The Daily Dose 12/21/17: Purposefully Unstructured

“Here is the manliness of manhood, that a man has a good reason for what he does, and has a will in doing it.”
-Alexander MacLaren

They say that the best diet is the one that you can stick with. The best program is likely the same. It has seemed like with the flow of the weekly volume and my calorie intake that by Thursday my main goal needs to be recovery, both to be ready for the heavy weekend volume and to prevent program burnout.

With that in mind, I think for the next few weeks at least my goal is to make Thursday an Unstructured Day.

Rules of Unstructured Day:

  • Must be at least one hour in duration.
  • Try exercises that you want to work on
  • Work in the exercises that you don’t really have space for during the rest of the week, as long as they don’t interfere with Friday’s lifting or Long Run Day.
  • Work on mobility

Unstructured Day is really just time spent enjoying movement and allowing myself to experiment while keeping myself from being stagnant on the couch.

I think it would be awesome to work in some Prowler Sled and Strongman implements on these days. Baby steps.

Unstructured Day

1 hour

STRENGTH – 40 minutes

  • Supersetted some of the strength work with a few sets up pullups, dips, and one-armed swimmers presses with 40# dumbells.

SQUAT VARIANTS – Keeping it really light and working on form.

  • I’ve been spending a little time every day working on my ankle mobility. This added volume and paying attention have shown me that not only is my ankle range of motion almost nonexistent, but my ankles are incredibly weak as well – probably from all those years in high-top cleats on the defensive line.
  • Put on the ol’ Rogue Do-Wins for these to add a little help and experiment some. Felt really nice, actually.

Front Squats

95 x 5, 115 x 5, 135 x 5, 185 x 2

  • Form video shows that my ankle/hip mobility is the main factor in my butt-wink issues. Playing with form. These felt good, but video makes them look a little nastier than I would like.

High Bar Squats

185 x 2

5 x 2 x 225

  • Trying to open up the chest as much as possible. These actually felt pretty good once I brought my feet in a little closer together and pushed my toes out more.


2 x 5 x 135, each leg.

  • These felt super weird, but I like them. Definitely going to help my balance and coordination.


5 x 10 x 70#, 30 seconds between sets.


Paying careful attention during the vinyasas to the calves, hamstrings, and ankles. Added Hero Pose into the flow to work on the flexibility even more.

Foam rolled my beef jerky calves. Ouch.

The Daily Dose – 12/20/17: Just Get Something Done

“Discipline is the bridge between goals and accomplishment.” – Jim Rohn


On days when the weights are moving quickly it’s going to be easy to stay motivated. Days like today are where character comes into play. Do a set or two with anything and move on. Don’t just give up and quit for the day.

Going through the motions


Well, I’m certainly feeling like garbage today. Had high hopes, but as soon as I felt 315 on my back I knew the jig was up. I think the combination of a caloric deficit, added volume, and lack of sleep with a newborn at home is finally taking its toll on the weights. With the changes I’m seeing in the mirror though, I’m not mad.


Supersetted w/ alternating 40# supinated curls, single-leg calf raises

135 x 5, 185 x 5, 210 x 3, 275. 2

2 x 315 – not feeling great

2 x 290 – really not feeling great

2 x 250 – just moving the dirt


No superset.

135 x 6, 185 x 3

3 x 5 x 210


1 x 350, just so’s I can say I did.


The Daily Dose 12/19/17: Into the Foggy Dark

“I have often wondered how it is that every man loves himself more than all the rest of men, but yet sets less value on his own opinions of himself than on the opinions of others.” – Marcus Aurelius

It takes guts to sincerely put yourself out there.

We live in a world where everyone has a voice, but maybe not everyone uses it properly. I think that may make it even scarier for people to be open about their dreams and aspirations.

We have the potential to be more than the opinions of our coworkers and random internet strangers.

We can dare to look ahead and set a course for the lives we want. You don’t need anyone’s permission but your own… and perhaps your wife’s.

Workout of The Day

8 miles

11:24 min/mi


Switched to my broken-down old NB Minimus shoes and, other than the crippling stone bruises,

Waited until later in the day so that I’d get some practice running in the dark. It drizzled most of the day today and a thick fog has settled all over the park. I took the Overlook Trail to warm up, taking some sweet photos in the proceeds, then dropped down to Shoal Creek Trail via the Shelter 5 Connector as usual. I cruised through the bottoms and began climbing the Scout Camp Connector just as darkness settled in. I stopped at the Scout Camp to get rid of my hat and jacket since it was hot as hell and cruised on. I bombed the Ridge Connector in the dark with a sad $1 headlamp, then grabbed my nice headlamp back at Shoal Creek. The fog began to settle in so heavily that I had a choice between pitch black to technical trail by or dense fog to run technical trail by. I climbed the Observation Pavilion hill and settled into a good pace on the Bike Trail. After looping there I carried on blindly to the end of the Trail of Tears and headed home. The view for the last three miles was like looking through a porthole.

In short, night running in dense fog is the bomb.

The Daily Dose 12/18/2017: A Little Heavier

“People ask me, ‘How do I get tougher?’ Be tougher. Next Question” – Jocko Willink


Our son turns one month old today. His arrival has been the greatest thing that has ever happened to me, for a number of reasons.

I no longer hope that I’ll find the gumption to become a better man.

I do what I think I should to be a better man, a better husband, and a better father.

Sometimes that entails challenging myself to be alone and cold in the dark. Sometimes it means being under a heavy barbell and not eating garbage food. Sometimes it may mean taking a nap on the couch with Kip snoozing on my chest, while he’s still small enough to do so.

It definitely means, without question, that I must always know the location and state of cleanliness of the pacifier. 😉

I’m learning to be myself, to not worry about what the world is going to think and to just jump out there and do what I feel I should. I’m letting go of my doubts, and this is only the beginning.


Workout of The Day:

BW: 218

Waist: 37 1/2

RHR: 56

– Consistently cutting 2 lbs per week. Waist down 1 in. RHR down 8 bpm. Good.


Supersetted w/ alternating 8 x 35# Hammer Curls, 15 Single-leg Calf Raises

135 x 5, 185 x 5, 225 x 5

290 x 2, belted

3 x 3 x 315, belted

– Playing with my footing here since my ankles and knees are feeling crunchy. Looks like footing resembling the classic Rippetoe stance is working better than anything else for now. Got a little wonky on the last set, but I’m obviously quite tired.


Supersetted w/ 5 x 35# Goblet Squats, 10 Skating Lunges per leg

3 x 3 x 225

– No problemo. Feels good to go a little heavier.


5 x 225, 3 x 275

2 x 315, belted

1 x 3 x 350, belted. No problemo.

– Working on my stance a little bit with these. I’ve been seeing my knees messing up a little bit during the lifts. It also looks like I’ve even got a bit of an arm bend on some of the reps. Looks like the feet a little wide with the elbows touching the outside of the knee in the bottom position is best.

*Taking video of each set has been a total game-changer. It’s really helping with my squat and has shown me some concerning things with my deadlift. I’m sure I’ll learn more on bench, but right now bench is a little too light to tell anything.


Recovery hike/jog with the doggos.

2 miles on the Trail of Tears/Overlook Trail loop that I’ll be using for the NYE Challenge.

The Daily Dose 12/17/17: Rest Day Rambles

“Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the judgment that something else is more important.” Ambrose Redmoon

I spent the first bit of my long run yesterday in the dark and cold to begin getting used to running in the dark again. My New Years Challenge will, of course, get me quite used to running in the dark, but I think gradually testing the waters is a good idea.

Why do people decide to run until their feet look like raw hamburger? Why would someone be drawn towards the idea of going so far that the body breaks down? I thought about that a lot yesterday as I pushed through the discomfort to run a fraction of my goal distance.

Challenge makes us better. If you want to sharpen an axe, you don’t put it back in the shed.

You grind it against stone.



Workout of the Day

Really goofed off with it today. Took a jaunt down the Shelter 5 connector trail to Shoal Creek Trail and spent some time playing around there looking for photos in the damp and gloom.

3.2 mi

16:49 min/mi

54 min

465 ft of climbing

The Daily Dose 12/13/17 – 400+ Deadlift… Check!

Workout of The Day: 12/11/17

BW: 217.0

Waist: 37 3/8

RHR: 58



Supersetted w/ 8 x 35# twisting conc curls (3 sets)

135 x 5, 185 x 5, 225 x 3

3 x 5 x 260

Pretty easy. Not feeling the supersets today either. Really should have eaten something first today. Feeling shaky.


working on stretching out the calves between sets.

135 x 10

3 x 5 x 185 – with pause.

Super easy. No problem.


225 x 5, 275 x 3

1 x 5 x 305

hook grip, belted

Bonus singles – trying to gauge where I am to see what’s possible for my NYE plan.

320 x 1

350 x 1

375 x 1

405 x 1! Super smooth. Check!

The Daily Dose 12/8/2017: Conquer Yourself, Not The World

“I am very happy because I have conquered myself and not the world. I am very happy because I have loved the world and not myself.”

– Sri Chinmoy

I believe that some men need struggle. We need something to fight against. Perhaps the reason that the state of mental health of males in their early forties is so terrifying because that is the point that they begin to feel truly strapped down, imprisoned even. They feel like there is no new fight left to fight, no foe left to conquer but the overwhelming demands of bills, family, and all the obligations they’ve accumulated over the years. There is no wildness, no adventure left to take except for the long grind until retirement and old age.

There is an adversary that will always be there, always ready and willing to let you struggle against it. It’s yourself.

You can always be better, and pushing yourself to be better – a better dad, a better man, a better husband, a better athlete. That may be the ticket to a fulfilling life instead of the endless search for new toys, more money, and better TV shows.

I’ve been going strong with this thing for a week now, and I really feel like I’m getting myself together. Good things are happening. The man I’ve always been – the quitter, the slacker, the excuse-maker, is still there, but he is not winning today, and he didn’t win yesterday. Whatever weights come up in the weight room and whatever mile splits on the trail get logged, I’m still there grinding away and enjoying the process, and that is progress. That means I’m winning.

Workout of The Day: 12/8/17

BW: 216

Waist: 37 ¾

RHR: 60


So, so, so ready to get back to going heavy here, but I respect the process and I’m feeling fast and strong.


Supersetted w/ 6 x 35# Hammer curls

135 x 5, 185 x 5

3 x 5 x 225


Supersetted w/ 15 single leg CR

135 x 5

3 x 5 x 170


Supersetted w/ Max Chins –

225 x 5

1 x 5 x 275


1.8 mi at that all-day-shufflin’ pace. Roughly in the 13:30-14:30 range. Slow, but feels great. Practicing it before I do literally that.

Thinking that if I’m relatively successful with this 24 hour run that I may do one later on in the year solo and ask for sponsors per mile – maybe donate the proceeds to the Carson J. Spencer Foundation or some other male mental health charity.

Do Not Sit and Entertain Yourself Until You Meet Your End – Workout of The Day 12/7/17

I’m preparing for adventure because I believe that throwing my soul into loneliness, suffering, and hardship will make me a better man. I mean, I’m going to see some fun stuff along the way, but I believe that some men need adventure so that they can attack their normal lives and care for their families with confidence and vigor.

At the end of this month I’ll be taking a step into my first long run adventure that will be documented on this blog. It’ll be a dry run and great exercise for the trips and plans that are yet to come. It’ll be a 24 hour run on trail where I use my truck as my home base. The best part? It begins at noon on New Years Eve, and ends at noon on New Years Day. What better way to start a new goal?

For the sake of safety and documentation I’ll outline my entire plan for the run in its own post. I’ll do the same with future adventures to have all the details ready to go should someone need it for reference, since part of the plan is to go alone.

I’m excited. The world is a wild place. You can watch TV and wait until your end, or you can jump on and enjoy the ride.

Until tomorrow,

Workout of The Day: 12/7/17

BW: 214.6

Waist: 38

RHR: 58

Ashtanga Yoga and Balance Postures (P90X Yoga X Video)

1 hr 35 min

I had originally planned on doing some speed work today, and I was still quite tempted given the weather today, but I decided on something altogether different: Yoga. I sucked it up and knocked out the Yoga X video from the Good Ol’ P90x videos, which I purchased and enjoyed circa 2008.

Since Yoga improves core strength, balance, and coordination, and I have none of those things, I think it would probably be beneficial to work that in on Thursdays and just do some intuitive speed work on the Tuesday or Saturday runs. I’ll probably do some Sun Salutations here and there as warmups, ideally before each workout with a few balance postures. From looking at it today I can tell that I have very little strength in my left lower leg, which is probably contributing to the crunchiness in my ankle.

Oh yeah, and I took a pic of my sweaty yoga mat, but this whited out pic of the Overlook Trail I took the other day was much more rad. Hope you enjoy it.

Choose The Path You’ll Be Proud Of, Not The Easy One – Workout of The Day 12/6/17

I recently dropped out of the running for a job that I’ve wanted for 10 years. I’m told I had a fairly good chance at getting the job, which would have taken me from my normal “Boots on the ground” responsibilities as a Park Ranger and Training Officer and put me in a regional job. I would be traveling to different parks all the time, showing people the most beautiful and treasured places in the world. News came out today of the panel’s selection. Know what I feel about it?

Nothing. I feel nothing. No jealousy, no disappointment, no second thoughts about what could have been. It’s an indicator that I’m making steps in the right direction. I know I’m becoming a better man that has the confidence to make decisions and stick with them.

You are not necessarily what you do for a living. It’s taken me a long time to fully realize that because I work in an environment where it’s totally necessary to be wrapped up in my job. I’m a Park Ranger and so are all my friends because we’re all we have time for.

That being said, I am not who I am because I’m a Park Ranger. I’m a Park Ranger because of who I am. I enjoy the grind. I enjoy the late nights searching for lost people. I enjoy working for twenty days in a row sometimes. I enjoy the views of places that few people see. I even enjoy dealing with unruly people and placing myself in danger to protect the people and places that are so special. I take pride in what I do, but I am learning to be my own man. Who I am is complimented by the hard work that I do and the satisfaction I get from being the man people call when they’re in trouble. That’s enough for me.

Sometimes you can find happiness in the suffering, and suffering in the happiness.

Until tomorrow, friends.


Workout of The Day: 12/6/17

BW: 217

Waist: 38

RHR: 58

Had a pretty stressful night. Kip had some tummy troubles and threw fit after fit from about 10pm – 2am. Drove me a little crazy.

Feeling pretty sore today. Left ankle and Achilles are a little crunch, but I won’t be doing much running again until Saturday, so I’m good with it.

My measurements aren’t really giving much away, but I for sure look and feel leaner than I have.


Warmup crucial today – i’m betting these hamstrings are on a hair trigger.

Squat: beltless all

Superset w/ 6 x 30# twisting conc curls

5 x 135, 5 x 165, 5 x 185

spending a great deal of time in the hole on the warmup sets.

3 x 5 x 225


Supersetted w/ 15 single leg calf raises

8 x 135

3 x 5 x 170

Deadlift – beltless, DO grip all

5 x 225

1 x 5 x 265


35 min hike/run with the doggos.

To the Overlook and back. Trying to intentionally keep HR in Zone 1-2 for some connective tissue/system recovery. The preworkout I took before lifting totally jacked up my heart rate, but I feel like it was a good decision considering how leathery my muscles are feeling today.

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