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Showing posts from 2013

To different degrees

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I've noticed something int he lads I train over the years. Well, I've noticed many things but for their peace of mind I'm going to keep this piece about the burpees! It is the same thing that I have seen in a lot of photos on the internet of people doing burpees.

Instructional pictures are quite clear, the finishing position is upright. Sounds straightforward enough (or straightuppish enough) but as with many thing in life, it is not always as straightforward as the textbooks would have you believe.


I've said before, I'm not actually that bothered about whether you finish your burpee with a jump or with your hands overhead or at your sides. As long as you finish upright, I'm a happy bunny (everything is relative). What I see a lot of though, is the tendency to fail to open the hips at the top of the movement, and that is what I am talking about. I think it comes about because the head does not lead (and I mean that in both senses). And, the individual is almost t…

Rewriting History

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Being a little bit geeky I have a whiteboard and markers at home. I have used it to keep track of my numbers - which has been especially important as the year has gone on! (I am pretty certain that by the end of the year my dreams will be decorated with tally charts and punctuated by the beep of the timer.) I have tended to make some incidental notes on the whiteboards as the mental juices start to flow but these incidental notes have been wiped off almost daily, otherwise I have kept a running view of up to three weeks.

Last Sunday (when I first journalled this piece), the day signalled the end of week 37 and coincided with the end of space on the whiteboard. As I wiped it off the thought occurred to me that maybe there ought to be a hint of sadness at the ease with which that much works is cleared away. But actually I found it quite satisfying, having done the work, to set up a clean sheet for the next phase. The sweeping away of a footprint doesn't remove the fact of the journey…

Burpee on

I've spoken before about the first 50 burpees or so being sucky. That doesn't appear to be getting any better. But that's fine. In lieu of a warm-up what else can it be?
There are some nights where te biggest challenge (not necessarily the hardest physically) is the first burpee, possibly the first two. Just breaking the seal on the session seems to be an enormous hurdle. Doing them at home, it is remarkable just how many things can suddenly be both interesting and important!
Starting is key! Those extraneous things can (and do) still get done/moved/taken out of the fridge/washed up/folded during the rest intervals. But without starting, they will derail you as surely as a girder across a railway line.
Now I am not saying that it is all plain sailing from there on. That would be a lie! There are some nights where the burpees are laboured and sluggish. Nights where I feel every moment of my nearly 37 years plus another 50 of somebody else's! Mind you, there are other night…

Not as bad as all that

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Somebody close to me suggested to me that my last blog post was a little sad. Sorry about that! That was not the intention but it probably fell victim to two different quirks of being one of my piece's of work:
While I do tend to overthink stuff, as a proportion of the time spent thinking, the thinking prior to doing anything or writing anything is miniscule! On the bright side, this means I can crack on with things pretty quickly and without too much baggage to weigh me down (at least, at the beginning, like a tourist, my bags fill up along the way as I collect duty free and tacky souvenirs!).The downside is that I only ever have the loosest sense of what the end point will look like. Which might be why I can attend to triumph and disaster with about the same level of attachment.I don't re-read this stuff before I post it. That's the joy of the internet! Aside from porn and religion, the internet gives us a facility to belch out our every cognitive air biscuit with only wh…

Burpee Month End

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End of November. Eight months done.
It's quite satisfying to write that. I know I have been going for a while, certainly it feels like ages. Counting down the days as I have been keeps the journey ticking along but they are just numbers and, if I'm honest, it feels like measuring a long road-trip by the lamp-posts you drive past. But to write 8 months is like being given a gift that you weren't expecting! It is only two-thirds done but four months to go seems within arm's reach. OK, maybe for a gibbon rather than a T-Rex but nonetheless it is within sight.
One of the things that I had not expected on this voyage was the down-times. Given my constant fight to keep the darkness pushed to the back corners of my mind, it shouldn't have come as a surprise, but it did. There are many things that contribute to its exacerbation - sleep and nutrition are two crucial components in keeping the hormones in check. Recovery, mobility and tissue work would not hurt either, and all …

The Man in The Glass

Going back a few years now I first came across Dale Winbrow's poem in a book by Wayne Bennett (as much as I'm a blue rather than a maroon, I admire his work) titled "Don't die with the music in you". The title of the book itself speaks volumes to me, and periodically I look to literary works for reassurance. Here it is, as I first saw it:

"When you get what you want in this struggle for self
And the world makes you king for a day,
Then go to the mirror and look at yourself
And see what the man has to say.
For it isn't your father, your mother, or wife,
Whose judgement of you - you must pass,
The fellow whose verdict counts most in your life,
Is the guy staring back in the glass.
He is the man you must please - never mind all the rest,
For he's with you clear up to the end.
And you have passed your most difficult and dangerous test,
When the man in the glass is your friend,
You can be like another and chisel a plum,
And you think you're a wonderfu…

Ordinary. Quite ordinary

Ordinary people leading ordinary lives. We look for the extraordinary out there to give us a sense of something more than this. But quite often we end up putting our faith in the witless, the feckless, the pointless, believing them to be something more as a result of how we come to be aware of them. Glossy and distant it seems is better than gritty and close to hand. Familiarity breeds contempt? A prophet in his homeland? Or perhaps that people on our level make us think too much about our own part in all this...
Even in the drab ordinariness of it all we plant and nurture the seeds of the very thing that could lead to our own accomplishment of something grand if we would but just point in that direction.
Our ability to confront and endure a job; a relationship; a friendship; a life which by all accounts is manifestly unfair and beneath us should give us a sense of pride. OK, so it is not a fate borne with good grace but while not stoic, it is an endurance that most would not believe to…

Burpees on a prayer

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Woah, we're halfway there
Oh-oh, burpees on a prayer!

26 weeks down, 6 calendar months. Get in!

The day after my birthday in March, while I still hadn't yet thought of/settled on this burpee year thing, I wrote "I still don't know" in response to the question "what's next?". Separate to that blog post I wrote that


I want to do something out of the ordinaryI want to do something that will challenge me.And so I have! The 1st April saw us, that is me; a band of misfits who came together on Facebook and one or two people who follow the blog, kick off the challenge. Some dug in, declaring themselves in for the full-on twelve months. Others set out their stall for 30 days, 100 days or a little beyond, taking them up to weddings and shoulder surgeries amongst other events.
Sheldon (http://goaliesareweird.blogspot.com) and I are still going. Going strong? Some days, but definitely with a hint of missing self-preservation! We have been rejoined by my sister who i…

Burpee belief

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"And worse I may be yet: the worst is not So long as we can say 'This is the worst'" William Shakespeare, King Lear, Act 4 scene i
We're in to week 26 now, and have racked up over 16,500 burpees in the year to date (since 1st April). When I say it out loud it seems, by equal turn, a trifle and a ludicrous thing.
I tend to do my burpees in one session and, depending on what the day throws at me, there are days when I feel pretty flat before I start.
It is close to unbelievable to think that I have come this far. It is not that I ever thought that I wouldn't, but that is down to a lack of imagination rather than a devastating self-confidence. I'm still firmly of the belief that the single biggest danger to this endeavour is my almost limitless capacity to be distracted by something shiny and have a pop at another challenge along the way. 
A case in point. No need, just no need!
Other than that, I can't think of any good reason why I can't make it through t…

Simple(ton)?

The burpee year is beguiling. It is a simple enough idea – although you probably wouldn’t be surprised to learn how many questions people can generate before starting. (For those of you who haven’t been paying attention, it start on April 1st with one burpee, and escalates by one burpee per day until we perform 365 on 31st March next year). The first 20 to 30 days are easy. Suspiciously easy. Disappointingly easy. Almost too easy for a lot of people. Definitely within reach for the vast majority. Even the detrained and out of shape can manage this, albeit they need to pick their burpee variant carefully and they may find it to be as much a physical challenge as a mental one.But this “too simple” thing is intriguing. It shouldn’t come as a surprise but when I hear people say it, it does catch me out really often, in every walk of life!In a lot of group settings (or on your own if you listen to the negative voice you carry around with you) the simple solution is wrong. You must have mis…

Week 21 done

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The numbers are nudging up. My predilection for rounding up has seen me rattle along the tracks, past 11,000 for the year to date. That's more than 900 more than double regulation in the 100-day challenge which I completed in January. 

There are days when I am stiffer and achier than others. On those days the burpees start wooden and clunky, you know, like watching Kristen Stewart "act". However, so far at least, even at its worst the first 50 seem to knock the rust off.

My in-laws stayed with us for a week during the period since the last blog post and I can't decide whether it is a sign of everything else they have going on at the moment, or more that over the last 17 years of knowing me they have developed a high threshold for concern. Even after wandering into the utility room midway through my double-bill day (280, thanks to an accidental night off the day before), or even enduring the edifying sight of watching me sit still for 30 minutes afterwards with the swea…

Do you find the training harder...

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...as you've got older?

I was asked that today and thought that it's not a bad question (damn whippersnappers!). 
Yes and no. Firstly, I'm at that age where I have to work out how old I am! It just doesn't feature in much of anything! I don't feel old, most of the time, and as such occasionally have to remind myself, or silently shake my head when it comes up! Just for the record, at 36, I'm not old [36? How the hell did that happen?!] there's still plenty of testosterone kicking around my system and my hormonal profile has not been completely obliterated by working life and other abuses heaped upon it. So, I think I'm doing alright. On that basis, I'm not really sure that I'm best placed to talk about getting older! But, I'll throw my perspective out there for you anyway!
I stack weight and body fat on quickly these days, that's for sure. What I can get away with, dietarily speaking, has shrunk in stark contrast to the growth of my suga…