Category Archives: Fitness

Physical training philosophy

I have a crazy pipe dream that someday I would like to do work in the philosophy of physical fitness. It doesn’t even seem to be a discipline yet, although there is a philosophy of sport which is largely considered with the nature of sport and the ethics of competition. I am interested in doing work on the nature of developing physical prowess, but at this point I have not the faintest idea of what I would write about. Instead, today I thought I’d write about how I approach physical training itself.  Continue reading Physical training philosophy

2014 conditioning work: reflections on training (part 6)

This will be the sixth and final post in my series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) on my 2014 physical training. In this post, I will discuss the conditioning work throughout 2014 and into 2015. I will particularly focus on my attempts to improve my running ability. 


I stopped running regularly sometime in the fall of 2011. I was getting out of the Marine Corps and decided that I wanted to focus my effort on getting stronger, rather than wasting time on silly things like running. This was one of the dumbest choices I have made in relation to my training, and it was over two years before I started running regularly again (early 2014). I maintained some passable fitness by continuing to hike once or twice a week, but by fall of 2013 (when I moved to a flat area) I had stopped hiking more than once a month or so. In late 2013, my RHR was around 80bpm, my blood pressure had climbed to the high 110s over the 80s, everything felt creaky and frail, and easy trails had gotten difficult. It was time for a change. Continue reading 2014 conditioning work: reflections on training (part 6)

2014 GST work: reflections on training (part 5)

In the previous post, I discussed the barbell training I did in 2014 and early 2015 as part of my series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) of reflections on my training. In this post, I’ll cover my bodyweight work, with a particular focus on my use of the Foundation 1 (F1) and Handstand 1 (H1) programs from Christopher Sommer at Gymnastic Bodies.

I did a few different phases of bodyweight(-esque) training in 2014 and early 2015:

  • Accessory work phase: in this phase (which was intermittent throughout most of my 2014 training until I started the F1/H1 programming), I used bodyweight training as a way to augment by lifting.
  • First progression attempts: in this phase, I actually tried to make some progress in gymnastic strength training (GST) skills.
  • F1/H1 phase: I started using the Foundation 1 and Handstand 1 programming from Gymnastic Bodies.

Continue reading 2014 GST work: reflections on training (part 5)

2014 barbell work: reflections on training (part 4)

In the previous three posts of this series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), I sketched out my training experiences in 2014: the sorts of work I was doing, when, and why, along with general mistakes. In this post, I will focus specifically on my barbell strength work in 2014 (and early 2015): what worked, what didn’t, injuries, and so forth.


My 2014 barbell work can be divided into roughly 5 periods: (1) the first couple months (with intermittent returns for a couple of weeks), which I’ll refer to as my SS (Starting Strength) periods; (2) the maintenance periods (where I did not try to drive improvement in barbell strength); (3) the weightlifting period; (4) the high-intensity period; (5) the 5/3/1 period.  Continue reading 2014 barbell work: reflections on training (part 4)

Later 2014 and new programming: reflections on training (part 3)

In the previous post of this series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6), I described the periodized training I attempted in the first half of 2014. I ended up pushing (a crappy version of) my weightlifting cycle through the summer of 2014 while I was teaching. I will discuss that more in my barbell strength post.

In this post, I will describe the programming changes I effected, beginning in August 2014. They can be summed up as follows:

  1. Modified 5/3/1 (deadlift as assistance work, no bench), based loosely on Jim Wendler‘s programming.
  2. Simple running progression involving two runs per week, and an increase of weekly mileage by one mile each month.
  3. The Foundation 1 and Handstand 1 programs from Christopher Sommer at Gymnastic Bodies. (Modified only in that the program is not intended to be run concurrently with other programming, but otherwise done as prescribed.)

Continue reading Later 2014 and new programming: reflections on training (part 3)

Early 2014 and periodization: reflections on training (part 2)


This is part 2 of a multi-part series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) involving my thoughts on the physical training I did in 2014 and early 2015. I did a lot of weird, goofy stuff, and I hope my discussion will be interesting and helpful to others. Here is part 1.


To review, this is the program I laid out for myself and committed to doing in early 2015:

  • 6 weeks focused on barbell strength: the highly-modified SS protocol I mentioned in the previous post, plus some snatch work, some press-to-handstand (as I called it) work, pull-up/dip/muscle-up accessory work, and then twice-weekly conditioning sessions (usually step-ups on the hiking box with a pack, occasionally a short run).
  • 3 weeks of “GST”: 2x/week barbell maintenance, a front lever progression, a straddle planche progression, 2-3x/week conditioning (split between running and “hiking”), kip-up progression, and handstand work.
  • 2 weeks of barbell strength (same protocol as above).
  • 3 weeks of work capacity: focused on running, push-up volume, barbell maintenance, and some CrossFit-style metcons.
  • 2 weeks of barbell strength.
  • 3 weeks of hypertrophy work: lots of body weight, some curls, dips, and so forth, plus barbell maintenance.
  • 4 weeks of weightlifting: Bulgarian-esque programming training for the snatch, the back squat, and the clean and jerk 3x/week, strict press maintenance, and some accessory work.

Continue reading Early 2014 and periodization: reflections on training (part 2)

2014 in review: reflections on the past year (or so) of training

This is going to be a multi-part series (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6) looking at the training I did throughout 2014 and into 2015, focusing on numerous approaches to programming, what worked, and what didn’t. This post will cover through early 2014. The next post will look in more detailed at what worked through the first half of 2014. The third post will cover the multi-modal program I started in August 2014, and I will write modality-focused posts for my lifting, endurance training, and bodyweight/gymnastic strength training (GST). 


At the end of 2013, I had been in my current graduate program for about three months. Living in a place without good hiking nearby, I had largely stopped hiking except for once every couple of months when I would make it home for a visit. I had no climbing gym, so I had stopped climbing with the 2-3x per week frequency I had maintained for the previous couple of years. I was lifting 1-2x per week. That was it for physical activity. I had never realized how active I was until the end of 2013, when my body felt weak, creaky, and unhappy. On the rare occasion I was able to hike, previously easy trails were difficult and left me feeling worn-out. Pulling ability started being a limiting factor in bouldering. This was incredibly depressing to me, as my body had always felt reasonable strong and capable. I resolved to fix myself. Continue reading 2014 in review: reflections on the past year (or so) of training