Sunday, 10 November 2013

Three Strikes: Week 50

The Three Strikes project has come to a close. I just couldn't quite beat the personal bests in the last few movements on my list.

I started a new notebook to record PBs in November 2011. These records have been added to since that time. In November I came up with the idea for the Three Strikes project. See here.

Since 24/11/12, focusing on each movement for a few weeks at a time and over a period of 50 weeks, I amassed a total of 137 personal bests. Most of these came at the start of the project when I was lifting movements that I had been working not long before the project began. As the project ran on, however, I started to work movements that I'd had a VERY long break from. The last movement I worked was close-hand lat pulldown, working the biceps, chest and back. My record was notch 15 from June '11. I struck out straight away, getting 14 each time.

The hardest part of using the lat pulldown machine is simply getting on it. I would have finished the project much earlier if I'd have used the pulldown sooner, and not visited the gym at busy periods. EVERYBODY loves pulldown. I had to get up sickeningly early and do my session before work, when I was at my weakest. This is possibly why I didn't do so well on it. It is good, however, to shock your body by mixing up your routine. Work out early. Work out late. Hungry. Full. Tired out. Fired up. Make your body do the work. And get into the gym at quiet times, work the most popular movements first and leave the obscure ones 'til later.

Of course, it would help if OCL had a bigger gym in the town centre!

Other bits of advice: You get fit when someone else is pushing you. So have a break from the 3 Strikes project and go to a few classes. If I'd have done this from the start I would have been a lot fitter, and the project would have taken much longer to complete.

The other advantage to extending the project this way: Exposure. I'd been blogging consistently every Sunday night. When people come to expect this post as part of your blogging routine, your hits will increase. Mine did.

This only works, however, if you have something to say in your blog posts. If you spend your life in the gym with very little else going on, what are people going to read about?! Keep your life busy with other activities, not just hammering the gym. Then you have something to write about, and your hits will continue to rise. Towards the end of the project, I didn't have that much going on in my life and hence didn't write many other blog posts.

This week, for instance, I've visited relatives down south. I've seen watched Gravity in 3D at the Imax (fun but average. Predictable. Good performances from George Clooney and particularly Sandra Bullock. 3D is a fad that I don't know why the cinema industry has decided to revive).

I've also found time to get some reading in.

I've finished Emergency by Neil Strauss. I gave a pre-emptive review here.

Now I've read it fully I can say it's a fun, informative read. The most important information, the urban survival section, emerges in the last few pages. Read it now, before the “Cormac McCarthy's The Road” scenario emerges.

I also finished War and Peace: My Story, Ricky Hatton's autobiography. I started reading it in the signing queue a few weeks back, concurrent with Emergency and Ring. It's a funny, interesting account of the light-welterweight and welterweight former champion's rise from his humble beginnings in Hyde (5 miles from me) through to his last devastating defeat at the hands of Russian Vyacheslav Senchenko.

Although billed as an autobiography, it's pretty clear that editor Tris Dixon interviewed him over a period of a few weeks and transcribed his answers straight from the tape, adding in descriptions with Mr Hatton's consent as they went along. Can you see Ricky Hatton sitting in front of his PC and tapping out a 14-chapter, 300-page book? It's a strange blend of Hatton's northern, banter-laiden vernacular and Dixon's journalistic prompting and tailoring. But Hatton isn't your regular boxer- he's a regular bloke alright, a pint-drinking, wise-cracking Manc lad with a girlfriend and 2 kids of his own, but you don't always get that in a four-time world champion boxer.

An enjoyable read.

One of the reasons I started the Three Strikes project was to force myself to write quickly, to analyse the week's proceedings and hammer out a quick post. I wanted a bit of pressure to help induce a Thompson-style gonzo element to my work. Over the last 50 weeks I think I've become a lot more adept at just getting the fucking writing written, with only myself to pressure me into finishing. I start these posts after tea on Sunday nights and put them up as soon as I've finished. They're usually laden with errors and lacking details that I meant to put in from the start of the week, but I've tailored the skill of making notes about anything that might have happened over the course of the seven days. So this happens less these days.

And now I can do whatever I damned well want at the gym! Hooray!

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