Workout of the Day

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If you’ve ever started a campfire on a cold, breezy night in the mountains, you’re well aware that it’s much easier to keep a fire going than it is to start it in the first place. The same is true of your training habits and lifestyle choices.

There may be times where it seems like a week off is the best thing you could do for yourself (“I’m so sore and tired, I need a break”), or when a reprieve from the mindful nutrition and sleep habits seems like it will give you renewed energy and commitment to your choices (“I’ve worked hard at this, I’ve earned some free days”), or when things get so busy that it seems like training is the last thing you should spend time on (“life’s too crazy right now, I need a few months off”). Sometimes, you may even be correct that a little time off will do you good.

But much like letting your campfire go out and having to restart it, understand that momentum is a powerful tool at your disposal. It’s far easier to continue to fuel a fire than to repeatedly start it all over again.

Do you let your fire die out every time you hit bumps in the road? Do you relinquish your momentum as soon as you get the fire roaring because you’ve “earned it”? Sometimes, keeping the fire going is the most important choice, even if it means you’re fueling it with twigs for a little while.

- PS


8/16/19

  • AMRAP 20

    • 8 unbroken C2B pull-ups

    • 16 unbroken T2B

    • 24 unbroken ring dips

    • 32 unbroken pistols (16 R, 16 L)

  • *every time you break a set, complete 8 burpees


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While this may come as a surprise, fitness is a game that favors the beginner. Imagine chiselling a statue from a large block of stone. The first steps in the process are the simplest, fastest, and yield the most significant change. Huge pieces of stone can be hacked away with brute force, and what started as a shapeless block quickly takes form as an outline of the intended figure. This is the progress available to the beginner. As a blank slate, large changes can take place simply and easily.

What follows is where the challenge picks up and the details become the focus. No longer can large pieces of stone be hacked away -- instruments must be geared towards precision, and it takes a steady hand, more time, and progressively greater attention to the minute details. The upside is that this stage provides fertile grounds for endless development. But it is hard.

I can’t say whether it is better to be a beginner or at a stage beyond that. Each has its challenges and rewards. It is frustrating to be a beginner in an unfamiliar realm, but the fast, sweeping progress is a satisfying reward, and the game favors your body’s readiness to learn and grow. For the intermediate and advanced trainee, progress slows, but new avenues of specificity emerge, and progress is that much sweeter as each inch is hard-fought and hard-earned. Wherever you are in your journey, know that there is more to come. Relish in it!

- PS


8/15/19

  • Good morning - 5x5

Then...

  • For time:

    • 800m run

    • 40 alt DB snatch (50/35)

    • 400m run

    • 20 alt DB snatch

    • 200m run

    • 10 alt DB snatch


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I would like to encourage you to separate the “feeling” of your training from the value and outcome of the training. Put another way, training doesn’t need to feel hard, nasty, brutal, crushing, or any other intense adjective for it to be effective.

There are certainly some elements of fitness which will, by necessity, evoke discomfort. You’re not going to develop your stamina, for example, without diving headfirst into some training that has all of the classic yucky workout feelings. But the marker of a “good” or “bad” workout (useless terms in the first place) is not how much sweat your produce, how long you feel the need to lie on the floor afterwards, or how much your muscles burn. Those are byproducts of some types of training, not a currency for valuable training.

Rather than valuing your training on a scale of how much sweat you produced or how much you considered throwing up in the bushes, consider:

What was the focus of the training? (Strength, balance, speed, endurance, specific skills, etc.)

Did your efforts align with the focus? (Or did you neglect the intended focus in favor of what you believe it should feel like?)

How does the training fit into the bigger picture program? (Not every day should focus on the same thing.)

Can you and/or your coach account for the intent of the training? (Or are you pulling exercises out of a hat and cobbling them together in pursuit of a feeling?)

Some workouts will feel yucky and brutal and whatever else, but don’t mistake the byproduct for the intent. We’re here to improve, not chase an arbitrary feeling.

- PS


8/12/19

  • Hang squat clean - 1,1,1,1,1

Then...

  • For 10 minutes, for quality:

    • 12 goblet side step-ups (6/leg)

    • 12 SL RDL (6/leg)


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It’s hard to fix a movement fault you can’t feel. If your coach tells you, for example, that you’re running with your foot pronated and externally rotated, but you have no idea what it feels like to have your foot pronated and externally rotated (much less what if feels like to keep your foot neutral), any improvement is going to be by chance, and likely won’t stick. Abstract awareness of your movement faults is one thing (“I am aware that I pronate”). Sensory awareness of those movement faults (“I can tell that I am pronating right now”) is your key to fixing them.

Much of the drilling we do focuses exactly on this. In the context of running a 5k time trial, you’re unlikely to suddenly earn awareness of your pronation and fix it. But when we can take away the fatigue of a longer run, the performance demands of a time trial, and create a drill that focuses exclusively on maintaining a neutral foot position, you’re a lot more likely to get a sense of what’s really going on.

The workout written on the board may look like the meat and potatoes of a day of training, but it’s an incomplete dish if you disregard the drilling that accompanies it.

There’s no room to show up and go through the motions. Tune in, and you’ll come away with a better understanding of how you move, and what you can do to improve it!

- PS


8/9/19

  • 800m run time trial

Then...

  • 5x50m sled drag (AHAP)


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While the first inclination after a tweak, twinge, or other “something may not be right” signal your body sends may be to drop everything and pull the plug on any movement for fear of making things worse, this may be a misguided and detrimental approach.

It goes without saying that catastrophic injury deserves vigilance and caution. You’re not going to do yourself any favors trying to walk off a spinal injury or a broken ankle. For everything else though, you may be surprised that movement -- constrained, considered, and careful movement -- may be your best course to healing.

The body responds to injury with inflammation, a healthy and natural process. But when coupled with immobilization (the “R” in the classic “RICE” formula of Rest, Ice, Compression, and Elevation), this inflammation escalates and becomes counter-productive. Stiffness ensues, blood flow is limited, muscles atrophy and the cycle deepens.

On the other hand, gentle movement through appropriate ranges of motion increases blood flow, bringing new nutrients and flushing out waste, encourages protein synthesis to repair damaged muscles, and keeps neuromuscular connections strong.

The adage that “movement is medicine” rings true in the case of sickness and health, acute and chronic. Don’t shut down such an integral part of your built-in repair system when you need it most!

- PS


8/8/19

  • Squat snatch - 3,3,3

Then...

  • AMRAP 10

    • 5 squat snatch (135/95)

    • 10 pull-ups


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It’s easy to fall into the trap of blaming the expectation or standard before you turn the lens on yourself. A standard which you cannot meet or exceed may seem excessive, and so the seeming solution is to lower this standard closer to your level. While this could be true in some cases -- perhaps a sales quota that is damagingly unrealistic -- it’s an open invitation for a race to the bottom.

The intention of standards is not to set a bare minimum, but to elevate every player in the game. Like a price-war between competing restaurants that leaves both with rock-bottom margins, haphazard cost-cutting and diminishing quality, and no vision of how to excel, there’s nothing to be gained from setting the bar lower because of your present standing. The standard does not exist to provide you with a convenient pat on the back.

Look around you: Where in your life are the standards damagingly low? Where are they challengingly high? I can assure you more growth will come from one over the other.

- PS


8/7/18

  • Goblet cossack squats - 4x16 (8/leg)

Then...

  • EMOM 15

    • 1) 30s max cal row

    • 2) 30s max Russian twist (45/25)

    • 3) 30s max 5m side shuffle


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How many contingencies stand between you and the process(es) that will take you towards your next goal? It’s safe to say that the greater this number is, the less likely you are to progress any time soon.

Put another way, I would hardly say you have an effective plan to prepare for a marathon, for example, if you’re training plan looked something like this:

“I’ll go for a run every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday morning if I feel alert and energetic enough when my alarm goes off.”

“If that doesn’t work, I’ll do some shorter interval runs after work if I don’t have to pick up the kids and if the weather isn’t too hot, cold, or wet.”

“I’ll do cadence drills before running if I have the time and I can think of some good drills.”

“I’ll get a personal trainer to work on my strength if it’s cheap.”
“I’ll go to yoga on Saturday mornings if my friend is planning to be there too.”

If your plan is resting on a tower of cobbled together “ifs,” it should be no surprise when it doesn’t magically come together before your eyes. Every “if” is a convenient off-ramp from accountability. The more straightforward your road, the simpler it will be to follow.

- PS


8/6/19

  • For time:

    • 10,9,8…2,1 reps deadlift (315/205)

    • 100,90,80...20,10 reps DUs

  • *35min time cap


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No Boundaries is excited to announce our newest specialty offering: the Mobility Specialty Clinic. This crash course clinic will dive into the heart of mobility -- why it’s important and what it actually is (hint: it’s not just stretchiness) -- and will take a look at how a complete movement practice involves specialized exercises to address weaknesses and imbalances.

Participants can expect to engage in hands-on practice with mobility drills, learn how mobility and movement patterns affect your performance, function, and injury risk, how to assess and address your movement limitations, and what tools you can use to address them and keep yourself “in the game” for the long run.

Stretchy or stiff, new or seasoned athlete, casual or competitive, this clinic is for you. Expect to walk away better informed and equipped to positively change your performance and function.

This month we kick off the first of our Mobility Specialty Clinics, which will be available as separate 90-minute clinics, each focusing on a specific region of the body. The first season of the Mobility Clinic will cover the big two -- the shoulders and the hips. The Shoulder Mobility Clinic will be held on Saturday, August 24th, and the Hip Mobility Clinic on Saturday, September 28th, from 9:15-10:45am.

Pricing for non-members is $40 to register for one clinic, $75 to register for both.

Pricing for members is $35 to register for one clinic, $65 to register for both.

Sign-ups are live, and spots are limited. Register now for the first clinic to reserve your spot!

RESERVE YOUR SPOT

- PS


8/5/19

  • Every 4 mins for 20 mins, for quality:

    • 3 bar muscle-ups

    • 6 box jumps (as high as possible)

    • 9 plyo push-ups

    • 12 jumping lunges (6/leg)

Then...

  • In 5 minutes, accumulate as much time in an L-sit as possible


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While the legend Roger Murtaugh may be justified in saying he’s “getting too old for this shit,” it turns out there’s no such thing as getting too old to lift weights. In fact, nearly the opposite is true: lifting weights as you age could be one of the most valuable choices for your function and longevity.

There’s volumes of research to throw around providing evidence of the value of resistance training as well as high intensity aerobic training for the elderly, but the crux of the argument is this: primary markers of aging and of declining health (muscle atrophy, decreased mitochondrial density, decreased insulin sensitivity, etc.) are all improved with strenuous physical training. One study examined changes in these three markers in both young and old participants, and found that just 12 weeks of combined resistance training increased insulin sensitivity, increased lean muscle mass, and improved mitochondrial capacity a whopping 69%! For reference, the same metric in the younger group improved by 49%.

(You can read more on the study HERE.)

The takeaway is clear. Maybe you get too old for cotton candy, all-nighters, or saying the word “rad” at some point, but you’re never too old for lifting weights.

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