Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 5

After completing week 5, I feel like I'm starting to get to the point where I feel more comfortable testing my limits and I'm certainly being pushed to them.

Want to get your heart rate up?

One on One Recap:  

Matthew explained to me that this weeks' one on one work out was more of a metabolic workout because I was learning new exercises.  Now that I know the exercises, he'll up the weight and we'll do fewer reps.  Metabolic or not, this was a hard workout.  

We started out with some squat thrusters.  The key here is to use some of your squat momentum to get the weight over your head.  Sometimes easier said than done.  He explained that he liked doing these first to engage the core and get me out of breath.  From there we did pull-downs on the ARx and we finished the mini- circuit with knees to to elbows.  

The "Knees to Elbows" exercise is another deceptively hard body weight exercise.  This was one of the bonus exercises in a previous group workout.  With your arms in the straps, the goal seems easy - bring your knees to your elbows.  I can get my knees no where near my elbows.  I did the best I could.  It can't be pretty to watch.      

Finally, we alternated between Russian Leg Curls, Jumping Chin Ups and the 360.  This time on the jumping chin ups, Matthew helped with the last 4 of each set so that I could feel the eccentric movement for a little while longer than I could on my own.  

Russian Leg Curls, a.k.a, Instant Cramping Device

Group Workout Recap

This workout was full of exercises that seemed like they'd be easy, but doing them for a minute, in a circuit, were quite challenging.  It was a slow burn so to speak of workouts.  This was the smallest group workout I've had so far, only 5 people total.  

As he does each week, Matthew went through each of the exercises with us before the circuit began. My partner and I started with the ab wheel.  What was great about the small size of our group is that Matthew was able to go around and give more personal instruction.  On the ab wheel, he told me I needed to make sure I was crunching my ab muscles before rolling out and maintaining that contraction.   

A new exercise to me was the Leg Hyper-extension. Here is the Hyper-extension machine.  

You put the straps around your ankles while facing forward , next you hop up on the machine and hold onto the handles while you lift your legs while keeping them straight.  

Matthew suggested I start with 15 pounds though he thought I could do 25.  The challenge for me on this machine was getting up on it high enough so that I could balance my weight on my arms/elbows. During the first round I used the weight, but I just couldn't get myself high enough on the machine. Having height helps here.  My partner was quite tall and had a much easier time. My second round on this machine, I didn't use the weights and was able to shimmy myself up further on the machine.  This felt much better from a form aspect. 

While showing us the exercises, Matthew talked about the dumbbell curl and said that the men were using the 45 pound bar and the ladies the 35 pound bar.  Some scoffed at the low weight. Matthew reminded us we'd be doing the exercise for a full minute.  After a minute, as promised, they burned.  

I got ambitious and did all of the bonus exercises three times through.  I did re-evaluate my order of when I fit my bonuses in between circuit exercises after the first round.  It was a bad idea to do dumbbell curls, staggered push-ups and then suspended triceps extensions in a row. Ouch.  A good ouch mind you.  

The small group size also freed Matthew up to run the ARx for some of us.  He ran the ARx on my last set of ARx Bench Press.  My arms were already shaking when I started this set. I feel like I'm really getting the hang of pushing myself on the ARx.   

Weekly Paleo Review of Training: 

Time in Gym/Other Activity:  I really didn't have any other activity this week.  I've been focusing on not letting my activities get in the way of me getting a solid night's sleep.  Due to my Grover's breakouts, I've not done the yard as its been too hot.  I really hate hiring someone to do it, but I hate itching more.  

How's Your Sleep?

Have you thought about prioritizing the quality and quantity of sleep you get?    When I started working with Amy, one of the first things she recommended was making sure my bedroom was pitch dark.  Luckily, I sew a bit, so I made myself blackout curtains.  While I was still swimming, unless I got six hours of sleep, Amy said I wasn't allowed to go to practice.

What's so important about sleep?  Go to any major paleo/primal website and search for sleep and you will be overwhelmed with information on the importance of quality sleep.  This is a great summary of the effects a lack of good quality sleep can have on your body.  Here's a great post talking about how stress and sleep deprivation play against each other to destroy your health.  This is an article about a recent study on how sleep deprivation harms your waistline.  The importance of sleep has even hit the mainstream media.

I know for me I get into phases where I don't think I have enough down time/ free time from my responsibilities, i.e. work, housekeeping, cooking, so I make some by staying up late.  I also get into weird phases where I think if I go to bed early, I'll miss something.  What I'll miss, I have no clue.  I realize I feel much better when I make myself prioritize sleep.

I think of sleep as one more responsibility I have to myself, just like eating a paleo template or going for a proper HIIRTing at Efficient Exercise twice a week.  My body seems to want 9 hours a night and I try my best to get that much.  

Biggest Challenge:   My biggest  challenge in this week's workouts was the leg hyper-extension machine and that was really just because I'm short.

Nutrition:  Its funny the longer I eat a fairly strict paleo the less I crave things that most jump at the chance to eat.  I went for coffee the other day, and I looked at the case of baked goods and really felt nothing.

Mood/Attitude: My mood overall has been great.  

Efficient Exercise Note:  If you are in the Austin area, Efficient Exercise is about to start a new Project Transformation Class that will be lead by Matthew!  There will be an information meeting at the Rosedale Location at 1 PM this Saturday, July 27.  Keith Norris, Matthew Jones, and Amy Kubal will be at the meeting.  Talk about a triad of paleo HIIRT power.  

What's project transformation?  I blogged about my Project Transformation experience, here and here

If you are at all curious about HIIRT, and are in town, go to the meeting and consider the program. At $150 for 4 weeks of training, its a bargain to see how Efficient Exercise can help you reach your health and fitness goals.