Train hard, play hard – Ross Enamait

Ross Enamait has posted a great piece about training to be an inspiration for your kids.

This is very close to my heart. One of the major reasons I train is to inspire my girls to do the same as they get older.

My choice quotes from Ross are:

“I take pride in having my kids look up to me. My kids think I’m Superman. In their eyes, I can do anything and I’ll do everything to prove them right.”

“If busting my ass in the gym means I can make my kids smile, it’s worth more than words could ever describe. Training hard helps me play hard and that’s something I plan to do for as long as I’m alive.”

You can read the whole thing here:


New toy and birthday burpees


It was my birthday yesterday and my wife bought me this awesome new toy. She understands that I’m a big kid at heart and I love her dearly for it.

The board feels a lot smaller than the last one I rode simply because 1) it’s smaller and 2) I’m a lot bigger. It’s great fun though.

I also continued the birthday burpee tradition. 33 this year, or at least it would have been if I didn’t lose count and ended up doing a handful extra.

They all felt good though, or as good as burpees ever do. My strength was fine throughout, it was only my lungs that slowed me down.

Juggling, your brain and keeping playful

I’m still on the juggling kick. It turns out that as well as being good fun, juggling is also great for keeping your brain healthly.

Juggling has been the subject of a couple of studies that have shown it can help improve brain neuroplasicity.

Neuroplasticity is essentially the brain’s ability to reshape itself and create new pathways as you learn new skills. Unlike what was thought a few years ago (and what your elder relatives might tell) this doesn’t stop as you age. Your brain continues to develop throughout your life and the only thing stopping you learning new skills is not trying to.

This is a big deal. Life doesn’t have to stop expanding once you ‘grow up’ and we don’t have to end up stuck in our ways. It seems ridiculous that this thinking often begins at the same time as trying to teach our children as much about the world as possible. It’s understandable – with kids, jobs and all the life admin that comes with it, time is short and slotting into a routine is the easiest way to get through it. But keeping a sense of exploration and play is a great  lesson for children to have, much better than being too busy to try new stuff.

There is also something about pursuing an unnecessary activity simply for the joy of it. This is play at it’s purest and is something worth making time for.

I’ve recently finished reading the excellent book Play: How It Shapes the Brain, Opens the Imagination, and Invigorates the Soul by Stuart Brown. I highly recommend it if this is something you are interested in. Here’s how important he thinks it is:

“When we stop playing, we stop developing, and when that happens, the laws of entropy take over… (We) become vegetative, stating in the same dot, not fully interacting with the world…. When we stop playing, we start dying.”

“The most significant aspect of play is that it allows us to express our joy and connect most deeply with the best in ourselves….. When enough people raise play to the status it deserves in our lives, we will find the world a better place.”

And a classic:

“We don’t stop playing because we grow old; we grow old because we stop playing.” George Bernard Shaw

Current training – July 2013

I’ve shifted back to more gymnastics/bodyweight exercises this month. I enjoy pressing kettlebells for a couple of months a year but most of my dream moves are gymnastic-based so that style of training always draws me back.

I’m also running more. I am getting very close to a running goal – 5km in 25 minutes keeping my heart rate in my aerobic zone. I’m close but need to run more often to get there.

The main exercise I have kept from last month is the deadlift, which I’ve never really trained before and am loving. I am currently strapping weight plates to kettlebells to do the lift which is far from ideal – it is both unwieldy and not actually very heavy (about 65kg max).

This is leading me to try to answer to two questions:

  1. Do I have space to store a barbell?
  2. Can I sneak one into the house without my wife noticing?

We shall see. Anyway, this is what my week looks like. It’s very structured towards the start and gets more random on Thursday and Friday.

Saturday – rest

Sunday – home

  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, wrist routine, shoulder band work
  • A1: L-seat – 3 x 15
  • A2: Bar hang – pull up/chin up/arch hang
  • B1: Handstand & elbow lever practice
  • C1: KB deadlift, 48-65kg – 10-15 reps (sets vary)
  • D1: Ring dips – 3 x 5-8
  • D2: Rope climb – 3
  • E1: Farmers walk – 24-28kg each hand
Monday – easy run 5-6km
Tuesday – home
  • Warm up – Becoming Bulletproof, wrist routine, shoulder band work
  • A1: L-seat –  3 x 15
  • A2: Bar hang – pull up/chin up/arch hang
  • B1: Handstand & elbow lever practice
  • C1: KB deadlift, 48-65kg – 10-15 reps (sets vary)
  • D1: Ring dips – 1 x 5-8, Muscle up-german hang x 3-5/20, ring routine x 2
  • D2: Close grip chin up – 1 x 5/8, n/a, n/a
  • E1: Farmers walk – 24-28kg each hand

Wednesday – easy run at lunchtime 3-4km

Thursday – running, swimming

  • One of:
    • Run in the morning, swim in the afternoon
    • Run with dips, push ups, rows, pull ups etc in the park
    • Just a run
    • Just a swim

Friday – various

  • Depends on Thursday, the week, sleep and what I feel I need more of
  • One of:
    • Run (if I didn’t on Thursday)
    • Handstand stuff
    • Or just rolling/crawling/stretching if I need the rest