Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 4

When I went into the gym for my one on one workout this week, I was still sore from the weekend's group workout, especially my abs.  There's nothing like feeling your abs every time you move in your office chair during the week.  

One on One Recap

I think Matthew is slowly testing me to see what I can do in these one on one workouts.  What I thought was my most intense workout last week paled in comparison to this session.  We started out with a descending ladder circuit of push ups and suspended incline rows.  A ladder?  I started with sets of 10 of each exercise going back and forth without rest and descended by 1 of each exercise until I was down to just one of each.  

The next mini-circuit introduced a new machine to my training:   the "glutimator" machine.  I'll affectionately call this machine, the birthing machine.  You literally put your legs in stirrups, strap yourself in with a seat belt and push your legs out and down.  If you have any tightness in your hips, you will become immediately painfully aware of it.


He had me do sets of 15 of this exercise and then move to the hip press.  The last set of each of these exercises took all of my will.   While finishing the very last set of hip presses, I started getting pictures in my mind of my legs breaking.  I have an active imagination.  I've talked about trusting your trainer, but finishing the set with the weight that Matthew had selected took trust in my body that it would hold up and do the job. 

I thought I was done.  Nope.   Next up two sets of 20 kettlebell swings (35 pounds) followed by 4 reps of ARx chest press.

When I put my arms on the handles of the ARx my arms were already shaking from fatigue.  And then I did this mini-circuit again.  I must say that in the back of my mind, I wanted to refuse the second set of the second go around of the kettlebell swings, but how can I refuse Matthew's instructions?  

I left the gym with a whole new understanding of being tired.  I woke the next morning and still had that odd feeling of tired awareness of every part of my body.  

Group Workout Recap

I had only really started feeling less sore from the one on one workout the day before going into the group workout.  Spoilers, but this was the best group workout I have had so far which surprised me as there were 11 people in the class.  I paired up with a new face, Jody.  Evidently, she has a crossfit and running background but is looking for something different.

The workout started with a tabata lunge-squat sequence.   For 30 seconds, you lunge with one leg and then 30 seconds with the other leg.  For the final 3 minutes, you do air squats for 20 seconds and then hold the squat to "rest" for 10 seconds.  Whew, and then the workout started.

Our circuit had 6 exercises to accommodate the number of workout pairs.  This circuit had a few new exercises including one of my favorite exercise ever: the plank.  There must be something about swimming, but I can plank forever.  Another new exercise was the prisoner push-up.  It was the most challenging exercise for me in this workout.  You basically do a push up and bring each knee up toward your elbow after you push up each time.  I had to modify this by going onto my knees for the push up phase and then went up on my toes (full push up form) for the knee to elbow phase.  I felt bad about my modification but Matthew saw me doing it and said he liked it.

And the third new exercise was the medicine ball sit up. I've done this before but always with a soft medicine ball.  My workout partner and I were careful not to hit each other while tossing the ball back and forth.
Don't want to drop this on anyone. 
I was in a really good mood during this workout and decided to really push myself in the second round of the circuit.

Did Grok Grunt? 

Something I've noticed in my group training is the the noise level.  I hear many ads for gyms on TV or on the radio advertising no meat head zones or yahoo fitness articles about it being taboo to make noise while working out, but I have to say when you are really being pushed to your maximum, sometimes it's hard not to make a little noise.  I tend to be a bit reserved around people I don't know well, so when I started the group workouts I was a little surprised by the noise level.  I'm not going to lie, the intensity and enthusiasm some of my class members attack their workouts was a bit intimidating to me.

The harder I push myself the more I understand.  I talked with Matthew about it and he agrees that there's a point where you simply cannot help but make a little noise.  And really in this week's group workout, I really appreciated some of that enthusiasm and felt a part of something.

During the last minute of the workout, I was doing a bonus round of ARx Pull Downs.  A classmate, Wes, a very enthusiastic guy, came over and offered to run the machine for me.  He is the best cheerleader, ever.  "You can do anything for 15 seconds, except this!" he tells me as I'm pulling with all that I have left.  He made me laugh.  He made a couple of people laugh.  He apologized after for making me laugh, but I think its great.  I was likely holding my breath when he did it.  

Weekly Paleo Review of Training: 

Time in Gym/Other Activity:  On Tuesday night after my monster one on one session, I did do a bit of walking and stair climbing while out with friends.  This felt awful.  I was incredibly whiny.   The heat has convinced my yard not to grow as much, so I skipped the yard work this week.  

Biggest Challenge: Trusting my body to do the work.  Efficient Exercise isn't going to ask you to do more than you can handle regardless of what size group you are in.  It's going to be more than you'd make yourself do, so you have to trust yourself.  You can do it.  

Nutrition:  I'm have been watching my fat intake and eating strict paleo per Amy Kubal's instructions. I can say, since cutting back my fat intake, my appetite has come back somewhat which is making it easier to eat the three meals she'd like me to get in.

As a result of Amy's nutrition and my workouts at Efficient Exercise, I now have a new condition that is serious and needs to be addressed here:  Suddenly Saggy Pants Syndrome or "SSPS."  While in my mind I feel live I've been making slow progress, my body is working quietly.  This morning I realized after I left for work how saggy my pants were.  It seemed to happen all of a sudden.  New smaller pants is never a problem!   Also friends have noticed that my face looks leaner.  I think my body is in a readjustment phase, figuring out where everything should go.  That's my completely unscientific opinion there.

Mood/Attitude: Overall I'm feeling really good.  Having some great workouts and community in the group work out gave me a nice mood boost.  Having to buy new smaller pants didn't hurt my mood either!

Recommended Reading:  Mark Alexander has written a great blog post over at Efficient Exercise that really hit home for me and helps me come to peace with the fact that I have to limit my fat.  His post, Don't Throw the Baby Out With the Bathwater, he talks about the fact that calories in/calories out and the progressive overload principle are still relevant.

Correction for Week 3:  Matthew Speaks!

When I came in for my one on one session yesterday, Matthew gave me some input on my post last week for week 3.  I'm going to go back and make the changes to reflect his input, but in case none of you go back to that post, I wanted to mention his points here.  He was super concerned.  First, last week I mentioned that the step ups were hard because the step was high and that Matthew had said that shouldn't make a difference.  That's what me and my workout partner heard.  He says that he said that the height of the step certainly DID make a difference.

His second concern was that I had made it seem that he didn't think my pull up goal was attainable.  In fairness, when we first discussed it, I didn't get the impression that he thought it was a good idea.  To set the record straight, he believes it will be hard work, but it is a "totally attainable" goal.

I've told Matthew to feel free to comment on any of these posts and set me straight if needed.