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jrosto

Jrosto - Learning to be an Assassin, A Barbarian's Tale.

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I'm interested to see how you like climbing, it's something I enjoy a lot, but sadly don't have the time to really do regularly any more (maybe again one day though).

 

Our oldest grandson turned 16 this week and his b-day present is a trip to the climbing gym.  He's excited to go and I'm on track to meet my goal :)  I've been trying to get him interested in Parkour for years.  He likes jumping over things and has a ton of excess energy.  Maybe rock climbing is something we can do together. 

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Our oldest grandson turned 16 this week and his b-day present is a trip to the climbing gym.  He's excited to go and I'm on track to meet my goal :)  I've been trying to get him interested in Parkour for years.  He likes jumping over things and has a ton of excess energy.  Maybe rock climbing is something we can do together. 

 

I would think the ability gained from rock climbing could translate well to parkour, or anything requiring upper body strength.

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I would think the ability gained from rock climbing could translate well to parkour, or anything requiring upper body strength.

 

That's what I was thinking.   Also, really hope its something he enjoys doing with his Papa John :)

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That's what I was thinking.   Also, really hope its something he enjoys doing with his Papa John :)

I used to climb with Dad and really enjoyed getting to spend the time together as well as the opportunity to do something really cool like dangle from a cliff. I hope that you both have a great time at the climbing gym and find the enjoyment a lot of others have found in the sport. I really find that it provides a physical and mental challenge few other activities can provide. That being said, if you don't like it then at least you have an adventure tucked away for use in future conversations!

 

If you have any questions before going, by all means, post away!

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Thanks tinkerer, I appreciate it.  I grew up climbing rocks on the dry side of the mountains in California, and really enjoyed it.  It should be a lot of fun climbing in a gym.

 

I finally got my back straightened out for my Prying Goblet Squat!  My kettlebell coach gave me some pointers to work on that have really helped to resolve that issue.  Probably the best one was to not go all the way down every time I did a PGS.  What I do now is go down until my elbows touch the inside of my knees then stop for a second an evaluate my form.  Then I slowly sink down into the full PGS and pry away, taking note of where my back started to bow (hips issue).  The next squat was just down to right before that point and hold, no prying, just holding good position at the lowest point where I could.  Basically alternating prying and regular Goblet Squats.  There were also the keys of properly packing the shoulders, long and relaxed neck, proud chest...  Doing them nice and slow like this has also allowed me to increase weight if I want.  I can do them with 16kg :)  I'll stick with 25 lbs for my warm up exercises, but will throw in the heavier weight every once in awhile :)

 

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the StrongFirst site about increasing the rest time in between sets.  The goal is to rest enough that you don't exceed a certain heart rate during your next set.   I've been using that basic idea over the past week and boy, it has really helped.  I have improved my swings, added weight to my TGU, and am not wiped out after my workout.  I can explain better if you are interested.   Slow down to speed up :)

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Thanks tinkerer, I appreciate it.  I grew up climbing rocks on the dry side of the mountains in California, and really enjoyed it.  It should be a lot of fun climbing in a gym.

 

I finally got my back straightened out for my Prying Goblet Squat!  My kettlebell coach gave me some pointers to work on that have really helped to resolve that issue.  Probably the best one was to not go all the way down every time I did a PGS.  What I do now is go down until my elbows touch the inside of my knees then stop for a second an evaluate my form.  Then I slowly sink down into the full PGS and pry away, taking note of where my back started to bow (hips issue).  The next squat was just down to right before that point and hold, no prying, just holding good position at the lowest point where I could.  Basically alternating prying and regular Goblet Squats.  There were also the keys of properly packing the shoulders, long and relaxed neck, proud chest...  Doing them nice and slow like this has also allowed me to increase weight if I want.  I can do them with 16kg :)  I'll stick with 25 lbs for my warm up exercises, but will throw in the heavier weight every once in awhile :)

 

There has been a lot of discussion lately on the StrongFirst site about increasing the rest time in between sets.  The goal is to rest enough that you don't exceed a certain heart rate during your next set.   I've been using that basic idea over the past week and boy, it has really helped.  I have improved my swings, added weight to my TGU, and am not wiped out after my workout.  I can explain better if you are interested.   Slow down to speed up :)

I'll use the tips, I have a bad habit of rounding my back . I'm going to buy a fitbit when I get home from vacation, the main purpose to use my heart rate  for the swings. I'm super excited to try it out. 

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I'll use the tips, I have a bad habit of rounding my back . I'm going to buy a fitbit when I get home from vacation, the main purpose to use my heart rate  for the swings. I'm super excited to try it out. 

 

I have the FitBit Charge HR.  Work great for the swings, but have to take it off for the Get Ups.  There will probably be the same issue when I start presses and snatches, but that is a ways down the road :)

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I have the FitBit Charge HR.  Work great for the swings, but have to take it off for the Get Ups.  There will probably be the same issue when I start presses and snatches, but that is a ways down the road :)

That's the one I was going to get.

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That's the one I was going to get.

 

I really like it for everything else.  Great sleep monitor, step counter, and heart rate monitor.  The software is wonderful and it syncs with MFP.  But when a heavy KB is pinching it between against my forearm it focuses all the weight into that one spot.  I tried just ignoring it (I am a Barbarian after all), but it really started to bother me.

 

Tried reversing it, but still didn't feel good under the 16 kg 'bell.  I could just switch arms with each Get Up, but... nah, I'd rather just think about the next rep and how to improve over the last one.   It is more useful for the swings.

 

I just checked and it does read an accurate pulse in your ankle... I'll give that a try tomorrow and let you know how it goes.

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I tried the fitbit on the ankle today during my Turkish Get Ups, and it worked very well.  I had to use a rubber band to make a band extender for it to fit, but it was accurate and I hardly knew it was there.  

 

During this off week challenge wise I tried out a more aggressive schedule for my Simple & Sinister workout.  I did 3 days on, 1 off, 2 on , 1 off.  That worked very well.  Increasing my rest times between sets of swings and watching my heart rate really did the trick with helping me work harder and recover quicker.  It looks like I will be able to incorporate a 5 day/week S&S program into this challenge.

 

Right now I'm swinging 20 kg both 1 and 2 handed.  My Get Ups are 25 lbs and 16 kg.  Today and yesterday was 15 lbs, 16 kg, 16 kg, 16 kg, 25 lbs.  I'm fairly certain I'll be dropping the 25 pounder in the next week or so.  

 

Now for the body weight and breathing exercises....  well those I pretty much skipped during the off week.  It will be interesting to see how I do with the body weight circuit I'm planning on doing tomorrow :) 

 

Really looking forward to getting this party started :)

 

Speaking of parties, met with Wolfenstein and his wonderful family, Revan_32765, and Gnarth at a park this afternoon.  We grilled Kabobs and 'dogs and had a pretty great time.  Really enjoyed getting together with other Rebels.  Felt really nice hanging out with Nerds who understand pretty much everything you are doing, and why.  Makes Camp sound like an even more epic event.

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Week: The First - Day 1.  The Challenge Begins

 

1.  Carry my own Weight:

 

Every journey has a beginning, the place from which all progress is measured.  So where is my beginning?  The inquiring minds of the Guild Masters would like to know, at least that's what I was told by the child who interrupted my lunch.  Seriously, they sent a child to test my strength, and I assume my resolve to be an Assassin.  I am to demonstrate my proficiency in push ups, pull ups and planks.  When I explained that performing a pull up was a skill I had not yet acquired, but could knock out inverted rows, the child laughed and said that was not acceptable, only pull ups, or at least the negative version would do.  

 

Very well then.

 

As I struggled through the 14th push up, the child laughed as he did handstands.  That pushed me to do one more.

 

Now to the bar.  I thought my first attempt at a negative pull up was very nice, a well controlled 10 second drop.  From the corner I hear  "Slower old man, show me some control".  Back up to the bar I went and achieved a 15 second negative pull up.  I held myself in the hollow body position the whole time.  "This time do it from your scar, now that might impress me" said the urchin.  My head touched the ceiling as  I stepped off the stool.  Failure.  Not sure if it was the height, or because I had not done these before, but that third negative pull up was a dismal failure.

 

"Ok old man, back on the floor.  Let us see just how long you can hold yourself in a plank."  No problem I thought.  My record for a plank is well over 3 minutes, I got this.  Two minutes later I was done.  That was it, just two minutes?  Wheew, that was rough.

 

The imp laughed once again and said "That's enough old man, let me see how many jumping jacks you can do and I'll go report to my Masters."  Masters?  I'll show you master as I knocked out 60 jumping jacks before my body just was done.

 

As the messenger was leaving, he turned and said "I have one more message for you, the Guild Masters have decided to test your resolve and commitment.  They have designed a few small challenges for you to attempt.  You are to join with the Hobbits.  Help them succeed and you might show your true worth as an Assassin."

 

Hobbits?  Well, at least I won't be expected to wear shoes.

 

Push Ups - 15

Negative Pull Ups - 1 ten sec, 1 15 sec, 1 fail.

Planks - 2 minutes

Jumping Jacks - 60

 

2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 

 

The visit from the Guild messenger left me out of sorts.  No man likes to be laughed at by a child. I settled in to try and use breathing to calm myself.  Breathing as if breathing around a box, to the sound of bells, slowed my heart and give me time to think.  Yes, I am weak, but not as weak as I was only a month ago.  My strength is improving daily, and will only continue as I continue on this path.  The Mages speak of the ability to clear the mind and experience mystical revelation through these breathing exercises.  I think my mind is just too full to be emptied by such simple things.  We will see.

 

Box Breathing - 6.4 minutes of six second box breathing.

 

3.  Learn a New Skill: 

 

0/3

 

4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:

 

Rest Day

 

My new challenge, it has begun.

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Today is Monday, and if you visited during my past challenges, you know that on Mondays I usually post my weekly macros.  This helps keep me on target and helps to identify leaks sneaking into my diet.

 

Monday Macros

Weight = 160. Weight gained/lost this week = 0 lb. Total weight loss = 91 lbs. Macros for the week = Carb/Fat/Prot - 25/49/26%. Daily avg cals = 2107.  

 

Cals were low again this week.  I have to get more cals in earlier in the day.  Trying to catch up at dinner just isn't working.  Still making gains in strength and endurance, I'm not abnormally hungry and I have lots of energy so the cals aren't' too low, I would just like to see what my body does at 2300.    Carb percentage is a little high, but still only 134 grams/day.  Something to work on this week :)

 

This is by and long the coolest journal I've read. Best of luck man. All those hobbits will be super safe with a barbarian assassin to be, if conspicuous.

 

Thanks, hopefully my hobbit like feet will help me to fit it, so long as I refrain from breaking things :)

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Week: The First - Day 2.  They Want to go Where?


 


1.  Carry my own Weight:


 


Laughter.  I can still hear the child's laughter at my inability to do one simple pull up.   Hmmpf... good thing I was already planning on achieving this ability and installed an iron rod in my quarters.  So I practiced, just hanging there drawing in my shouders (packing them the Elves call it) and holding my body tight.  I will achieve this skill soon.


 


Hollow Body Dead Hangs - Three sets of one, 15 seconds each.


 


2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 


 


Breathe in, hold your breath as if you are still breathing in.  Breathe out and hold your breath once again. Repeat... The bells are nice, they do tend to calm my thoughts.


 


Box Breathing - 6.8 minutes of six second box breathing.


 


3.  Learn a New Skill:


 


0/3


 


4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:


 


The courtyard is where members of the Guild meet to hone their skills and train with their houses.  I'm here to check in with the Hobbits and see what they have in store for m, this should be interesting.  There is a lot more activity going on than usual for this time of day.  Pretty much all the races are here, and it looks like they are quietly preparing for something big.  Good thing I have my pack, and my iron.  Oh, my iron?  A gift from a Dwarf who had joined me on many an adventure.  While the healers were still patching me together, he showed up with the iron.  He told me this iron was forged in the deepest mines, perfect spheres so dark they seem to absorb the sun.  Heavy iron with handles forged to fit my hands only.  My most prized possessions.  My friend to told me to swing the iron and learn to pick it up, holding it with one hand over my head.  He told me to do it often, and to "...repeat until strong".  


 


As the Hobbits had not yet arrived, I worked with my iron.  I drew some looks when I held an iron like a goblet of Mead while squatting and prying around as if to rip my legs from my very hips.  I drew some laughter when hit myself in the face with the iron because I was showing off and doing the curls to quickly.  I know of others in the guild who train with the iron, but we are few and far between, so we always draw interest in the courtyard.  I quickly finished up my warm up and started swinging heavy iron, I swang it with  two hands, then by each one alone.  The iron was in the air 70 times before I moved on to my get ups.  That's what it is called when we lay on the ground, with one hand put the iron in the air, and stand tall with the iron over our heads.  After my fifth get up from each side, I notice the Hobbits arriving all in a rush.  One hurries over an says "Come, come Mr. jrosto, we have to hurry, it's time to go."  "Go?  where are we going?" I ask.  "Why we are going on an adventure" he says with a smile.  "We are off to Mordor"


 


Mordor... what have I gotten myself into?


 


Prying Goblet Squat - 1 set of 5 with a 25 lb kettlebell.


 


StrongFirst Hip Bridge - One set of 5, 3 seconds each.


 


Halo - One set of 5 in each direction with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


Kettlebell Swings - Three sets of 10, two handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. Two sets of 10, for each arm one handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. 


 


Turkish Get Ups - One set of 1 from each side with a 25 lb kettlebell, and four sets from each side with at 16 KB.


 


StrongFirst S & S stretches - Completed.


 


And here we go, Simply Walking to Mordor.


 


Extra walking for the Mordor Mini = 1.79 mi.


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While I was doing the Prying Goblet Squats I did pop myself right in the mouth.  I was enjoying my music and bam, right in the kisser.  Didn't cut anything, but embarrassing.  I'm taking that as a sign I need to use a heavier weight :)

 

I only did one set of the warm up exercises.  I know I said I was going to do three, I wanted to do three, but I'd rather swing the iron than spend more time on warm ups.  

 

What do you think?  Should I do all three sets of warm ups?  Or is one good enough If I feel ready to get swinging?

 

 

Nice work! Negatives ftw :)

 

Thanks, I sure feel those today.  Yesterday's workout affected my Get Up's.  The first couple with the 16 kg 'bell were rough.  The last two were really good.

 

I think there are worse things than bigger breakfasts. Or second breakfasts. ;) After all, you're with the hobbits for the mini~!

 

Second breakfast.  Score!

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While I was doing the Prying Goblet Squats I did pop myself right in the mouth.  I was enjoying my music and bam, right in the kisser.  Didn't cut anything, but embarrassing.  I'm taking that as a sign I need to use a heavier weight :)

 

I only did one set of the warm up exercises.  I know I said I was going to do three, I wanted to do three, but I'd rather swing the iron than spend more time on warm ups.  

 

What do you think?  Should I do all three sets of warm ups?  Or is one good enough If I feel ready to get swinging?

 

 

 

Thanks, I sure feel those today.  Yesterday's workout affected my Get Up's.  The first couple with the 16 kg 'bell were rough.  The last two were really good.

 

 

Second breakfast.  Score!

It takes a long time to get through 3 good sets of prying squats, I have to admit I don't always do it. 

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A warmup is a warmup so if you're good to go aka warm, then go! Seems to me. Unless you're doing the warmup for another reason?

 

Nice to see you rocking all those swings with the 20kg.. quite some progress you made sir :)

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Week: The First - Day 3.  Hanging With the Hobbits


 


I am really starting to enjoy being with the Hobbits.  They are a very polite folk, and also very determined.  It took me most of yesterday to get them to stop calling me Mister, and by noon today several were calling me j.r.  They must be getting used to me.  I've been contemplating as to why the Guild Masters would put me with the Hobbits, it seems the only thing we really have in common is our hairy feet.  With nothing to do while walking but think, I may have come up with an answer...  The Guild Masters must have known about this "Adventure" into Mordor and felt the Hobbits needed a Barbarian around to offer a little protection in the event we we come across Orcs, Goblins, or even a small Dragon (oh, one can only hope!).  Whatever the reason, adventuring with the Hobbits is an enjoyable enough way to spend the days. 


 


1.  Carry my own Weight:


 


These Hobbits sure can eat.  I think they have a meal for every hour.  I'm not at all sure how they carry all that food.  Anyway, when they stopped for the third (fourth?) time for a snack I found a tree to hang on for a bit and work on my pull up.


 


Hollow Body Dead Hangs - Three sets of one, 15 seconds each.


 


2.  Keep Calm and Carry On: An Assassin must be able to control his thoughts and breath. 


 


I am so happy that I happened to pack my bell with me when I went to the Courtyard yesterday.  One of my new Hobbit friends seems to think it's quite the treat to ring it for me while I work on my breathing


 


Box Breathing - 6.8 minutes of six second box breathing.


 


3.  Learn a New Skill:


 


0/3


 


4.  A Barbarian’s Got to do What a Barbarian’s Got to do:


 


It was a hard decision to bring a couple of my Dwarven Iron weights along for this adventure, but I am glad I did.  The Hobbits are in no hurry to get to Mordor, and there are plenty of stops along the way for snacks, so I am well able to carry the additional weight.  It was during another of their snack breaks, Afternoon Tea I think it was, that I was able to use the iron and stretch out my muscles.  


 


Prying Goblet Squat - 1 set of 5 with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


StrongFirst Hip Bridge - One set of 5, 3 seconds each.


 


Halo - One set of 5 in each direction with a 16 kg kettlebell.


 


Kettlebell Swings - Three sets of 10, two handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. Two sets of 10, for each arm one handed, with a 20 kg kettlebell. 


 


Turkish Get Ups - Five sets from each side with a 16 kg KB.


 


 


The Adventure continues, Simply Walking to Mordor.


 


Extra walking for the Mordor Mini = 1.6 mi.


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