“When I see an adult on a bicycle, I do not despair for the future of the human race.”

~H.G. Wells

I decided to go an extended fixie ride on Sunday.  No particular reason, other than it was a spectacular day (though, a bit windy) here in eastern NC, and I just felt like it.  And even though I don’t train for this type of an event, the fitness I’ve acquired through my “normal” workout regimen allows me to persevere with a halfway decent showing.  This is another idea I’ve absorbed from the CrossFit nation– the idea that the truly fit, while maybe not being able to necessarily excel at endeavors outside of their “specialty”, should at least be able to perform well above the norm.  I probably average an extended ride, either mountain biking or “hucking the fix”, about once per month.  That’s the extent of my “endurance training”.

On the way through and out of  town, I hit as many interval opportunities as I could.  Once I got out on the open road, I was mostly fighting the intermittent 16 mph head and cross winds — which were tough intervals, in and of themselves.  By the way, you’d think a head wind on the way out would become a tail wind on the way in — however (and as those in the biking community can attest) this never seems to come to fruition.

I spent a total of an hour and 15 minutes in the saddle, and covered roughly 30 miles with plenty of tough interval work thrown in.  Now 30 miles doesn’t seem like much on a road bike, but on a fixie (a slightly modified track bike), it’s a whole different experience.  The lack of a freewheel means that you cannot coast — if the bike’s moving, you’re pedaling.

By the way, I last ate approximately 16 hours before this ride, and I felt great.  No “bonk” to be found.

Here were some of the “on the road” sights:

Hurry!  Apparently there's only one remaining!
Hurry! Apparently there's only one remaining!
Goats and...
Goats and...
...more goats
...more goats
I hope to keep ol' Willie away for awhile.
I hope to keep ol' Willie at bay for awhile.
Need a Hearse...or a camper?
Need a hearse...or a camper?
Back in town.
Back in town.


The Aftermatah
The aftermath

Now, contrast what I did Sunday with a pair of last week’s gym routines:

Wednesday  AM~

  1. Reverse Lunge (front foot elevated approximately 18″) x 3 each leg
  2. Weighted Dips x 5’s (eeked out 4 on the last set)

Three rounds of this superset in approximately 25 minutes.  Elevating the front foot on the lunges made for an extremely deep stretch in the bottom position.  Just another way to keep things mixed up, keep the body guessing.

Friday AM ~

  1. Deadlift + Straight Leg Deadlift (on the return, or eccentric portion of the lift) x 3’s
  2. Front Barbell Press + Behind the Neck Split-Jerk x 2 (alternate “lead” leg) combo
  3. Weighted, Regular-Grip, Pullups x 3’s

This is the very definition of an intense weight session.  Three rounds, at weight, in 30 minutes.

Contrasts, contrasts, contrasts…keeping a powerful body guessing.

In Health,

Keith

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Keith Norris is a former standout athlete, a military vet, and an elite strength and conditioning expert with over 35 years of in-the-trenches experience. As a serial entrepreneur in the health and wellness space, he is an owner, co-founder and Chief Development Officer of the largest Paleo conference in the world, Paleo f(x) . As well, Keith is a partner in one of the most innovative lines of boutique training studios in the nation, Efficient Exercise. He’s also a partner in ARXFit training equipment, and a founding member of ID Life. In his spare time, he authors one of the top fitness blogs in the health and wellness sphere, Theory To Practice.

9 COMMENTS

  1. Keith,

    I really enjoy your blog, and your thoughts on fitness. I have started checking your workouts and thoughts on fitness and diet, as I’m always trying to increase my own understanding. I post my own workouts, but without the interesting side information and quotes that you include. Maybe I should start doing that!

    Question. What do you mean when you say “at weight.”

    I see it frequently on your blog.

    Thanks,
    Bryce

  2. Bryce,
    Thanks for the good words. When I mention “at weight” I’m referring to the number of sets done at my post-warm-up, working weight, i.e, once I’ve established the weight(s) I’ll use in each exercise for each round of the combo or superset (or whatever method) I’m employing in that workout session.

    Maybe I should term it “at working weight”

  3. Thanks Keith.

    I imagine it simply struck me that you didn’t post your loads, but perhaps this is reflective of where you are at in your training. Do you record your own loads for future reference, to mark progress or choose loads for future workouts?

    I also noted that you focus on maximal power output (a concept certainly pervasive in crossfit literature). I wonder how you go about selecting loads to maximize this for your circuits? Once I meet the remainder of my modest strength goals for certain movements and lifts, I’d like to take my strength training in the same direction . . . focusing on power output. I currently do metcon sessions drawn mostly from crossfit wods, but I’d like my strength work to move in this high power output direction eventually as well.
    Your thought’s are appreciated. I’m currently deployed and I greatly enjoy the chance to share thoughts with like-minded fitness enthusiasts when I have the chance.

    Thanks, Bryce

  4. Bryce,
    I do track my weights for all exercises, but I usually only use these, in retrospect, as guidance for selecting the current workout’s weighting. This is due to the fact that (1)my exercise pairings change quite often and this, of course, will alter the amount of weight/reps for a particular exercise, and (2)I utilize a “drop-off” method of determining when to terminate a set (which I plan on delving into in a future post). This negates having to keep anything more than a ballpark record of weights used in a particular exercise.

    As far as choosing a weight to use so as to maximize power in a particular movement, just keep in mind (the basic) power equation: P = FxD/t. We know the distance (D), for our purposes, remains constant, rep to rep. Our only variables, then are the weight used (F) and the time required to complete the rep. What we’re looking for, in essence, is the sweet spot between a heavy (enough — but not too heavy) a weight and a very fast rep speed.

    Now,it’d be great if we had access to a sports research lab and the equipment to precisely measure power output — alas, of course, we don’t — so we have to rely on feel. And this is what I do. A good rule of thumb to get you in the ballpark, weight-wise, is too use a load that approximates 40 to 70% of your one-rep max for a particular exercise. This will take some tweeking to find the right combo of weight/speed. This is where the “horse trainer” sensibility comes into play. After a while you’ll learn to feel what max power output in a particular exercise looks and feels like — and conversely, what it feels like when that power output first sags and you need to terminate the set.

    Give it some time, it’ll come.

  5. Thanks a lot Keith. I’m at a point where I’m happy with my deadlift max for now (210%BW), and I think I want to give some time to working on the power output for that exercise in particular (especially since I’m working on my clean and power clean). Thanks for the advice, and I’ll work on getting the feel down.

    -Bryce

  6. Keith,

    Wanted to thank you for your great blog. I really appreciate your sharing your thoughts and ideas. I was stuck in a rut, then tried crossfit which didn’t really appeal to me. Then I found your blog and started following your workout philosophies and it’s made a huge difference to my results and attitude towards working out. Also wanted to comment that it always seemed strange to me that the people in the crossfit pictures look lean but not muscular. Is this because of the style of workouts they do?

    Thank you again! I look forward to following your blog closely.

    Greg

    • Thanks for the good words, Greg. I’m glad you’ve found some info here that you can put to use. As far as the body compositions of the CrossFit faithful, my thought is this: The CrossFit methodology drifts too far (for my particular taste) into the endurance realm. I prefer to stay in the immediate power (sprint vs. distance) realm. But, hey — that’s for me and my preferences — and I have no want to excel at anything distance or endurance related. I think for the target audience (military, cops, firefighters, etc) it’s a fine all-round, GPP program — and I do like the concept . Just not enough short-duration, power-oriented stuff for my liking. And, yeah — I think the body-types you see reflect the endurance-heavy methodology.

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