Tag Archives: pendlayWOD

Weightlifting Diet addendum III

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My last blog on the weightlifting diet focused on eating the right carbs.  In a nutshell, ditch the bread, pasta, rice, and white potatoes in favor of more nutrient dense and high fiber foods.  Sweet potatoes, squash, zucchinis, carrots and other vegetables like these are much healthier because they contain way more nutrients, are more filling because they contain more fiber.  They also don’t lead to overeating like the “lazy” carbs do.   It is hard to get fat on zucchinis and carrots. It is easy to get fat on bread and pasta.

The weightlifting diet also needs to contain protein.  Just like the carbohydrate choices, your protein choices should be  nutrient dense.  Eggs are a great protein source.   Better if you eat the whole egg including the yoke, even better if  it comes from a free range chicken and not one that lives in a cage and eats only chicken feed.   Chickens that get plenty of exercise and eat a natural diet have a higher percentage of a omega 3 fat versus omega 6 and this helps a hard-traning lifter fight inflammation.

Other nutrient dense protein sources are organ meat and wild game.   Organ meats like liver have some of the densest nutrition of any food and I recommend eating liver  at least every couple of weeks. We had liver once a week the whole time I was growing up, it’s not my favorite but it certainly didn’t kill me to eat it.   Any wild game is usually more nutritious than what you buy at the supermarket.  It is almost always lower fat and the fat it does have will contain a healthier ratio of omega 3 to omega 6 fats.  Venison, pheasant, quail, and rabbit are all healthy and tasty.

The protein sources that are probably the least healthy are the ones most of us like the best, higher fat cuts of beef and convenient sliced lunch meats.   A good corn fed ribeye steak is probably the tastiest piece of meat you can eat. It is also one of the least healthy. Not only does it have more fat than it should, the ratio of a omega three to omega six is not the greatest.  It’s probably better for you than highly processed meats like most sandwich meats, but is being healthier than salami and pepperoni really enough to recommend it?

Protein is important for the hard training lifter, and should include a variety of protein sources. But cutting down on the lunch meats like pepperoni and salami and eating more wild game and organ meats instead will make you a healthier person and a better weightlifter.

 

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Weightlifting Diet Addendum 1

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One of the benefits that you will notice immediately when you cut candy and junk food from your diet is a change in your taste buds.  If you constantly eat candy and crappy food, you will have a drastically decreased ability to taste normal food.  You will NEED crap like tons of salt and sweetener for food to taste good.  This is not normal, and it is not healthy.  After about 10-14 days of no concentrated sweets, and no super salty processed foods like pizza, and your taste buds will revert to their natural ability to taste.  You will find that many foods that you used to eat now taste way too salty.  And foods that you never realized were sweet, start to taste sweet.  Like milk.  If you have not had concentrated sweets for a while regular non- sweetened milk will taste sweet to you as will many things.  And I am not just talking about fruit, but you have to stop eating candy and junk food for a while before you can taste it.

 


Weightlifting Diet

There is no doubt that the diet of an average American stinks.  But as a weightlifter, you shouldn’t be eating like the average American.  How should you eat?  Well, many books have been written about that, but I think I can boil it down to a couple of key rules.

Rule 1:  Do not eat candy or sweets.  This takes zero smarts to figure out.  This includes candy bars, Pop tarts, most breakfast cereals, potato chips, cokes, Twinkies, Ding Dongs, and other crap like that.  Including anything that has high fructose corn syrup.  When you start reading labels you will be amazed at how many things are made using this crap.  It is literally everywhere.

Rule 2:  Little as you can of high carb items such as bread, potatoes, corn and rice.  These are filling, but low nutrition foods.  They are also easy and convenient.  Actually too easy convenient, which is why I call them lazy foods.  For many people, if they took junk food and lazy food out of their diets, they would starve.  These are the foods that are making America fat and unhealthy.

Rule 3:  Eat more vegetables of all kinds, except the really high carb ones like potatoes and corn.

Rule 4:  Eat a variety of protein items like meat, nuts, and eggs. 

Now, if you are anything like me, when you first start eating like this you will struggle a little bit because out whole society is based around eating a certain way, with bread being a major part of most meals.  At first it will be a struggle to replace all the bread you used to eat with other items.  It might be hard to maintain your weight at first.  You will find that you have to eat A LOT of vegetables to get enough calories to replace the bread that you used to eat.


I posted this on the Pendlay WOD over the weekend.  Are doing everything possible when it comes to building pulling strength?5961860-orig_orig

In week 2 (starting Monday, October 9) we up the intensity compared to last week. The most important exercise for the next 3-4 weeks is the snatch grip deadlift. This is the heaviest pulling exercise we do, and therefore the one which will provide the biggest and the quickest increases in pulling strength. Pulls, high pulls, and the actual competition lifts assist in transferring this strength into increased bar speed in the snatch and clean but it all starts with brute strength and the deadlift builds that.

One thing that makes the pulling exercises more effective is doing them with an emphasized eccentric. You should try to lower the bar as slow or slower than you raise it. No need to do any super exaggerated 30 second eccentric, we just want to lower the bar either at the same speed or SLIGHTLY slower than we raise it. Usually in practice this means keeping tension on the bar, and not just dropping it. Some of you have seen me comment about breaking eggs, this just means you should imagine that you are setting the bar down on an egg carton, and trying to do so such that the eggs aren’t smashed.

We also want to lower it reverse order of how you raised it, so at the top you will first break slightly at the knee then flex at the hip joint until the bar is past the knee cap then squat till the plates tough the floor. After the plates lightly tough the floor reverse directions by extending the knee until the bar passes the knee cap (and the shins are vertical) then extend the hip on a deadlift, or extend the hip and shrug to finish the rep if it is a pull or high pull.

Doing deadlifts or pulls this way is harder. Sometimes much harder. The last rep or two of a set you might now be able to do it perfectly. Hell you might be hard pressed to do the first rep perfectly. But work as hard as you can to ATTEMPT to do it. Getting stronger is not easy.

 


Breaking PR’s.

Going to maximum is a skill, and the only get good at it is through practice.  You have to challenge and break your PR’s again and again and again.  This is a mental challenge as well as a physical one, and requires both mental and physical toughness.

 

Snatching 101kg for a new PR is physically similar to snatching 100kg to tie your PR.    But mentally it is a whole different ball game. Breaking into uncharted territory and lifting something you have never lifted before requires a little more commitment.  It requires you to fight and win a battle within your own mind.  Anyone who has ever had problems committing to a snatch knows exactly what I am talking about.  But with practice, you can get better and better at winning this mental battle.

 

This is one of the reasons why I advocate keeping track of your PR’s from the hip, and from the knee as well as from the floor.  I also keep track of doubles from these positions and other combinations such as 1 snatch from the hip + 1 from the knee or one from the knee + 1 from the floor.

 

Keeping track of a variety of PR’s and constantly challenging them insures that you are training at maximal intensity, getting enough variety so you don’t get stale, AND constantly practicing the mental skill of breaking into uncharted territory.  As you get physically stronger, you will also be getting mentally stronger!

 

Any lifter who competes long enough is eventually in the situation of having to make a new PR to win a competition, qualify for a national meet, or to beat a rival.  Who do you think is more likely to make the lift when it matters?  Someone who challenges PR’s in training on a consistent basis, or someone who doesn’t?5961860-orig_orig


Mindset

I am again closing in on a sub 7 minute 2k.  One thing that I have noticed about rowing is that the effectiveness of a workout is directly related to how miserable you are during.  Any effective workout is going to be absolutely miserable.

I have tried to lower my 2k time by doing long slow rows, like 10k or longer, and I have tried short intervals even as short as 200 meter sprints.  I found that doing things to decrease the misery factor also decreased the effectiveness of the training.  Really long rows are probably good for something, but they don’t seem to directly affect my 2k time.  To effect that, I have to concentrate on distances closer to 2k, and row at a pace that is also closer to 2k pace.  Which also puts the misery level closer to what I feel during a fast 2k.  A 2500 meter or a 3K row done just slightly over 2k pace might even be worse than a fast 2k.

Really short intervals like 200 meter sprints, while being fun and often not miserable at all, also don’t seem to help much.  For intervals to really help, I have to make them at least 500 meters, and limit the rest period.  Multiple 500 meter intervals with 1 minute rest period are a pretty useful workout.  But doing 10 sets of this interval again might actually be more miserable than just doing a fast 2k.

In short, there is simply no way to get around the discomfort of the training process.   In this, rowing is much like weightlifting.  The things that are useful are hard.  Multiple heavy sets of 5 on the back squat.  Heavy deadlifts, heavy pulls, or heavy push presses.  All hard.  All miserable if you push yourself hard enough to actually move the weight up over time. Maxing your snatch is not miserable.  For many who “dabble” in weightlifting it is fun.     Everyone loves to max the snatch.  But that is not weightlifting.  It is not the sport I fell in love with.  The sport I fell in love with is hard.  Brutal even.  And to succeed in it you have to have a certain mindset.  A mindset that develops over time and comes to not only accept the discomfort and sometimes downright misery of the training process, but to welcome it.  To look forward to the misery.  To fall in love with it.5961860-orig_orig

As a competitor I fell in love with weightlifting, even with all the misery involved.  Now as a rower and I am trying to appreciate the misery in rowing.  But even more important to me is to foster the love of of weightlifting in a new generation of lifters.  Even with all the discomfort of the training process, it is a great sport to love!


Evolution

Most people realize that training has to change over time.  For beginners, often changes no bigger than a gradual increase in the weight lifted is adequate to stimulate continual adaptation.  But as you move further and further away from your natural ability and strength levels further adaptations become more difficult to achieve.  Some try to stick with a program they are comfortable with, and are very hesitant to change anything.  But without changes, the program slowly loses its effectiveness. This often leads to frustration, then abrupt wholesale changes.  Changing the whole program, the volume, the intensity, EVERYTHING all at once.  This can lead to a vicious circle where you learn nothing from years of training experience, and only hit upon a result producing routine once in a while by dumb luck.  

In a perfect world, you should never make more than one change in your training at a time.  If you change two things at once and make 5 kilograms of progress on the snatch, how do you know which change is responsible?  If you were doing 5 doubles on the snatch with 80% each workout, and you increased that to 8 doubles with 85%, was it the increased volume, or the increased intensity that is responsible for you new ability.  You would never know for sure.  But there are FAR more variables in a training program than just intensity and volume.  Training should be changed via an evolutionary process, NOT a revolutionary one!  Small changes, made one at a time.  And after each one, take stock in the effect the changes caused. The answer is often not to just work harder, it is to think harder, and work smarter!