Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/13/18 – Miscellaneous

Today is Friday the 13th (or was if you’re reading this in the future). I’m actually typing this in the future because I was kind of lazy with posts since Friday. I hosted a beer tasting in the late afternoon at my place to try out the “Keto Fail Ale,” and then Mrs. Breaking and I had a game night with a pretty fun couple. I wanted to kick off the night in the style of the It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia crew, but Mrs. Breaking didn’t see the merits. You decide…

We played Sheriff of Nottingham. It’s a table game. Amazon recently had a nice sale on table games, so I grabbed that and a card game called “Joking Hazard.” I really wanted to play Joking Hazard, but it hadn’t arrived yet. It’s basically a cartoon version of Cards against Humanity.

It took us a little while to get started as we learned and pondered the rules, but once we got into it, the game was fun. It’s basically about lying and BS’ing the people you are playing with. Some of the lying and negotiating got pretty interesting as we got more into the game and the beers kept flowing. One of our participants may or may not be doing the dishes at his house for the next month. I don’t really recall the exact conditions of that negotiation. I thought I came in second place, but, since I ended up as the chicken king, I won 10 extra points, and that put me over the top. I edged out the apple king. I woke up on Saturday realizing I probably sampled one too many beers, and spent the day not wanting to try and cobble thoughts together. We’ve all been there. But, its no True American.


Okay – back to my thoughts on Friday the 13th. I used to like horror movies. A lot. I grew up on stuff like A Nightmare on Elm Street, Halloween, Friday the 13th, and the like. For some reason, that stuff just isn’t palatable to me anymore. I don’t want to sit for 90 minutes and watch people be terrified or tortured or maimed. It just doesn’t entertain me anymore. I think Hostel back in 2006 was the beginning of the end for me. I screened the movie the night before its release, and it made me feel very icky after watching it. Between that and Saw, I think that “torture porn” has turned my brain off to the entire horror genre. Maybe there is a limit to what types of situations or scenes should be put out for public consumption. I read an article back in May about a crowd walking out of a movie during a screening. The movie is called “The House that Jack Built.” I’m not making a sweeping statement about art and its place in society, or even what is considered art. I’m saying that I’ve made my choice to avoid this particular subset of art. It doesn’t elicit positive reaction from me.

I’d much rather laugh for 90 minutes, or watch a movie that elicits a positive emotional response. Not a movie that makes me wonder if some quasi-zombie hockey mask guy is going to try and attack me with a machete. And, how the heck does he actually catch people when he walks and they run? Seriously – the only horror guy I’ve ever actually seen run is Freddy Krueger. Michael Myers and Jason Voorhees are basically mall-walkers, but find a way to catch and murder their prey.

Part of me thinks that I might not like that stuff because I’ll have a hard time explaining its merits to my son. I know I certainly don’t want him watching that stuff for a long time. Its more fun to watch Happy Gilmore and appreciate the comedic timing/delivery of Christopher McDonald…

…than it is to watch a terrified “B’ actress run up the stairs into a confined attic space rather than running out the front door. I know that is the writing, so I should blame that on the “B” director and the “B” writer.

I’d much rather watch a movie that gives me goosebumps for a good reason. I still get emotional at the end of “Miracle” when Kurt Russell goes back into the arena’s hallway and starts crying. Oh, and the broadcast overlay they do during the movie by including Al Michael’s actual call during the game is epic. Hearing him actually say, “DO YOU BELIEVE IN MIRACLES,” is priceless.

I still get goosebumps at the end of Apollo 13 watching Ed Harris’ reaction to the shuttle regaining communication after splashdown. That is what I want to pay my money for.

I literally just got goosebumps watching it as I copied and pasted the link.

THAT is worth the price of admission.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/13/18 – Miscellaneous


Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/11/18 – Push/Pull Session

I made homemade yogurt. I’m actually eating a 4 oz jar of it while I’m typing this. It tastes like yogurt. It looks like yogurt. And, it hasn’t made me sick yet. Bully for that!

It wasn’t hard. My younger sister (Sister Breaking???) sent me a yogurt making kit for my birthday. The care package had the unit (made by Euro Cuisine), and some dehydrated cultures. Her and I have never talked about yogurt, or the making of yogurt. I thought she was lactose intolerant to be honest. Therefore, it kind of caught me and the wife by surprise. It reminded me of this clip from Wayne’s World…

Regardless, I’m grateful for the gift and I decided to give it a shot this past weekend. The steps were pretty darn simple…

  • Heat milk of choice to 180 degrees F (this “sanitizes” the milk). I’m used to this step from beer making.
  • Cool milk (also used to this from beer making – you can’t pitch a culture at high temp – it might kill it)
  • Add cultures to cooled milk
  • Mix everything and add to portioned jars
  • Put jars into the Euro Cuisine “machine” (and I use that term very loosely), and set a timer for 7-10 hours (I left it in for 9 hours)

I only had heavy cream in my fridge, so I did a quick Google search to see if you can make yogurt with heavy cream. You can. And, its encouraged by those in the low-carb community. Bully for that too.

I called an audible and mixed in some pure vanilla extract after the cultures were pitched. I read that as a “recipe” somewhere “on the line.” I did 1 tsp for about 28 oz of yogurt. I think I’ll bump it up next time because the taste is faint at best. The yogurt does taste good, and its creamy as hell. If you’ve never cultured or fermented anything in your kitchen – you should give it a try – its kind of cool, and the stuff tastes good. Mrs. Breaking makes some pretty good homemade pickles and her fermented slaw is the BOMB!

I’m not convinced that I need the Euro Cuisine equipment. I think it just circulates heat to hasten the fermenting process. We might be able to use our instant pot to mix larger batches. We are looking into that. Besides – people have been making yogurt for a LONG time – way before you could plug in a semi-useless piece of kitchen tchotchke. And yes, that word is correct. Its not a typo. You are welcome.

more you know.JPG.

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/11/18 – Push/Pull Session

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/9/18 – The Basics

You learn by doing.

That is only half right. You learn by doing if you model your “doing” after somebody’s example that has “done it.”

Most of where I’m at in the year 2018 with my bodyweight training is a result of reading other people’s books, watching other people’s YouTube videos, and/or trying other people’s exercise programs. There is certainly no shame in trying to find proper instruction for something you want to do. In fact, it’s a bad tactic to try and learn something from somebody who has never actually done it. It’s one thing to regurgitate the process step by step from a text book, and it’s quite the other to have a person who has “been there” explain, “…okay, you do this, and THIS is how it should feel…,” or, “…if you feel this that means you are doing it wrong, and you need to do it this way…”

In my opinion, it’s the cuing that really defines effective instruction and training. The human body is such an amazing machine, and there are so many different permutations for the movement its capable of. Just this morning, I was in awe of Baby Breaking’s hip mobility as he is able to execute a cross-legged forward fold and get his entire torso to the ground (he’s learning how to sit up right now). At first, I thought he broke himself. Then I saw he was completely content. Babies are just really flexible. So, you want a person who understands the biomechanics of the exercise movement you are training, and who can adapt his/her instruction to what your body can and can’t do. If I can’t do a forward fold from a cross-legged position, I need a person who understands the x-ray of the exercise to tell me, “…you know, you can sit on a yoga block for now until your hips open up more…”

Back to my original point – proper learning happens with proper modeling. So, if you want to do something, find a person that actually DOES IT, and then see what they do. Ask them questions.

“Hey – how do you do that?”

“What does it feel like when you do that?

“What did you have to do first before you were able to do that?”

When it comes to bodyweight training, I don’t shy away from reading blogs, buying books, or watching videos created by people that are doing the exact stuff I want to learn how to do. In some cases, there isn’t one clear set of progressions or paths. Therefore, diversity in your learning and reading will expose you to many different ways to skin the cat.

Some of the people/groups I track and follow in the bodyweight training community are:

  • Al Kavadlo – author of Stretching Your Boundaries and Raising the Bar.
  • Zach Even-Esh – Underground Strength Coach.
  • Mike Fitch – Global Bodyweight Training.
  • Paul Wade – author of the Convict Conditioning series.
  • BarStarzz – amazing bar calisthenics athletes.
  • Thenx – another amazing bodyweight and bar training group.
  • Athleanx – Jeff Cavaliere is a great instructor and has paid programs, in addition to tons of free content on YouTube. If you want to learn proper cueing for exercise – this is a guy to check out.

And, finally – if I’m curious about different ways to progress in an exercise, I’ll just do a random YouTube search for that exercise, and watch some videos. Some of the instruction out there is pretty good. Some of it – not so good. If the person describing the movement can actually do the movement, and then takes time to discuss proper set up and execution, and describes the cues along the way, that generally is a good instruction. If the person says that the way to do a muscle up is to grab the bar, get your upper body above the bar, and then push up, then the instruction is pretty poor. As you watch more of these videos, you’ll be able to weed out the bad ones pretty quickly.

If you are trying to learn a move, don’t just rely on videos that demo the move – try to find videos that explain the move. For example – in two of my posts, I’ve demonstrated some of my favorite push up and pull up varieties. I’d hardly call those training videos. I point out a cue or two, but its not a full X-ray of the exercise. If you saw something you liked, I’d recommend doing a YouTube search for that exercise, and find a trainer that gives step by step cueing instruction. I’d eventually like to get to the point where I give step by step instruction, but I’m just not set up for that yet.

Today’s exercise routine is courtesy of a recent book I purchased called, “Raising the Bar.” I’m a fan of Dragon Door Publications because it features a lot of books about different modes of exercise by people that not only do it, but do it well, and in most cases, train it. The books aren’t perfect, but they do provide a ton of useful information for the price. I was able to get my RTB book for only $9.95 plus shipping (it was on sale). That was quite the bargain from its usual price, so I snapped it up. I wanted to see what Al suggested for one arm pull up progressions and muscle up progressions. As expected, the advice he provided differed slightly from what I had read and viewed before. So, mission accomplished. Found an alternate perspective.

At the back of the book, Al described some of his “favorite” exercise programs. One of them he called “the basics.” It is very no-frills – 3 exercises, 10 reps each, 5 sets total.

Simple enough. I think I’ll try it…

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/9/18 – The Basics

Breaking Keto – Coda

My wife held on for two more weeks (following my June 1 post), and then decided that she wanted to move on. That means she moved on in mid-June. I tip my hat to her.

In the end, it wasn’t because she wasn’t feeling good. Quite the contrary, she kept saying how awesome she felt. Her concern was about her milk supply for our newborn (can you still call him a newborn at 6 months)? #daddyfail

She “felt” like her supply was going down. This was a result of less yield during pumping, and feeling that his feedings might not be as robust as they were prior. I did as much research as the internet would allow me to, and found some articles on the topic. As it turns out, there is a lot of opinion (A LOT), and not a ton of science. This isn’t an area that has been studied a ton (yet). But, I did find two studies that concluded a milk SUPPLY didn’t fluctuate, increase, or decrease based on the macro breakdown (holding calorie consumption constant). The study did show that a high fat, low carb diet did yield higher fat content in the milk. So, the conclusion drawn from those two studies is that supply doesn’t really care about macros.


But, when we looked at what she was eating, she was grossly under-consuming calories. THAT CAN affect milk supply. We chatted, and she was having a tough time stuffing her face with enough fat to meet the calorie requirements. She just wasn’t that hungry, and, since she was restricting dairy and eggs (baby food allergens – kid is fight eczema right now), there weren’t a ton of options. Put it this way – I offered her some pork belly, and she didn’t find it appetizing. So, rather than stress about something she need not stress about, she called it quits and we went out to a lovely dinner together.

If you’ve read my Nickelback post, you know how that dinner went.

Okay – there is a sentence I never thought I’d type.


Wife – within a day or two of being off keto, she commented about how she feels less energy than she did while in ketosis. She didn’t melt into a blob on the couch; rather, she could just feel a subtle difference in her overall “state” and her mental acuity. It is something she would certainly consider doing again later on when kid rearing is behind her. She is happily enjoying her fruit, and doesn’t really worry when her carbs are between 100 g and 150 g per day. And she shouldn’t. That is a decent maintenance range.

Me – my own experience has made me a student of the process. I was very interested in learning why I crashed the way that I did when I continued doing HIIT workouts and other strenuous workouts while still adapting. I thought my prior experience had me primed to quickly adapt, but it didn’t happen. I now know how important it is to measure empirically, and give your body a chance to flip the switch. There is a huge difference between having ketones in your blood, and having your various mitochondria knowing how to use ketones for energy. That is the switch that needs a few weeks to happen. It inspired me to read/research even more. Found some good books…

I did learn in my reading that (even in ketosis) you could consider some carb intake prior to a HIIT workout or other workout that will push you to an anaerobic threshold. The reason being is that when you hit an anaerobic threshold, your muscles NEED glycogen to function. If you aren’t properly adapted, this is when you feel like you are ready to pass out. There is no glycogen for your muscles to grab, and they haven’t properly learned how to use ketones yet.

Once you are adapted, your have more metabolic flexibility to not fall out of ketosis due to the carb intake. Some people anecdotally say that they feel fine doing HIIT after being fully adapted (but admit that its hell when you aren’t), and some people see the value in some carbs before the HIIT session. It really will come down to your own ability and preference. HOWEVER, the one thing everyone agrees on – give HIIT a rest while you are adapting. Keep exercise in an aerobic place during the adaption phase.

I’ll probably do this again next year. My goal is to get to the other side, and rock some nice workouts with blood ketone levels over 1 mmol/L! Oh, and not feel like passing out 🙂


Do you currently, or have you ever followed a ketogenic-style diet? If so, what were your experiences? Please comment below. If you like this post, please be sure to like and share! Thank you.

Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/2/18 – One arm push up training

Yesterday was a nice Casual Sunday.

I don’t know if its a late thirties thing, but you kind of enjoy a nice low-key day where you get some stuff done, but still have a chance to just enjoy things unfolding around you with zero pressure.

Most of my day is dictated by Baby Breaking’s eat/sleep/play schedule. Mrs. Breaking leaves for work around 6:30 am, so the next 13 hours are total bro time.

BB woke up around 9am (he was fed at 6am, hung out with me until 7am, and went down for a nap). In that time, I drank some awesome butter coffee, did the dishes, made a grocery list, and watched a bunch of hot takes about LeBron going to LA that made me mad (note – he was supposed to go to Philly to complete THE PROCESS. #trusttheprocess #hinkiediedforoursins

Once his feed at 9am finished, and he let out an awesome manly burp. We saddled up and went to the food store. He’s kind of like a wet stick of dynamite when you take him shopping. Whether its just his time or a gentle outside stimulus, he might explode. Luckily, he didn’t start stirring until we got to the check out.

He slept during the ride home, and I tried to c-a-r-e-f-u-l-l-y move him into the house w/o waking him up.


We played briefly, and then he decided he wanted to go back to sleep. That was roughly about 1030am, and he stayed down until almost 130pm.


and its a good movie too!

In that almost 3 hour block, I was able to

  • knock out a yoga session and foam rolling session
  • make an awesome lunch consisting of chicken broth (yum), stripper bass + bacon salad, heavy cream and blueberries
  • get a pot of homemade chicken soup cooking on the stove
  • do the household bills and budget review
  • adjust the Amazon subscriptions for the month
  • prep all of the ingredients to make an amazing chocolate avocado mousse
  • watch 30 minutes of the Phillies game (via Slingbox) while sipping some delicious iced chicory and coffee
    • Note – getting the Slingbox and hooking it up at my parents house (in PA) has saved me HUNDREDS of dollars. I can basically watch all of my hometown local sports broadcasts here in Kansas for no cost. Otherwise, I’d have to have the MLB/NBA/NHL package, and/or get Direct TV to have access to NFL Sunday Ticket. Eff that noise. Slingbox baby!

It was heaven. Don’t get me wrong. I love hanging out with this kid. But, as I’m sure other parents will attest, you cherish every single second that the baby is content and asleep. Every. Single. Second. That is your time to “adult” in peace.

Once BB woke up, we continued watching the Phillies game, and he ate. In addition to his milk, we experimented with some mushed carrots. He enjoyed that. Once he was done eating and burping, I put him in his bouncer, and proceeded to finish making my chocolate avocado mousse. It turned out great. See this article for the recipe (scroll to the bottom).

He hung in there for a bit, but was ready for another nap almost 90 minutes later. I kept watching the Phillies game, and then went downstairs on the elliptical for 25 minutes after the game was over. Knapp hit a walk-off homer in the 13th. Go Phils! This team is actually pretty fun to watch. The bullpen threw 17 innings in the past two games. Pretty crazy.

Drew a sample of my currently carbonating Trappist-Style Ale. Only two days in, so no real carbonation (probably will take a solid week to force-carbonate). That is okay – I’m in no rush.

BB awoke again, and we fed, burped, and then bathed. By then, the bro-day was winding down, and Mrs. Breaking returned to the roost around 730pm. The chicken soup that had been simmering all day was pretty tasty. Note – use boneless/skinless thighs for your soup. Skip the breasts. Fat makes everything taste better.

Can’t complain about that day.

On to the workout…

Continue reading Bodyweight Workouts – Basement Sessions – 7/2/18 – One arm push up training

Maximize Your Morning Commute

Look familiar???


Luckily that isn’t my commute world anymore. In my professional career, I’ve had all sorts of commute times and distances. In my early 20’s I drove 45 miles each way to work. In my mid 20’s, I actually had a 60 mile commute one way (could take 90 minutes under cruddy circumstances). When I lived in NYC, I had a 45 minute commute on the subway. When I lived in NJ, I had another 40 mile commute up route I-95. Now, I only have a 10 mile commute to work which takes 20 minutes on a bad day. Its VERY bearable.

I didn’t really start to “leverage” my commute until my NYC experience. As part of the subway etiquette (don’t make eye contact, look busy, look distracted, and look unapproachable), I got used to listening to classical music on my iPod (yeah, back in the day, right???) and reading a book. I never read as many books in a year as I did when I lived in NYC. I loved it. I really miss those passive commutes where I could just sit on my bench, space out, and magically appear at my train stop. I knocked out some pretty huge books in that span (“Atlas Shrugged” and “Dutch” come to mind).

After NYC, when I started to drive to work again, I just defaulted back to my old pattern of listening to music. Don’t get me wrong. Music is awesome. I love finding some of the lesser known “fringe” rock bands and listening to their stuff. When my job shifted to a regional support role, I was driving A LOT. I mean 23,000 miles per year a lot. I listened to and bought a TON of music.

In retrospect, I missed one hell of an opportunity to learn stuff and improve myself.

I first found podcasts in 2016. I know – a little late to the party, right? It still seems too good to be true. There is all of this AMAZING content out there, and it is 100% free. Just find an app to play them through on your mobile device, and you are in. Right now, I have a ton of podcast subscriptions related to sports topics, fantasy football, nutrition, fitness, lifestyle, homebrewing, and probably some others I’m forgetting. Whether its my commute to/from work, or if I’m driving regionally for a couple of hours, I love me some podcasts. My personal favorite is the Fantasy Footballers Podcast. The show is entertaining, and is a wealth of fantasy football information. Those guys are so lucky that they get to do something like that for a living. Another favorite of mine is Tim Ferriss. Last year, I ended up driving to South Dakota (6 hours each way), and binge listened to Tim both ways. So much information. He is actually a really solid interviewer. If you like hearing the behaviors and patterns of successful people broken down and shared, you’d like Tim’s interviews.

I was a late adopter for audio books, but now I love them. I resisted audio books because I like physically touching and holding the book. That is why I’ll probably never have a Kindle. I like the tangibility of a book, and if you like it, putting it on your bookshelf. Just the physical presence of a book can be a conversation starter. Sample dialogue…

Guest: Cool – you have American Psycho – was it like the movie?

Me: That book is messed up – the movie was okay, but doesn’t really do justice to how messed up that book was – did you know it was almost banned?

Guest: I didn’t know that. Very interesting. Its a good think you had that book physically here so I could notice it and comment on it. Where are you going?

Me: I have to return some video tapes.

I stumbled into an membership by accident. A colleague of mine is a member, and was talking about an amazing deal she got on a series of leadership lectures. I’m talking like 30 hours of content, all for the cost of a single credit. I later learned that for the monthly membership fee, you get 1 credit per month. I signed up for the trial, and used my credit on that series of lectures. I never cancelled the trial, and kept accumulating credits. Once I was caught up on my podcasts, I saw in my email that I had unused Audible credits. I checked my Amazon shopping cart for some books that I was going to buy, and found the audio book counterpart.

I got over my physical book compulsion, and redeemed a credit for my first audio book. I settled on Dan Harris’ “10% Happier.” It was a book about his journey through meditation. It was a very entertaining listen. From that point on, I was much more open to downloading audio books. As of this post, I have about 15 of them in my library. I still buy physical books, but if I find a book that I want access to, and don’t care about the physical form, I’ll get the audio book if its available. I like having the membership because it “reminds” me to get a book and listen to it.

Fast forward to 2018, and my phone & iPad are loaded with downloaded books and podcasts. Whether I’m driving to work, mowing the lawn, riding the train, or catching a flight somewhere, I have unfettered access to great information, content, and stories (as long as I have a device charged).

Having access to this information has really allowed me to turn my morning commute into something that can enrich my life. I still listen to music, but I’d say that a solid 3-4 days of my commute is either listening to a podcast about a topic I want to learn about, or its dedicated to blasting through an audio book. Right now I’m listening to, “The Millionaire Next Door.” It is a very interesting book. Believe it or not, that unassuming dude in his Wrangler jeans that drives the 3 year old BMW is probably a millionaire. The guy in the $3,000 suit and $1,000 watch is probably leveraged to the throat with debt. So far, the point I’m divining from the book is that people in good financial situations get there through solid planning and massive amounts of self control.

In the book, “The Four Hour Work Week,” Tim Ferriss talks about efficient use of time as a major tool for reclaiming and re-engineering your life. Through that lens, I was able to find many way to improve the efficiency of what I do both at home and at work. Using my morning commute (or lawn mowing for that matter) is a great way to find an otherwise useless block of time, and use it to your advantage. Not all time savings will translate into useful gains…

…but there is certainly something to be said for identifying a block of 20 minutes (or more depending on your commute) that can be re-purposed for leisure or learning. The Washington Post estimates that the average commute for an American is now 26 minutes. Why not spend 26 minutes to and from work listening to that novel you’ve been putting off, or that personal finance book you’ve been wanting to read? The pockets of time are around us if we look for them. Re-imagining your morning commute is probably one of the easiest ways to seize the day.

Carpe Diem!

Do you spend your morning commute on personal development initiatives? If so, what types of things do you do? Any podcasts or audio books you like? Please let us know. If you enjoyed this post, please “like” and share. Thank you!