Category: Training Log

100 Minutes

It has been awhile since I posted, and this post in particular is more than 10 days past due: On October 1, 2013, Helio Gracie Day, my academy had a 100 minute roll to celebrate Grandmaster Helio’s 100th birthday. It was a memorable night.

100 minutes of rolling is not to be approached lightly (or without some trepidation) by a 40-something with two glass shoulders who had just spent the past 11 hours like most days, seated behind a computer screen. I tried to watch my diet more carefully and get a little extra sleep for several days leading up to the 100 minute roll, and was sure to drink plenty of water to prevent dehydration. I tried to think of it as just another open mat, although I knew it would be more work than that – fewer rests, no hanging out and chit-chatting. Walking through the door and seeing that a couple of the bigger guys – my nemeses – were there, I knew I was in for a long night…

Our professor set two timers, one for 100 minutes and the other for five minute rounds with a one minute break in between each round. He told us we could take a break whenever we needed to.

I took my first round off after about 25 minutes of rolling, and it was hard to believe we were only one-quarter through the session. But that turned out to be the last round I would take off. Yes, there were a few times where I needed more than a minute’s break between rounds, and ended up fighting for less than a full five-minute round, but for the most part I kept rolling.

After an hour, it was difficult to face the reality of still having another 40 minutes to go. At one point, something happened with the five-minute timer, and the round had probably reached nearly 10 minutes before someone realized the timer was not set. The good news was that the long round had taken a nice chunk of time off the clock.

Finally, during a break between rounds, our professor announced that only about 10 minutes remained. On one hand, 10 minutes out of 100 may not sound like much, but on the other hand, it meant yet another two rounds after the exhaustion of 90 minutes of grappling.

The 100-minute bell rang in the middle of the last round – so we kept rolling, finishing out the round and adding another minute or two on top of our 100.  Imagine the joyful sound of that final, round-ending bell…

I don’t have any particularly eloquent words to write about the experience, other than to simply say it was a satisfying feeling of accomplishment to get through it. I can’t say I went balls-out every round, but I don’t think anyone could for that long; volume and intensity are always inversely proportional. I also felt good about the fact that I was not particularly sore the next morning – although I still passed on my morning gym workout!


So here I am posting for the first time in nearly two months… Ironic that my last post was “Decelerating”! My ensuing “silence” after that post could be interpreted to mean that I decelerated to a complete stop in my training – but that was most certainly not the case. It was simply a matter of being too busy to post because of work and other things, although that same combination of responsibilities and distractions have surely made my workouts less frequent. But it is impossible to keep up a peak pace all year long.

Anyway, as an icebreaker post, here’s a workout I got particular satisfaction out of yesterday:

Warm-up – 2x 3 min rounds jump rope

Circuit – repeated 3x:

– 500m row
– 10 push-ups
– 25 crunches
– 5 reps burpee horizontal box jump and sprint (a new favorite!)

– 16 pull-ups (completed in three sets, limiting rest to 1 min between sets)

– 12 min Sadiv set deadlifts 140 lbs w/ trap bar – completed 60 reps (although I used less than the prescribed 60% of my one rep max, but many more reps)

– 16 pull-ups (completed in four sets)

Up until this past Sunday, I was having a great run: out of the past 32 days, there were only five that I had not either gone to my BJJ academy or to the gym, and not once during that time had I taken two consecutive days off. But after a day of yardwork and landscaping on Saturday, I woke up completely fatigued on Sunday, did a (useless) workout at the gym anyway, did more yardwork, and crashed at 6:30PM. I (thankfully) was already scheduled to skip my Monday morning gym session and my Tuesday night BJJ class because of work commitments, but I also blew off the Tuesday morning gym workout I had been planning as a partial makeup. I think my body was telling me something, and I decided to listen.

I was back at BJJ Wednesday, but it wasn’t one of my better, high-energy nights, and my right shoulder was on fire at the end. There are still a few other nagging injuries as well, but I’ve listened to my body enough already this week.

Thursday is often a day off, but having not worked out today that’s now only one workout in the past four days, and two workouts in the past six – if I can even count Sunday’s pathetic showing.

The recovery time was needed. Age is no excuse not to train intensely, and “overtraining” is an overrated concern. But under-recovery is a more legitimate thing to worry about at 40+.

Still, I was hoping to keep the pace up for a few more weeks, knowing that a vacation/travel-related break is coming up and I can rest then. But with a huge workload at the office these next couple weeks before I leave, it looks like I will have to stop pretending I am a professional athlete until after I return.

Once the momentum stops, it’s hard to get it back. But that’s a topic for another day.

I have built some solid momentum over the last couple weeks. After missing a full week of BJJ due to various work and personal commitments (but still hitting the gym a few mornings that week), I was able to go to four classes the week I returned, and five (including a private lesson this morning) the next. With a couple of visits to the gym thrown in the mix, I have had six workouts in each of the past two weeks and, looking back a little further, have actually worked out 15 of the last 18 days. (Note – I generally don’t count a BJJ class or private lesson as a “workout” if it is mostly technical without much sparring; if I throw this morning’s technical private back into the mix, I have actually done “something” workout and/or BJJ related for 16 of the past 18 days).

I know I won’t always be able to keep up this pace. Work, family and other personal/social commitments make it impractical. As much as I advocate “pushing the edge,” it is difficult to sustain such a regimen when it is a part-time endeavor, and sometimes the stress of trying to pack so much into a week can be counterproductive. I also need to be cognizant of the need for recovery time. “Over-training” is a misnomer; unless you are a professional athlete or an Olympian, chances are you are NOT doing enough to over-train. Even 40+ exercise enthusiasts like me can push themselves as hard as their younger counterparts. But “under-recovery” is a more appropriate term for a very real outcome. One thing older athletes do need is more recovery time.

I have been nursing a couple of minor injuries of late, in addition to my perpetual glass shoulders: jammed finger, hyperextended elbow, strained groin. Although it is hard to willingly give up a workout or BJJ class, the decision should always be compared to the longer absence that could result from injuries that become significant because they were not given a chance to heal. All of my current ailments (except my perpetual glass shoulders) seem to be enjoying some improvement, so I’m going to try to keep up the pace. My schedule during the upcoming week won’t be quite as flexible as the last two, but I should still be able to do something most days. Starting the week off with a Monday morning workout is the hardest part, but for me it’s one of the keys to keeping the momentum going.

Just 2.5 pounds shy of a 300 lb deadlift. Not an impressive amount of weight in absolute terms, but it has been a personal target since I started deadlifting – which is only about a year ago, despite years and years of working out prior to that point. 300 lbs wouldn’t be bad considering my bodyweight (just under 155 lbs), although I really need to get to 310 to hit the 2x bodyweight benchmark. In the interest of full disclosure, this is with a trap bar – I moved to this from the straight bar a couple of months ago after a bad shin injury (resulting from box jumps gone wrong, but that’s a blog post for another day). But I have found this to be a safer way of deadlifting anyway, particularly for a guy my age that is not trying to be a competitive power lifter and does not want to be sidelined from BJJ because of a lower back injury. Ironically, I may actually be over 300 lbs already: my calculation of 297.5 lbs conservatively assumes that the trap bar is 45 pounds, although the gym owner claims it is 50; if he’s right, then I’m already over 300. (In case you’re wondering about the odd poundage, it just happens to be the conversion of kilogram-denominated plates loaded onto the bar.)

As for today’s workout…

Recently I’ve been adhering to a couple of adages I picked up on T-Nation. One is “the warmup is the workout,” and the other is “if it’s important, do it every day; if it’s not important, don’t do it at all.” (I wish I could locate the specific post/article on T-Nation where I first saw this, but I can’t. However, at least a portion of the second one is mentioned here.)

My important, every day (well, not actually every day, but every workout) are: pull-ups; kettlebell swings; pushups OR dumbell bench presses; and single-arm landmine 45-degree shoulder presses. The latter two pushing exercises are done with light weight as part of my self-prescribed shoulder rehabilitation process.

So finally, today’s workout:

– Jump rope and dynamic stretching

– 3 sets of single-arm landmine 45-degree shoulder presses (weight too embarrassing to mention – see above!)

– 3 sets of dumbell bench presses (weight too embarrassing to mention – see above!)

– 3 sets of pullups (10, 8, 5)

– 3 sets of kettlebell swings (45 lb)

– Deadlifts: 5 @ 133 lbs, 6 @ 199 lbs, 3 @ 243 lbs, 1 @ 288 lbs, and 1 @ 297.5 lbs


It was a cold morning in the box at Transcend / Carousel CrossFit yesterday. Cold AND tired, not a great combination. I went through a longer than usual warmup (light jogging, side stepping, knee pulls and other dynamic stretches, jump rope, etc.) of about a half hour, before putting together the following two circuits:

First circuit, repeated 3x (1 minute rest in between circuits):

– 2 min jump rope

– 15 kettle bell swings (45 lb)

– 100 yard farmers walk (55 lb kettlebells)

– 10 wall ball shots (20 lb medicine ball)

– 5 dead-hang pullups

Second circuit, repeated 3x (1 minute rest in between circuits):

– 500 meter row (pathetic, but I haven’t rowed in a few weeks: 2:03, 2:15, 2:13)

– 15 pushups

– 25 situps (knees to chest, wrapping hands around shins)

As I started the second circuit, a bunch of CrossFitters began their WOD for the CrossFit Open, putting me to shame…