Gymnastic Strength Training

This is an insane, 3-hour-long interview. Which I listened to twice. (So far.) Christopher Sommer ( ) is an Olympic Gymnastics coach and this interview has broadened my horizons– about training, about strength, about recovery, about success, about goals, about gymnastics… I could not even decide what to pull-quote.

I work like a gardener

(Part 58 of 67 in ~ My Journey)

I work like a gardener… Things come slowly… Things follow their natural course. They grow, they ripen. I must graft. I must water… Ripening goes on in my mind. So I’m always working at a great many things at the same time.

~ Joan Miro, from I Work Like a Gardener

In the beginning, my Parkour practice was simply “push. push! PUSH!” with the only moderating factor being to avoid serious injury.

Fortunately, I soon found my own way to the concept of auto-regulation (although I didn’t know the word at the time). Now, at each practice session, I simply start moving and practicing. Then depending on how I am actually performing (physically, mentally) I dial up or down the intensity, and level of challenge, to correspond to the moment/hour/day. The critical point being that I assess how I am actually performing. It’s not, “I roll out of bed, decide I feel sore (or lazy) and then skip the workout/class.”

Lately, I’m noticing there’s a seasonal component. (It’s one thing to say that. It’s another thing to really experience it over a few years.) In the Spring I charge ahead on new plans and goals, and by Summer I find I’m making progress by leaps and bounds. (See what I did there? #sorrynonotsorry.) Then Fall rolls around and I’m starting to chillax and really enjoy things; Meals with friends, vistas, the moments between gonzo training sessions, etc. By the time winter descends, I’m ready to burrow into reading and cooking up new schemes for the coming year.

Obviously, part of that is just the natural rhythm of life in an area that has four clear seasons.

…but part of it is exactly what Joan said about working like a gardener.

Targeted-heart-rate workouts

(Part 29 of 67 in ~ My Journey)

A while back I mentioned I’ve been experimenting with a FitBit HR and an intentional, designed, fitness program. I’ve been playing with this more. I originally didn’t like that I couldn’t just redefine all the zones to the HRs that we’re targeting.

Most, tradition/common workout programs I’ve seen have just 3 heart rate (HR) zones based on a maximum HR which is simply computed based on your age. The plan I’m working with from Mike, is significantly more complex. (Details for another post I suppose.) Anyway, the plan calls for very specific workouts, for example: “17 minutes in Z1”.

I noticed on day one, that the FitBit only has one “custom zone” that you can configure. So, I’ve begun manually setting the “custom zone” to the goal HR before some of the workouts. Once I plug in the specific Z1 lower/upper numbers, I can then set off on the workout.

On the device, there is an icon-based display that shows you quickly if you’re below/in/above the target zone. Normally, the icons refer to one of the FitBit’s built-in zones. But it turns out that if you set a custom zone, then the icon status is for your custom zone. Ok, now THAT’S useful!

The above screen grab is from a morning run where I had the custom zone set to my specific Z1 values. The graph shows the FitBit’s default zones (blue/”under”, yellow/”fat burn”, orange/”cardio”) and it overlays my custom zone as the hatched band. The bar graph even adds a value for the time in the custom zone.

In this example I set out to perform, after warming up, for 17 minutes in Z1. …and BAM! 16 minutes in Z1 by it’s measure. Now that’s a targeted workout.

Aside: The tail end of the graph was a strong-run-out, 1/4 mile. My opinion is that the FitBit sucks at picking up highend HR. Either that, or I’m a machine, and can run an 8 minute mile pace at a 151HR. …and it’s not the latter of those two.