Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 1

After having such great results through the 8 week Efficient Exercise Project Transformation,  I knew I had to continue my HIIRT training at Efficient Exercise.  The week after the transformation ended, I met with Keith Norris and Mark Alexander and talked about my results and my goals.  We decided a good course of action would be for me to continue to not swim for a while longer and have 1 one-on-one training session a week and one group training session a week.  We discussed re-introducing swimming in a few months, and I fell good about that plan.  Keith promises I'll be a lean mean barracuda when I return to the water- and I like that thought.  

Future Barracuda! 
Basically, I'd be sticking with the same training schedule I was on during the transformation.  They thought I'd be a good fit to work with Matthew Jones.  Matthew while new to Efficient Exercise, has a background in personal training.  I'm hoping he'll let me profile him for the blog because he has an awesome fitness story to tell (*hint, hint, Matthew!*).  

One on One Recap

When I showed up at the gym for my first one-on-one session, I really didn't know what to expect as I'd not met Matthew before.  After introductions, we jumped right into the workout.   Oh my goodness.  From the first exercise, I knew I was in a whole new world.  It was an exercise I had done in the transformation, the bent over barbell row, but with more weight than I'd ever contemplate doing on my own- 65 pounds.  I know, to many of you, this might not be much and really I'm only giving specifics when I can so I can make some comparisons to see what sort of progress I make over time.  

As we worked our way through through the five exercises, I started to think about how personal working one-on-one is.  You simply cannot beat the attention that a one-on-one workout gives you.  In the transformation class, while the trainer is there to help you when you need him/her, for the most part you have to be self motivated to do the work and push yourself.  One on one, the focus is you.  While you still have to decide to do the work in your mind, your trainer is going to set the bar so to speak for how hard to push and that will more often than not be higher than you would set for yourself.

Matthew Jones looking very pleased to have worn me out.  

Got Trust?

In thinking about the personal nature of one-on-one training, I started thinking about the trust I was putting in this person I'd never met before.  I've had a number of sports injuries and tend to be a pretty risk adverse person with respect to physical activity.  Not once during my workout, though I was being pushed, did I feel like I was unsafe. Why?  I knew that Keith Norris had trained Matthew and whatever exercise he had me doing was designed to get me closer to my goals.  

I had an opportunity to talk to Keith and Matthew this past week about how Keith picks trainers and how he trains them to work with Efficient Exercise clients.  Keith told me that there isn't a shortage of people with exercise physiology/training experience to choose from and a person's fitness experience isn't really the biggest thing he looks for in a trainer.  The first thing he looks for in a trainer he will bring into Efficient Exercise is whether or not the person is a people person.  He finds that to be successful as a trainer, one has to be able to connect to his/her clients.   What an awesome perspective.

Lesley: A people person and a great trainer.

If the person is good with people and can connect, Keith knows he can teach them how to train and the Efficient Exercise method.  An excellent example of this approach is Lesley O'Neal.  Her undergraduate degree is in Psychology.  While talking to Keith, another member of the group class who does one-on-one training with Lesley shared how happy he was with the level of attention she showed him in his training.  He shared that she has incorporated recommended exercises from his physical therapist and pays close attention to his form.   He calls her the "posture police" and says that her attention to detail in training him is "priceless."  Matthew has good training experience in his background, is a people person and has Keith Norris behind him.  I don't think I could be in better hands.  

Group Workout Recap

On the following Saturday, I attended my first group class.  This was very much like my group class experience with the transformation but with different exercises.  At the beginning of the workout, Matthew went over all 6 exercises in the circuit and 2 bonus exercises.  The warm up round of the workout were tabata squats.  I was so worn out and in pain, I lost count of how many repetitions we did, but basically it involved doing air squats for 20 seconds and then holding a squat for 10 seconds.  And then the workout started.  Whew.  The class was fairly large with 10 people, but once we got going, it really didn't matter.  There were people there with various levels of experience training at Efficient Exercise.  I recognized 2 faces from client testimonial videos.  That pair is quite intense!  As with the transformation group workouts, you have to be focused and decide to push yourself.  

DEXA, anyone?  

To get a better idea of my results from my training, I had a DEXA scan done at The University of Texas's Fitness Institute.  This scan is basically the most accurate way to measure your body fat, your bone density, and lean mass.  As I already knew, I need to get my fat mass down a bit, but I did learn some good things from my DEXA.  The fat I have is mostly in my limbs and I have very low Visceral Adipose Tissue (VAT).  High VAT is associated with metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes.    So that is good news.  

When meeting with the institute staff member about my results, she shared with me that she'd been working there for about 5 years and had a long history of reviewing the results of scans.  She told me something I'd always wondered about lean mass.  I've always heard that its good to have more lean muscle mass but I'd never been able to find anything giving some sort of recommended range or average lean body mass for a female.  Based on her observations most women, who aren't athletes, usually have around 80-85 pounds of lean mass.  My lean mass was 95.7 pounds.  I also learned that I had higher than average bone density for my age.  I've actually had a few DEXA's done in the past, and my bone density has gone up since giving up dairy and stopping calcium supplementation.  Go Kale!

Kale for the win!

I'm really curious to see what happens with my numbers over the next few months, especially my lean mass.  

As my weekly posts continue, I'm going to include some regular categories much like my recipe review process.  These may evolve over time, but they are things I think about when reflecting on my training for the week.

Weekly Paleo Review of Training:  

Time in Gym/ Other Physical Activity:  I spent 1 hour at Efficient Exercise.  The only other remotely physical activity I did during this week was doing yard work (mowing/trimming) at my house.  A physical therapist and I once had a talk about yard work.  He said he often recommended that his clients get rid of their yard service and do their own yards as it was very good functional exercise.  Your bending, balancing, lifting, pushing and pulling.  Sounds pretty paleo to me!    

Biggest Challenge:  I think my biggest challenge this week came in the group workout both mentally and exercise-wise.  Mentally, my challenge was to focus on me and my workout and not worry about others.  My weakness physically in this workout surprised me:  flutter kick.  I figured this wouldn't be a problem for me as a swimmer.  What I didn't realize was that my abs were pretty worn out from Tuesday's workout.  Holding my legs off the ground was super hard to put it nicely.  

Nutrition:  While I said in my last post, that I'd sworn off food logging, I've sent a few days of food logging to Amy Kubal and am awaiting any tweaks she may have to my nutrition.  I'm still holding strong eating strict paleo.  

Mood/Attitude:  My mood/attitude toward training this week was overall very positive.  I was excited to start this new segment in my paleo movement journey.  This might seem like a silly category, but I think one's mood generally can effect how training can go.