I have been working hard on getting back into really good shape after a three month hiatus during the end of last year. In just three months, by focusing on my diet and my workouts, I have become my strongest and sexiest ever. Here is a list of the things I think have most influenced my speedy health boost.
- Learning some key paleo and primal dieting concepts. Have worked toward cutting out grains completely, and abstaining from consumption of dairy foods and legumes. I still drink coffee and imbibe alcohol, so I am by no means close to “being paleo”. But I would say the change has been pretty drastic. I have increased my protein and fats while cutting a lot of carbs. I have switched my primary cooking fat to coconut oil, and have been experimenting with new fruits and vegetables.
- Using high intensity intervals with the help of my trusty gymboss. Tabatas are a regular occurrence during my training, and my old standby ratio of work to rest, of course, 45:15.
- Lifting heavier. Added a new 20 kg kettlebell and a 30 pound medicine ball to my collection of medieval torture devices.
The other night I came across a great video at the perfect moment in time.
I can feel myself getting close to a “what now” stage in my journey. Recently I’ve been thinking about goals, and getting more serious about my training direction. I know I want to pursue an RKC certification sometime in the (hopefully) near-future. So, of course, I’m focused on getting stronger and building my endurance. It’s three days long, and strenuous to say the least.
I recently was blessed with a technique critique from one of my favorite websites, Chronicles of Strength! Since then, I have been ultra focused on improving my form and learning as much as I possibly can to get better at the important RKC movements. Mainly, I have been researching the swing and the turkish get up. I’ve learned a lot, and found and re-discovered some great free resources.
Enter Josh Hillis!
Josh’s great and entertaining video made a ton of sense to me. He says that, in his experience as a personal trainer, he found that high intensity training is a double-edged sword. While it does great things for your body, your stamina, your srength, etc, a ton of high intensity efforts with not a ton of rest can lead to excessive production of cortisol, a hormone that is a byproduct of stress.
Cortisol produced by stress is often blamed for excess belly fat. After training for three months, I am probably headed toward burnout if I keep on exercising at full throttle like a crazy monkey, and I am also probably flooding my system with cortisol almost every single day. He has developed a program called System Six, and from what I can tell, one of the primary principles is three workouts per week, one HARD, one medium, and one easy.
Just watching his introductory video provides a lot of food for thought, and I was very impressed with him. While on his site I found his 21-day Swing Challenge also, which I have looked at before, but now am seriously considering purchasing, as it is under 10 dollars.
What I took away from all this is that it probably isn’t smart to train as hard as I have been, as often as I have been! While it has served me well for the past three months, I feel intuitively that easier may be the way to go for a while, at least. I’m not 100% sold on all of Josh’s conclusions, but he is very experienced and makes a lot of sense to me. One thing I will be trying is doing just one REALLY HARD balls-to-the-wall workout per week, a few medium, one easy, and on some weeks I will take 3 days off. This will also give me a chance to spend some days just doing practice on the turkish get up and the swing, both of which I am trying to improve (videos to come!).
3 – 2 9 – 1 2
I picked up this sweet workout idea from Girya Girl, A.K.A. Adrienne Harvey, RKC level 2. I like her because she is almost just my size (5’3, 126), is ultra strong and cool, and had a bowling ball dropped on her stomach and laughed(!) in a recent blog post. Her site is a goldmine of free information, kickass workouts, and priceless advice. I have been trying lots of things I found on her site and this one did not disappoint.
I took my 20 kg and 16 kg kettlebells to the “splash pad” at work (basically a huge fenced in area with sprinklers, which were off, where the ground is slightly softer than the cement elsewhere). Girya Girl’s challenge looks like this:
25 swings – 1 burpee
24 swings – 2 burpees
23 swings – 3 burpees
…and so on and so on till you have
1 swing – 25 burpees
I wasn’t sure how this would play out, so I chose to start with 20 swings and see what happened.
What happened, you ask? I made myself cry, that’s what! At around 15 swings, 7 burpees I believe I let out a little sob. But I told myself, (out loud) “come on!” I knew I could finish the thing and I did, switched to the 16 kg at around 16 swings, then back to the 20 kg at 10 swings. It was interesting how sad I got as the number of burpees increased and the number of swings decreased, haha.
Another way to execute a swing burpee ladder, and HOT DAMN was it a scorcher. Afterward I did 5 TGU’s on each side using 25 pounds, and I was out for the count.
I think doing challenging workouts like this more well-spaced apart in the week will end up benefiting me enormously! Other days will be for sprinting, jumproping, and light (sometimes no weight) kettlebell practice. I want to start throwing a kettlebell soon! 🙂 I really want to try just flinging one!
Anywho, that was my big revelation for the week, less just might be more, cortisol is a bad guy, and practice, practice, practice. I will soon be posting some videos of my (hopefully) improved turkish get up and swing. Here is a video that really helped me with the TGU, featuring one of my fave guys, Bret Contreras. From this video, I finally figured out how to not crunch up off the floor. Feels good!