Thursday, October 27, 2011

Section II Sectional Predictions for Thu 10-27-2011

Shaker vs Schenectady: Shaker 5-1
==> The gap between the Suburban and Big 10 (which, just like the college football version, does not have 10 teams) is shrinking, but is still wide.

Glens Falls vs Lansingburgh: GF 3-1
==> I see Lansingburgh as a tough out. I didn't play in the game, but Lansingburgh was my first sectional opponent. We won 2-1 in a closely contested contest in the rain.

Fonda vs *Coxsackie-Athens: C-A 5-2
==> I see it being close early, but C-A pulling away. C-A, you had a great season, but don't sleep on this one. C-A came out of the top of a very crowded middle of the Patroon Conference.

Doane Stuart vs Stillwater: Stillwater 4-2
==> There is no way that Doane Stuart/Rensselear should be the 3 seed. They don't play a B school in their conference, and they play about 50% D schools. I do think Doane Stuart has the best player on the field, Noah Rhynhart. That can always make it interesting.

Cohoes vs *Greenville: Cohoes 4-3
==> I am picking Cohoes because they have the best player on the pitch, Brandon LaForest. I have a feeling this game is going to be ugly. Usually sectional games are crisp, but the weather in the Capital District, especially Greene county, has been brutal on fields this year. Both teams play in a lot of 5-2/6-3 type games. Usually when you see a scoreline like that, the game is shit. In my junior year, we beat Chatham in a driving rain storm and the score was 7-5. I was embarrassed to win a game giving up that many goals. There were sloppy goals on both side. It was fun to play in for the field players if the field holds up. And you don't get hot. I love Upstate NY in the fall. Here you get hot walking out to get your mail.

Fort Plain vs Lake George: LG 3-1
==> Don't know much about either team, so going by seed.

Hoosic Valley vs Mekeel Christian Academy (formerly Schenectady Christian): MCA 3-2
==> Probably the best game on the slate, and the hardest to pick. MCA has the best players on the pitch, the Aderounmu brothers.

*Cairo-Durham vs Schuylerville: C-D 2-0
==> The Patroon Conference was interesting this year. There was Maple Hill, and really everyone else. There was very little difference between the bottom (Taconic Hills) and the top of the rest (Coxsackie-Athens). C-D finished in the lower middle, but they can play with anyone or lose to anyone. Here the best goalie (C-D's Cody Rogers) wins.

Hartford vs New Lebanon: Hartford 2-1
==> The Adirondack league is much stronger than the CHVL. Adirondack has three state ranked teams (Fort Ann and Bolton in D, Lake George in C). Just a down year in the CHVL.

* Catskill vs. Tamarac: Tamarac 2-1
==> Interesting game. Tamarac has put the only blemish on Ichabod Crane's record (a 1-1 tie where they were outshot 17-3). Catskill is part of that Patroon Conference "middle" that I talked about earlier. Cam Overbaugh (love those goalies) keeps it close, but I give the edge to Tamarac.

Note* - It is funny how:
1) All four (Catskill, C-A, C-D, Greenville) of the Greene County patroon teams all play today. What is great, unlike in yesterday's game, is that they get to play the other conferences (2 against the Colonial, 2 against the Wasaren). Let's see how good the Patroon Conference is. A lot of non-league games were cancelled because of Tropical storms earlier in the year, so today is a good litmus test.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Open Letter to the Respective Athletic Directors at Taconic Hills and Hudson High Schools...

To whom it may concern:

I am writing on behalf of both the Hudson High and Taconic Hills soccer teams. As you both know, this time of year is Sectionals. When I look back on my High School years, these are some of the times that I remember the best. I can remember the crispness of the air, the bus ride to the game, the opportunity to play the bigger schools up north, the sense finality to the season. IT IS AN EXPERIENCE EVERY HIGH SCHOOL SOCCER PLAYER SHOULD EXPERIENCE.

Below is my case for why both Taconic Hills and Hudson High School Soccer teams should go to sectionals, even though both teams records are not stellar (Hudson: 2-11; TH: 1-11-1):

* Both teams have played the rest of the conference tough. Hudson lost to state-ranked Maple Hill 1-0 and had them scoreless for 45 minutes. TH has lost 3 one-goal games. Hudson has lost 5.

* Both teams have players that could play at the college level (Hudson: R. Dorce, Z. Sohotra, Z. Bartolotta; TH: A. Mierzejewski, I. Rasweiler). Given the relative southern location of both school, there isn't as much exposure to college recruiting. That typically happens at sections. I know that I talked to college coaches after sectional losses in '86 (2-0 to Gloversville) and '87 (2-0 to Queensbury) even though those coaches were looking at other players. Those schools were 40% bigger than ours, but we got to compete. Give these guys the opportunity to be seen and compete.

* Both teams are tough outs. They have a puncher's chance for the upset.

* Hudson has played 14 games this year. TH has played 15. That is an embarrassingly light schedule for a high school team to play. My senior year we only played 15 games, after playing 19 the year before. Give these young men at least one more opportunity to show what they can do. I know that I wish we had more games my senior year.

* Don't give me any BS about school policy and stuff like that. I am not interested.

* What makes sports great is that they give you the opportunity to see who you really are. Give these hard-working young men the chance to see how they compare against the better players and teams from outside the Patroon conference. Let's show them how good and deep the Patroon conference, from top to bottom, really is.

* There is something about sectionals that brings out the energy of the Seniors that are playing, especially if they haven't played in sectionals before. In my Junior Year, I remember the effort that Mike Layman, Gregg Shutts, Roger Ringer, James Hatch, Lee VanDeCarr, and Mike Bruno gave on that day. That was 19 years of varsity experience on that day, and I remember those 6 gentlemen left it out on the field that day. We didn't win, but I am sure they did not want to see us again.

Many of the seniors on these team played on teams that were very bad a couple of years ago, and suffered some humiliating losses. Their teams now are competitive. Reward them for their efforts, and more importantly, their persistence and school service when it would have been much easier for them to quit.

Yours truly,
Faizal S. Enu, RKC (Hudson High Varsity Soccer Player '84-'87)

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Chronological Timeline - Monster Burger Challenge...

I and three of my friends decided to take on the Monster Burger Challenge at Green Iguana. Below is a chronological timeline of the events leading up to it, the actually challenge, and the aftermath.

++++++++++++++++++ Prelude +++++++++++++++

7:30 AM: Woke up. The first thing I thought about was the Monster Burger Challenge. According to my old soccer coach, Robert Rowley, this is a good. I am ready.

9:30 AM: Worked out with my Kettlebell Boot Campers at Xtreme Athletix. The workout:

* MP: 5 x 5
* Dragon Walks: 3 x 8
* Double Snatches on the minute for 20 minutes: 130 total.

Workout felt pretty strong.

11:30 AM to 3:00 PM: Cleaned my place. Still did not eat anything.

3:30 PM: Got to my girlfriend's place. Pretty worried that I am not hungry AT ALL. Oh shit.

3:45 PM: Weigh in - 162.4 lb. I am by at least 30lbs the smallest person doing this challenge.

4:20 PM: Arrive at the venue. Two other challengers are already there.

4:45 PM: We have our own separate area. The four people that are competing are facing the rest of the bar.

4:50 PM: Orders are in. I order mine "Well Done." My fellow competitors order theirs "Medium." This will become important later on.

4:58 PM: Burgers are out. This thing looks humongous. From the picture, you can see it is the size, vertically, of my forearm. The buns are ridiculous. I am not worried. This is a rock star moment. Everyone is taking pictures of the burgers, even people we don't know. When a Monster Burger comes out, everyone notices. You will notice there are two dowel sticks in it - that keeps them from tipping over. This is three 3/4 pound burgers with humongous buns. The three flavors are Mean Green Florentine, Smokiest (BBQ Sauce, Onions, and Blue Cheese), a the Cheesiest (4 cheeses). I never really liked cheese, now I hate it. As you can see, not exactly designed for quick eating. Oh, there there is this wee little thing about a whole pound of wedge cut fries.

Here is what the burger looks like.


When I saw this picture, I was thinking that I got really skinny. But in reality the burger is just that big.

+++++++++ Show Time ++++++++++++

5:02 PM: Eating commences. I make a tactical decision to eat the burgers as they are instead of separating them. I start with the Mean Green Florentine Burger.

5:08 PM: Mean Green Florentine is done. Start with the Cheesiest. I am thinking this is going to be a piece of cake.

5:14 PM: About half way through the second burger. My sensation of taste is non-existant. I start dousing the food in hot sauce. Any bread that I am eating is filling up my I start just eating the meat and screw my initial plan to "preserve the integrity of the food."

5:16 PM: The cheese feels like I am chewing on Rosie O'Donnell's ass. There are 4 slices on it, which is more cheese than I eat in a year.

5:18 PM: Second burger is done. Holy shit there is a lot of bread left. I swear that it is expanding. I start trying to nibble on the fries. This is really the first time that I think to myself "This is going to suck!". I douse the fries in hot sause.

5:20 PM: I am eating, but nothing is happening. It looks like there is more food on my plate. I swear Peter is throwing fries on my plate.

5:24 PM: The bread is getting to the point of ridiculousness. It is so big, airy, dry, and tasteless. Not so much that it lacks taste, but I am lacking the ability to taste it. Green Iguana's burgers are awesome. I got back to the burger that is left.

5:32 PM: Jimmy Brown finishes. Holy shit. That is goddamn insane.

5:36 PM: I hear one of the competitors puke in their bowl. Peter says to me "Don't look over there." I almost lose it.

5:38 PM: This is really starting to not be fun. My right hand is starting to cramp up in between bites. My body is rejecting my attempt at gluttony.

EVERY....BITE.....HURTS. Each swallow is a max effort attempt with its own breathing pattern and thought process.

5:44 PM: Peter Baker finishes. Unreal. All eyes are on me.

5:47 PM: I am finished with the last burger, the smoky blue cheese. The raw onions were really strong and hard to chew. I have 19 minutes left. I have a 1 and 1/4 buns, about 3/4lb of fries, and some neutral cheese to finish. The cheese at this point is like chewing on plastic. It sounds easy, except:
* Breathing is very labored because my diaphragm has no room to move.

* I am scared shitless to burp because I might throw up. I am talking Carrie-style projectile vomiting with people a couple of feet from me. I tell Jennifer and Brian that they don't want to block my way to the bathroom. This is where the first seeds of doubt start to creep in.

5:49 PM: Now BOTH hands are cramping up. My stomach is so full that breathing is labored. My diaphram can't move and I am showing "elements of effort." My girlfriend is worried, but still cheering me on.

5:52 PM: I am trying to swallow bigger bites of food, and I am gagging them back up. Now I am really hurting and the possibility of not finishing, after hyping it up, is really starting to set in. There are only 10 minutes left.

5:56 PM: Jimmy taunts me by stealing a fry off my girlfriend's plate and asks if I want his help. I give him the finger. I am worried, but the game face is still on.

5:58 PM: The waitress tries to come and say that the hour is up. I say bullshit and point to the official time. My plate still has a single layer of bread and fries. I am starting to think, this is crunch time. Do or Die. Four minutes left

This is not a workout. If it was, I would have quit. If I finish 99%, it is like I didn't finish at all. No T-shirt. No name on the wall. But I am past the proverbial "Point of No Return". It is going to suck whether I finish or not. Everyone is cheering. Forget pain, taste, pleasure. I talked it up too much, and THERE IS NO FAILURE!

5:58.15 PM: I realize that small bites go down much easier. I have a two handed system going. Now when I takes bites, I am starting to see more of the plate. Encouraged. I am just sprinting to the end. In my mind I am sprinting, I am sure to everyone watching me eat that I am moving real slow.

5:59 PM: The plate is simply is wet pile of bread and fries. It has absolutely no taste what so ever. I just put my head down and sprint. At this point, I have to make it. There is no other option.

6:01:45 PM: I am finished. I point to it in celebration. Here is the final sprint on video (pending). It was a furious dash, and I had only 15 seconds to spare.

++++++++ Aftermath +++++++++++

6:02:22 PM: I rush to the bathroom, and I am about ready to hurl. I threw up in my mouth, but gravity keeps it in. I make it to the bathroom, but did not hurl, but almost did. I am bent over, it hurts to stand up.

6:08 PM: I got my shirt and put it on. I earned this shirt. Some jackass says "Give me a break, it is not like Tough Mudder." I say "You're right, a higher percentage of people complete the Tough Mudder."

6:10 PM: I am hating life. I have the biggest gluten headache that you could possibly have. Have you ever eaten cheap chinese food. It feels like that, but except that you also fell on your head. I haven't eaten bread since.

6:15 PM: I tell my Xtreme Athletix, Bayshore Kettlebell, and USF Kettlebell Club brethren that I have never grinded through anything like this in my life. I would like to thank them again for their support and getting me water. Not even the RKC snatch test (the original, the current one is not a grind) or Grad Workout can compare. Grinding through the pain of a workout is one thing. Bypassing the bodies self-preservation reflexes are another. If I had to choose, I would go with the snatch test in a heart beat.

6:30 PM: Jennifer has a half-eaten turkey burger in front of her. I am like "Put that fucking thing away." The sight of food is nauseating. The sight of burgers, cheese, bread, or fries is even worse. Even the sight of PBR and Bud Light cans are making me sick.

8:00 PM: While walking down the street, I have my girlfriend feel my stomach. It feels pretrified. It is gross and somewhat scary. We pass a convenience store, and I am beginning to consider Epicac.

9:00 PM: I am feeling miserable and force myself to throw up. My neck actually recoils from the force of the projectile vomit and I give myself a poor man's chiropractic adjustment.

10:22 PM: I am thinking that I want to go out, but it is miserable outside. I am miserable inside. All of a sudden, it hits me like a truck, and I am exhausted. It has been a long day.

12:00 AM: Lying down hurts. I sleep on my stomach.

2:00 AM: Finally fall asleep.

4:00 AM: Wake up again. Frack

Friday, October 7, 2011

Differences between :15/:15 and :36/:36

As many of you know, I am a big, big fan of MaxVO2 snatch work. Kenneth Jay came up with this program years ago, and it has given jack-rabbit hearts to those you have taken on the challenge.

There are many, many snatch protocols. Two of the more basic ones are the :15 work/:15 rest and :36 work/:36 rest. As you can see, they are very similar - really two sides of the same coin.

Here are the differences I see between the two:
* Obviously, :36/:36 is more advanced. But the difference is not as much as it seems. If you can do 80 sets with :15/:15 at 9 reps, feel free to try going to the :36/:36 at 21-22 reps. If you at seven reps/40 sets, do not even thing of trying :36/:36 at 17 reps. All you would be doing is practicing slow, sorry snatch technique. Move your cadence up.

* You :36/:36 workout takes less time. About 20-33% less to get the same amount of overload with the same weight and cadence. For me, 20kg x 24 min @ :36 is about the same as 20kg x 32min @ :15.

* You get practice with longer sets. For me, I do 20kg for 20 reps/:36. Longer sets groove snatch technique. For some reason, the RKC does not value this as much as it used to. You can pass the existing certification and never do more than 8 reps in a row. I think the longer sets expose snatch flaws (casting, winging, flopping, late hips, early hips, etc.) more than shorter sets. In fact, I have heard people say don't worry about lockout in :15/15. These people "swing" their snatches or hitch their knees.

* You lose track of time. In :15/:15, you know you are snatching on the :00 and :30. You don't really have a feel for this with :36/:36, except that the clock goes back to :00 after 5 work or rest cycles. This makes the workout go faster in your head.

Monday, October 3, 2011

Why Paul is Successful with His Weight Loss

My new client Paul L. is killing it with kettlebells.  He is down 15lbs in less than one month.  Here are the reasons that he is successful:

1) Show Up:  He shows up ready to work in every session!  He is not late.  He didn't just come from a pedicure and can't wear shoes.  He doesn't call in and say he is sick, tired, or sore (even if he is sore).

2) Open-Minded:  Even though he has experience with iron, he listens to everything I have to say.  He doesn't have false pretenses of being elite (And by the way, you can't be elite on a treadmill or doing half squats).  He doesn't complain about joint mobility exercises being awkward.  Case in point, after 3 sessions, Paul could do a below-parallel squat.  After a month he could hold a Happy Buddha pose for 30 seconds.  After 2.5 weeks he could do an overhead PVC pass through after start with not being able to get the elbows past the ears.  He didn't ask why we practiced these on a daily basis.

3) Diet:  He is making changes to what happens in the other 165 hours of the week.  He ASKS if he has any homework.  He keeps a food log.  One of the first things I learned in fitness is that if:
- Someone is overweight and
- They are not keeping a food log
==> They will be completely delusional about their food intake.  Here is a typical conversation with one of these people.

Faizal:  Hey, how is the diet going.  I know you talked about it on Facebook.
Person:  Not bad, not really losing weight though.
Faizal: Oh, maybe I can help you.  Do you have a food log.
Person: No, but I know my diet is perfect (whatever the frack that means).  I know everything about nutrition.  I don't know why I am not losing weight.  I must being gaining muscle.

Here are the fallacies in this conversation:
a) What is a perfect diet.  Even if one existed, there is no way that you know what it is.

b) You can't know everything about nutrition.  Not even the nutrition people know everything about nutrition.  In fact, look at how much nutrition has changed in the last 20 years.
1991 - Low fat (remember "high volume, low fat" eating?  Bonus points if you can recognize the pitch man for this crap)/Eat every three hours/Exercise in the oxidative zone, etc.
2001 - Low carb/Atkins/Zone/Interval Training
2011 - Paleo/Organic/Warrior Diet/ESE/Functional Fitness/etc.

This is not just "learning new stuff and getting better".  This is "that stuff we told you earlier, we had our heads up our collective asses when we told you that.  But now we know that you should do this, trust us this time."  Also, if you do the same thing with fitness programs and certifications, I will think you are full of shit too.

c) If you diet is not working for you, it sucks!  Period.  You can only eat for yourself, not the general population.  Any diet program that doesn't not allow for individual differences is garbage.  If you want to learn about a diet program that caters to you as an individual and more importantly works quickly, contact me

d) Diet is more about execution than selecting the right diet.  I know sooooooo many people that pontificate about what is good and bad to eat ("Faizal, you are eating bread?"), but they don't even follow their own advice.  I would rather have you follow an imperfect diet, log it, then make adjustments than imperfectly follow a perfect diet.  In fact, I would say that logging and tweaking your diet is the only way to find out what works for you.

4) Triangle of Truth:  He is focusing on how he LOOKS, how he FEELS, and how he PERFORMS.  There is no compromise on any of them.  All three should be improving for general, sustainable fitness.  For underwear models and athletes, you may trade off one for the other two, but for the general population, absolutely not.  Not to get off topic, let me clarify the term athlete.  And "athlete" is someone that plays a sport.  Doing bicep curls in the squat rack is not a sport.  Doing Crossfit's workout of the day, while maybe hard, is not a sport.  Running on a treadmill, stair stepper or an elliptical is not even running, much less a sport.  What makes it a sport?  Winners and losers.  Poker is a sport. Golf is a sport. Bowling is a sport.  10,000 swing challenge is not a sport.  Fran is not a sport.

5) Gear:  He has the correct workout gear.  This includes appropriate footwear, water (not Crystal Light, Vitamin Water, Gatorade, Diet Coke, etc.), towel, notebook/pen, hand care, etc.

These shoes don't suck

6) Educating vs. Annihilating:  He actually LEARNS from his sessions.  When Paul trains with me, he is not looking for someone to motivate him.  That kind of motivation is short-term.  He motivates himself.  He is looking for someone to educate him.  Don't get me wrong, experiencing a lung-blowing workout or a heavy weight is part of "eductation."  Clients should pay for just ass-kickings or being put through a tough workout, they should pay for knowledge.  If you don't feel you need a notebook in a trainer session, you are wasting your time with that trainer.

7) Relevance:  He doesn't ask questions that don't matter AND he doesn't feel like everything has to be explained to him before he takes action.  No inane stuff like "Shouldn't we be doing sets of 15 for fat loss?" or "What muscle does this isolate?"

8) Priorities:  Paul has never told me about a TV show he watched, a bar that he went to, a porn that he watched, a website that he wasted hours on.  Focus!

9) No complaining:  If I give him an exercise that is hard or that he doesn't do well, he doesn't complain.  He never says a session is too hard, or that he didn't sweat enough, or that he doesn't like an exercise.  Also, complaining increases cortisol and decreases T-levels, both of which are bad for fat loss.

10) Entitlement:  Paul understands that he has to continue to work for everything.  Some of the pounds will be easier than others, but he is not entitled to anything.  Time does not entitle you to it.  Paying doesn't entitle you to it.  Previous success doesn't entitle you to it. Touching a kettlebell doesn't entitle you to it.  A well-respected RKC Team Leader once told me "Some of the RKCs have to lay off the pastries."