Vacation, Muscle Ups, Rope Climbs, and Fat

As you know, I went to Iceland for a week in the beginning of April. I’ll save it for another post, but I did get to meet Iceland Annie and do a couple of workouts at CF Reykjavik. One of those workouts involved pull ups that left me with “butt arm.” This is where your arms suddenly become like T-Rex’s and can’t full extend without excruciating pain. 

Anyway, over the course of that week, that was the only day we really worked out unless you count hiking all day to see awesome waterfalls (I do). 

muscle up to ring handstand push up. 30 muscle ups should be easy, right? 
The Monday I got back, one of the team training workouts involved 30 muscle ups. We had three people on our team that could do muscle ups, so we figured it would take 6-8 minutes total to get them done, figuring for muscle failure and whatnot. What we didn’t figure for was complete and utter FAILURE. It ended up taking us 22 minutes+ to do 30 muscle ups. For two of us, that’s longer than our 30 muscle up time by OURSELVES. Not too long ago, I could do an L-sit strict muscle up. (not the prettiest b/c I lean forward, but technically did it) We kept doing ring pull ups and couldn’t transition over into the dip. Silliness. Pure silliness.

A few days later, we had another workout that was essentially the Games workout from this past summer involving a ladder of rope climbs and clean and jerks. Again, I failed on the rope, something that as a smaller, lighter guy I should be at least decent at. When I got home, I tried to do 5 muscle ups. It took me over a half hour to do 3. I admit that I quit on the 4th and 5th (even though I genuinely meant to go back after “rest”). What the heck was going on? Was a week off really that detrimental? Was butt arm really that disastrous? Will Justin Bieber ever return my phone calls?


From these two workouts and much contemplation, I concluded two things. One is that yelling and cursing LOUDER doesn’t make you suddenly get a muscle up. The other is that I needed to eat more fat. 

Ignoring the first conclusion, let’s focus on the fat. In Iceland and even when we got back, I probably ate less calories than I should have been, considering the high energy expenditure of hiking all day. On top of that, if we did eat, it was jerky and dried fruit. The only fat came in the form of grass fed butter at dinner and nuts in the Paleo Kits we had. Barely adequate and hardly above and beyond. The Monday we got back, my meals were steak and sweet potatoes for breakfast, chili for lunch, and some meat and vegetable for dinner. Rinse and repeat. Some fat, but not a lot. And for someone like me who is fairly lean and working out, I needed to eat more. 

From the nutrition blogging that I’ve done and read, there was a gap in my diet. Fat. So this is what I concluded when those two workouts kicked the crap out of me. Eat more fat. So I did. 

After the rope climb workout, I drank a couple tablespoons of olive oil. The next morning when I made my coffee, I added in a tablespoon of coconut oil. When I had my second cup, I did it again. I had nuts and seeds throughout the day. Dinner was normal meat and veggies, but I poured more olive oil on and grass-fed butter. 

Guess what?

A few days later, we did another team workout, but beforehand, worked on handstand push ups and muscle ups. And I strung 5 no sweat. Rested a little and did another 3. Did an L-sit strict muscle up like in the “old days.” Tonight, we did “Nate” which involves muscle ups, handstand push ups, and heavy kb swings. I beat my old PR by 150% with 12 rounds. Whaaatt?
my savior
So yes, perhaps it was because I hadn’t done muscle ups in a couple of weeks. But that doesn’t explain why I felt so HEAVY and WEAK. What does explain it is my nutrition. I simply wasn’t getting enough calories in the form of fat. 

Why fat? Because as a lean person who doesn’t consume too many carbohydrates, my body prefers fat as fuel. It can turn it over more quickly than an obese person whose system prefers carbohydrates like pasta and bread and soda as straight up glucose. That is why the same diet doesn’t work for everyone. You need to consider where you are NOW and what kind of work you do. 

So as we continue to train for Regionals, one thing for sure is that I’ll be eating more fat.


If you are looking to buy coconut oil, head over to my Amazon store for Nutiva’s 15oz. jars (2 pack) or the more economical 54oz. jars (2pack). (same price as normal, I just get a few cents for each one)

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2 thoughts on “Vacation, Muscle Ups, Rope Climbs, and Fat

  1. It was a tough day for you my friend and I know you can make it. Just don't quit and always think of the positive ways so that everything will go smooth. God Bless!

  2. super interesting to read this, P.lentus and glad you got the diet figured out. i watched you guys do that workout–didn't look fun.

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