayothon. Five pull ups, five box jumps, five situps, max rounds in five minutes. One minute rest, then five burpees, five thrusters, five double unders, max rounds in five minutes. One minute rest, then five push-ups, five wallballs, five sumo deadlift high pulls, max rounds in five minutes.

Skills Nada.

Saturday, May 3, 2008


("Who's got the pad thai hookup?")

I showed up at CrossFit this morning and no one was there. Don't know what's up with that. Dan Christison showed up at the gym today to work out with Jake O'Brien. Word was that Evan Tanner was going to workout, too, but as far as I could tell he showed up, got directions to a Thai restaurant and bailed. Felt like shit when I was grappling today. Need more mat time.

Diet 9:30 a.m. Smoothie - milk, protein powder, strawberries, blackberries. 11:30 a.m. Tuna sandwich, lots of water. 1:45 p.m. Tuna sandwich, fries, soda.

Strength & Conditioning See below.

Skills Muay Thai shadowboxing/takedown drills, walk knees, clinch work, three rounds of kicks seperated by push ups, several rounds of live takedowns and grappling seperated by jogging.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

New gym, old feeling

I showed up at Throwbacks today and the parking lot was empty. A sign on the door read, "We've moved. Call Pat." I peered in the window and the warehouse was empty. I called Pat and got directions to the new gym on the east side. It's another warehouse, but this one has running water. It's the home of the Red Cobra Wrestling club, more on that on Saturday.

We worked on Thai clinch and knees, running laps around the large mat and doing pull ups between rounds. "I saw you ripping off those pull ups man, I was surprised," said Keith Palmer. Backhanded compliment or not, I'll take it. After several rounds of that we moved to the cage where I rolled with another heavyweight named Jamie and a Thai boxer named Nick Hyde. Nick has been a nomad for the last decade, training with just about every legit fighter in Indianapolis at one point or another.

I don't know if it was stress or back pain flaring up, but my ground game was shittier than usual. I wasn't doing what I know how to do and I was putting myself in bad spot after bad spot. It was extremely frustrating.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Hell's treadmill threw me off.

I am pushing to get a cover story (that I didn't want) done for the publication I work for while transitioning into a new job. That means I worked past when I normally would have and lost my MMA workout yesterday and my CrossFit today. I could have done CrossFit this morning but I was exhausted and felt like shit. I am eating ok, as good or better than normal, but I just felt like crap today. I am chalking it up to dealing with douchebag/incompetent publicists. Missing workout fucks with my mood. I get really bummed on myself, frustrated and afraid that I will punk out on this whole project like I have so many other things. Back on the treadmill tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Hell's treadmill never stops

Not a super eventful day unless you count morning CrossFit, work, and getting deadlines on two freelance magazine stories (three weeks + 4,000 words = pressure). I ate a lot today but never really felt stuffed, and I feel good about what I ate with the exception of dinner. I really really really hate leaving work and being forced to run around until 8 or 9 p.m. at night.

Diet 8 a.m. Homemade smoothie (locally produced organic milk, frozen berries, EAS Whey protein). 10 a.m. PB&J. Noon My friend took me out for a late birthday lunch. Small beef with broccoli and a bowl of hot & sour soup. 4 p.m. Bowl of chicken and vegetable curry over rice and greens. 8 p.m. Arby's.

Strength & Conditioning 21-15-9. 135# sumo deadlift high pull, box jumps, double unders, 400 meter row. I couldn't catch my breath but I finished in 17-ish minutes. I've got pull ups and box jumps, now double unders is the next exercise I need to start performing as prescribed. I rode my bike to work this morning but chucked in in the back of my truck when Amanda came downtown this evening.

Skills Nada.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Off" days...

I went to Throwbacks on Thursday and we worked mostly on boxing. Lots of rounds of shadowboxing, double-end bag, and heavy bag work. I was pretty run down on Friday so I rode my bike to work and back before going out to dinner for my Mom's birthday. Still lagging today so I got up early and ran errands before doing a couple of hours worth of yard work and gardening. I just woke up from a much needed nap and started doing food prep for next week.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Jeff Chapman and Indy CrossFit

Jeff Chapman is the owner of Indy CrossFit, the gym where I do my strength and conditioning work. He sat down with me one afternoon after our workout to do what turned out to be a very long Q&A. I normally wouldn't publish an interview in its entirety, but I think in this case the juice is worth the squeeze.

What is your athletic and fitness background?
I started competitive powerlifitng when I was in high school, played Football and track in high school. I was good enough to play football and track in college as well (Anderson University). Got my CPT when I was 18, my freshman year in college. Pretty much from then it’s always been a part of what I’ve done. I worked at several YMCAs as a wellness director, taught classes at a YMCA or another fitness facility. The big thing I do now is Highland Games. I have martial arts background, BJJ – I started doing that in ‘96, and Krav Maga, I started that about two years ago. (Also competed for a time as a sprint triathelete)

How did you get into CrossFit?
About eight years ago, even before the CrossFit website went up, there was a couple of guys from Indianapolis went out to California to train at the Gracie Academy. The came back and told some of us who were training up at Greg Eldred’s at the time about some CrossFit programs. I did a little research, called some people I knew in California, and started doing some of the crazy stuff they were doing out there. About three years ago is when I started in earnest, doing the website WODs. Eight years ago I was actually doing them at the YMCA. The WODs were not very advanced back then it was like, “Deadlift and go run, deadlift and go run, deadlift and go run, ok, you’re done.” Most people didn’t look at us too crazy, then about three years ago I just started doing it in my garage.

So much of it is open-source, how can you tell who is a legitimate CrossFit trainer and how do you become a CrossFit affiliate?
I made the decision that I really wanted to open a gym. I ran several very large YMCAs and it’s always been a passion of mine. There was really no place to do CrossFit except in my garage and there’s got to be a faction of people like me who like more aggressive workouts. The wife gave me the blessing and I basically took my life savings and opened the gym. At that point I realized I needed to get CrossFit certified as well so I went to CrossFit certification. To answer your original question, you can tell a good CrossFit trainer if they understand the methodology, if they understand the exercises, and if they know how to structure a workout for people to get a full-blown CrossFit experience. Are there a lot of people doing CrossFit from the website? Absolutely, and there’s nothing wrong with that. Are there people doing CrossFit from the website and calling themselves CrossFit trainers? Probably. But I think you can tell the difference right away.

What are metabolic pathways?
We want to look at strength training, the aerobic, and the anerobic. When you look at a workout like we did today, the double-unders are almost aerobic conditioning, then you throw in the pullups, the dips and the pushups and you get some strength training in there and an anerobic program.

What do you say to critics who say you can’t effectively train all three at the same time?
CrossFitter vs. Distance athlete – Over the first 800 meters I’m going to be a lot faster than you and a lot stronger than you. Do we go out and hammer mileage and get really good at distance running or do we stay in the gym and hammer strength training and get really strong or do we do a combination of both so we’re kinda strong, kinda can run, and can do other stuff.

Why do you think people are so loyal to old-school isolated movements?
I would much rather do a set of bicep curls, work up a sweat and go home and have a good pump on and feel good than do what we did a few minutes a go where you’re completely trashed and laying on the mat. I only have once chance to do this in life, I only have once chance to live my life the way I wanna live it, and to me, the body is a special portion of that. I might as well push it to the limit. A lot of people see it as stupid and hard and they think, ‘I’m going to go do my bench press and preacher curls and call it a day.’

Some critics say that CrossFit is dangerous because you’re throwing weight quickly, training for time, working to capacity and beyond, and that it’s not ideal for most people.
I struggle with that myself, sometimes. I don’t want anyone to think I am a CrossFit Kool Aid drinker because I’m not. I’m a CrossFitter because it works for me. Does it work for everybody? I don’t know, but it works for me. I do think you have to have some level of virtuosity in your technique. I do believe that you have to have a strong basis of being able to (move) weight with good technique. If Joe Smith comes in off the street and says ‘I’ve never worked out before,’ am I going to have him do the same thing we did tonight? Probably. Am I going to have him do the same weight and repititions? Absolutely not. Am I still going to try to get him to use full range of motion and proper technique? Definitely. I do think once you understand the technique you’ll have the ability to do a greater workload. Are there people out there that are doing it on their own and getting hurt? Absolutely. I hate to say this but I think that’s the difference between doing it in your garage and doing it at an affiliate where there’s a trained observer to tell you, ‘That’s total crap, you’re not doing it right.’

You mentioned CrossFit Kool Aid. As loyal as people are to traditional training methods, CrossFitters tend to be even freakier when it comes to promoting what we do. What’s up with cult references and people getting so defensive about CF?
It’s tounge-in-cheek now, people make fun of the cultish behavior. I think it’s the way with anybody that finds something that works, something that makes them a better person. I do feel like a better person, a lot of stress has been relieved from my life since I started doing CrossFit. Your natural reaction is what? To share it with someone, especially when someone says, ‘Hey, I notice a change, you look different, you’re acting different.’ I wouldn’t be doing my due diligence if I didn’t tell people when they asked. I think that’s the cultish behavior. Proselytyzing…some CrossFitters take it a little too far. It is a tight-knit community. You can find out about any CrossFitter in the world in a minute online.

How do you taper workouts so CF doesn’t interfere with athletic competition?
I’ve always been a big believer in tapering. My rest is really important. I believe if you are going to do something as strenuous as a mixed martial arts fight there’s no way you’re going to be able to come in here and do CrossFit two or three days out and be 100% for the fight. Two weeks out maybe too much (rest) but a week and a half is probably about right. For Highland Games I need to take off two or three or days off so I feel like a spring ready to go off.

This is the first time I’ve never had goals in a gym. What do you say to people who see that as a drawback?
I look at the workout and think, ‘I can do this in X amount of time, can do this in X amount of time, can do this in X amount of time, so I should be right around this amount of time for the whole workout.’ Set goals of doing 25 repetitions in a row instead of 10, or 100 straight squats. Those are big things to achieve. If you break things down, and I hate to say compartmentalize, you’re probably going to do fairly well.

Boutique, “high performance” training has gotten more popular. Have you seen an uptick in interest recently?
I think it’s just too damn hard. I really thought there had to be about 100 to 150 people in Indianapolis that would probably be interested in something like this. I have not found that to be the case. I think it’s the simple fact that most people don’t want to work hard. In fact, I just had this conversation with someone before you came in tonight. Most people don’t want to work hard at their job. Most people don’t want hard at home, they don’t want to work too hard on their families, so why in the hell would they want to work hard in a work out? I hate to say it, but maybe this goes back to the cultish behavior. People like us have have a tendency to be a little bit off.

Is CrossFit hard on joints?
You know what, I tell people this and they don’t believe me; I’ve had knee problems most of my life and since I started doing CrossFit, deep squats, I’ve had no knee issues, knock on wood, and my shoulder, from bench pressing, power lifting, I’ve always had range of motion issues. Since I started doing full range of motion pull-ups, again, knock on wood, I’ve had no problems. However, CrossFit has a tendency to breed tendonitis. I have no scientific analysis to back that up but from my small sampling of the group of people we have here, tendonitis has been bred I think from the pull-ups and the increased workload.

What do you think about my progress from November to now?
The big thing I’ve noticed is that I think you understand now what it takes to work hard. It just wasn’t there. I don’t know if it’s been a humbling experience, because a humbling experience is when some people all of the sudden excel and other people say, ‘I’m never going back there because they’re a bunch of jerks.’ I do see now that it clicks in your head. You do truly understand that it takes a lot to put forth 100% effort in this workout. Obviously I’ve noticed that you’ve lost weight, it looks like you’ve firmed up, but I think more than anything is the ability to master your mind. That’s probably the biggest thing I’ve noticed.
I’ve seen the progress and I think you’re starting to understand the techniques. I think the next step is to get you to lose a little more weight and start hammerin’ it hard. If we can get you down to 220, 225, I think you’ll start hammerin’ it hard, I really do.

What’s the learning curve where people really start to see gains with CrossFit?
I think it’s three to six months. If you’re a former athlete or a pretty good athlete maybe less time than that. Usually it’s about six months. You spend a lot less time looking around and a lot more time looking to your next exercise.

Could you explain the Ferrari theory?
The Ferrari theory is something I came up with while selling high-performance vehicles. A guy I used to work with said the Porsche was capable of doing a lot more than I was capable of doing with the car. I was fortunate enough to finally buy a Porsche and I had it out on 465 one day and I was doing 125 miles per hour and I got scared, like, shitless scared, and the car kinda sat low, like, dude, whatever you got, bring it on. I talked to they guy and he said ‘the car is capable of going 180 miles per hour. You are not capable of driving it that fast because you are not trained to drive it that fast.’ Your body is capable doing a lot more than you ever, ever imagined. However, we’ve got a built-in mechanism by whoever engineered us that says, ‘Neal, whenever you reach 120 miles per hour you need to ratchet it down because you’re gonna kill yourself.’ But once you train yourself to go up to 120, 130 miles an hour, you realize, ‘I can do this.’ You can push your body that far, keep yourself within a good zone, and the next thing you know you’re doing stuff you never thought possible. That’s the Ferrari theory.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Diet 8 a.m. Leftover pizza. 11 a.m. Turkey sandwich with sprouts, avocado, and cheese, half a dozen baby carrots. 12:30 p.m. Small orange. 2 p.m. Turkey sandwich with sprouts, avocado, and cheese, half a dozen baby carrots. 6:30 p.m. Protein shake. 8 p.m. Chicken alfredo, steamed vegetables.

Strength & Conditioning 200 meter run, six 40# man-makers, six pull ups, six 20# wall balls, five rounds for time. I finished in 25:24 and collapsed. I was on the edge of unconsciousness for ten minutes before I got my shit together and drove home. Amanda and I walked two and a half miles on the track by her parents house afterwards.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

I feel very strange.

My mood has been going up and down and up and down since I got some more than three hours ago. I ate a fairly decent dinner. I self-medicated with dessert, thinking it was blood-sugar related. The only way I can explain it is that my brain feels like the way a drunk dude walks.

Diet 8 a.m. Protein shake. 10:30 a.m. Half a turkey sandwich with cheese, lettuce, and avocado. 11:30 a.m. Half a turkey sandwich with cheese, lettuce, and avocado. 3 p.m. Hot dog, small fries, soda. 7 p.m. Baked chicken over greens, mashed potatos. Ice cream for dessert. Approx. a gallon of water over the course of the day.

Strength & Conditioning Nada, unless you count lots of rolling.

Skills I rolled 6...8 rounds? It's weird how jiu jitsu becomes more and less difficult when you're dripping with sweat. After rolling with Pat for a couple weeks I'm starting to "get it." I can pass guard on a lot of guys, escape submissions or stay out of trouble, sweep, reverse. I'm a long way from mediocre but I'm getting better fast.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Whip it like a towel.

Amanda was gone most of the weekend and I was busy with workouts, preparing my vegetable garden plot, attending a friend's cocktail party, and then the UFC. I worked Sunday, so here we are catching up.

On Saturday I went to CrossFit at 8:30 a.m. and we did a birthday workout for one of the regulars; 600 meter run, 41 pull ups, 41 squats, 41 burpees, 600 meter run, 41 wallball, 41 box jump, 41 push press and 600 m run. I finished in something like 36 minutes, 13 slower than the next slowest person...BUT I did this workout to prescription which is a major accomplishment. No band pull ups or box step-ups, all 100% legit. I was about to quit on this one before we started because my back was so sore from pull ups on Wednesday but I thought, "fuck it, I'd rather do five pull ups and fail than face doing 123 jumping pull ups." Amazingly, I did 41 kipping pull ups in sets of two or three. The mind is strong.

After that I ran some errands, ate lunch, and headed to Throwbacks for the Saturday workout. I dozed off in the back of my truck waiting for people to show up and only rolled for 15 minutes before having to head to Self Defense Systems for my private lesson with Jerry Smith. We worked on the slip kick, a deceptively powerful kick delivered to the leg or groin that allows a fighter to cross the gap while scoring/doing damage, and it sets up punch combinations beautifully. I was off balance and swinging the kick slowly when Jerry said, "Snap it like a towel," and BOOM, I had it. I need to remember that when I am using Thai kicks. The slip kick is pure Jeet Kune Do/American kickboxing, and I think it's something I can use to great effect against taller fighters.

Today I crushed a fruit salad, a turkey/avocado sammich, a cheeseburger, protein shake, and some pizza and washed it down with a mix of soda and water. Sounds like a lot but my portions were pretty reasonable...until dinner.

Jeff wanted to hammer in the proper form for jumping pull ups tonight so we did a 235 meter run, 12 thrusters, 12 jumping pull ups, 12 double unders, 435 meter run, 18 thrusters, 18 jumping pull ups, 18 double unders, 600 meter run, 24 thrusters, 24 jumping pull ups, 24 double unders. I finished around 19.5 minutes.


Thursday, April 17, 2008

Submission by vomit.

I was trying to pass Pat McPherson's guard when he shouted. I looked at his hand and his pinkie was dislocated at the first knuckle. I think he jammed it against my knee. He pushed it back into place, taped it, and said, "You know, if you don't give a fuck it doesn't matter," and we started rolling again.

Diet 8 a.m. Fruit salad. 11 a.m. Jambalaya, greens, black eyed peas, Switch. 2 p.m. Two slices of cheese pizza and a soda. 7 p.m. More jambalaya. I need to get back on a tighter meal plan but I'm the only one who cooks in this house and when I am busy the wheels come off. I drank lots of water today.

Strength & Conditioning Something like 150 kicks on the bag, each leg, and four rounds of grappling. People talk about how well-conditioned grapplers are, and it's true, but I don't think Thai boxers get their due. Kicks absolutely wreck your heart and lungs, especially when you're throwing 25 or 50 in quick succession.

Skills Ian hovered around me tweaking my kicking mechanics. I am starting to feel quicker and more powerful with my kicks. Pat work with me on creating space with my hips and controlling my opponent. I get my ass kicked on the mat by pretty much everyone in the gym but I managed to pass guard on the heavyweight I rolled with today and maintain side control and a half guard for a while. Baby steps.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

I was annoyed when I scraped skin off my left knee and right shin while doing deadlifts today. But I was astounded when I looked up at my hand after the workout and saw that one of my callouses had been ripped clean off by the texture on the bar.

Diet 8 a.m. Half a Naked juice and a homemade sausage muffin with egg and cheese. 11 a.m. Grilled chicken salad with shaved walnuts and a bottle of Switch. If I ever kick the soda habit for good, I'm going to send the CEO a thank you note. 3 p.m. Banana and water. 8 p.m. Part of a frozen pizza, steamed vegetables.

Strength & ConditioningAfter scolding me and a few other people about shitty pull up form and effort on Monday, Jeff hit us with a workout that looked manageable on the dry-erase board but was a bear two minutes in. 21-15-9, 225# deadlift and pull ups. I did band pull ups for the first round and a half and then switched to jumping pull ups. I finished in something like 14:58.

Skills None.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Today was kind of low key at Throwbacks. Pat seemed annoyed with a couple of guys so I kept my head down and did my work. After we did Fives - you and a partner each do five sets of five takedowns each - me and two other newish guys spent most of an hour working with Aaron Sullivan, an IMPD officer and combat submission wrestler. We worked on the half guard and two submissions off of it. It was good work and I am anxious to apply it. Learn a little, try it out, learn a little, try it out. I feel pretty good today but my shoulders are still trashed from yesterday's CrossFit.

Diet 8 a.m. Two eggs, fruit salad. 10 a.m. Half a tuna sandwich, half a pear. Noon Side salad, lasagna, water. 3 p.m. Half a tuna sandwich, handful of macadamia nuts, almonds, and peanutes. 7 p.m. Po Boy sandwich - smoked sausage and coleslaw - chips, applesauce, soda. Drank lots of water today. 9 p.m. Leftover fruit salad from this morning.

Strength & Conditioning See below.

Skills Worked takedowns and then drilled the half guard and worked two submissions from it: an arm triangle and a kimura.

So busy.

I turned 29 last Friday and it became an unintentional day off. There was no morning CrossFit because everyone did a 5k benefit run during the firefighter's convention and there wasn't enough time for me to get an afternoon workout in before we were supposed to meet family for dinner.

I couldn't work out on Saturday because our agenda was all full up with haircuts (hadn't had one in three months), a meeting with our credit and mortgage counselor, a trip 30 miles north of the city to meet Chloe, a crazy hyper Pug that Amanda wanted us to adopt, then back home to work on freelance stuff before dinner with friends.

Sunday was a mixture of work, rest, and grocery shopping. Turning 29 was anti-climatic. As I told my mom years ago, Christmas and birthdays lose their magic when you stop getting GI Joes. But I am 15 pounds lighter than I was when I turned 28, my on-the-verge-of-requiring-medication blood pressure has dropped, and I went down a pant size. Between that, Amanda, and my burgeoning freelance career, 28 was a good year.


Diet 8 a.m. Fruit salad with yogurt. 11 a.m. Half a tuna sandwich, half an apple. 1 p.m. Half a tuna sandwich, a small orange. 32 ounces of water. 6:30 p.m. McDonald's. Amanda was upset about school, I was completely trashed from CrossFit and stressed out because she was upset - long story short, I do almost all the cooking, and nights like this I don't want to spent 30-45 minutes in the kitchen. Good day otherwise. Another 32 ounces of water. 9 p.m. Popcorn and 100% cranberry juice.

Strength & Conditioning Jeff Chapman looks at the dry erase board and shakes his head. "This is gonna suck," he says. 600 meter run, 20 hanging cleans, 20 pull ups, 25 box jumps, four rounds for time. By the time we started round two he had revised it to be three rounds for time. I did jumping pull ups and box step ups and finished in just over 28 minutes. When everybody was don Jeff demonstrated proper form for the hang cleans and then (more or less) told several of us that our jumping pull ups were bullshit. It wasn't what I wanted to hear after a workout but I can't disagree.

Skills Zilch.

Thursday, April 10, 2008


I had a job interview that lasted until 5 p.m. so I didn't get to the gym until most everyone was wrapping things up. I worked on Muay Thai footwork, shadow boxing, and kicks for a while and then Pat put me through the paces of some BJJ drills. Between my shadow boxing, Muay Thai drills, and these BJJ drills, I can do solo work every day to tune up my skils, excuse me, my SKILLZ.

Diet Low on groceries, short on time. Fast food lunch, fast food dinner.

Strength & Conditioning Zip.

Skills See above. Duh.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Oh, me oh my oh

Busy, busy, busy working on the CrossFit story for FIGHT! as well as getting the print/video interview with Jeff ready to post.

Diet 8 a.m. Fruit salad, part of a burrito. Noon Turkey sandwich, chips, half an apple, cookie, soda. 3 p.m. Handful of peanutes and raisins, water. 9 p.m. Wendy's - I had to work late.

Strength & Conditioning Sweet jesus, CrossFit sucked today. 200 meter run, 20 knees to elbows, 200 meter run, 40 sumo deadlift high pulls, 200 meter run, 60 dumbbell cleans, 200 meter run, 80 squats, 200 meter run, 100 pushups, 200 meter run. I hit the wall during the squats and had trouble focusing afterwards but I pushed through and finished in 29:55. I passed out on the couch after eating breakfast.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

Catchin' Up


Got up and out the door for the 7:15 a.m. CrossFit. 400 meter run, 15 thrusters at 115#, 15 pull ups, three rounds for time. Not to be confused with the push-press, the thruster is a front squat to overhead press. My time was decent, something around 18 minutes, mostly because I didn't quit on the runs.

Diet 8 a.m. Fruit salad, water. Noon Tuna sandwich, chips, two cookies. 3 p.m. Salad with three ounces of chicken, greens, kidney & black beans, green peppers, and a little Ranch dressing. 6 p.m. Handful of macadamia nuts and chocolate covered cashews, multivitamin, two fish oil caps, water.

Strength & Conditioning See above for CrossFit details. I rode my bike to work and home. It's a nice 25 minutes each way and I figure anything that's free and contributes to a healthy lifestyle is worth doing...when it's warm.

Skills Nada, baby.


Felt good today until I spent an hour at the bank dealing with bullshit. If I make a payment online and the money leaves my account but is never received by the payee, where does it go? What is the sound of one hand clapping?

Pat wasn't at the gym tonight so the re-re's ran the group home. The port-o-let that was outside the gym for a few weeks is gone now so it's back to pissing behind the dumpster. I'll have to ask Pat how he feels to get an office and then have it taken away.

Diet 8 a.m. Two eggs sunny side up and fruit salad, multivitamin, two fish oil caps. Pizza. 3 p.m. A small bag of peanuts, macadamia nuts, and chocolate covered almonds. 7 p.m. Steak sandwich, chips, and a pickle. I drank a lot of water today.

Strength & Conditioning No thanks.

Skills I jogged, did 100 jumping jacks and three sets of 10s (sprawl, push up, jumping squats) to warm up. Pat never showed so dudes split up and worked on what they wanted to. In that situation I don't feel like I'll get much out of rolling, so I worked on Muay Thai. Three three-minute rounds of Muay Thai shadow boxing and then about thirty minutes of working on Thai kick technique with Ian Ransburg. That little man kicks hard.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

Workin' for the weekend.

This weekend was two off days diet-wise. We had a lot of wedding stuff to do and I was catching up on sleep for the week which left not a lot of time for food prep. As soon as I finish this entry I am back in the kitchen to get food ready for the week.

I went to Throwbacks yesterday and grappled. I jogged and did my tens to warm up, stretched out, and got in the cage with Pat. Orville stood outside of the cage and gave me instructions while Pat worked with me. We did two five minute rounds and one ten minute round. The last round was rough. I vomited in my mouth at one point - it's really difficult to describe the stresses grappling puts on your body but I was out of breath, nauseated and Pat was grinding his knee into my temple, my jaw, my ribs, my gut. He started covering my nose and mouth, making me fight him off whenever I got lazy.

Friday, April 4, 2008

Day off.

I took a day off work to rest and work on wedding stuff with Amanda, run errands. There is still soreness around my elbows from the Wednesday workout. Tomorrow I've got CrossFit in the morning and MMA in the afternoon, house showings, a meeting about the wedding reception menu, and then we’re getting together with our parents to assemble the invitations. I’m not even doing most of the work and this shit is exhausting.

Diet 8 a.m. I woke up hungry. Baked chicken over greens with green pepper, black and kidney beans, tomato. Noon Indian buffet – salad, curried vegetables and chicken. 7 p.m. Chicken penne pasta with cheese and vegetables, salad, breadsticks, soda. I ate a lot of damn chicken today.

Strength & Conditioning Nada.

Skills See above.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I am wrecked.

I got to bed late last night and I am very sore and very tired because of it. I had to knock out a story for a magazine...and catch "The Ultimate Fighter" season premiere. I did some food prep but didn't get lunch made for today. I have to go out and work tonight and I am considering taking a nap tonight instead of heading to Throwbacks. Actually that's bullshit, I'm going to go do my workout.

Diet Diet Ham and eggs, avocado slices, grapes. Super hungry this morning. Noon Two slices of pizza, water. Still super hungry. 7 p.m. Baked chicken over a large greens salad with green pepper, tomato, kidney and black beans. 9 p.m. Ham sandwich. I had a beer at the bar later. I don't think a Bell's Oberon is in my meal plan buuuuuuuut fuck it.

Strength & Conditioning Jogged to warm up, did my three sets of tens, and shadow boxed three five-minute rounds. Pat wasn't at the gym so everyone was left to their own devices.

Skills I focused on staying in the pocket while shadowboxing - tucking my chin into my shoulder, throwing straight punches, keeping my hands up, bobbing and weaving in, throwing combinations inside and retreating with punches. I worked with Ian Ransburg for a bit on basic Muay Thai footwork and kick mechanics afterwards. It wasn't a particularly rough workout but a few months ago I would have skipped it altogether in favor of rest.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

I shot an interview with Jeff at Indy CrossFit this afternoon. Part of it is for a story I am writing for FIGHT! and part of it is for this blog. I hope to have the video up early next week.

Diet 8 a.m. Fruit salad with a quarter of a melon, strawberries, and grapes. I had half a cup of cottage cheese but the first bite almost made me vom. Noon Burrito and water. 4 p.m. Smoothie from yesterday's leftovers. 7 p.m. Ham sandwich with avocado slices, mashed potatoes. I need to drink more water.

Strength & Conditioning 63 pushups, 63 pullups, 63 dips, 126 double unders. Needless to say, I did not do this workout to prescription. Substitution rules dictate that one double unders can be replaced by three rope jumps, so I did 378 rope jumps. I knocked out the pushups with relative ease, and I got through a dozen pullups and dips before switching to jumping pull ups and situps. My arms and shoulders were just thrashed from Tuesday's MMA workout. I finished in 21:02.

Skills Nada.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Mother of God...

Note to self: When your journalistic sassy pants instincts tell you to blog about how your loss inspired you to work harder, REMEMBER THAT YOUR TRAINER WILL PROBABLY READ IT. Pat absolutely brutalized us today but I made it through more or less intact. Read below for...specificity.

Diet8 a.m. Smoothie with two cups milk, one cup blue berries, two cups strawberries, two tablespoons peanut butter, a handful of cashews. Can't say I was a fan of this mudslide. 10:30 a.m. Half a ham sandwich with one slice of cheese and a quarter of an avocado, half an apple. Noon Slice of pizza and a cup of water. 2:30 p.m. Half a ham sandwich with one slice of cheese and a quarter of an avocado, half an apple. 7:30 p.m. Bacon cheeseburger, small portion of fries, soda. I went off the reservation but I was shaky after the workout and Amanda's parents were buying.

Strength & Conditioning Today's MMA workout consisted of a short jog and tens to warm up - ten sprawls, ten pushups, ten jumping squats. Then it was five three-minute rounds of shadowboxing with knees and sprawls. We did crunches in between rounds. Then we did a five minute round of two minutes of punches, one minute of knees, one minute of ground and pound on a pad. After that we did four sets of 10 kicks on each side and ten jumping squats. Then it was four sets of 25 knees to a body pad and 25 pushups. Then we did five trips across the gym and back doing thrust kicks against a pad, then it was two rounds - I was almost delirious by now so they could have been anywhere from a minute to five minutes in length - of grappling, trying to get out from under the mount in the first round, and fighting off a rear naked choke in the second. As a special treat we finished off the night with 75 squats in a circle and pushups in the round - each guy does one push up all the way around, then each guy does two, so on until everyone works up to 10. The goal was to stay in plank position throughout, but I didn't.

Skills I just focused on breathing and maintaining good form, punching from the pocket, keeping my hands up, keeping my feet moving, and throwing good knees and kicks.

Monday, March 31, 2008

The first day of the rest of my life.

I spent most of yesterday afternoon prepping food for this week. I have a meal plan, I am sticking to it (with a few planned deviations). I have a workout schedule, I am sticking to it.

Diet8 a.m. Breakfast quesadilla - half a green pepper, 1/3 cup onion, 1/3 cup of cheese, 1/3 cup of black beans, two scrambled eggs, two small corn tortillas. 11:30 a.m. Tuna sandwich - one slice of bread, five ounces of tuna with mayo, half an apple. 2:30 p.m. Tuna sandwich - one slice of bread, five ounces of tuna with mayo, half an apple. 8 p.m. Five ounces of baked chicken over two and a half cups of steamed kale, sauteed with onion, garlic, and crushed red pepper. Eight ounces of 100% cranberry juice because I was fiending for sugar. I only drank 64 ounces of water today but I feel pretty good as of writing this.

Strength & Conditioning Jeff at Indy CrossFit was concerned that the bruising on my arm was an indication of a torn bicep but after talking for a bit we concluded that it wasn't a major problem. We're no Docs, but Jeff thought the minimal discomfort and full range of motion indicated it was just a really...really...really...really...really horrible bruise. I'll post pics tomorrow.

We did a 21-15-9 today - squats (135#), burpees, and 400 meter run. I kept up a good pace and finished it in 16:38. I pushed the last 100 meters - it would have been a sprint if I had any legs left. I talked to a friend who watched my bout last Thursday. She told me that I "didn't have the fight" in me. She said I looked calm, casual. There is some truth to that. I need to stoke the fire in my belly.

Skills Nada.

Sunday, March 30, 2008


"You went out there and decided that you were losing that fight," John Eckles said. I had to admit that he was right. I felt good in the first round but I was tentative in the second and third. I didn't do what I have been trained to do. I didn't do what I know I can do.

The first round was a toss up. I felt like I landed at least as many scoring punches as he did if not more. Round two I started slugging more and round three I just didn't do what I have been training to do. I started feeling emotions welling up when the doctor gave me his spiel about the symptoms of concussions. I made a beeline for the lockerroon and fell apart.

I was overcome with a million different shades of disappointment. Disappointment that I lost. Disappointment that I didn't fight up to my ability, that I didn't win for my student Moises, for Amanda, for my friends who came to watch. I felt like I disappointed my trainers and the guys I work out with.

Pat McPherson and Josh O'Brien made their way to the locker room and hung out with me for a bit. Pat talked about keeping it in perspective and told me that I should remember that getting in the ring at all distinguishes me even from most guys who train martial arts and that the experience, the process, and the lessons learned are what I should remember. Josh told me the he didn't last a full round in his first ammy fight. It made me laugh but it didn't make me feel better.

I cried off and on for the next two days. It's weird considering how casually I dismiss so many happenings in my life. I try to maintain a Buddhist-like, "shit happens" outlook but I worked harder in the last six months than I have worked for anything and coming up short hurt bad. The loss was a character-builder for sure, and I have made several conclusion in the wake of it.

I am in better shape now than at any point since high school but it's not enough. I need to buckle down on my diet, get more consistent with my training, and be fanatical about rest and taking care of myself. I spent part of today prepping food for a one-week Zone meal plan. It's recommended by the peeps at CrossFit and I think I need some portion control in my life. The meal plan focuses a lot on particular food combinations/nutrient ratios which I am curious about as well. I am back to the three days of CrossFit, three days of MMA routine as of tomorrow.

This project will not be constrained by an arbitrary time limit. I'd really like to do this all in a year, wrap it up with a bow and move on, but that's not how life works. My goals have changed since I started this project, I've changed. The story was an excuse to immerse myself in the type of martial arts training I've always wanted to do but managed to find a reason not to. I want to become a good fighter, a skilled martial artist, and a better, credible instructor. If that means that I fight four, five, six more USA Boxing matches and pushing back my pro-MMA debut, fine. If that means I spend a year or more on my grappling before my pro-MMA fight, fine. If that means I fight in half a dozen Muay Thai smokers before my pro-MMA debut, fine. Not only do I want to see this this project through, I want to do it successfully. I want to win for myself, for my bride-to-be, for my gyms, my family. Of course time is my enemy - I turn 29 next weekm but I think that if I bust ass I could still pull this off in a reasonable amount of time.

Losing sucks. Back to the drawing board.

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Step one in the competition phase.

I will post reactions later.

Thursday, March 27, 2008


This one's for Pat McPherson.

Evolutionary biologists, take note - this is justification for human facial hair.

Remains of the day.

I slept well, I feel good, and the only thing getting me down is the fact that I had to shave my beard. I'll update this entry with tonight's results as soon as I get home. I'll try to have the video up by Friday night.

Diet 8:30 a.m. Small bowl of oatmeal, two cups of green tea, fish oil caps, multivitamin. Noon Steak sandwich, fries, soda. On the run. 5:30 p.m. Not hungry. Mild twinge in my stomach. No butterflies or jitters, just the feeling you get when see an ugly situation unfolding slowly enough to respond to it consciously.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

One day to go.

I am fighting at Golden Gloves tomorrow and according to Pat I am peaking. I feel good physically, mentally, emotionally. Today I shadowboxed six rounds just to get a sweat going and visualize the fight. All I know is that my opponent is tall, but I've sparred with tall guys lately so I am not sweating it. Chances are he won't hit as hard as I do, as frequently as I do, and from as many angles as I do. I have sparred almost exclusively with guys who had a height or speed advantage or both in the last month so I think I'm solid. As long as I keep my eyes in the right place, trust my defenses, keep my feet moving and don't listen to my brain when it tells me to quit, I'll be fine.

It's an appropriate time to reflect now, six months in to what is supposed to be a 12 month project. While I am still battling with emotional eating and making bad/convenient food choices, my overall fitness level is off the charts compared to what it was last summer. It's obvious that I need to work harder on my diet and cardio in the next six months to shave off more weight. Then it'll be a lot of jits, a lot of Muay Thai, and a lot of sparring to get ready for grappling matches, Muay Thai smokers, and my ultimate goal.

Diet 8 a.m. Two cups of green tea, a small bowl of oatmeal, two fish oil caps, a multivitamin. Noon Two kosher hot dogs, chips, carrots, some small cookies. 8 p.m. Frozen pizza, steamed broccoli.

Strength & Conditioning Six rounds of shadow boxing.

Skills Concentrated on staying "in the pocket," tucked behind my shoulders when I throw punches, keeping my feet moving, and throwing punches in bunches.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Two days and counting.

Bruce Lee wrote and talked at length about how martial artists should be in peak physical condition. While few people have the genetics, time, and discipline to achieve the level of conditioning Lee did, I am starting to understand the value of being in better than average shape. While it's totally possible for a slow, overweight, sickly person to practice martial arts, that person cannot be a fighter. The distinction is an important one. It's true that street defense and ring sports are two very different expressions of martial skill, but I don't think that you can do one without preparing for the other. You can't seriously pursue a fighting art without fighting, and you can't fight well (in a gym or ring/cage) for any period of time without being in superior physical condition. My ideal is the martial artist/fighter - the person who has advanced skills, a deep philosophical and mechanical understanding of what it is he or she is doing, and has developed the ability to express those skills successfully through frequent full contact training or competition.

Diet 8 a.m. Ham sandwich. Money's tight, we're down to leftovers and scrounging in the cubboard, haha. 11 a.m. Banana. 1:30 p.m. Chicken curry over rice. 4:30 p.m. Apple. 7 p.m. Steak burrito and soda at Qdoba. I've upped my water intake back to at least a half gallon a day.

Strength & Conditioning Nada.

Skills Three rounds of shadow boxing, focusing on throwing lots of punches. Two rounds of focus pad work with Pat. My back kept locking up but I felt like gold afterwards.