Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Paleo Movement: Efficient Exercise Week 11

One on One Workout: Training Swimmingly

After a warm up of 2- 30 second rounds of 35 pound kettlebell swings, we moved on to something fun, a jumping pull up ladder.  

I'm familiar with ladders in my swim workouts where either you swim increasing distances by an increment or number of reps of a set distance and then back down again.  

Matthew had me do a jumping pull up ladder increasing the number of pull ups performed from 1 to 7. Matthew stood behind me and helped me completed the pull up motion.  Matthew as nice and didn't make me repeat the 7 at the top of the ladder before going down to 1 again.  I've got this jumping thing down.  

The rest of the workout consisted of 2 mini circuits each performed 2 times through.  The first started with 360 push-pulls and fly.  Matthew tells me to think about doing fly in the pool.  I think the fly motion on the 360 feels more like the breast stroke movement to me.  We didn't do it this time, but the cross-punch on the 360 reminds me of free and back style core rotation.  

We then quickly moved to the ARx bench press where he had me do three continuous reps- no break. Talk about burn out.  

Next, an old favorite, the T-Bar row.  This time a different wider grip that works slightly different muscles.  We did 2 sets of 8 reps with 25 pounds.  This was quite challenging after the pull up ladder. 

The second mini circuit only had two exercises.  Thrusters with a 15 pound weight and knee ups.  Knee ups never seem easier to me.    

Group Workout Recap:  Holy Intensity!

Matthew was not kidding around on this Saturday afternoon.  There were seven of us faithful Efficient Exercisers and I partnered with my week 9 partner.  She and I started with the inverted row on the rings.  Just getting into position to start doing the exercise felt hard.  This worried me that maybe my body was feeling a bit puny.  Over the minute of this exercise, I was getting pretty sore.  My partner was equally challenged.  Matthew said it was the angle we were at due to our height (or lack there of) that made the exercise challenging.

Next, we moved on to my new favorite exercise, negative dips.  This time the brick was there to get me into position.  Matthew said our goal was to focus on holding the negative for 5 seconds.  Hard, but nothing I can't handle.  The kettlebell swing followed.  Little did I know the fun was just beginning.  

The blast strap knee tuck was a new exercise.  Matthew always runs through the exercises in the workout before we begin the circuit, but he always makes things look so easy.  I tend not to think anything in the workout is going to be especially hard and then something like the knee tuck happens. You put your feet into the blast straps with the help of your partner faced down.  You then hold your body up with your arms and tuck your knees in and out.   

It killed me.  I could not make it through a minute.  The first round was slightly better than the second round.  By the second round, the pain for me wasn't in my abs where I would expect, but my arms.  I couldn't hold my body up.  

Luckily, there were some bonuses I enjoyed that gave me that sense of accomplishment I like.  I did each bonus 3 times and added in a minute of ab roller and dips just for fun.  One of the bonuses was the cable twist low to high.  I seem to like things that work my abs and this is one.  You get down on one knee far enough away from the machine that there is tension on the handle.  Then with the hand furthest from the machine, you pull the handle from a low position next to your foot high above your head across your body.  At the 30 second mark, you switch arms.  I set the machine for 50 pounds for this exercise.  

Another bonus was the glutimator.  Matthew suggested 65 pounds, so that's what I did.  The final bonus was the 360 Cross Punch.  I was glad to get a little of that freestyle rotation.  OK, back to the actual circuit.

Following the knee tucks, there were air squats.  Though the knee tucks were hard, this is where the intensity picked up and never really went back down again.  An air squat is where you squat and jump into the air out of the squat.  You will be winded at the end of a minute.  We progressed to the ARx Horizontal Press before starting the circuit over all over again.

By the time we got to the dips in the second round, my partner looked at me and asked, is this much harder than the last workout I came to (week 9)?  Yes.  Yes, it was.  

The Paleo Review:  Week 11:  Just when I feel comfortable, Matthew ups the ante and gives me a little more intensity and weight.  Which is how it should be so I don't know why its the least bit surprising to me.  I asked Mathew why the group workout was so hard and he replied it was more of a cardio workout.  Doing a hard movement like an air squat, followed by the kettlebell will up the intensity of the workout.  I cannot disagree.  

Nutrition:  Over the past few weeks, I've been in a few social situations where I've come across people who are interested in a paleo diet, but have it in mind that it's hard.  I must say that I now find my nutrition to be one of the easiest stress free parts of my life.  I used to be consumed with what I could eat or not eat and how much of something I could eat, but I'm not anymore.  

Words of wisdom from Matthew

Matthew recently shared a cool blog post he wrote sharing 10 lessons he learned in his on going journey.  Lesson number 8 in his post is Stress.  He talks about the fact that we are all under stress and much of that might not be within our control like financial stress or work stress.  There is stress you don't necessarily see caused by eating a poor diet.  That nutritional stress is burdening your body's systems, causing inflammation that will lead to illness if it hasn't already.   He says, "In order to become a happier and healthier human being, you must seek to control your stress."  Of course he recommends a paleo/primal template.  

There's plenty of stress in my life that I have very little control over, but eating a paleo diet has allowed me to exercise control over both self-inflicted mental stress about what foods and what quantities I was going to eat and the stress that poor nutrition was putting on my body that had actually manifested in real health issues (e.g., IBS, weight gain).  

It's strange how simply committing eating real whole foods, actually simplified my life and reduced my total stress load?  Is paleo hard?  No.  It's liberating.