Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 3

After Matthew told me last week that I wouldn't feel completely worn out after every workout, I should have known that my next workout would not be one of those workouts.   My one on one workout this week was the most intense workout so far.

Jumping from a  foam brick.  What could go wrong?

One on One Recap

I was very proud of myself after completing this workout.  I'll likely say many times over through these posts that I am not very coordinated.  I'm not.  I've had many injuries over the past few years, all involve me falling down and all but one were self inflicted.  Needless to say, having injured myself, I'm a bit apprehensive to do things like jump.  To give you an idea of how my injuries have changed my behavior, I avoid stairs.  I'm perfectly healthy and understand its good to take the stairs, but as I've fallen down two different sets of stairs in the past 1.5 years, I just don't think being on stairs is worth it.  This sound silly typing it, but its true.

The workout started with a familiar exercise, the hip press. He then had me do push ups and then he asked me to do jumping chin ups.  Jumping?  He had set up a heavy foam brick about 1 foot tall under the chin up bar.  I was to jump and pull myself up at the same time.  My risk adverse mind looked at this set up and immediately started weighing all of the bad things that could happen.  He didn't expect me to complete a chin up but just expected me to jump and make a decent effort at pulling up.  I did it and amazingly nothing bad happened.  As I did the exercise, I thought about how this exercise would actually help me with my swim, both with starts and pulling.  Awesome.  Victory!

I've always wanted to be able to do a pull up.  I shared with Matthew that its a goal to do a pull up.  He says that's a hard goal but completely attainable.  We'll see if he can help me make it happen.

A fun goal!  A pull up!

The next circuit of three exercises were T-bar Rows, a dumb bell chest press and a shoulder/lat pull down.  I was pretty worn out at the end of this mini-circuit and thought it odd that I was going to get through an entire Efficient Exercise workout without using an ARx machine.  Matthew saved the best for last.  We had a third mini-circuit of the 360  machine cross punch and push-pull and an ARx row.




Any concern I had about being fully worked out was gone after this workout.  What surprised me about this workout, even before hitting the 360, was how my heart rate got up and stayed up through out the workout.  We'd typically take 30 seconds between sets and sometimes Matthew has me go right into the next set without rest.

What's your Motivation? 


As I continue with my strict paleo nutrition and my workouts at Efficient Exercise, I think a lot about my motivation and goals.  Anyone taking up any activity has to have some sort of motivating factor whether internal or external.  When I found paleo almost two years ago, I had a pretty discouraging exchange with a paleo personality who judged my motivation for eating a paleo template saying that I aught to focus on my health and not my body composition goals.  Unfortunately, I've seen this motivation judging all over the paleo blogosphere.   As soon as you say why you are doing something, you'll start getting all sorts of judgments: you should do it for you; you should do it for your health; you should do it for x, y & z.  I'm just glad I found Amy Kubal right after that exchange who didn't care why I was doing it, just that I had the will to try.

After writing this post, I talked with Matthew a bit about motivation.  He says in his experience the majority of his clients want aesthetic improvement at first.  He says the important thing is to assess what the person's goals are and meet them where they are.  As he works with a client, after time he can start helping them find better nutrition that will give them the health benefits that will likely inspire them to keep training.   

Right now, my primary motivation in sticking with this lifestyle is still body composition change and improvements in mood and my healthy generally are a happily welcome benefit.  I'm vain and I own it.  When I started eating paleo for body composition reasons, I had already accepted that I would be dealing with IBS pain/symptoms for the rest of my life.  The fact that this lifestyle has eliminated my IBS is awesome and just gives me another reason to stick to it.  My fun goal is to do a pull up.  

If you have decided to eat a paleo template diet and/or start moving your body, I'm at least one voice saying, whatever motivation/ reasons/ goals you have for doing it are good enough.  

Group Workout Recap



I believe there were eight people at this workout.  I always take notes after the workout and somehow the number of people didn't make it into my notes.  I have to say that its hard after one of these workouts to one, use my hands to write, and then two, take notes.  I went into this workout with a bad mood and was fighting it the entire workout.  This week we were down to six exercises with a few bonus exercises to fit into our breaks between exercises.  

The T-Bar Row and the dumb bell step ups were the hardest exercises for me in this workout.  I found out I was still pretty fatigued from the T-Bar Rows I'd done in the one on one workout earlier in the week and the minute I had to do them in the circuit seemed like an hour.  While Matthew's attention is on the group, I will say having a group there does make you keep trying for longer than you would alone out of self-pride and not wanting to be the one who quit.

What is a T-Bar Row?  Here's a video of Keith Norris doing a variety of exercises.  At 2:30 he demonstrates the T-Bar Row.



The dumb bell step ups were hard for me because the step was pretty high for my height.  My partner who must have been at least 5'11" had no problems with it.  I'm 5'6".   Matthew said the height shouldn't make that much of a difference with difficulty.  I don't know about that.  If it doesn't, my legs are weak.  **Since posting this initially, Mathew has clarified that he said that the height of the step *DID* make a difference.  I've made the edit, but at the time my workout partner and I believed that he said that it did not, so I labored through the workout thinking it shouldn't, so I can't say that misunderstanding didn't effect my mindset.  I worked in some of the bonus ab wheeling two times during the circuit.  Yes, this is the ab wheel that was all over the infomercials a few years ago.  

The arm straps for the Knee-Ups.

The second bonus was the Ab Strap Knee-Ups.  This looked a bit dangerous to me so I didn't want to try it in the circuit as I figured it might take me the full minute to get my arms in the straps.  I asked Matthew to demonstrate and show me how to do this exercise after the workout ended.  After only a few reps, my abs were done and remained done until my next one on one workout.  

Weekly Paleo Review of Training: 

Time in Gym/Other Activity: Not much to report here other than my yard looks fantastic!  

Biggest Challenge:  My biggest challenges this week were jumping and getting over my bad attitude.  Whatever you have going on in your life, you can put it aside and/or even channel that bad energy for 30 minutes in the gym.  

Nutrition: I've been more vigilant this week watching my fat intake, per Amy's instructions.  After my one on one workout this week was the first time I've left Efficient Exercise and nearly immediately after leaving I had crazy hunger pains.  

Mood/Attitude:  I left my one on one workout feeling really good.   My mood for the group workout going in was not good.  I was having a bad day for a few personal reasons and I walked into the gym with sad beaten down attitude.  While many times I talk about focusing on yourself and not what others are doing, on this day, it was good to have a group around to keep me accountable to try hard and push myself harder than I would if I went to a gym by myself.