When I came into the gym for my one on one workout this week, the new Project Transformation Class was finishing up their workout with Matthew. It was exciting to see the energy of the new group experiencing the ARx and the 360 for the first time. I could see how much Matthew enjoys teaching.
Matthew had some new and challenging body weight exercises to teach me this week.
The one on one workout had two "mini-circuits." The first circuit had some tried and true exercises that I'd done before: 360 push pull and cross punch, the goblet squat and ARx Leg Press.
The goblet squat was a favorite of mine from my Project Transformation. Matthew started me at 25 pounds and then increased the dumbbell to 40 pounds for the last set. On the ARx leg press my goal is to hit 300+ on each rep. Mission accomplished. What does the number on the ARx mean? It represents foot pounds of pressure.
The second mini circuit consisted of 2 body weight exercises and the lunge cable fly. The first body weight exercise was a wide legged sit-up. In this version of a sit up your legs are straight on the floor in a wide "v" stance. You start lying down on the floor with your arms straight towards the ceiling. From there, you sit up and reach your arms up high as you pull your torso up. Matthew did these with me. I like it when he sweats along.
Next, probably unknowingly, Matthew pushed my comfort zone boundaries with a new exercise to me, Mountain Climbers. Why is this outside of my comfort zone? Well, first, I'm a little protective of my left wrist as I broke my distal radius a few years back. It's recovered and strong, but an injury like that will always make you think about the way you use the effected body part in the future. Second, it's a jumping impact type movement that simply doesn't feel natural or good to me. To my surprise, I actually could do it. Matthew told me to think about keeping my rear end lower to the ground. That is easier said than done, which he acknowledged, but I tried to think that as I did the movement.
From the Mountain Climbers, he had me directly go into good old bicycle crunches. I did 30 seconds of each exercise and felt every second of it. The second time through this circuit, Matthew had me do oblique wide sit ups - alternating taking my arms/torso to the left and right. I was thankful to have the good ole lunge cable fly in this part of the workout. I'm glad that I'm getting stronger in my lunge so that balance isn't my primary concern in the exercise anymore.
Was that all? Nope. The next exercise was an 8/8/8 dumbbell combination of curls, shoulder press, and row. He started me out with 15 pound dumbbells. By the second set, the shoulder presses required all that I had to keep going, but then the rows were shockingly easy. Matthew fixed that by handing me 20 pound weights to finish the rows.
Was I done? But wait, there's more! To finish things off, Matthew had me do three sets of 10 walking lunges while holding a 10 pound weight plate over my head.
Whew. I'm beginning to like these new challenges.
Group Workout Recap:
There were 6 of us ready to go on this Saturday afternoon. Matthew had a hard workout ready to go!
My partner and I started on the goblet squat. I started with 25 pounds and went up to 35 pounds at Matthew's suggestion. From there we moved to a favorite of mine, the suspension trainer row.
And then we did overhead lunges. These were the same lunges from my one on one workout with a 10 pound weight plate overhead, but instead of walking, we did them in place. This felt a lot harder than the walking lunges.
Next, a new exercise to me, the lying triceps extension. Lying down on the bench, your workout partner would hand you the suspension trainer handle. From that position you'd do a triceps extension movement. Matthew suggested 50 pounds, so that's what I did. Doing this exercise over a minute in the context of the workout was pretty challenging.
During my off minutes in the circuit, I started working in the bonus exercises - or in my mind, a regular part of the circuit.
Got Strength? I do!
There were two bonuses I was excited about as they'd help me with my pull up goal: the negative dip and the chin up. First, I went after the dip. Usually, I'll use one of the large rubber bricks to get up into the top of the dip and then focus on the negative but today the brick wasn't positioned. And then something amazing happened.
I was actually able to muscle myself up and then hold the negative movement. I know I could not do this a few weeks ago. I AM GETTING STRONGER!! (*maniacal laugh*) Muscling up was hard but I COULD DO IT. I did two more sets of negative dips and on those I moved the rubber brick into place so I wouldn't completely burn out my arms just getting up into position.
Another bonus was the flutter kick. I did this 3 times through. On my second or third attempt, Matthew got on me about my arms not being far enough back, but then he stops himself. "Am I allowed criticize form on a bonus exercise?" he wondered aloud. The group was against it but I took it. I'm glad he wants me to get the most out of what I'm doing whether its "bonus" or not. I'm there to succeed and with an obvious sign I'm getting stronger, I won't argue.
The final bonus were chin ups. He wanted us to do them on the pull up bar behind the captains chair. I knew I couldn't do a chin up but I could jump and try to hold the negative as long as I could, so that's what I'd do. When he saw me jumping, he moved me over to the regular pull up bar. I did three sets of jumping chin ups while full of confidence from my dips!
The icing on the cake for this workout for me were the side planks. I love planking!
The Paleo Review: Week 10 VICTORY! I told Matthew after the workout how I now know I'm getting stronger. That might seem silly that I need something like a negative dip to show me I'm getting stronger, but as you workout and Matthew picks weights through out a circuit, it's not always obvious. This was obvious to me. He says he can tell. As a trainer, he says, he just wants client to try new movements and he wants to give them the confidence to try.
Well, he's given me the confidence and I'm reaping rewards from trying. Thank you Matthew!
Nutrition: Later in the afternoon on this Saturday, I returned to the gym to hear Amy Kubal lay down the paleo basics for the Project Transformation Class.
She had a handout with the basic paleo template complete with a specific list of suggested foods and foods to avoid. It was interesting to hear the questions from the group as they all seemed to be about the things that Amy said to avoid. I don't think this is uncommon with those new to paleo. Beans, potatoes, natural sugars and alcohol seemed to be sticking points for the crowd. I hope that all of the current project transformation class gives basic paleo a chance and takes a leap of faith just like I did.
My advice, if I'm at all qualified to give any, would be to focus on all of the awesome healthy foods that a basic paleo template encourages you to eat. I know from experience, I can enjoy far more whole food than I was ever "allowed" to have on any calorie-restricted, low fat, fad of the month, eat cardboard diet.
Have you given paleo a try? If no, why not?