Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 8

And now for something entirely different.

One on One Recap: It's All About Scale and Intensity

When I came into the gym for my one on one workout this week, Matthew announces that we are going to do something different.  He had written out a circuit on the board and says that we are going to do the circuit together.  We’d go one minute on/ one minute off.  

After giving me instructions on how to run the clock for him, he threw on the Muse channel,my favorite band, and we got to work.  Matthew, the trainer, really has it figured out that I'll do anything so long as Matthew Bellamy is singing in the background.

I'm in charge!

We started with the 360.  What was great about having Matthew workout with me, is that I got to see his intensity in approaching these exercises.  I’m an awful cheerleader, so his intensity was a self driven.  I think this is why I like watching Keith’s workout videos on YouTube.  

Wall sits were surprisingly far easier for me during this workout than they had been in the group workout the previous Saturday.  I was able to stay in the sit position for the entire minute each round of the circuit.  I was shocked.  I asked Matthew why it seemed so much easier.  He reasoned that it was likely because we talked throughout the entire minute and my mind was distracted from the soreness.  What did we talk about?  Homeostasis, of course.  

Homeostasis is essentially the body’s desire and process of keeping itself stable.  We talked about how any exercise is hurting the body to some degree and challenging homeostasis.  Matthew says pain governs us and an exercise like a wall sit makes us mentally challenge that pain.  By pain, were talking about a temporary muscle soreness/discomfort, not a pain of something being torn or broken. Keith Norris has written a bit about homeostasis and the need to challenge one’s body in this article. He explains that our bodies need new challenges or else it won’t adapt, i.e. get stronger, faster, etc.

The T-Bar Rows were the hardest exercise for me in this session.  About 30 seconds into my minute during the second round, I was really struggling with the row.  Matthew told me to take a short break during the second round so he could quickly take off a little weight so I could continue.  

This picture shows the T-Bar with a different grip attached than I used in this workout. Imagine that bar handle removed and just using the strap/handle lying next to it instead.

While doing the lunge dumbbell curl, I was surprised at how well my core was stabilizing me in the lunge.  Whenever there is an exercise with a lunge or any destabilizing stance, I usually struggle with just keeping myself upright.  That was not the case in this workout.  I felt locked down and solid.  

A new exercise to me in this workout was the Cuban press.  

At the end of our session, I asked Matthew what we were going to do to work on my pull up goal.  He said that the rows were for that, but there was no harm in doing some assisted pull ups with bands. Bonus!  This time the band was laced around the pull up bar, but instead of having me put my foot in the band, he had me put my knee in the band.  Again, a vast improvement over the food method I’d experienced in the past.  Matthew likes to use the bands as it actually trains the muscles used in the exercise to do the work.  I must say it felt really cool to do the full range of motion, even if assisted.

In addition to seeing Matthew’s intensity throughout the workout, it was also cool to see how scalable Efficient Exercise workouts are.  Matthew is far and away stronger than me, but we were able to do the same workout side by side and both get what we needed.  

Group Workout Recap:

This week's group was pretty small again, with 4 people.  We didn't pair up which meant for another fast paced quiet group working hard.  

We started with a hard tabata squat/lunge warm up.  The second set of squats was jumping out of the squat position.  Even with the “real” rest in the set, this became quite difficult.  

I started the circuit with the ARx Pulldown.  Because the group was small, Matthew ran the ARx for all of us.   It’s always nice to be able to fully concentrate on the exercise and not operating the machine.  It wasn't until I got to the barbell thrusters that I really started to feel the workout.

Knees ups for one minute was really difficult and I thought it was the hardest thing in the workout.  

Another new exercise for me was the plyo push-up.  Matthew demonstrated by getting into the pushup position with a weight plate between his hands.  In the push-up you start with one hand on the center of the weight and the other on the floor next to the weight.  You then either push up so that your hands are off the ground and swiftly switch the hand on the weight in the air or you can walk your hands over the weight.  I decided to walk them.  

The second round of this circuit felt far more intense than the first.  

The Paleo Review:  Week 8

Biggest Challenge:  The biggest challenge for me physically this week were the knee ups in the circuit and mentally, see “mood/attitude” below.

Nutrition:  I’m still plugging along with my N=1 Autoimmune protocol experiment.  I am no saint nutritionally though.  After Friday’s doctor’s visit, I did have a glass of wine at a concert.  While not the healthiest thing for me; I enjoyed it; and it relaxed me a bit which couldn't have been entirely horrible for me.  

Mood/Attitude:  Have you ever had one of those routine doctor’s visits spiral out into the doctor giving you un-reassuring looks while ordering nurses to get multiple tests ordered.  I had one of those fun visits the Friday before this Saturday group workout.  Needless to say, I was worried and literally using all of my mental power to not freak out.  A classmate noticed I was a bit quieter than usual, and asked how I was, which I really appreciated.  I was glad to have a workout to go to and community on that Saturday.  I pressed through the workout knowing no good would come from mopping.  

Spoilers:  Mostly everything is fine.