So far I have concentrated almost entirely on the food aspect of the Paleo lifestyle and the only exercise I have done is two weights workouts and a tiny bit of walking. I know I will get much better fat loss results with exercise along will all the other health benefits. My main motivator however, is that I really want to go snowboarding in a couple of months time and I’m no where near fit enough to enjoy it properly!
To summarise the Paleo-style exercise guidelines as briefly as possible, it advocates being active in general, doing a wide variety of activities including lifting heavy things and doing the occasional all-out ‘sprints’. I’m not a fan of running so I was pleased to read that sprints doesn’t have to mean actual sprinting – it can be any activity that significantly increases the heart rate for a brief period of time. What is NOT recommended is traditional steady-state cardio – spending an hour on a cross trainer at the same pace for example.
Now I am really terrible at sticking to things and if something is too regimented I give up really easily. I also get bored very easily so I have decided to do something completely different to anything I have tried before – 7 really different workouts of different types, intensities and lengths! Note, just because their happens to be 7 doesn’t mean I intend on doing them every day. If I work up to that great but to begin with I’ll just pick one and go with it. The next time I feel like doing one I’ll grab the next one and so on.
Workout 1: Pushups
Pushups are a great exercise for the upper body and this is an area in which women in particular seem to lack. Just for fun, I found a cool website that lays out a 6-week training plan that is designed to get you to a point where you can do 100 consecutive pushups. That sounds like an awesome goal so I’m going to follow it. For this workout this is all I will do so it will be a nice, simple, short workout to get me started.
Workout 2: Walking
I’d like to actually move and walking is a great place to start. Now that I have a house right in the country I have a nice long lane right outside my door that I can walk up and down without fear of many onlookers other than the odd tractor driver and pheasant! All I’m going to do here is a kind of interval walking as suggested by Robb Wolf in the Paleo Solution. Walk slowly at first to warm up then alternate a slow pace and fast pace for around a minute each. I can vary the intervals, the pace, the overall duration to make progress and mix things up a bit. This is one I could start real easy and work up to being a longer duration workout. Maybe one day I might even jog a bit but for now, just walking.
Workout 3: Standard Weight Training
I’ve been a fan of weight training since my early teens. At home I have a mini gym with a bench, long bar, dumbbells and several weight discs. I can easily get a full body strength training workout from my equipment. The two workouts I have done thus far have comprised 3 large areas – legs, chest and back and for those I’ve done Kettlebell Swings, Bench Presses and Bent Over Barbell Rows. I’m going to move the swings to it’s own workout and swap it for a Sumo Deadlift. I may add in other exercises later if I feel like it.
I do 3 sets of 12 reps at the moment and once I have done a few weeks I’ll try upping the weight some more and lowering the reps. This workout tends to take me about 20-30 minutes depending on how much rest I have between sets and I find it extremely intense as I do push myself quite hard.
Workout 4: Core Training
After weight training I’ll certainly want to give my main muscle groups a good rest so this is a good time to do some core training. I’ve always had a weak lower back so I think this would be great for my overall health. Plus, you really need a strong core for snowboarding as you’re using so many stabiliser muscles. I’ll begin with a beginner core workout and go from there. I also have a stability ball that I can use for lots of core work. Endless options here.
Workout 5: Kettlebell Swings
The kettlebell swing is just bloody marvellous! It works out the entire body and it gets your heart pumping so it improves cardiovascular fitness as well. Honestly, google it! When I did these a couple of weeks ago I was horrified at how unfit I was! I have only very light kettlebells (2, 3 & 4kg lol!) and ideally they shold be done using MUCH heavier weights but hey, I could only do something like 20-40 reps of each so I still have a long way to go.
I’ll take the lightest weight, do as many reps as I can, rest then pick the next highest and go again. I’m going to purchase a new kettlebell each week or two as I feel I’m progressing to get heavier and heavier. This workout is short but intense but as I add more bells the workout could get longer but if it starts to get too long I’ll just knock off some of the lighter ones from the start of the workout. This is a great workout for really measuring your progress. I’d love to work up to doing 100+ reps of a decent weight.
Workout 6: Bodyweight Interval Training
For this workout I’ll pick a handful of exercises I can do with just bodyweight such as squats, pushups, lunges, stepups, plank and do each one for a set amount of time, rest and then move to the next for one circuit. Initially I’ll probably start with just 1 or 2 circuits and then I can increase the exercise time, lower the rest time or increase the number of circuits much like the walking workout. If these eventually get too easy I can add weights easily enough.
Workout 7: Karate Practice
For this workout I’m just going to do any kind of karate practice that I feel like doing. Karate is extremely varied and I can really tailor this to how I feel and how much energy I have. This workout will also just get me back into the swing of thigs with karate and my aim here is to re-learn the stuff I have forgotten, and get myself back to the level where I feel I should be at for my grade (brown belt) and then I can join a club again without feeling like an idiot.
That may seem like a lot but it really isn’t – it’s just varied. The pushups and kettlebell workouts will probably only take about 10 minutes, the weight training I am already used to, the walking and interval training can be done for as little or as long as I have the energy for and the karate can also be done on an ‘easy’ setting if I need to. The real purpose here is to make exercise a habit and to make it fun. Doing all these different things feels a lot more fun to me than just doing boring cardio (at a gym that I don’t have time for) every day. And I can do all of this at home which gives me a much better chance of actually sticking to it! I’ll keep you posted on my progress :-)
Day 1 Starts Today
Well it’s easy to write a post about what I intend to do but I thought it best to actually take some action and do day 1 so today I started with the 100 pushups challenge. I did the initial test yesterday and I managed a pitiful 7! I used to be able to do almost 20 hrmph! Well that’s why I’m doing the challenge! This puts me in column B for the weekly plans. Today I completed the week 1, day 1 workout.
Note that the plan is 3 workouts a week and as I’m doing all this other stuff I wont be doing that many so I’ll just keep track of what week / day I’m on and pick it up from there each time. I may do the extra one here and there on days where I’m not working out my upper body such as on walking or core training days if I feel particularly up to it.