Get up and move!

     So as of late I’ve been dealing with some setbacks in my training. I haven’t been very vocal about it because it’s not a serious injury or anything but it’s worth talking about because it has been some things that have been reoccurring and it stems from the same thing…inactivity. Now I know what you’re thinking, “But Chris…you train all the time! How can you be inactive?” Well I’ll be the first one to tell you the 2 to 3 hours of intense training I do 5 or 6 days a week did not negate the 8 hours of the day I was sitting on my ass. Not even with the 2 mobility sessions I was doing on my breaks. For the longest time I had a standing workstation to avoid the problems caused by excessive sitting but due to a location change that was no longer an option. I will say I am back to my normal area and back to standing up at work but unfortunately 6 months of damage had been done. So what happens to a person who sits down all day? Let’s look at some of the problems it causes.

Heart diseaseMuscles burn less fat and blood flows more sluggishly during a long sit, allowing fatty acids to more easily clog the heart. Prolonged sitting has been linked to high blood pressure and elevated cholesterol, and people with the most sedentary time are more than twice as likely to have cardiovascular disease than those with the least.
Over productive pancreas
The pancreas produces insulin, a hormone that carries glucose to cells for energy. But cells in idle muscles don’t respond as readily to insulin, so the pancreas produces more and more, which can lead to diabetes and other diseases. A 2011 study found a decline in insulin response after just one day of prolonged sitting.

Mushy abs
When you stand, move or even sit up straight, abdominal muscles keep you upright. But when you slump in a chair, they go unused. Tight back muscles and wimpy abs form a posture-wrecking alliance that can exaggerate the spine’s natural arch, a condition called hyperlordosis, or swayback.

Tight hips
Flexible hips help keep you balanced, but chronic sitters so rarely extend the hip flexor muscles in front that they become short and tight, limiting range of motion and stride length. Studies have found that decreased hip mobility is a main reason elderly people tend to fall.
Limp glutes
Sitting requires your glutes to do absolutely nothing, and they get used to it. Soft glutes hurt your stability, your ability to push off and your ability to maintain a powerful stride.
Poor circulation in legs
Sitting for long periods of time slows blood circulation, which causes fluid to pool in the legs. Problems range from swollen ankles and varicose veins to dangerous blood clots called deep vein thrombosis (DVT).
Soft bones
Weight-bearing activities such as walking and running stimulate hip and lower-body bones to grow thicker, denser and stronger. Scientists partially attribute the recent surge in cases of osteoporosis to lack of activity
Foggy brain
Moving muscles pump fresh blood and oxygen through the brain and trigger the release of all sorts of brain- and mood-enhancing chemicals. When we are sedentary for a long time, everything slows, including brain function.

Strained neck
If most of your sitting occurs at a desk at work, craning your neck forward toward a keyboard or tilting your head to cradle a phone while typing can strain the cervical vertebrae and lead to permanent imbalances.
Sore shoulders and back
The neck doesn’t slouch alone. Slumping forward overextends shoulder and back muscles as well, particularly the trapezius, which connects the neck and shoulders.
Inflexible spine
When we move, soft discs between vertebrae expand and contract like sponges, soaking up fresh blood and nutrients. But when we sit for a long time, discs are squashed unevenly. Collagen hardens around tendons and ligaments.
Disk damage
People who sit more are at greater risk for herniated lumbar disks. A muscle called the psoas travels through the abdominal cavity and, when it tightens, pulls the upper lumbar spine forward. Upper-body weight rests entirely on the ischial tuberosity (sitting bones) instead of being distributed along the arch of the spine.

      So you see how many of these issues can be a huge detriment for someone who actively competes in a sport such as Strongman. The biggest problem I was having was in my hips. I kept finding myself tweaking something in my groin area on movements like deadlifts and stones and my entire lower body would cramp horribly starting at my lower back and hips and travel all the way down to my ankles. Of course I’d stretch, roll out and fight through any pain until I felt something that might be an actual injury, or my body warning me of one.
       I began taking steps to fix my issues right after another tweak while working stones that led to me now being able to compete in an upcoming Strongman competition. The first one was getting the book Deskbound by Kelly Starrett and learning what I should do to combat the issues that were plaguing me. The one quote that sticks out the most with me from the book is “The best position is the next position”. So I began to move more. Despite my job keeping me stuck at a computer most of the day I found ways to get moving. I drink a lot of water throughout the day and use the bathroom frequently. So I started using the bathroom downstairs which forced me to walk down and then back up 3 flights of stairs. I could feel my head fogging up from sitting and when I did I’d stand up from my chair and sit back down repeatedly. I took as many breaks as I could to move around and kept up with my mobility drills daily.
     I made some changes with my training as well. Any movement that requires stability, which is pretty much all of them, I lowered the weight some and began training without my belt or my thick neoprene shorts and focused on core stability and control. So far it has helped although I’m now seeing how much the weakened core and tight hips have held me back. The standing workstation has been in effect for 3 weeks now and its making a huge difference. I still have to remind myself that standing still is still inactivity and remember to move around more often. I’ll also engage my glutes and abs for periods of time while standing. It’s sad to say but after reading how to stand correctly in Deskbound and then doing it I actually find it difficult to maintain posture and breathing for long periods of time. It just goes to show how much damage can be done in a time as short as six months. I can’t even imagine what my co-workers feel like after years of it with no effort to reverse the effects. Since most of them are not even athletic let alone competitors they probably don’t even notice their gradual decline into weakness.
      When I took the first job I had at this company I was a welder and fabricator for close to 6 years and this being a Navy shipyard I kept quite active with plenty of strenuous activity in my work day. Not to mention the fact that I still trained every day after work. I took this desk job because I saw may of the guys I worked with have health issues due to the exposure of the elements we encountered. I also understood at that time there would still be plenty of floor time and I’d be all over the ship working with production. For the past 4 years this has not been the case. This is one of the reasons I have made the choice to start my own businesses and open my gym Tier One Viking Barbell. Someplace where I can create an environment based on the identity of strength and make that my job. I know there’s still deskwork to be done and I’m ok with that. It will be offset with my time spent training myself and others who are on the same journey I am. Climbing the ladder of strength one rung at a time. Stay strong everyone!

Training Log 22 September 2016-Deadlift Day

Training Log 22 September 2016Play stupid games, win stupid prizes.
       Anyone who’s listened to my podcast knows I don’t mind admitting when I screw up if someone else can learn something from it. Well this blog will be no different. For the past month I’ve stuck to a pretty clean nutrition plan designed to get my weight down. Nothing crazy. Just cut carbs here and there and being more mindful of my portions. But mostly being sure I’m not eating any garbage with the exception of the occasional cheat meals which happen the night before an active recovery day so it’s out of my system in time and won’t affect a training day badly. Well yesterday I deviated from the plan and payed for it. The day started fine. Breakfast as usual at 0400 which was my normal 4 eggs and 4 pieces of turkey bacon. A protein and amino energy blend at 0600 and some nuts and Greek yogurt at 0900. Then about 1030 our boss who fancies himself quite the chef announced that there were BBQ nachos in the meeting room and that we should help ourselves. Well in all my infinite wisdom I wander in there and catch a sniff of the aroma which led me to the crock pot. Little did I know that in that crock pot lied the bile of Surtr himself. So I make myself a reasonable plate going light on the chips. Mostly meat (pork) jalapenos and cheese. Now anyone who knows me knows I can handle some spicy food so that wasn’t the issue. When I took the first bite I immediately realized he must have emptied out the entire salt mine into that pot. Of course I just kept eating thinking I’ll sweat it out later. As I finished the nachos, which were not good at all so I must have been hungry, I realized the plate was full of a thick oily substance I’m guessing was salted grease. It was then I knew I was in trouble. I usually each my actual lunch about 11-1130. That didn’t happen. I felt horrible from head to toe and my legs started to cramp horribly. I figured I’d pound water and be ok to eat around noon. That didn’t happen either. I completely missed lunch. So 1400 rolls around and I instinctively get my afternoon snack of cottage cheese even though I still felt awful and had no appetite whatsoever. I choked down 2 spoons and called it. No way my stomach could handle it. For the record I’m omitting all the gory details of the bathroom visits that occurred throughout the day. So 1530 hits and I’m off work and headed home very enthusiastic about the heavy deadlift session I had planned. I drink my Odin’s Blood pre-workout on the drive as usual thinking it would purge any of the evil left in my. Unfortunately it turned out the Allfather also felt I should pay for my mistake. By the time I got home I was shaky and nauseous and felt very weak. Realizing I was very low on calories for the day I thought about taking a rest day, but then I thought if I’m going to be miserable I might as well be miserable deadlifting and not sitting on my ass. I knew going for a heavy single or double like I planned was a bad idea so I switched to speed sets instead. Here’s how it played out.
Warm up
Banded Good Mornings with the Hip Circle 3X10
Side lunges with the Hip Circle 2X10
Deadlifts
1X10@135

1X10@225
Speed Sets
10X2@365 with 30 seconds rest or less in between sets
Accessory work
Bent Over Barbell Rows
1X12@135

2X8@225

Close grip T-Bar rows
3X10 with 2 plates
Barbell Shrugs
3X10@225
1X10@275 (Snatch grip)
Farmer handle shrugs
2X10@110 per hand
Banded upright rows
3X15 with medium green band

Bicep dumbbell curls 3X15@25 per arm
(Yes, we do curls in Strongman for tendon health)

I guess I sweated the poison out of me because I felt much better afterwards and my post workout protein went down with no problem. I wasn’t taking any chances so I ate some tuna with a little mayo for dinner and drank plain casein before bed. I woke up feeling pretty flat but it’s gotten better as the days gone on.
Anyway, the moral of the story is have self-discipline, stick to the plan and it will work! Consistency works over time! And beware the nachos!!!
Stay strong everyone!

Training Log 9-21-16 Press Day

So I recently purchased a Viking Press implement from EliteFTS. Yesterday was my second time using it and I have to say I’m pretty happy with it so far as I feel it will be valuable in developing strength in pressing as well as getting comfortable with the Viking Press event itself. The multi grip handle allows variation in the movement and because it’s pretty much just attached to a barbell with a Rogue Landmine used for the base on the other side so it forces you to maintain stability on your own unlike most fixed pressing set ups. Eventually I will fabricate a rack to secure it in since now I can only press four plates safely before it tries to catapult on me.
I started yesterday’s training session with the Viking Press and then moved onto the log. I could definitely feel the fatigue at that point so I kept it pretty light. After that I moved on to bench press and actually used a little weight for the first time since the pec tear. I worked up to 225 with a band added and felt comfortable with it although I could definitely tell my right side was lacking. Up till this point I had rehabbed it enough to be able to press overhead as I needed to in competition but now it’s time to start building strength in it again.
Training Log 21 September 2016
Viking Press
2X10 with one plate (warm up)

1X10 with two plates

2X6 with 3 plates
2X5 with 4 plates

Log Press (Only cleaned first rep)

1X8@140
1X6@180
2X4@230
 Bench Press

1X20@95 with red band

2X10@135 with red band
1X8@225 with red band
Lateral raise/Face pull supersets
3X15/15
I finished up with 2 rounds of Tabata Airdyne sprints and called it a day!
Stay strong everyone!

Why a blog?

This is a short intro before we get down to business. Many people have asked me why I have decided to start a blog. Well there’s several reasons. One is that as of late I have become extremely busy and my podcast Tier One Viking Radio has suffered. This is a form of media I can maintain on the go and still reach many of the people who want to hear what I have to say. Secondly I feel there are now too many voices being used at once. When I started my podcast there were 2 other guys doing things similar to what I was doing. Sure there were plenty of other general Heathen podcasts out there but as far as the genre I captured it was The Pressure Project, Start the World and then I came along. Before long the bandwagon was full and our names were being dropped by everyone and anyone including kids who can barely wipe their own asses but they considered themselves men because they made some videos or started a podcast. Yes, there will be more podcasts as time allows and once I am at the point where I can give it the attention it deserves it will resume fully. Your probably thinking how will the written word be any different. Well I’m about to tell you. It’s time for a change. I’ve always shared knowledge based on personal experiences on my podcast and I will continue to do so here. But it will revolve around my training as I work towards being the best I can be in the sport of Strongman and my journey towards opening my gym which will be based on the identity of strength. Tier One Viking Barbell will be the place people train because they want the hard road. A proving ground of sorts when both men and women can come and leave it all out on the floor knowing they left stronger than they were when they came in. It will be the legacy I leave behind and it will not be tarnished by weakness. So I ask you to join me now as you have in the past as we continue to climb the ladder of strength.