Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year!!!

So...haven't posted in a long time. I don't really have anything planned, I just wanted to get one last post in before 2011.

Training is going well. I've been squatting every day recently. I started about 2 weeks ago, then missed a few days because I got sick, and also had stuff to do for Christmas. I've hit 280 pounds on the squat, as well as 265 on parallel box squats, and 240 today on ATG back squats. I haven't been able to push the bench press past 200, but I hit 200 on close-grip yesterday, so I should be able to top that with my competition grip next session. My last deadlift max was 350 about 2 weeks ago. I've been doing speed work since then, today I pulled with chains it felt pretty good (once I got the setup right, lol). I'll keep these in, as my lockout has always been a weak point, though I think that some of that is a grip issue. I bought some grippers, so I can keep working on grip, since I'm not maxing on the deadlift.

So, I'm going to keep pushing hard for the next 2 1/2 weeks, trying to max on the squat every day, followed by either max bench or speed deads. Right now, I'm just squatting maxes, then getting out, no extra volume other than speed work, or I'll do some volume with no max, loosely following Christian Thibadeau's perfect rep principles, if I'm coming back to the gym from an off day. I don't plan on having any of those from now until my meet. I have a 10 day de-load plan, outlined by John Broz on a forum post, to prepare for the CPF Battle of Montreal on January 29th.

My new year's resolution: post more, ahaha. I'll have more training details in my next post.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Time Management, part 2

Some of the things on my list are pretty well set:
- Kung fu (2 hrs a day, M-Th, 1 hr on Sat)
- Training clients (Currently: 3 clients with 3 1-hr sessions a week)

These 2 go together a bit since they're at the same location. I'm at work/kung fu Monday 1-3 and 4-6 with a new prospect this week from 6-7;     Tuesday 10:30-2 or 3; Wednesday 1-3 and 4-5; Thursday 10:30-2 or 3 and 5-6; Friday 4-5; Saturday 10-12; Sunday 11-12;

I have between 1 and 2 hour round trip commute time, which I use for leisure reading. I just finished reading The Tao of Gung Fu by Bruce Lee. Next book will be Vital Breath of the Dao: Chinese Shamanic Tiger Qigong by Master Zhongxian Wu.

Other Set activities:
- Hockey lessons: Sunday 8:15 - 9:05
- TV:  Monday 8-9 or 9-10; Thursday 8-9; Saturday 7-10
- Weight training

My resistance training is currently the RKC Right of Passage (Presses and Pull-ups done in ladders, plus timed swings/snatches) Saturday. Monday, Wednesday, and squats on Friday, Sunday, Tuesday. I was on a straight 3 x 5 working up to a max fiver everyday, but I'm going to switch to 5 x 5, with heavy, light and medium days. KBell training is done at home 1st thing in the morning MW, and after work on Sat. Squats are done just before work.

In two weeks I'm going to drop the kettlebells, and switch to the Bill Starr plan that I mentioned previously, Monday, Wednesday, Friday mornings, and I'm going to stop going to kung fu on Mondays and Wednesdays.

These activities, plus commuting, eating, and washing up leave me about 33 hours each week of free time. I figure I need to spend about 10 studying for the CSCS; 2 reviewing and planning for clients; 1-2 hours writing 3-4 blog posts each week. So I still have just a bit under 20 hours a week of free time. Although it's split up into small parts most of the time. I got a big chunk (6.5 hours) on Friday which I'll spend with my girlfriend if it works for her. Saturdays are pretty open as well. That's hockey watching night for me, I should try and find some friends to watch it with. I also need to find some time to fit some housework in there.

Writing out all my weekly activities has given me a good idea of time goes, and it's really driving home the point that my time for studying, blogging, and reading is going to come in very small pieces. I need to make sure that I use these times wisely, and don't spend the time sitting on my ass, or reading random stuff on the internet that's not beneficial for me.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Time Management, part 1

This is something that has been difficult for me in the past. I used to be a pretty bad procrastinator, but I'm getting better. I'm kind of a free spirit, I don't really plan much, but I'm realizing that in order to become effective at finishing things, at least some planning is going to be necessary. This entry is a list of stuff that is important to me, first from a professional development standpoint, followed by other parts of life (personal interest, building relationships, entertainment, etc.).

- Study for the CSCS test
- Train for the Powerlifting meet
- Keep my existing clients
- Find new clients
- Read training articles
- Write some training articles
- Spend time with my girlfriend
- Spend time with my friends
- Practice my kung fu
- Improve my Cantonese
- Continue with hockey and skating lessons
- Catch up on watching some Hong Kong films
- Leisure reading
- Watch TV (Limiting myself to 1 hockey game, 1 football game, and a few favourite shows per week, no sitting in front of the TV without a plan)

So, that's the list. I need to figure how much time some of these activities will take (some already take care of themselves in terms of time commitment), then make sure I set aside the time to actually do them.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Inspiration (and a quick training update)

This blog is supposed to be part of my efforts to be more proactive and productive in my pursuit of a career in strength coaching. It's been over a week since my first post, so I'm not off to the greatest start. That's going to change starting now. I'm making a point to post something at least every other day.

I've recently finished reading two of Dave Tate's books: Under the Bar and Raising the Bar. These have gone a long way in helping me realize I need to put the effort in to something that I am passionate about. Similar to Dave, I want to get as strong as possible and help others do the same. I realize that I have a crippling fear of failure, and of judgement from others that has held me back in many aspects of my life. Most notably in my personal relationships, but also in my choice of career path. I was too concerned with how others would see my choices, that I haven't put the effort into finding and pursuing something that I was truly passionate about.

At 25, it's probably a bit too late to become an elite athlete, but I'm not going to let that stop me from putting everything I have into my training, both my own, and that of my clients, and into one day running my own business.

My current training, and the plan for the next 6-7 weeks:
I recently completed 5 sets of 5 rung ladders with the 20 kg kettlebell and 4 kg weighted wide-grip pull-ups. I'm going to finish up the light and medium workouts with the 20 this week, then move on to the 24 kg bell next week. I'll test pull-ups with 8 kg on Friday to see whether or not I should go heavier. I'm doing 3 sets of 5 reps on squats 3 days a week, for the time being, in a week or so I'll switch it to 5 x 5 with varied intensities. In two or three weeks I'm going to do Bill Starr 5 x 5, but with deadlifts on the heavy power clean day. I think I'll use a transition week where I test my max on all for exercises. I'm going to stick with the Bill Starr for 4 weeks, then re-evaluate

Monday, October 4, 2010


I am a personal trainer (Can-Fit-Pro PTS), just getting started at Personal Trainer Toronto (, a small company doing mainly in-condo training, and we also have 2 small studios. I'm fresh out of school (B. Sc. in Medical Physics) and still living with my parents (not my ideal situation, but I'm thankful that I have the option right now).

My end goal, career-wise is to work full-time in the Strength and Conditioning field. Exactly where, I don't know. I'd be happy in a school or high-performance training centre, but eventually I would like to run my own facility. I'm also interested in Traditional Chinese Medicine. I'm half Chinese, and even though I fought hard as a child to not drink my medicine (most of it is really awful tasting), I definitely believe it is the best medical system, as the focus is on prevention and making the body stronger.

TCM is on the back-burner for now though, as I am committed to making life as a personal trainer/strength coach work.

Professional development short-term goal:
Get my CSCS (I'm signed up for the exam on December 4th)

As far as my personal goals, no training blog would be complete without a mention of my own training, and physical fitness/competition goals. Long-term, I want to make sure I'm able to continue to participate in organized sports (hockey and baseball).

I love (Olympic style) weightlifting, and would one day like to compete, but right now, a coach isn't in the budget, and is necessary. I'd also like to get certified as a coach. For now, I'm going to focus on powerlifting.

Potential first meets:
Men's Provincial Intermediates and Bench Press Championships (November 20th in Ottawa)
Ontario Provincial Championships (January 22 in London)

These 2 are OPA events, and don't have Raw divisions. Since I've never lifted in gear, I don't think the Nov. 20 contest is realistic. I'm leaning towards the Jan. 22 meet. I'm going to look for other federations in the meantime, and hopefully find a raw meet.

My current training regimen:
I am currently doing the RKC Rite of Passage. I'm almost up to a full 5-rung workout with the 20 kg bell. Hopefully I'll get that next week, and move on to the 24. Once I'm there, I'm going to start training for the RKC Snatch test (100 snatches with a 24 kg kettlebell in 5 minutes), and hopefully get RKC instructor certified some time next year.

I'm going to add squats (3 x 5, 3 times a week on my non-kettlebell days) to my workouts. I want to keep the RKC workouts in for at least another month before I start a full on powerlifting meet prep. The presses and swings are doing a pretty good job of keeping my bench and deadlift numbers up at the moment.

So that's my story so far. I'm going to use this blog to write about my own training, as well as anything I learn from training clients. Hopefully, my writing skills will soon improve enough for me to try and get an article published. But until then, I'm just going to enjoy getting my thoughts down in print.