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PeteBDawg's Third Journal

Discussion in 'Fitness Journals' started by PeteBDawg, Jan 31, 2018.

  1. PeteBDawg

    PeteBDawg Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2004
    Likes Received:
    I started my first journal here when I was 23 years old.

    I started my second journal here when I was 25, when I started working for a new employer who blocked my access to this website from my work computer.

    I'm now 37. So a lot has happened. I've had a lot of ups and downs that I've talked about elsewhere - notably I got really into Crossfit for about 4 years - competed a bit and everything (not on the regional level at all, but locally and the Opens), I ran two of those 36-hour overnight relays, and I did a whole bunch of obstacles courses races, including the season-ending Spartan Beast in Vermont twice.

    During all this, I met my fiance (to become my wife in September), and we love doing active things together. Getting in with this website at 23 really transformed my life in a whole bunch of ways.

    But of course, the "local culmination" of this chapter of the narrative was a bad injury that was diagnosed differently depending on which of my doctors or PTs you talked to -- the PT I trust the most said it was actually a sacroiliac joint problem caused by an unusual imbalance, overuse and trauma during crossfit that usually doesn't happen to men - that I had literally dislocated the bones in my pelvis. My orthopedist said it was a possible herniated disc in my lower back, but that rehabbing it in PT was the right call regardless, and it wasn't worth doing other tests. My primary care physician told me that lifting weights as you get older is not worth it, and I should just quit doing squats entirely regardless of how I was hurt.

    The main symptoms were sciatic nerve pain and spasms in my back and legs. There were times I couldn't walk, and a lot of pain (it's been about 3 years and I still have at least some pain in it most days - but welcome to 37). The main thing that seems to be working is maintaining flexibility and care for my piriformis - I may be one of the unlucky ones for whom the sciatic nerve runs through the piriformis (which is a debatable point of anatomy that my doctors disagree on), meaning that whenever my piriformis gets super tight and spasm-y, I get additional bad nerve pain and spasms up and down my back and left leg.

    Somewhat needless to say, this whole experience has taken a negative toll on my fitness. I've put on weight, I've gotten gun-shy at the gym, I've been much more scared in general. It's hurt the trust I have in my body.

    So, the last year or so, with the conclusion of my PT and my return to baseline "health" I've been working on getting that going again.

    We left crossfit and joined a commercial gym that was actually really great - an athletic club in an old warehouse that wasn't too expensive, but had a lot of room for barbell work, kettlebells and barbells, floor work, TRX and plyometrics, so I could design my own workouts and take my time with them - able to make sure I keep my form in good shape and stop when I feel pain or something goes wrong.

    Gradually, over about six months, I regained my flexibility, worked on and regained my squat depth (just with bodyweight at first), and built up my baseline strength again.

    I've decided to switch from back squats to front squats on a permanent basis - anything that throws off my pelvic tilt under load is dangerous with my injury history. So I am especially not doing any low-bar back squats, and I'm doing front squats since it's harder to hold on to a rep if your form starts decaying and easier to bail.

    I've kept deadlifting but I cut the weight way down and pay a lot of attention to my posture, flexibility, bracing and hamstring load. Deadlifting has given me a lot less problems than backs quats (actually the worst things for me were burpees - I was doing burpee box jumps when I *really* got hurt).

    Anyway, the point is that I've reworked my programming from the group up to get to a place where I'm comfortable working out again.

    My main reference in doing this was The New Rules of Lifting: Supercharged by Lou Schuler and Alwyn Cosgrove - I love their book series and have done their workouts off and on since 2008.

    But more recently, there was another big change -

    My fiancee and I got permission from our landlords to put together a gym in our garage - which has become a real labor of love for me and super-fun. We left our commercial gym and have been investing money there. I absolutely love working out in "The Squarage" (Squat+Garage - a riff on an old roommate who was an olympic lifter and used to keep a squat rack in his closet, which he referred to as "The Squoset"), and will no doubt write a lot more about it.

    The one piece we're missing from The Squarage right now is a proper power rack - we've registered for one for our wedding. But we have rubber flooring, a bench, barbell, bumper plates, kettlebells, dumbbells, ab mat, jump ropes, medicine ball, a TRX waiting to hang on our power rack a whole bunch of the 9 yards.

    Of course working out there recently has been tough because it is separated from the house, does not have heat and this has been a record-cold winter here in Massachusetts. Realistically, I can't really go out there when the weather is below 15 degrees or so. Though I have crosstraining gloves and other warming equipment to use when it's cold, but not that cold.

    And, in addition to all that, I wanted a fresh kick in the butt on programming, because it has been tricky for me to stay task-oriented when the gym is at home. When you go to a gym, there's a sense that I need to finish my workout so I can go home. But at my home gym, I've been lollygagging too much.

    Anyway, the occasion for this journal is I bought two new workout books (I love workout books), and I figured I would try the workouts in them and record how I liked them.

    One was "The Workout" by Gunnar Peterson. But I did not like this book at all. It just seemed oriented at someone way more basic than me, with a lot less experience. When I got to the squatting section and there was a picture of a woman carrying tiny weights not even going parallel, I put that book down and didn't pick it up again.

    The other book has been better - "Core Performance" by Mark Verstegen. It has an approach to overall mobility and stability in multiple planes that really appeals to me. One of the actual big conceptual problems with Crossfit (as opposed to the ones people catastrophize about but don't really matter), is that you do a ton of repetitive motion, and almost all you work, in the sagittal plane, at a specific sort of hip orientation. I have some pretty bad imbalances that have been exacerbated by this.

    So I was glad to find core and mobility focused programming that uses multiple planes for motion, but doesn't lean so far into core work that you don't lift heavy. And it seems to have a pretty high degree and flexibility for scaling and modification - it's pretty modular.

    For my nutrition my fiancee and I have been using a macro approach with myFitnessPal and counting calories and macros. It's worked well for me generally, but the last stretch of it I was really consistent with was a few months ago (I had to have some dental surgery and that kind of broke my eating rhythms). But I'll be writing about that as well.

    In my next entry I'll write about how the Core Performance program works and how I'll be approaching it (I'm still finishing the book) - I hope to be putting in my first real workout on it on Saturday.

    TooMuch likes this.
  2. Seltzer

    Seltzer Elite Member

    Apr 29, 2005
    Likes Received:
    Interesting narrative about your journey. Looking forward to reading about your future successes.
  3. PeteBDawg

    PeteBDawg Well-Known Member

    Jun 15, 2004
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    So, this is how the Core Performance (which has since been rebranded as some sort of health and wellness consultancy called EXOS) program is a bit different from others, gathering from the book.

    There are a lot of elements that go along with "working out," but are often seen as modular or complementary - warming up, mobility, cardio vs. resistance training, stuff like that. And you pick a program that focuses on some core aspect to that, and then build the rest of your activity around it, usually in line with recommendations made by the trainer.

    The Core Performance flattens out this distinction in how it classifies and organizes things - and it seems pretty focused on combining and balancing the different elements, even over maximizing the effectiveness of any one element. And then it programs holistically arranging all the elements in their own appropriate frequencies. Which is the kind of difference that is small enough that it actually seems honest and I'm really curious about how it feels.

    The big practical difference is that you're not managing one calendar for when you lift and another calendar for when you do cardio, it's all the same calendar. And while some workout programs have an A/B structure, or a three or four-part split, or a multi-week cycle, Core Performance is built on the time frame of a week, and then into 3-4 week blocks.

    So, it's like, this week, you're going to do cardio X times, you're going to lift Y times, you're going to do mobilization work Z times, except we worked it all out for you and here's how it all overlaps, what order you do things in, and how much time it will take if you focus and use your time well.

    I can see how they became a consultancy - it's as much about time management as it is about intensity or volume.

    Oh, and I'll add, Core Performance is a performance-training program that was built for conventional sports (so, stuff like baseball, basketball, tennis, not Crossfit or Highland Games or Ninja Warrior). So it is very focused on explosive quickness and speed, has a fair amount of plyometrics in it, and encourages you to set performance goals rather than body composition goals (I'll go into that more in a future entry). And that's also why it seems to have you doing at least something (even active recovery) pretty much every day - it assumes that you're being athletic as one of your main hobbies, or aspire to it - the book does talk to and about people who don't exercise at all or really need to turn their lives around (they all do - those people buy a lot of fitness books) - but to compare it to other books I've read I would not say this one is all that beginner-friendly, especially to do by yourself. It's pretty unabashedly complicated, a lot of the movements are technical and difficult, and it suggests totally new people to go through a multi-week program that's different from the main program just so they're ready for the main program.

    If you like sports practices, you'd probably like this program - put some music on, move through the various parts of it without too much break, get to high intensity and back off, but only really doing lift/rest/lift/rest weight room stuff in about half the workouts.

    So, the program breaks down into seven elements, which have slightly different names than they do in other places to reflect some different philosophy around them, which is interesing:

    - Movement prep (warmups)
    - Prehab (what I call "K-Star Stuff" - mobilization and imbalance adjustment)
    - Physioball (a lot of calesthentics and lifting with a Swiss Ball - it's not called "Core" performance for nothing)
    - Strength (more conventional lifting)
    - Energy Systems Development (various modes of interval cardio)
    - Elasticity (plyometrics and sprinting)
    - Regeneration (foam rolling and active recovery)

    A workout is going to be a combination of a few of these, and which ones get included changes based on where in the program you are and how your week is looking. I like the modularity.

    Anyway, that's a good initial summary - doing my first workout with it tonight and will post how it goes!
  4. macdiver

    macdiver Well-Known Member
    Bronze Member

    Mar 18, 2010
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    Interesting stuff. I'll be following along to see how this program develops.

    Based on your history you should easily adjust to a home gym.

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