Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 7

Matthew had warned me last week that this week would be focused on legs.  We had a great twitter exchange with Amy Kubal and Corbin Thomas after last week's workout and I already knew that something called J-Reps were in my future.

One on One Recap

When I came into the gym on Tuesday night, I was ready to workout.  I have an office job. Though I have a stand up desk, I know at the end of a day often I feel physically tired but only because I've been mostly immobile for the day.  I was really to get moving and wake up physically and Matthew was ready to facilitate that.   I was a bit sore from the ab circuit and the suspension lunges in the last group workout.  

We started off with kettlebell swings and walking lunges.  He had me do kettlebell swings (35 pounds) for 30 seconds followed by walking lunges, 20 each leg.  My legs were already on fire from the lunges. My heart rate also got way up and I was a bit light headed.  I had the feeling I get when I've just sprinted 100 meters free in the pool.  We did these two exercises two times through. 

Facing Fears

Next, we moved on to the infamous J-Reps on the hip press.  Matthew said that until coming to Efficient Exercise, he had not he heard of the term J-Rep but rather knew the concept as 7-7-7. Basically, J-Reps is a set of 21 repetitions of an exercise.  For 7 of the repetitions, you focus on the lower half of the range of motion, then you focus on the upper half of the range of the motion, and then you finish with 7 full range of motion repetitions.  

We did two sets of J-Reps on the hip press increasing the weight with each set and then he had me move over and do cable flies while standing in a lunge in between the two J-Rep sets.  I did 10 reps while lunging with each leg.  When I first started doing the flies, I thought in my my mind that the weight seemed light.  This thought disappeared by the last set.

The J-Reps were hard but nothing I couldn't handle.  A few weeks ago I asked my twitter followers why they weren't lifting heavy, if they weren't doing so already.  Paleo Training Bible had a really insightful yet simple answer -"some people don't like to lift heavy because psychologically it's quite taxing and it can take a lot out of you physically."  

How many things do you not do that you should because you believe it will be hard?  Since taking a leap of faith out of the pool and into Efficient Exercise, I've had to face some of the barriers I had built mentally regarding things being hard or they will hurt too much, and I'm better for it.  I'm not going to lie and say that I'm not sore ever because I am, but it's never to the point where I think that I won't benefit from going back.  

Even better, I know if I ever did feel "too sore" or uncomfortable about any part of my training, I could talk it over with Matthew.  Efficient Exercise trainers have the expertise to address your training concerns.  J-Reps-Shmae-Reps.  I'm not afraid.  

Next, we moved on to do some squats with a 45 pound barbell.  He wanted me to focus on my form and to get used to feeling the movement.  He set up a step for me to squat and sit on before pushing back up.  He emphasized the importance of making sure I didn't let my knees come in while pushing out of the squat.  Because of a natural muscle imbalance it feels natural to let your knees come in but doing so really robs you of the strength to push up out of the squat. While it was hard to keep my knees out, when I did, I felt more power to perform the exercise.  

Matthew tells me that we are still in a learning/novice wave of my training where I'm learning the movement and becoming stronger.  He says in a few weeks time, we will really be hitting it.  

We finished this session with some jumping chin ups.  I did 10 unassisted jumping chin ups focusing on resisting the negative motion as much as possible and then Matthew assisted me by holding me up for 5 repetitions.  We did this twice.  I'm so confident in Matthew helping me reach my pull up goal, I bet a friend of mine who has just started cross fit for who is able to do an unassisted pull up first.   Matthew says we will start doing German volume training to help me meet this goal.  This means we will do an exercise in each session that is focused on that goal. I'm ready!

Group Workout Recap:

I think summer vacations are whittling my group class numbers down.  There were only 3 of us for this workout so we didn't partner up and we only took 30 seconds rest between exercises.

I happened to be the only girl, so we all kind of snickered when Matthew explained the exercises and for the goal weights he'd say, "and x pounds for the girl."

The torture twist squiggle takes away all the pain.  
I started with the goblet squat with a 25 pound dumbbell.  I am really getting better at squats.  I remember my first Project Transformation Class being asked to do a squat and how awkward it felt.  I will say that changing my shoes has made a big difference in my squat and really any exercise where you need to be able to put your weight in your heels or push through your heels. When I started project transformation, I was wearing some running shoes that had a pretty thick heels with a large drop from heel to toe.  After I completed the project transformation, I got a pair of nearly zero drop shoes.

Pretty new shoes.

I certainly would not run in these shoes, not that I run at all, but for HIIRT workouts at Efficient Exercise workouts they are awesome -at least I think they are.  

For the banded pull ups, the band was set up differently than I've seen before.  Usually, I've seen the band laced around the actual pull up bar.  I liked this set up far better as I didn't feel as though I had to concentrate as much on my legs or the band snapping me in my face or body generally.  I didn't jump, so even with the band, I couldn't do a full pull up, but I pulled up as far as I could each time.  I'll get there.  

The biggest challenge for me in the main workout, were the wall sits and that surprised me.  I had a really hard time getting through a full minute each round.  In fact, I didn't.  I had to come out of the sit for a moment in each one.  

Because we didn't partner up and basically went from exercise to exercise, the bonus exercises were saved until the end.  When I came into the gym, I saw Matthew setting this up.  

Torture - But not how you might think.

Certainly, this couldn't be for our class.  I know sometimes he does a workout before our class and that had to be for his workout.  Wrong.  One of the bonus exercises was something called a torture twist. You basically sit on the bench and use the fully loaded bar to counterbalance your weight as you lean back parallel to the floor.  From that position you twist your torso to each side and hold it for a second.  This was way more difficult than I thought it would be.  I did a few, like 4 and decided it was enough.  I was talking to Matthew about this exercise, and he had me do a few more under his supervision.  This is one of those times you are thankful yet a little punished to have someone push you to do more than you would on your own.  Whew.  He explained that this exercise helps to build your natural weight belt.

I then did a set of renegade rows.  Here you get into a push up position (I was on my knees) with your hands holding onto dumbbells.  With your arms straight, you alternate pulling each arm into a row position being careful to keep your elbow close to your body.  I used 12 pounds weights.  I also went and did some dips.  I knew I couldn't do a dip, so I got on a rubber brick and stepped off so I could focus on the negative movement of a dip.

Weekly Paleo Review of Training: 

Biggest Challenge:  Overall, the group workout's fast pace that increased the intensity of the workout overall was the biggest challenge this week.  We were all pretty quiet during this workout.  I know from swimming, when everyone is quiet, the workout is hard.  Exercise-wise, the wall sits were my nemesis.

Nutrition:  I'm still plugging along with my strict paleo plan with the added Auto-Immune protocol. I'm continually amazed at how I no longer crave those foods that I used to not be able to say no to.

Mood/Attitude:  I had a good talk with Matthew about my goals and how my fat loss was slowing down as I got closer to my goal.  He had success losing his last 20 pounds by not worrying about weight anymore and focusing on maintaining a solid routine of workouts, nutrition, and staying happy. He did suggest that I start walking 30 minutes a day.  He says that waking, and not even a power walk, is a nice low load activity that will increase my aerobic base.

I'm curious, if you aren't lifting heavy, why aren't you?