View RSS Feed

Strength Training and Dryland Workouts

  1. You'd think I had a job or something....

    In the past several weeks, I've had to make some adjustments to my workout. Work is finally starting to ramp up and attempt that "utilization to his full potential" crap that the authority figures in my life have always talked about (Parents... teachers... professors... coaches... etc...) Which has ultimately lead to a rise in the number of hours working.

    For about 2 straight weeks I was driving down to Oak Park outside of Chicago. So this would cut into my sleep schedule and thus my morning lifts were gone. Instead - they were replaced with the 80-90 MPH drive down 294 and 290. I think most people didn't even see my car, it was more of a silver blur at 6 in the morning.

    For those two weeks, I was unable to lift at all, and I was lucky to make practice. Sleep was cut to about 4-5 hours per night, and maybe an hour before practice (if I was lucky). I made it through those two weeks and straight into the Sink Or Swim Classic and another week of more of the same and shot immediately into the GRIN Fall Classic. As you all saw - I did really well for me.

    Well starting after the GRIN Fall Classic I was "able" to jump back into lifting. The problem was - I wasn't falling asleep after practice. I had also gotten used to sleeping in a little (til 6:00 AM instead of getting up at 5:00 AM) as a result of my travels and not lifting. So I've adjusted my workout schedule AGAIN.
    Trying to double up on lifting/swimming on days where I have to work just seem relatively useless since I was always just so exhausted. I felt like my work, my workouts and my swims were all suffering as a result of the schedule.

    So now:
    Swim:Sunday 7:30-9:00 PM, Tuesday/Wednesday/Thursday 8:30-9:30 PM
    Lift: Friday, Saturday, Sunday, Monday (Sunday will be optional)
    Core: 6 Days a week with a floating free day.

    I lift now whenever its convenient (Evenings on Mondays and Fridays). My new gym has a massive collection of weights and machines. So if I can't find something to do - I'm obviously not using my creativity.
    I wake up almost every morning between 6 and 6:30. That means I can eat a light breakfast and be ready to do core by 7:00 AM. I make sure I put in at least a half an hour of straight core work. I enjoy it because it gives me an endorphin rush in the morning, preps my mind for the day and helps to maintain the efforts I've taken so far in my swimming.
    I think its a pretty ambitious plan, but I also think I can handle it pretty well. I'm currently 8 days in and so far so good

    My next meet and the rundown has been decided! I will be swimming at the West Bend Short Course Meters Meet. I'll be swimming the 50 fly, 200 free, 50 breast, 200 IM, and finally - the 1500 Free. There will be more on that later though. I'm not ready to start blogging those goals for that meet though. That will come! This will be my first competition 200 IM!

    What do you do for your workout? How do you compensate for friends/family/job/swimming?
  2. Get it together mcdonnell!

    So the past two to three weeks I've been seriously in a funk, out of the loop, whatever you want to call it.
    We've pushed up to 4 practices a week in the pool. I'm really thankful for it. I love swimming so much that another day is very welcomed! My times are dropping little by little and my endurance is building up pretty quickly. I'm doing my best to beat everyone around me. I have some serious competition though. Brian's been keeping pretty much even with me in everything. Anne and Laura have been kicking my butt unless its in pull mostly because I rock pull something fierce.

    However

    As a result of me gaining strength in swimming: I can afford to go on less sleep (significantly less sleep). When I don't sleep well, I don't eat well. When I don't eat well, I don't feel as good. When I don't feel good, I don't lift. If I don't lift, I don't sleep as well.... its a vicious cycle. I've also been drinking more than enough. I've also been eating a TON. I've been more hungry these past couple weeks than I was all summer long.

    So - time to reset. I'm a little hungover this morning so I didn't go in to work.
    Goal 1) Lift at least 5 times by next Saturday.
    I have swimming Sunday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.
    I have basketball on Wednesday.
    So I should be able to lift today, Saturday, Sunday and maybe Monday.
    I'll take Tuesday and Wednesday off to make sure I can play basketball (its the semi finals for our basketball league) and swim immediately following.
    Then I should be able to lift Thursday, Friday, Saturday.
    This is great! I should be able to get back on my 3 days on, 1 days off pattern as recommended by my trainer
    Goal 2) Get my diet reorganized.
    I'm going to focus back on intelligent eating. I need turkey, chicken, a loaf of bread, tons of veggies, bananas, berries, and a gallon of milk.
    Goal 3) Get my rest. (~8 hours a night)
    Before I started swimming I could pretty much function pretty efficiently on 3-4 hours of sleep a day. Once I started - I had to start getting more like 8-9 hours of sleep. Now that I'm finally starting to get stronger in my swimming, I'm starting to drift back down to about 6-7 hours of sleep and my body is letting me know that that's not cool.

    Alright - that's my trinity of goals. There's absolutely no reason why I should not be able to make those goals with the exception of me holding myself back.

    Okay. Time to eat breakfast finally and make these goals a reality!
  3. Since its been over a week....

    So the last two weeks have been a little off kilter thus far. My roommates have gone out of town and left me with their dog Sophie.

    Now - I love Sophie. She's seriously the most awesome dog in the world. She's a complete sweetheart and pretty much the only girl who likes me these days anyway


    However - with the sweet comes the slightly annoying. She wants a lot of my attention. Last week - I was just kind of getting into the swing of things just being her and I and I wasn't thinking too clearly. She pretty much monopolized my after work time when I wasn't working on computers. I felt bad just leaving her in the cage all day, so this was a combo effect all across the board. The only things I made time for that week were team events: swim practice, basketball and softball.
    I actually found myself in a bit of a funk as a result of not lifting. I was feeling generally in nature and my attempts to correct or alleviate the situation were only met with more problems and things just getting in my way.
    HOWEVER on the flip side. Thursday night's swim practice was probably the fast I've swam ever. I don't think I've ever really taken the time to give myself enough rest for meets now that I'm thinking about it. I swam roughly 10% faster as a result!

    Then swimming ended last Sunday. Its been difficult to get in the pool just due to time constraints. However this time - I've got a strategy. I put up the money and threw Sophie into a puppy day care so she'd be nice and tired by the time we got home. This has actually worked mostly. I've been busy with a lot of other things as well (car needed oil change, worked a 23 hour shift on tuesday, etc...) So I have been able to get in 2 weight lifts (and one more tonight) this week. I'm hoping that next week will give me even more time to do this as I kind of pick up things to do.

    I also went to the Lake Forest High School pool. I was sorely disappointed to find out that the LFHS pool is closed until August 10th.... So that means I have to turn around and go back to Lake Bluff where I have no lane lines and no ceiling. <ugh>

    I guess I'll be getting really good at my sprints and my breast stroke form then!
  4. SCY GOAL TIME!

    So SCY season is upon us soon! I'm already starting to plan out my goals and ideas!
    Since I like to break things down logically (being that logic is my job) I'm going to start by labeling my high level goals and then giving slightly more detailed goals that I have within those goals.

    Simple goals:
    1) Get Faster (in Swimming)
    2) Get Stronger
    3) Get Skinnier
    4) Build a giant robot that can take over.... .err never mind. (Remember Mike - this is PUBLIC)

    My physical stats and goals:
    Height: 6'3ish <-- I was 6'2 going into college, grew another inch freshman year
    Weight: 210ish <-- Lightest EVER
    Shoe Size: 15 <-- Sucks to buy shoes
    Waist Line: 34 <-- WOW! I'm so pumped!
    Body Fat (as of 7/22/2010): 17.5% <--- GRRR

    My body fat is a frustrating one. I have a lot of loose skin - so I honestly feel that it probably skewed the results of the 7 point pinch test. Especially when I can't imagine myself still having another 35 pounds of fat on my body. Regardless - I still have to keep working out anyway. Otherwise how can I get stronger? (What just happened?)

    My strength goals:
    I don't do a good job keeping stats (like 1MR) of my lifts. I'm not concerned so much with building up that kind of strength. All of my strength goals are to build my body so I can focus more intensively on swimming. So even though my curl is at 12x70 (35 in each hand) using an underhand grip and my lat pull down is at 12x115 - I honestly just want to see those numbers continue to rise on a biweekly to triweekly basis as I spend my 6 days a week at the gym, focusing on developing my extremities while strengthening my core as much as possible. If I can continue lifting and growing stronger - its only going to help me swim faster! (ANOTHER TRANSITION? What's he doing!?)

    Swimming stats and goals
    Alright - So my only SCY times are in the IL State Meet in April. That was long enough ago - and I've lost 20 pounds since then and have gained a lot of strength. I have a few LCM times - but rather than worrying about converting them. Lets just say I'd better beat them when it comes to SCY. The official times are still there:
    Code:
    50 Free: 32.97
    100 Free 1:18.42
    I have my goal times for the year to reach for.
    Code:
    50 Free: < 30 sec
    100 Free: < 1:10
    50 Back: < 50 sec
    100 Back: < 1:50
    50 Breast: < 55 sec
    100 Breast: < 2:00
    *Note - if I beat those times, then I just want to continue improvement. If I don't - its fine. I'm just looking forward to trying! Lastly for swimming; I want to learn how to do butterfly by next April for the Illinois state meet. I'd like to be able to do the 50 free in fly. We'll see what I can get my coach to teach me!
    Outside of swimming - I'm going to be working up to no less than 5 days a week swimming and if I can - 2 practices per day. We'll see how that lines up with sleep as one can't swim all of those events well if you don't have proper rest and nutrition! (He did it again! That son of a big guy!)

    Rest and Nutrional Goals
    Now - nutritional goals are nothing new for me. Rest goals however totally are. To help me focus better on my swimming and to allow me to swim more often and more effectively - I need to be properly rested and well nourished.
    So to help me rest more - I'm giving up organized recreation outside of swimming for now. As soon as my seasons are over for basketball and both of my softball leagues, I'm going to forgo other offers so I can just primarily focus on my swimming and my workout (lifting and possibly running).
    Nutrionally - I need to focus on making sure I keep a solid grip on the reality of my situation - I have to maintain healthy eating habits. I know from experience now that when I do splurge - I end up feeling kind of sick and tired within a few hours. If I'm going to perform - I need to be on top of my game!
    I also need to make sure I sleep enough. Which is such a tear for me. One the one hand - if I get up early - get to work early and get home early - I get to have the afternoon to accomplish what needs to be done. On the other hand - my masters team meets at 8:30 at night. That means practice goes til 9:30, and I'm awake til 11 minimum. A 5 AM wake up just doesn't happen on that these days. So especially once basketball and softball are done, I'll take some time to really focus on how I'm going to actually implement these ideas.

    Thanks for reading again! Today's post isn't as long - but I still appreciate you reading! So today I'm offering a dinosaur:
  5. New Forum Pic + Swim Across America + What now?!

    Well - it seemed like a really good idea at the time and for once - it was!

    Swim Across America - a late night of softball (missed my party because it ran so late) where I tore up my left knee and leg sliding into home, followed by a drive to chicago where I slept for a few hours, and was up at 5:20 AM and down at Navy Pier by 5:40 AM.

    I actually got some really cool pics of the harbor that morning. You can check them out at my Picasa Web Gallery. I'll be adding more as I get the hi-res versions available. All the pictures taken early in the morning were taken with my phone though. I like how they turned out!

    The swim went decently! I learned a lot of neat things on Saturday as a result.
    Lesson 1: I LOVE wetsuits! I rented my $5 wetsuit, put it on and immediately took a walk in the water - I was incredibly buoyant! Each step my legs felt lighter and lighter as the suit made picking my feet out of the water easier and easier! During the swim - this would help fix my body position and put me in a great place to just coast my way through the middle half mile.
    Lesson 2: Drafing ROCKS! Getting in the water - I had no idea how the swim was going to go. So I immediately started in the back of the pack. When you have 15 people swimming in front of you and dragging you along for the first (roughly) 1/4 mile... it's AMAZING. I was putting in virtually no effort, and just swimming along. Before too long, I was passing people left and right and I think I found myself towards the front of the pack when it came to miler swimmers.
    Lesson 3: Those wet suits are very VERY tight. Seriously, I got out of the water tired, disoriented, dizzy, and feeling drunk - sans the fun of having drank. Within a minute of me finally pulling the zipper open on the back of my suit - my chest opened up a LOT and suddenly oxygen was rushing through my body. It was kind of a cool feeling! Although - pulling the plants off my head and body was rather annoying in my disoriented state. I remember having a conversation with Coach Catie as I tried to walk inland:
    Me: Did I win?
    Catie: Good job Mike!
    Me: Yeah but did I win? (trying to stand without falling)
    Catie: Sure Mike, you won..... Are you okay?
    Me: (Stumbling past Catie) Yeah I think so...
    It took me about 5-6 minutes to regain my footing, and once I was able to breath and on dry land I was in much better shape. Speaking of being in better shape - that new forum/profile pic I have posted is actually my taken right after I got out of the water - hence why I look like I feel like I'm going to die.

    So I've decided I'm not a huge open water fan. I might do Big Shoulders just so I have competition to swim for in September. I'm kind of undecided about it all. I'm not a huge OW fan to start. Things like plant life, choppy water, weather.... those things aren't really my most favorite things in the world.

    That leads me to the most important topic: What now?!
    Some important things to know: 1) Our season ends August 1st. Next season doesn't start up until August 12th(ish). I am NOT taking 12 (or more) days off. If anything - I need to ramp up my swimming even more. SCY season is going to be here and I need to be able to destroy my times from last year!!!!

    So I'm going to shift my training to Lake Forest High School pool. The resident annual pass is $260, so I may just buck that out. That'll get me through next summer of doing up to 6 days a week of swimming (and even 2/days!!!) Since my masters team doesn't practice nearly enough for my liking. I'll probably see if I can pull some of my teammates in with me.

    As far as dry land goes: I'm going to talk to my trainer tonight. I'm thinking I should adjust my training to be far more plyometric in nature. I want to be able to build my sprints as much as possible this year - so by building those fast twitch muscles - I'm hoping to finally build up the ability to sprint (rather than whatever it is you say I do).

    I'm also not going to be doing the extra sports from now on. I've kind of made the decision for now I just want to focus on swimming and only swimming. Basketball has been fun, as well as softball - but they get in the way of my dryland and swimming workouts - and that drives me NUTS!

    Wow - that was a novel of a post! If you made it this far thank you! You win a cookie:
  6. Swim Across America

    Swim Across America is tomorrow....HOLY COW! SWIM ACROSS AMERICA IS TOMORROW!

    I'm NOT prepared for this at all! I'm supposed to be doing my first OW tomorrow, swimming a mile in Lake Michigan, and I haven't even thought about anything aside from the fact that I have to be there to help set up at 6 AM tomorrow.

    I'm going to be jumping into this one like I tend to do the rest of my life - without a single extra thought. (Lets hope I jump IN the water, not too soon or I'll just be eating sand.)

    So here's my schedule for tonight through tomorrow:
    Leave work in about 20-30.
    Get to Runner's Edge so I can try on wet suits so I know what size to rent tomorrow.
    Go home, mow the lawn.
    Shower, Lift at the gym (if I have time, legs tonight!)
    6:00 PM Play two softball games
    Go home, shower (again, I know)
    Get to Milwaukee for a party I'm helping host (You should come! PM me if you're interested!)
    11:30ish PM: Head down to home, pick up Greg from his mom's house (he's dog sitting) and go to his place in Chicago so I can sleep.
    5:30 AM UP AND ATOM! Time to help set up for Chicago's very own Swim Across America!
    7:00 AM Rent my wetsuit!
    9:00 AM Swim
    10:00 AM Call for help while swimming
    6:00 PM Leave hospital.... Oh wait, scratch these last two.
    10:00 AM-11:30 AM tear down, eat lunch and head home.

    So you can see - things usually get interesting. I have this weird tendency to over-commit myself. I get it from my mom.

    See you all (or not) tomorrow at S.A.A! Hopefully I won't be drowning!
  7. Back To Action!

    So after my 6 day hiatus on swimming due to my trip and my 7* day hiatus on lifting, I'm getting back into it today.

    I've made some adjustments though:
    1) I'm starting on the P90X Phase 2 Nutrition program as of today.
    a) I'm also making sure that my nutrition has a greater variance from day to day - keeping my body on edge about what it may burn at any given time. I hope this will help burn fat more effectively... I noticed that's how they do it in the week by week plans for the P90X nutrition program; in that program every day is completely different.
    2) To double check I'm not over consuming - I checked my RMR and Daily Activity Burn on the P90X formula. I'm still in Level 3, but I only have to lose 11 more pounds to put myself into Level 2. (Which is significantly less food per day.... yikes!)
    3) I'm restructuring my dryland workout template to add in plyometrics and adding 1 extra ab workout per circuit.
    So a single circuit for chest/shoulders/back could look like this (example):
    Code:
    Circuit X {
      Medium/Heavy Lift For Chest x 12 (Incline Bench Press)
      Medium/Heavy Lift For Back x 12 (Lateral Pull Down)
      Medium/Heavy Lift For Shoulders x 12 (Front and Lateral Raises)
      Repeated Ab Exercise x 15-20 (Exercise Ball Crunches)
      Plyometric Exercise Targeting Shoulders (Medicine Ball Slams)
      Endurance Based Ab Exercise (2pt Plank - 30 seconds ascending to a minute per rotation)
    }
    Last night I finally got back in the pool. (I didn't lift because I fell asleep ) It was so nice for the first 1600 meters (600s, 200k, 200p, 8x75k/d/s). Seriously I loved it! It was so nice to feel the water "hugging" me again! Then the hard set came: 6x250 descending (3 moderate, 2 hard, 1 killer). By the last 250 I thought I was going to die. That's the last time I ever take a week off from swimming! 3100m is not that much!

    Unfortunately the rest of the week is going to be very variable. I'm going to have to figure out how to make practice on Thursday while helping my friend Sara move, get to a trainer appointment, and potentially playing a softball game. It could potentially be a very long day!

    Starting next week I'll be getting back on the strokes and sprints cycle I started. I know there are a lot of issues with the pool, and I've found a new home, I'm just waiting for my current pool to close on September 6th. In the mean time, I'll make due. I actually have been tired enough since my vacation I've felt it necessary to have to "ramp back up" into my workout so I'll just be doing the standard Master's practices this week. This is why I never let myself relax!

    So those of you who are vigilant may have noticed that I put an * next to the 7 on my 7 days of lifting. I actually lifted Monday night when I returned from Oregon, however I feel it was such a pitiful attempt at lifting - I'm not counting it. I spent most of my time staring off in to space from the exhaustion that it was hardly worth my time to have been there at all. I did end up walking between 6 and 7 miles that night though, so that was at least something!

    Speaking of walking - I need to start running the mile and a half to the gym instead of walking it. Its not that far to run, and it will be a far better workout - especially considering how much I need to be running anyway!

    Lifting C/S/B + Basketball tonight!
    Thanks for reading!
  8. Hit the wall

    For the first time ever I will completely concede that I'm probably over training. Today I had to leave work early, tried to work from home, ended up passed out for 4 hours. I still want to go to sleep again, but I know if I do I won't sleep at all tonight. I'm also frustrated - I constantly feel the need to go go go but this pool has been the great equalizer in my body. Times when I used to run on fumes for days now I just crash and shut down. I guess I liked doing that - it always gave a sense of "epic" in my head.

    So I have a pretty regular schedule for my body:

    5 AM Wake up, hit alarm.
    5:15 AM - Actually get up.
    --Sometime between now and 6, I make my 8 egg whites with veggies and my lunch for the day. I usually shower (if I didn't the night before)
    6:30-7 AM Get to my desk job where I climb ten flights of stairs (roughly 120 stairs) to my desk.
    8:30 Eat my protein shake
    10:30 Eat some yogurt
    11:30-12 Lunch!
    2 PM - eat my home made protein bar!
    3:00 PM Leave my job.
    4 PM Start my Lifting circuits at the gym. (3 circuits of 3-4 exercises (core always included) performed 3 times for each circuit)
    5 PM Go home and chill. Do something like laundry, work on my personal computer stuff, mow the lawn, etc...
    ---(T/Th) 7:45 PM go to the pool, swim my rear off for my coach.---
    10 PM get home, try to bring my body down as much as possible.
    11-11:30 PM Bed.

    On Mondays and Wednesdays, I'm usually pretty cool, I can go to bed early (like 9 PM). Life is good. Wednesdays USED to be the same way, except this Wednesday I had two consulting gigs back to back that lasted until 10 PM (then grocery shopping). So come today (Friday) I get to work just exhausted, burnt out, etc... and I just can't stay awake at my desk.

    So what do people do when they're in these situations? My swim practice is late (which ironically was one of the reasons I wanted to go to this masters club...) but I get home from practice and my body is just roaring with adrenaline and I usually don't sleep worth anything those nights.

    Some good news: I'm down to around 220 pounds. I haven't been this light since high school! Age 25 and in the best shape of my life! :-D

    And if anyone ever reads this, I'd like to say: Thank you to the masters community. This community has made me feel more at home than any other community I've been in in a long time. Growing up I was always taught to say thank you to those who helped you. I will say everyone here has :-)