Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Weird Week

It's been a weird week. I stepped away from training for a few days for several reasons. First and foremost I wanted to give my rib some time to mend. It wasn't excruciating just walking around but pulling/pushing/lifting/turning was way uncomfortable and I didn't want to aggravate it before going to Cincinnati. That's another thing - I leave tomorrow to work on a story for FIGHT! in Ohio. I'll be gone Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. I also had to crank out a story on short notice for MMA Junkie and keep chugging on a second assignment for FIGHT! I was gearing up for a fight that got cancelled so now I have to wait until March. On top of all that I got some shitty news at work and wasn't offer the other job I interviewed for so my spirits have been low. I've been trying to help out more with wedding planning and catching up on sleep. This project is become a very long grind but I've made a good deal of progress - my cardio is getting better, my endurance is improving, I'm stronger, and my walk-around weight is 10-12 pounds less than when I started. Not Hydroxycut commercial-like results, but as I said in the beginning, this is about a long-term lifestyle overhaul, not short-term results.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Inexplicably Draggin' Ass

A few of us jog around the mat warming up and Pat starts badmouthing some of the guys' upcoming opponents, pauses, looks at me and says, "And fuck whoever you're fighting in February." Pat's starting to expect more from me now which is both good and bad. My capacity for work is expanding but I have inexplicable bad days when I am just dragging ass in spite of a good night's sleep and decent food. My rib hurts bad.

Diet 6 a.m. Granola bar, water. 10 a.m. LeanCuisine rice & beans. Noon Indian buffet - greens, rice, curried vegetables, and bread. Delish. 4 p.m. Banana, water. 6:30 p.m. Amanda and I met an old friend and his wife for pizza, mahfacka.

Conditioning Forty-five minutes on the treadmill at the Y, three rounds of sparring at Throwbacks, a couple rounds of bag work.

Skills Working a lot on crossing the gap against bigger fighters, throwing tighter punches inside, throwing punches in bunches.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

I am Neal's complete lack of interest.

Fighting is interesting and challenging. It stimulates my mind, taxes my body, and strains my spirit. Right now, my job does only the latter. Working in an office has always chafed me but it's getting harder and harder to tell the white lies that help you get by and be polite about all the stupid shit that happens. Hour meetings drag on for what feels like days and all I can think is, "what the fuck am I doing here?" I'm over "career advancement," I just want to get experience, network, and sock enough money away to walk away from cubicle life.

Weighed in at 249# today.

Diet8 a.m. Two eggs, two sausage patties, toast, half a Naked Juice. Noon LeanCuisine rice and beans, side salad, water. Yeah, I'm eating LeanCuisine now. WTF. 5 p.m. Banana, peanuts.

No strenght & conditioning or MMA workouts today. Rest. Mmmmm, reeeeest.

Monday, January 21, 2008

"Our lives are starting to revolve around MMA."

I could tell Amanda was upset when I got off the phone. I'd made tentative plans for us to go watch the UFC 80 with a couple we're friends with, and I had previously discussed it with her. I'm smart enough to limit the unilateral decisions I make now that I am engaged, but I didn't think it was a huge deal. Amanda likes watching the fights (she used to train Muay Thai) as long as I answer any questions she has and she likes the couple we'd be hanging out with. A long silent stretch was followed by a teary discussion about how I am so busy with work and training that our social life and relationship are an afterthought. Between my training, blogging, freelance writing, and TV viewing habits, "Our lives are starting to revolve around MMA," she said. It is embarassing to hear your fiance tell you that she needs a little romance and excitement. Turns out that I dropped a ball during my juggling act and didn't even realize it.

The plan for this week is three-a-days (Crossfit/YMCA/Throwbacks) on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and Satuday, YMCA on Sunday, and off days on Tuesday and Thursday.

Weighed in at 251# this morning.

Diet 6 a.m. Half a bottle of Naked Juice, granola bar. 8 a.m. Small bowl of granola. Noon Meatball sandwich, chips, salad, water. 4:15 p.m. Banana, handful of peanuts. 7:30 p.m. Spaghetti, marinara, steamed vegetables, Italian bread.

Conditioning Twenty minutes at Indy CrossFit, an hour on the treadmill at the YMCA, four rounds of sparring at Throwbacks, two rounds on the double-end bag and 100 reps of a four punch combination on the heavy bag.

Skills Worked with Keith Palmer on closing the gap, boxing inside, and counter punching with taller opponents. And we talked a little about how some of the things he showed me are not going to transfer to MMA.

I am tentatively scheduled to fight (ammy boxing) on Feb. 16, so I guess I am officially in camp starting today.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Reverse Lay 'n' Pray

Lay 'n' Pray is the term fight fans use to describe grapplers who get a reasonably dominant position o the ground and do just enough to avoid getting stood up but never push the action. Today after four rounds of boxing sparring, we drilled submissions a little and then we rolled. Twenty minutes in I began employing what I call the reverse Lay 'n' Pray. This is where I lay on my back and try to control a much more experienced MMA fighter while he tries to pass my guard and apply various submissions. It didn't really work but I was so damn gassed it was a struggle just to fight off submission attempts.

On a side note, after reading Ken Pavia's Lifefood cleansing fast journal, I have come to the conclusion that A) 99% of colon-cleansing therapies are phoney baloney, and B) regular jiu jitsu training will keep you regular in spite of yourself. All the torqueing and compression of the abdomen mechanically stimulates digestion. Hard training literally kicks the crap out of you.

More details tomorrow.




Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Somebody get me some Gold Bond!

I've been in the gym a lot and I have been wearing the sweat suit a lot which means that I've spent a lot of time in wet clothes. Mama always said I had thunder thighs, and those ham hocks rub together when I am working out. I developed some irritation or a rash near my groin and I chalked it up to sensitive skin, wet clothes, and friction. Over several days the discomfort became constant and I decided to go to Walgreen's and get cortisone cream or something. I talked to the pharmacist and told him that I spend a lot of time in the gym walking, biking, kickboxing and wrestling and he broke the news to me: friction plus moisture = jock itch. What the fuck. I've had athlete's foot, I've had eczema, I've had sun poisoning; I am no stranger to skin problems. But jock itch? Proud to say I had my cherry until now. Before I stepped away from the counter he said, "That's a good way to get in shape. I saw there was a firefighter from Indianapolis on one of them UCF shows. Fought some Serra guy. I don't know much but I thought he got robbed."

I bought some cream and a pair of compression shorts so that my ox-legs don't rub together anymore when I am working out.

Diet 6 p.m. Half a Naked juice, granola bar. 9 a.m. Two slices of leftover pizza, 6 oz of cranberry juice. Too drained to cook. Noon Curried chickpeas over a mixed greens salad, two cookies, soda. 7 p.m. Half a frozen pizza, steamed broccoli, water.

Conditioning 6:30 a.m. Eight push press (95#), 12 bodyweight squats, 15 situps. Eleven sets in 20 minutes. 7:15 a.m. Forty-five minutes on the treadmill at the YMCA.

Skills Nada, but now that I am girded in my fight against jock itch I will go to Throwbacks tomorrow and Friday night, and Saturday afternoon.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Treadmill Sauna

Not much to report today. Just trying to work the plan, make good decisions, and trust that things will work out long term. I'm not sure if I am talking about my job hunt or MMA training, but it's applicable either way.

Diet 10 a.m. Half a Power C Naked juice. Noon Bag of grapes and water. 1 p.m. Spaghetti, marinara, three meatballs, salad, half a dozen baby carrots, two cookies, water. 6 p.m. PB&J, chips, chicken noodle soup, more delicious water. 9 p.m. I wasn't planning on eating anything after my trip to the Y but I had a weird feeling. Not hunger pangs, not the dizziness of plunging blood sugar, just total emptiness. I felt like a sponge that had been rung out. I ate two pices of pizza and a small fountain Coke.

Conditioning One hour on the treadmill in a vinyl suit.

Skills Nada.

Monday, January 14, 2008


Between Friday's CrossFit workout (handstand pushups, pull ups, burpees) and sparring/focus pad work that afternoon, my elbows are a little locked up. The discomfort and tightness is reminiscent of how I felt a long time ago when I would curl more than I should have. Need to ice them down tonight. I'll probably restrict today's work to my MMA workout. There is a thin line between working through pain and aggravating injuries, letting them linger longer than they should. I have to walk a much longer road to become an athlete than the guys I am working out with. I have to make sure that nicks and bruises don't pile up and become more serious and debilitating injuries.

I weighed in at 248.5# this morning.

Felt out of sorts all day. A lot of career stuff is up in the air, good things are happening and bad things are happening and everyone has contradictory commentary on each twist and turn. Between job stuff, wedding stuff, band stuff, freelancing stuff, my head was in a fog.

Diet 8:30 a.m. Two pieces of toast, two eggs, three small sausage links, two pineapple slices, orange juice. 11:30 a.m. Aloo ghobi (curried cauliflower and potatoes), a piece of bread, brownie. 3 p.m. Peanuts and a banana. 7 p.m. Jamaican patty, red beans and rice, fried plaintains. 9 p.m. Two scoops of mint chocolate chip ice cream.

Conditioning None.

Skills None.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Time Flies

"You're losing weight," my friend said. "I can see your belt buckle." It's rude, it's funny, it's true. My food choices have been a little better, I'm back about one soda a week, and I am doing 45 min. to an hour of light cardio five to seven times a week in addition to my CrossFit and MMA workouts. It's taxing, but it's getting results. I've dropped eight real pounds since New Year's. It may be water weight; all I know is that my weight is dropping by about a half pound a day. I am at 250 right now, 220 isn't that far away if I keep losing weight at the rate of three to four pounds a week.

I created a meal plan for this week, taking into account three primary meals as well as pre-CrossFit feedings, afternoon and post-MMA workout snacks. It was a pain in the ass, but failing to plan is planning to fail. My sleep schedule has been better, as has my quality of sleep. Breathe Right strips were one of the stocking stuffers my girlfriend gave me for Christmas and I must say they work wonders. I have narrow nasal passages, a deviated septum, and lifelong allergies and sinus problems. An ear/nose/throat doc told me that I could have surgery to carve out my sinus cavities and brace my septum so that I could, you know, breathe through my nose like a normal person. The only catch was that I'd have to get a hobby that didn't include getting punched and or kicked in the face. I had resigned myself to a lifetime of mouth breathing until I put the strip on. I cycle so much more oxygen when I wear them that I feel like I'm on dope. I sleep so much better that I wonder if I've been oxygen deprived my whole life. I'm a pretty bright guy, but I could be a frickin' astrophysicist if my parents put infant sized strips on me in the crib.

I sparred four rounds with Jake O'Brien on Friday, strictly boxing. It was an...educational experience. I try to blog at least every other day, but things have been crazy with personal upheaval involving my and my fiances jobs. Hopefully things will settle down soon and I will be able to do what I intended to with this blog.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008


My knee still hurt bad but there is more mobility in the joint than there was when I went to sleep. I slept in (10 hours - booyah!) and had to rush to work without prepping any food. At the very least I avoided soda today. Small victories, right?

Ice, compression, elevation and liniment on the knee again tonight. Hopefully swelling will subside soon. There is pain when I put weight in it but it's just a deep bruise. No fluid build up or anything. There is no reason I can't lift and train on it tomorrow.

Diet 11 a.m. Gatorade. 12:30 p.m. Two slices of pepperoni, two breadsticks, water. What can I say? NY style pizza is like crack to me. 7 p.m. Indian takeout - channa masala, aloo ghobi, vegetable pakoras, naan, water.

Conditioning Forty-five minute walk at the Y in ye olde vinyl suit.

Skills Nada.


Showed up for the 6 a.m. workout at Indy CrossFit: locked door. Turns out that the session was moved to 6:30 a.m. Looks like I should read Jeff's blog once in a while.

Diet5:30 a.m. Banana, granola bar, water. 8 a.m. Yogurt, grapes, water. 11 a.m. Homemade aloo ghobi (curried potatos and cauliflower) over greens, two small cookies, Switch soda (carbonated fruit juice, no sugar added). 4 p.m. Stir-fried chicken over greens. 7 p.m. Beef Stuffed grilled burrito from Taco Bell. Not a great choice, but I was starving, I was on the run, and I had run out of prepared food.

Conditioning Brutal CrossFit workout. 21-15-9 of Sumo Deadlift High Pull and wallball broken up with an 1100 meter run. Afterwards I walked for 45 minutes at the YMCA in a vinyl sweatsuit. Afternoon MMA workout at Throwbacks.

Skills Worked a lot of Muay Thai. Clinch, kick defense, kick combinations. Cracked my knee against my partner's during kick sparring and I could hardly bend my leg. I did the whole ice, elevation, compression bit and added some Thai liniment to the mix before I went to sleep. Kept working on a book about Gene Tunney that Amanda got me for Christmas.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

Friday and Saturday


I had to work early so I pushed my workouts back to the afternoon. I was pretty productive and took off early, ran some errands with Amanda and then hit the gym. Jeff changed the name of the gym from Shok Fitness to Indy CrossFit, saying that "CrossFit is what we do and we do it extremely well." It was a gut check kind of workout and I pushed through it. I have to be the hammer not the nail.

Diet 7 a.m. Granola bar, banana, water. 11:30 a.m. Leftover jambalaya and greens, Switch soda (100% carbonated fruit juice, no sugar added). 4 p.m. Qdoba chicken burrito, water. 9 p.m. 8" pizza, breadsticks, water.

Conditioning Indy CrossFit workout - 10 jump rope double unders, 10 dumb bell thrusters at 45# per hand, max sets in 20 minutes. I got eight sets in. I'd never tried double unders successfully but now I am confident that I could rip out sets of them much faster than I did last night. Afterwards I picked up Amanda and we went to the YMCA. Thirty minutes on the treadmill, 30 on a stationary bike in a vinyl sweat suit.

Skills Nada.


Slept in again but felt good when I got up. I hadn't sparred in more than a month because of my hand and holiday craziness. There's no replacement for sparring, so when I wanted to call it a day after two rounds, our sparring coach at Self Defense Systems, John Eckles, told me to gear up and go another two rounds. Turns out the third round was my best. The fourth round was ugly, but more

Diet Noon Two breadsticks, mixed greens salad with peanuts and apple slices and a little honey mustard dressing. Water to drink. 2:30 p.m. Granola bar, two small oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, water. 4:30 p.m. One piece of beef jerky, Gatorade. 7 p.m. Stir-friend chicken over mixed green salad, baked potstickers. 10 p.m. Popcorn and lemonade. Hey, we went to see Juno, and you can't watch movies without popcorn. Even after the movie I felt clean inside and out. Nothing I ate today made me feel bloated or slow or unclean. I think that's due equally to what I ate and the portions I ate.

Conditioning Ten three-minute rounds of boxing work: three rounds of shadow boxing, three on the heavy bag, and four rounds of sparring. After I got home Amanda and I went to the Y and did 30 minutes on the treadmill and 30 minutes on the stationary bike.

Skills Worked on hand spead and keeping my defenses up while during shadow boxing and heavy bag work. I sparred all four rounds with Kevin Mat, a fast mofo who fights much better in the gym than he has in the ring. He won Golden Gloves a couple years back but has been a little passive as his competition improved. He's a counter fighter but doesn't do enough to establish control of the ring or put his opponent down - even though he and everyone he trains with knows he can. It was good to spar with him and get absolutely peppered with punches. I will not face anyone nearly as fast, and it will be good to tighten up my defenses and get in the habit of always moving and changing my targets and angles of attack.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


I talk all that shit about consistency and today? Today I sleep in, rush to work without food, get a cheeseburger and soda for lunch, pizza before doing second shift work on a story at a nightclub, and jambalaya when I got home. Gotta do better tomorrow.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Back on the wagon.

Jeff told me today that I could be one of the best CrossFitters at the gym if I overcame my mental blocks and trained with consistency. Consistency is the key. The holidays completely knocked me out of my routine and it's not like my schedule was ironclad before Christmas. More consistent follow-through is on my resolution shortlist.

As corny as New Year's resolutions are, I can't help but buy into the spirit of renewal just a little bit. A hippy-dippy relative gave me a really extensive astrology workout for my birthday last spring and it said (surprise) that 28 was going to be a big year for me. I laughed it off at the time but I've made big strides in my career, got engaged, cut a lot of dead weight from my life and got in over my head with this project. At my current pace I'll be in better shape on my 29th birthday than probably any previous year, I have a happy home life, my financial situation isn't so apocalyptic - I could go on. Point is, I made a handful of resolutions, most of which are geared towards finishing this project with a bang. Consistency in carrying those resolutions out will determine if it ends with a bang or a fizzle.

Diet 5:30 a.m. Granola bar, orange, water. 8 a.m. Homemade Padd Thai - tofu, egg, peanuts, and rice noodles. 1 p.m. Bowl of chicken noodle soup. 5 p.m. Granola bar, water. 8:30 p.m. Pizza, breadsticks, steamed vegetables, water.

Conditioning Shok Fitness in the morning, two light cardio sessions at the YMCA.

Skills None.