Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 2

Remarkably after my first week of training out of the Project Transformation, I was not nearly as sore as I thought I would be.  I imagined not being able to get out of bed one morning but that didn't happen.    On to week two!  

One on One Recap

When I headed into the the gym for my one on one workout, I wondered how Matthew would top last week.   First thing, he introduced me to the hip press.  No, not the leg press, but the hip press.  The movement looks the same, but doesn't feel the same. The weight moves like a pendulum.

The Hip Press

From there, we moved on to do some Russian leg curls.  Have you ever tried these?  Here is a great video of Keith Norris demonstrating this deceptively hard exercise.  My range of motion was no where near Keith's but I was shocked at the immediate muscle cramping and fatigue this movement, which looks easy, brought on.  Upon seeing me wince, Matthew tells me that he likes seeing the shock on client's faces at how much work/demand seemingly easy movements can create.  Yup, he may be a people person,  but he is a trainer deep down reveling in my pain (I'm totally joking, Matthew - or am I?)  After a few sets of those two exercises, we moved on to the ARx Incline Press.

The ARx machine amazes me every time I use it in how quickly it can fatigue whatever body part I'm using.  If you've done any weight training, your taught to exhale as you lift the weight and inhale as you lower the weight.  That just doesn't work on the ARx because you are constantly resisting.  If you're not careful you'll end up holding your breath, which Matthew says is a quick way to pass out.  He demonstrated how to breath while using the ARx.  The goal is to take many quick breaths.  It reminded me of what you see in the movies as Lamaze breathing.  Here is a great video of Keith taking Lesley O'Neal through some exercises, including the ARx.  She demonstrates great ARx breathing at about 1:55.

We finished off the workout with Suspended Trainer Rows, and some work on the 360.

Suspension Row

While we went through the workout, I asked Matthew how he creates workouts.  He said in a one on one workout, he thinks about the client's goals and how many workouts that client is doing per week.  His group workouts are geared to be more of a while body workout.  

As Matthew and I get to know each other, it ends up we did meet each other at PaleoFX briefly this year and he had followed the blog on twitter.

Group Workout Recap

This week's group workout was slightly smaller with eight people.  Six of the attendees were the same from the week before.  I was paired up with a new face to me, Katy.  In talking with her, she's been working out at Efficient Exercise for the past year.  Obviously, she was better at most everything than me.  New mantra:  "No Comparisons!"

We did the seven exercise circuit two times through.  My first round, I was a bit discouraged as messed up on a few exercises that made me feel like I had wasted part of my workout.  Since the workout only lasts 30 minutes, I hate to waste a minute of it.  My partner and I started with kettlebell swings, my favorite.  It amazes me how quickly a simple swing can get your heart up.  

And then we got to the burpees.  I'd never actually done a burpee before.  I've read all about them, but had never done one, but figured they couldn't be that hard.  My first attempt was awful and discouraging.  It tested my coordination and strength.  Then for some reason I was pulling instead of resisting/pressing on the ARx chest press.  

My second round, I resolved to conquer these exercises.  I would leave feeling fully worked out.  Burpees were/are now a mission.  I did much better with them in my second round, though I'm sure they were still ugly.  Katy, my circuit partner, was kind to cheer me on, no not Ryan Gosling, but you get the point.  Sorry guy readers, I had to do it.

In addition to the burpees being deceptively hard, the V-up Rolls ups, another body weight exercise was much harder than I thought it would be.  Yes, Efficient Exercise has some unique equipment but many of the exercises in the workouts use just body weight and they can fatigue your muscles just as effectively.  I worked in 2 minutes of medicine ball Russian twists into the circuit, and one minute of dumbbell curls.     

For some reason, at the end of the workout, I thought I still had a little energy left and Matthew suggested I do some squat thrusts.  I did those with 15 pound weights.  Once I was done, my arms felt completely fatigued but my legs not so much.  While in the transformation, I got the impression that I needed to be completely fatigued when I left any gym session.  Matthew explained that isn't always the case.  The workout we did that day was more metabolic, so I shouldn't expect to leave every workout completely burned out.  This is good news.

After I left the workout, I ran some errands and discovered while pushing a full cart of groceries, I was, in fact, quite fatigued.

Weekly Paleo Review of Training: 

Time in Gym/Other Activity:  Again, this week my only other remotely physical activity outside of my hour at the gym was yard work.  

Biggest Challenge:  Burpees.  This exercise challenged my strength, but also my coordination.  I'm far from a coordinated person.   They were ugly, but I did them.  Victory!

Nutrition:  After sending Amy Kubal a few days of a food log and giving her the general parameters I've been eating by, she has replied with some recommendations.  My weight loss has stalled over the past week and a half, so I was glad to hear from her.  Overall, she says I'm doing a good job, but I need watch my fat intake.  Yes, I said (and she said) fat intake.  You're probably thinking, "But Rachael, this is paleo, the land of unlimited healthy animal fats" or so the Internet would have you believe.

Yup, there is such a thing as too much of a good thing.

Amy explained to me that having too much fat in your diet packs a lot of calories and at a certain point- calories do count, and this is especially true when you're trying to lose weight or lean out.  Yes, you read that right, calories.  No, I'm not count calories, nor has Amy told me to do so.  I just need to make sure when I have a more fatty protein option that I am not also adding fat to my vegetables.  If I'm having a lean protein option, I need to limit my added fat to 1 tablespoon.  

Amy has reminded me of this before.  Fat is satiating and tastes good so it's easy to slip into eating more than you should of it (depending on your goals).  Of course, I will head her sage words.

The most exciting recommendation Amy made was that I have some starchy carbs post workout.  I cannot say how excited I was to eat this last night.  Sweet Potato!  

4 Ounces of Sweet Potato Goodness!
Some may think its sad that I'm excited about a sweet potato.  I prefer to look at it as I have the discipline to try to heal my body and have eaten clean enough for a period of time that my perception of sweetness has been reset, so I can can truly enjoy natural sugars.

Mood/Attitude:  I did let myself feel a little beat down after having difficulty with the burpees, but I made up for it by trying harder.   I will say knowing I'd have to blog about it made it harder to give up.  So, thank you, whoever you are.  

Recommended Reading:  While I was putting the finishing touches on this post, Efficient Exercise posted on their blog about their recent tag line change from "Get In. Get Out. Get Fit" to "Get In. Connect. Get Fit."  I'm excited about this change and the events they will be planning in the future.  When I met with Keith Norris and Mark Alexander about my guest point of view series and blogging here about my Efficient Exercise experience, finding ways to connect with clients and making it more of a community was a topic we discussed.  Certainly, I'll blog all about my involvement in Efficient Exercise activities.