Thursday, January 29, 2009

Be Boring!

Tonight's training started with Olympic lifts, snatches and cleans.  The technical aspects of my lifts are starting to improve and I'm really enjoying the lifting.  Olympic lifts are just fun, call me crazy but I'd be doing them even if I wasn't playing football.  Nothing works the body in such a global manner like the Olympic lifts.  

Yet again the atmosphere at Excel is tremendous, I can't imagine another gym where you have over a hand full of legitimate experts critiquing your technique and providing cues and instruction.  I especially like to watch the technique of one of the national level lifters in the gym, Yasha Kahn.  Today he was booming up 170kg+ cleans like they were nothing.  Being a visual learner and a competitor, watching him really gets me fired up to lift.  As on Tuesday, the OL's preceded the sprint work and served as potentiation.  Once I start lifting over 85% of my max, we'll move the lifts to after the sprint work as the stimulus will be too much for potentiating the sprints.  Heres the workout: 
Snatch 4x4 w/135 (easy but technique still needs a little work-not finishing pull)
Clean 4x2 w/ 242 (feels great to clean from the floor again)
Shake (1 1/2 scoop whey, 1 scoop maltodextrin, 1 scoop dextrose)

After this workout we went to the Reggie Lewis Center for sprints.  We ran out to 15m today and the workout was good although I had some technical errors.  I reverted back to some bad habits with my arm split at the start, Carl has a drill that we've been doing that has been successful at fixing this problem so we'll be incorporating it from here on out.  The good news is that I'm getting better at continuing to get full extension through 10-15 yards.  I still need to "commit to the push" as Carl says but there has been marked improvement in this area this week.  

The title of this entry comes from a mistake I made when we pulled out the watch to time a 10 yard segment.  I let some of the excitement get to me and I came out a little different than usual.  I haven't looked at the video yet, but I felt like I made a definite misstep at about step 2 or 3.  The lesson learned is that you should never try to do something special, just do what you've been doing all along.  Carl tells me that when March 3rd comes around I should be bored because all I'll be doing is replicating what I've already done in practice.  Mistakes come in when you try and do something special rather than execute what has already been done.  In the future I'm going to try and keep a "quiet mind" and just do what I've been trained to do.  Lesson learned!

After the running we went back to Excel to finish off with some lifts.  The workout:
Walking Lunges (20 yards)- 25's, 35's, 45's, 55's dumbbells
Lateral Lunge/squat- 2x8 w/25 lbs. dumbbells
Arabesque Reach- 3x8 w/5 pound dumbbells

After the workout we picked up some Chinese food, beef and broccoli with carrots.  Very good!  I'll finish up tonight with some cottage cheese and maybe a PBJ.  

Tomorrow I'm headed back to Woburn for some more fantastic soft tissue work and massage.  The massage and soft tissue work has been nothing short of phenomenal.  I've trained 8 days straight and my body feels great and my progress has been linear, I attribute this to great programming by Carl and top notch soft tissue work.  

I can't wait for tomorrow afternoon when Lauren gets here!  I'm so excited to see her and experience Boston with her, I always enjoy things more when she's by my side.  I am however, curious to see how she handles the cold.  Last time we were north of the Mason-Dixon line she wasn't too happy with the weather.  We were in Virginia in March 2006 visiting my cousin Emilee.  I can remember being at Monticello, Thomas Jefferson's home, and I was floating on cloud nine enjoying this center cut of beauty and splendor.  Just as my internal orchestra was moving from Vivaldi's "Spring" from the Four Seasons to Bach's "Air on the G String" (thats the name of the song for all you trashbags out there!) things came to a screeching halt when I was blindsided by an angry eskimo (Lauren) who wanted to get out of the cold!  With the forecast predicting 26 for the high on Saturday, I might be like Paul Revere if I want to walk the Freedom Trail, RIDING ALONE!  FYI, for all you history buffs out there, I know he didn't ride alone but I needed something for the previous sentence and that fit quite well!

Big News!  Today we got our wedding pictures!  They can be viewed at .  I think they turned out awesome and I want to extend our thanks to Huy and his crew from f8, they are true professionals and I highly recommend their services to anyone who is getting married or just wants to capture a special moment.  They are the best!

She still overwhelms me!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


Yesterday was a first for me.  I've never really experienced a legitimate, bona-fide snowstorm!  Sure I've encountered the occasional dusting and I'll never forget the Leon Lett fiasco of Thanksgiving '93.  

But this was much different, this was how I would envision looking out the window soaking up the apres-ski in Vail after sailing down numerous double black diamonds........ except for the skiing part for those of you who were in Ruidoso '06! I awoke to a blanket of white that I've never seen before.  While picturesque, it did seem to deter many Bostonites from getting out on the road.  Carl and I were not among them..... 

After a delicious breakfast of 3 pieces of french toast and 5 poached eggs, we set out to Woburn to get top notch soft-tissue therapy, massage and gait analysis.  Following a great session, we made it back to the gym and ordered some lunch from Uno.  I had basil salmon with wild rice and mashed potatoes, tasty!  After lunch I started my workout:

A1. Physioball walkouts- 3x8 reps
B1. Weighted Pull-ups w/ vest- 4x8 reps
C1. DB Bench Press- 1x8 w/ 80 lbs., 3x6 w/ 100 lbs. dumbbells
D1. Seated Cable Row (focus on scapular retraction) - 4x6 w/ 170 lbs.
E1. Shoulder press from lunge position- 4x12 w/ 50 lbs. dumbbells
E2. Oblique Pulls- 4x8
F1. EZ Bar Curls- 2x8 w/ 65 lbs. 3x5 w/100 lbs.
G1. Tricep pushdown- 4x8 w/ 130 lbs.

Following the weights, Carl massaged my quads and hamstrings for almost an hour to work out the kinks and knots that arise from a quality speed session.  

Overall a very good workout.  It got the blood pumping and provided some structural cross-section work.  Carl is doing a great job of assigning an optimal workload.  I've worked out every day since I've arrived and my body feels great, especially after my marathon sleep session last night! 

As I write this I'm listening to Fernando Ortega and getting ready to grab lunch, I always find his music to be especially soothing to the soul, like a psalmist.  Tonight's workout will be very similar to my session on Tuesday night.  In that session I was able to make great progress on my start.  I'm finding that accelerating optimally is about getting into the proper angles and positions and applying force efficiently.

This still provides a good example of what things should look like coming out of the start.  Notice the triple extension (ankle, knee and hip) and the straight line of force from the foot to the head.  Also look at the shin angle of the right leg, this is a great angle for applying force quickly because there will be no tibial roll in this position.  While I still have things to work on, this is what we are looking for at the start.  By March 3rd this start should be about as fluid as Usher's performance at the Victoria Secret Fashion Show , right Zack and Ski!  "Like a young James Brown" according to Coach Harold Jackson!

Lauren arrives tomorrow, I can't wait to see her pretty face and hold her tight!  I think we are going to do some sightseeing during my downtime, I'm a huge history buff and the Revolutionary War is my favorite to study.  Boston is full of historical sites from that time period and I can't wait to walk the Freedom Trail, see Paul Revere's house, the Old North Church, USS Constitution, etc.  I also want to see Lexington and Concord and go to Plymouth Rock.  My mom has also recommended eating at the Old Wayside Inn, the oldest operating inn in the U.S (over 300 years old!).  As you can see I'm very giddy about this weekend, life is good and I'm so very blessed!

I'll check back in tonight after my training session.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Quality AND Quantity

Today was a great day. I slept in and ate a hearty breakfast consisting of 5 eggs, a bowl of oatmeal with 23g of whey protein and a scoop of peanut butter mixed in, an apple, a PBJ and a glass of orange juice. I spent the next couple hours watching Anthony Bourdain: No Reservations, currently my favorite show along with re-runs of Las Vegas, and Bizarre Foods with Andrew Zimmern. Bourdain was on point as usual in his trip to Puerto Rico, love the Caribbean mon! Zimmern on the other hand is getting a raw deal in my opinion, they had the poor guy eating fermented shark (hakarl) in which they bury the shark, ferment it and hang it to dry! Apparently in Iceland it's a big treat along with puffin and some dish similar to haggis. As for me and my house, we'll stick with the McDonalds if we ever find ourselves in Reykjavik!

Breaking News! As I'm writing this I'm watching The Real Housewives of Orange County (don't ask, it's Lauren's fault!) and apparently the young new girl is a Baylor grad with a degree in Child and Family Studies and psychiatry! She says "I went to this school down in Texas called Baylor" excuse me but I hope our reputation precedes us a little more than that! Now they are trying to get the girl to make sure that she gets some dough if her Leukemia-laden fiance passes away! I thought we already talked about sharks!

Training today was very, very good. I started off with some snatches to potentiate the sprints that would follow. Carl is very technical on the lifts and makes sure that I'm in the proper position to apply force correctly. The workout was as follows:
Shoulder width snatch from knee 4 reps w/5okg
Slighty wider grip from 3-4 inches above knee 4 reps w/50kg
Slighty wider grip from mid thigh 4 reps w/50kg
Normal grip from hip crease 4 reps w/50kg

Work Sets:
Snatch 7x2 w/ 60kg

The weight was not very heavy at all, I've snatched over 200 pounds fairly easily in the past. However the focus was not on load but rather on getting into the correct positions and learning to apply force in those positions. I feel like I made some technical progress since my last session and the workout atmosphere is great with the Olympic lifting club working out tonight at Excel.

Following a protein shake (I'll elaborate on the contents later) we went to the Reggie Lewis Center for sprints. The workout tonight was about 15 full out 10's. The emphasis being on having a good arm split out of the start, maintaining proper shin angles and getting full extension on each stride. Carl is very good at giving me effective cues and Miyagi-like drills ("Wax on, wax off") that bleed into effective sprinting. The proof was in the pudding as the video showed some substantial improvement since my last session. There is still a good deal of room for work but I'm excited about my progress thus far. We finished off the session with 4 sled pulls designed to ingrain optimal acceleration mechanics. The weight isn't heavy at all as we don't want to dampen the elastic properties inherent in sprinting. So forget any illusions of Buck from "The Call of the Wild" or Rocky dragging Uncle Paulie across the Siberian tundra!

Finally we made it back to Excel for a weight workout:
Deep Squat 3x3 w/275 slow eccentric
Reverse Lunge 3x6 w/50 lb. dumbbells
Side Lunge 2x8 w/25 lb. dumbbells

This was a good session, the squats weren't especially heavy at all (I've done singles at 540 and 440x6 in the past) but the purpose isn't to overload with the squat (the sprints provide the specific overload). The purpose is to maintain proper pelvic attitudes and work the glutes. Better activation work than glute bridges!

I followed this session with my standard post-workout shake consisting of the following:
Zero-Carb Isopure Whey Isolate- Protein Pineapple Banana (2 scoops=50g of protein)
Dextrose 1 1/2 scoops
Maltodextrin 1 1/2 scoops

Besides being absolutely delicious, it is extremely effective. It wasn't until fairly recently that I realized the value of carbs post workout. I now realize that they are absolutely essential, possibly even more important than the protein powder. They help lower cortisol levels and replenish muscle glycogen. Additionally they provide the insulin spike that drives nutrients into the tissue faster. We tend to consume carbs to protein in a 2:1 ratio post-workout and I've found this to work well.

Tomorrow I'll get two massages and work on my upper body pulling muscles. Apparently there is supposed to be a blizzard of sorts, so I'll be anxious to see how that turns out!

I would be a horrible friend if I didn't mention that David Dancer was born 23 years ago today! Dave is one of my best friends, he was in my wedding and he's one of the best men I know. Happy Birthday Dave!

Pictured is Dave hitting one of his trademark slices. Before being sidelined by a string of vicious ankle sprains, David was known to rule the courts at the SLC and Lifetime Fitness (besides being labeled as a mismatch by Michael Irvin), slashing with Steve Nash like precision and draining threes with his trademark left to right jumper. Between me and you, the last two 1 on 1 games we played ended in 11-1 victories for yours truly (although he did stop me from dunking on him with a well timed foul), but that's neither here nor there.

Yes ladies, he is single!

I'll leave you with a picture of the most beautiful girl on the planet!

Until next time,


Stream of Consciousness- January 26

Today I woke up at 8 and went for a massage and bodywork in Woburn, MA. The session went well and my body was thankful for the work. This afternoon I walked down Main Street to Body Stop and picked up some whey isolate protein to have in between meals. This is good because it's low carb and digests fast. I'm having this in addition to servings of Ultra Peptide 2.0 at 10 and 10 (or right before bed) the casein protein burns slower and keeps the body in an anabolic state.

After my stop at the the Body Stop, no pun intended, I went to Subway for a footlong and a bag of chips for a snack. To my amazement this Subway carried spinach leaves in addition to iceberg lettuce. For those of you who remember, Subway's in Texas also had spinach leaves prior to the salmonella scare and just "forgot" to bring them back I suppose! Doing my best to restrain an outbreak similar to Steve Martin in "Father of the Bride" after discovering that the "big shot at the bun company got together with the big shot from the wiener company and decided to rip-off the American public", I quietly finished my Italian B.M.T with turkey and went on my way.

Speaking of wieners, I highly recommend that those of you in the Dallas area make it over to the Bavarian Grill in Plano. Great food and authentic atmosphere make for a great time. Not to mention the abundance of a certain adult beverage.

My next priority was finding a plastic bottle to use for my pre-workout shake of gatorade and whey. Unfortunately in light of recent research that shows that the polycarbonate poses a significant health risk because of leaching endocrine disruptors, read: lowers testosterone levels among other things! I was unable to find a worthy bottle at the grocery store. While I took a minute to chuckle at the infinite possibilities of witty barbs and humor that the men of 2007 7th Street could conjure up with such material linking low testosterone and the typical Nalgene user, I had a bottle to find (Craigy B, if you are reading this, just say no!). Being more than persistent at times (as many of you know!), I scoured the streets looking for this elusive bottle, I felt like Moses (Charlton Heston) from the Ten Commandments wandering around the desert after leaving Egypt! (If it seems like I'm using a lot of movie references its because I find that it helps people relate to my experience better when using a point of reference that many are familiar with) I finally retreated home, empty handed, to get ready for my workout.

My workout tonight was a core circuit that consisted of a warmup of planks from various positions with leg movements, followed by:

A1. Landmines 3x10
A2. Bubkas 3x8
A3. Stability pushups 3x10

B1. Bar Rollouts 3x5
B2. Pallof Press 3x8
B3. Suspended plank on stability ball with arm circles 3x5

******If these exercises sound obscure, don't worry, many can be Googled and will provide a better explanation.******

A great session that really worked the obliques, abs, and pelvic stabilizers. Low intensity day to prep for tomorrow when I really get to rev the engine with high quality sprints, Olympic lifts, and squats.

By the way, I've been listening to a really great song lately that is just really anointed, "Overcome" by Desperation Band. Those of you who attend Gateway Church will agree, we sang it the last two times before I left for Boston. I highly recommend that you guys download it!

God is good!


Sunday, January 25, 2009


I arrived in Boston Wednesday morning to 8 degree weather, almost automatically I thought of Sanka from Cool Runnings "I'm not smoking, I'm FREEZIN'!" Talk about an adjustment after spending half a month in and around the Tropics!

 As many of you know I'm in Boston for the next 6 weeks preparing for the biggest job interview of my life: Pro Day. In order to put my best foot forward, I've enlisted the help of Coach Carl Valle. Carl has trained numerous Olympians, various athletes from the NFL and MLB and is a genius in the field of human performance. Carl has a holistic approach to training in which all the elements bleed together to create a whole that is even greater than the sum of the parts. I'm very excited to be here and I'm anticipating fantastic results.

I'm living in the town of Waltham (sounds like WALL-THAM rather than WAL-THUMB), leave it up to the yankees to complicate such an issue, just kidding! From everything I have seen it's a charming little town and everyone that I've met has been very kind. I'm weight-training at Excel Sport and Fitness in Waltham and the facility is top notch, everything I need and more. For my sprint training I go to the Reggie Lewis Center in Roxbury, the track is a Mondo surface and extremely fast. My sessions thus far have been enlightening, I can't imagine where I'll be come March.

While I spend most of my day lifting, sprinting, eating and sleeping; I spend the rest of it thinking of my beautiful wife Lauren! I'm so blessed to have her and I love her with everything I am. She has been so supportive of me, my lifelong dream of playing in the NFL has truly become "our" dream and I'm working just as much for her as I am for myself. I love you girl!

I'll do my best to stay current with this blog and keep everyone aware of my day to day movements. Gotta run and eat my last meal of the day, cottage cheese with fruit and a few slices of turkey. Massage and bodywork at 9:30 in the morning!

God Bless,