Alright, so today has been super busy so I’m going to update as quick as my little fingers will type so that you all can be up to speed on my next challenge.
Of course, I’m currently doing my 30 Day Food Challenge (Paleo/Primal Inspired) and if you’ve been paying attention you know that 80% of your health and fitness goals are obtained through what you EAT! So it’s super important.
But we can’t forget about that other 20%: Exercise!
So I am REALLY changing it up. By really, I mean that it’s going to be flat out weird for me to do this fitness challenge because it’s so different than anything I have ever tried before. Are you ready for this radical idea?
I am going to work out less.
What?! That’s right folks. The word is less is more. Less does not refer to less efficient though – and that’s the key to my next challenge. I am going to be traveling back through time to connect with my primal ancestors. That’s right – I’m following the Primal Blueprint Fitness plan. It’s written by Mark Sisson (yes, I mentioned him last time because i’m reading his book The Primal Blueprint) and it’s all about getting fit through some core movements and targeted activities. If you want to check out the fitness plan for yourself – you can get it for free by going to his site here.
You have to subscribe to his newsletter to get the passwords to download his ebooks – but the newsletter is full of great information if you are considering dabbling or learning about Primal/Paleo lifestyle. Think protein, healthy fats and carbs from good places (like fruits and veggies vs grains) and that’s the premise of the lifestyle.
The idea is that our modern day methods of working out are actually not always that great for us. We suffer from what Mark calls “chronic cardio” – where we exert ourselves at too high a level for too long a period of time – and it actually has negative consequences like burnout, fatigue, and as I’ve experienced: injuries.
So the primal fitness plan focuses on strength training (he calls it “Lift Heavy Things”) 1-3 times per week (using your own body weight) through 4 essential movements: Plank, Squats, Push Up, Pull Up. He also suggests a one short but intense Sprint workout a week. The other days he calls “Move Slowly for a Long Time” days and this should be something active like a walk, hike, cycling (think about 55-75% of max heart rate) for 2-5 hours per week.
He also encourages you to return to your childhood – and play more! So whether that’s frisbee, playing tag with yours kids, playing on a friendly softball team or the YMCA kickball team – just doing something that is active but doesn’t have you thinking “oh gosh, I gotta work out now.” He also encourages you to listen to your body and rest. Get a good nights sleep everynight – and of course, try and stick to your Primal eating plan at least 80% of the time for max benefits.
So I’m trying it out. The first step was to do a self assessment so I know where I need to start with my Lift Heavy Things workout. Your goal is to be able to progress to the Essential Movement – but you might not start there. For instance, one of the moves is a pull up. I literally laughed out loud at my feeble attempt to even lift THIS heavy thing off the ground at the gym yesterday. So I’ll be starting with assisted leg lifts fo ‘sho.
The self assessment can be found in the fitness ebook (when you download it – type in page 50 and the next 2-3 pages are about it).
Here are my results and where I’ll be starting:
Pushup: I could only do 6 big girl pushups (on hands and feet) – so I’ll be starting on level 2 with Knee Pushups.
Pull Ups: As mentioned above, I couldn’t even pretend I did one. So i’m starting at level 1 with Chair Assisted Push Ups (2 legs).
Squats: I rocked the squats. The level 4 was for people who could do 61+ so I just stopped at 65 because it wasn’t like anyone was around for me to impress. So I’ll be doing Level 4 – Full Squats.
Plank: I held the plank on forearms and feet for 50 seconds. This has me starting on Level 2: Forearm/Knee Plank + Side Knee.
If you are wondering what any of this means, he has videos linked in the fitness guide so you can see how to do the exercises!
So 2x a week I’ll do the Strength Circuit – which means I’ll do a series of pull ups, push ups, squats and planks and then repeat. Each move has different levels – so once you can get through both sets of your circuit and hit the right “number” you can level up to a more difficult version of the move.
I am planning on using my TurboFIRE HIIT workouts to do my Sprint workout – this will be good because it’s about 10-15 minutes of intense cardio that pushes me with built in 1 minute recoveries. I may also try to do some stairs/treadmill sprints since it’s only 10-15 minutes. I can handle that once a week (I think).
And then the other days I’m going to do crazy things like, go for a walk. Hike on the weekend. Ride my bike around the neighborhood or town with my bike friends. I’m still going to be doing my turbo workout because I teach the class and don’t want to stop doing that. I will count it as my “play” – since it’s definitely more than 55-75% of my maximum heart rate!
I’m excited because this will give me a TON of flexibility to try out new workouts or revisit old ones (like going to the Trampoline Airobics class). Maybe I’ll even brave the rock climbing wall this year. EEK.
Of course I’ll keep you updated on how it goes. I’m nervous about the idea of doing so much less in terms of intensity – but maybe it’s what my body needs. Maybe I don’t have to kill myself to have the body I want….maybe I just need to trust that my kick A ancestors were on to something.
After all, they would have lived a lot longer if there weren’t wild animals attacking them or if they had some modern medicine to cure things like infection. In fact, based on the research done on their remains – it’s predicted that if accidental death or infections, etc. didn’t occur our paleolithic ancestors would have a max life span of about 94 years. And yes, that is actually LONGER than what’s predicted for our current human population based on how things are going in the human evolution right now. Pretty crazy, huh?
Who wants to go primal with me? I’m excited about getting my hunting and gathering on.