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jrosto

A Barbarian at the Gates - jrosto Joins the Assassins

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Boot Camp was rough, but doable.  I made it through the physical challenges, completed the weekly quests assigned by our Headmistress (Blaid), and developed strong relationships with my fellow recruits.  I learned a lot during that first six weeks.  I learned new strengths, and identified weaknesses.  I learned that a good support team is crucial to success, and that supporting others is a lot of fun and helps me clean up my own issues.  I also learned that I really, really want to be an Assassin.

 

A bit about me. Last May (2014) I was an obese man, not just overweight but pretty fat. I was also pretty sick. I had an incurable lung disease called Idiopathic Pulmonary Fibrosis (IPF), and it was killing me. I was on oxygen 24/7, and high flow oxygen whenever I exerted myself. My disease was progressing rapidly and my only real hope at life was a lung transplant. Only problem was I was too fat to get on the transplant list. So on May 5th of last year I started following the Primal Blueprint. By October I had lost enough weight to be evaluated by the transplant team, and I was listed in November. On December 31st we received the call to come into the hospital, and early January 1st I received a bilateral lung transplant. I am still following the Primal Blueprint, am at a healthy weight, and am recovering from the procedure very nicely. The transplant team is very impressed with my progress.

I do still have some physical limitations to what exercises I can do. It takes a while for the chest to fully heal from the procedure. They split the chest and open you up like a clam shell. I have just recently been released to start working on pull ups, but have to wait to try fly boarding until next Summer (future quest in the making J )  During my first Six Week Challenge I discovered bodyweight exercises and the kettlebell.  Oh my…  exercises I might actually enjoy.  I am a raw beginner with the kettlebell.  I purchased the book ‘Kettlebell Simple and Sinister’ and am working on perfecting the warm up exercises and form. 

 

Main Quest for 2015: Do a pull up all the way to my transplant scar. 

Main Quest for This Six Week Challenge: Be able to complete the Simple and Sinister kettlebell program minimum training session.  This includes three sets of the warm up exercises, 5 reps of 10 kettlebell swings with a 24kg kettlebell and 5 sets of 1 (per arm) Turkish Get Ups with a 16kg kettlebell.

 

SMART Quests:
 

1. NF Body Weight Workout: Perform this workout once every third day using the dumbbell rows portion of the workout to develop a pull up.  I also need to move the pushups from the fireplace mantle to the floor, and add weight to the squats.(+1 Str, +1 Sta, +1 Con)

 

Grading my success by the end of the six weeks.

 

A = Complete 3 full, and in good form, sets of the workout doing pushups from the floor and using a 35lb kettle bell for the dumbbell rows, or doing bodyweight rows.

C = Complete 2 full, and in good form, sets of the workout as above.

F = Completing less than 2 full sets.

 

2. Simple & Sinister Kettlebell Workout: Perform this workout once every third day.  Complete the Program Minimum training session.  This includes three sets of the warm up exercises, 5 reps of 10 kettlebell swings with a 24kg kettlebell and 5 sets of 1 (per arm) Turkish Get Ups with a 16kg kettlebell, and the final streatching exercises. (+1 Str, +1 Dex, +1 Sta, +1 Cha)

 

Grading my success by the end of the six weeks.

 

A = Complete the Program Minimum with listed weights.

B = Complete the Program Minimum with lighter weights.

C = 90% participation with 100% effort (100% participation = once every 3 days) while not being able to complete the PM.

F= less than 90% participation and not being able to complete the PM.

 

3. Aikido Breathing and Meditation: Study Aikido breathing and meditation exercises to improve breathing and focus. (+1 Sta, +2 Wis)

 

Grading my success by the end of the six weeks.

 

A = Perform breathing and meditation exercises an average of 5 times/week.

B = Perform breathing and meditation exercises an average of 4 times/week.

C = Perform breathing and meditation exercises an average of 3 times/week.

F= Anything less.

 

Life Quest: I would really like to develop a body worthy of a "Vanity Pic". That would be pretty awesome. I also want to help people with IPF learn about how nutrition and exercise can improve their symptoms and help them to prepare for transplant.

Reward for Successful Completion of This Challenge: 

 

A pair of Nerd Fitness Sweatpants and a Tee Shirt.

 

Motivation: I have to honor the family that gave me the gift of these lungs.  On what is most likely the worst day of their lives they made the decision to help others.  Words cannot express just how much my family and I appreciate this gift. They gave us a future.

 

I need to take care of these lungs and this body to the very best of my ability.

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Challenge Summery:

 

Weapons/Shields Team Mini Challenge: +2 STR

 

7/28 - TGU PR 15 lb kettlebell each side.

8/1 - Plank PR 3 minute elbow plank.

8/3 - Increase the StrongFirst Simple & Sinister kettlebell workout by one full set.

8/4 - Posted Form Check vid: Planks

8/6 - Increase weight used for KB Swings from 25 to 35 lbs.

8/7 - Increase weight used for TGU's from 15 to 20 lbs.

8/11 - Max reps push up PR = 10

8/11 - Max reps dumbbell row with 35 lbs PR = 10

8/14 - Max rep body weight squats PR = 60 

8/18 - Max sets, KB Swings with 16 kg = 5 sets of 10.

8/27 - Increase weight used for TGU's from 20 to 25 lbs.

8/27 - One-Hand KB Swings. One set of 10 with each hand.  25 lbs.

8/29 - Posted Form Check vid - Squats

8/30 - Increased weight for One-hand KB Swings from 25 lbs to 16 kg.

8/30 - Increased weight for Two-Hand KB Swings from 16 to 20 kg.

9/2 - Increased weight for TGU from 25 lbs to 16 kg.

 

Trouble with Tribbles Mini Challenge: +1 STR

 

8/2 - Standard Push Ups = 11 (5-3-3)

 

Galley Team Mini Challenge: +1 CON

 

8/2 - Citrus Carnitas from the book 'Well Fed'

 

Pew - Pew Q Mini challenge: +1 STA

 

8/12 - High Steps = 200 (4 sets of 25 - fast, 2 sets of 25 - slow, 1 set of 50 - slow.

8/13 - High Steps = 25 (1 set of 25 - fast)

 

Diplomatic Relations Mini Challenge: +1 CHA

 

8/22 - Appetizer Dish submitted, Avocado Salad with Peaches.

8/22 - Entree Dish submitted, Mustard and Rosemary Roasted Game Hens.

8/24 - Dessert Dish submitted, (Paleo) Very Berry Ice Cream.

 

Weekly Reviews:

 

Week 1

 

Week 2

 

Week 3

 

Week 4

 

Week 5

 

Week 6

 

Challenge Recap

 

A placeholder to keep track of this challenge, and the weekly Assassin Mini Quests., an idea ‘borrowed’ from Chris-Tien Jinn’s last challenge.

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What an inspiring story! You took charge of your life and have made fantastic changes.  I'm doing the Simple and Sinister Program and absolutely love it.  Can't wait to see how you enjoy it.

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Thanks for the nice welcome everyone. We are headed over to Eureka Springs AR to visit with Mom for a few days. It's a beautiful area and I'm looking forward to getting out and about.

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Wow, I'm quite impressed by your story. I hope you find the Assassin camp as accomidating as I have.

 

I'm very interested in that kettlebell program you are trying. I have read and watched a small amount of material done by Pavel, not enough to get any real substance from it, but enough to think that I like his "evil Russian drill instructor" approach.

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Hi Daryl, I'm with you. The more I read an watch Pavel (and StrongFirst), the more excited I get about kettlebells. Brought two with us to AR today. Everything I need to continue getting ready for the challenge in one small space.

We are going to enjoy an excellent challenge here with the Assassins Athena :)

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Hey there! First of all, congratulations on your progress and your transplant. I am doing Simple & Sinister 4x/week as part of my challenge, and I LOVE IT! Looking forward to chatting with you about it once you get into it. :) 

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Thanks tigertubagirl (cool name by the way). Today I did the pre-swing routine thru the KB deadlift with my 20 lb KB. Felt great to actually use a KB for a KB routine :). Then I did the pre-get up routine up to being on my hand while balancing a shoe on my fist. I started to lose focus after a couple of sets so I did one rep on each side with a 20 lb KB. Now that got my focus back :)

I should be ready for Day 1 of this challenge :)

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Awesome that you are doing the routine? Were you able to do the shoe pretty easily without it falling?

 

One thing to keep in mind is that the KB workout is pretty grip intensive. I think the way you have it set up with alternating with BW, should work out. But it the pull ups (or rows) start to bother the tendon in your hand or wrist, you may want to lessen your reps at first until you get used to it. Just pay attention to what your body says and if you need to cut back a bit, do so. After a bit your grip will increase and you will adjust.

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Thanks Elastigirl, I was silently following your last challenge and was hoping you would stop by.

Great advice on the grip. I've been more focused on protecting my sternum, chest and back. I'll keep an eye out for grip issues also. Do you think my KB goals are achievable with my current schedule? I think I may have to increase to a weekly schedule of BW, KB, KB, BW, KB, KB, Rest after week 3 or so.

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Interesting. When I think of the benefits of KB or BW training, grip isn't the first thing that comes to my mind. But it totally makes sense. Definitely a good thing to keep in mind.

 

jrosto....just wondering, what you say was the inital cost in getting everything you needed to start the KB training? In browsing around the internet, I've seen costs that vary quite wildly. Not sure if this is the difference in cost of a generic KB vs a "designer" KB, or what.

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Rogue Kettlebells are very nice, they're only $48 for a 16kg bell. Shipping will raise the price quite a bit though. The difference that will matter most is the handle. You don't want to feel a seam, it needs some texture, it should be round. I've used a cheap one that had a seam that tore up my hand. I also used one that that had a triangular handle, it worked, but it was hard to flip the bell around.

I can't find an American made option anymore

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jrosto....just wondering, what you say was the inital cost in getting everything you needed to start the KB training? In browsing around the internet, I've seen costs that vary quite wildly. Not sure if this is the difference in cost of a generic KB vs a "designer" KB, or what.

 

I have 3 smaller KB's now. 15, 20 & 25 lbs. they are made by Black Mountain Products. $82 all in. Nice handles, no seams, and good texture. The bottoms are not machined perfectly flat so may not be great for using like Dumbbells on the floor.

I had made a deal for an RKC 35 lb and a Rogue 53 lb KB for $65 the pair. The guy backed out. The hazards of Craig's List. I need to find a 35 pounder soon.

 

Rogue Kettlebells are very nice, they're only $48 for a 16kg bell. Shipping will raise the price quite a bit though. The difference that will matter most is the handle. You don't want to feel a seam, it needs some texture, it should be round. I've used a cheap one that had a seam that tore up my hand. I also used one that that had a triangular handle, it worked, but it was hard to flip the bell around.

I can't find an American made option anymore

I've seen the Rogue's on Amazon. Good to know they are nice. Thanks.

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Sorry, I can't link on my phone.

For those of you new to Kettlebells we have two great resources at NF (besides ElastiGirl, who you've met), KB Girl who has a warrior challenge this time around and The Most Loathed who keeps a Battle Log. They both compete, so their perspective is different, but

They are both very helpful; you should check them out.

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Thanks Elastigirl, I was silently following your last challenge and was hoping you would stop by.

Great advice on the grip. I've been more focused on protecting my sternum, chest and back. I'll keep an eye out for grip issues also. Do you think my KB goals are achievable with my current schedule? I think I may have to increase to a weekly schedule of BW, KB, KB, BW, KB, KB, Rest after week 3 or so.

This challenge maybe you can follow and not be so silent. :D Your goals look achievable to me. If you work out that ofter, remember that the goal is to train you and give you energy, not to sap you. It took me a bit (and still working on it) to find the balance of getting a good workout and pushing myself, but not so hard that you can't do it again the next day.

 

Read through your MDA blog (well not all 80 page :nevreness: -I skimmed quite a bit) So impressed with how hard you have worked. You worked so hard to be healthy enough for the transplant and then afterward. Your tenacity is so amazing, even when you had setbacks, you didn't let that stop you. When I whine and don't feel like working out, I will be thankful I have strong lungs and can work, and will think of how hard you work to be able to be able to do simple things like take a walk, and now you are working with kettlebells.

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Interesting. When I think of the benefits of KB or BW training, grip isn't the first thing that comes to my mind. But it totally makes sense. Definitely a good thing to keep in mind.

 

jrosto....just wondering, what you say was the inital cost in getting everything you needed to start the KB training? In browsing around the internet, I've seen costs that vary quite wildly. Not sure if this is the difference in cost of a generic KB vs a "designer" KB, or what.

Oh yeah, you start moving some of the heavier kettlebells, and your hands are going to feel it. I think I'm going to buy a Rogue next time. I started out with lighter one from Walmart, and they were alright. I liked the next ones I bought online, but I can't remember where from- it may have been the one you linked. Then the one I'm using now I bought at a local sporting goods store . andI don't really like it. The handle is really wide and it makes it awkward for the swing stance. I'm still using it, because I spent money on it, but I think next time I'll order one, The Walmart ones had seams, but I just sanded them, and it was fine. Might have bothered me more if they were heavier though.

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Interesting. When I think of the benefits of KB or BW training, grip isn't the first thing that comes to my mind. But it totally makes sense. Definitely a good thing to keep in mind.

jrosto....just wondering, what you say was the inital cost in getting everything you needed to start the KB training? In browsing around the internet, I've seen costs that vary quite wildly. Not sure if this is the difference in cost of a generic KB vs a "designer" KB, or what.

I like this site for its comparisons on different bells: http://www.garage-gyms.com/kettlebell-review-shopping-guide-buy/

I convinced my work to buy the Ader bells and they have been great.

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...I think I'm going to buy a Rogue next time...

Another good looking KB.

  

I like this site for its comparisons on different bells: http://www.garage-gyms.com/kettlebell-review-shopping-guide-buy/

 

Thanks for the link. A lot of good info there

 

If extra stamina and strength points were given for life before NF, you would have them brother. Compared to that stuff KBs are easy. Best of luck this challenge.

 

Thanks :)

 

http://rebellion.nerdfitness.com/index.php?/topic/68839-Dillpedo-(Insert-Verb)If you haven't seen it yet, this person is also working with kettle balls and may have some resource links I haven't seen on your threads. (Then again I have a bit of difficulty keeping up with you :-p)

Thanks DreamDancer. He does have a nice challenge going.

I'm really enjoying all of this support. Thanks everyone :)

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