Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Getting My Exercise On

Unlike many of the other folks who are early adopters of the 4 Hour Body's many sets of body hacks, I do not have a background of diet or exercise. I'm just a normal woman.

Except for a little "beer" league softball for a few years, I haven't played any organized sports since before puberty. And I've never, ever maintained a regular exercise schedule of any kind - unless you call "16km a week in order to pick my son up from JK and SK" regular exercise. And, in a paleo sense, it totally was. But if I didn't have to pick up my son from school, I wouldn't have done it and I don't do it anymore now that he's been in full day school for a couple of years.

Nope, I'm a Grade A couch potato. I read. I watch movies. I eat. And all of those I do on my butt.

So, you can imagine how appealing the 4 Hour Body's basic tenet of the Minimal Effective Dose would be. How little exercise do I need to do to achieve the greatest results? Workouts using little more than natural resistance and the seemingly magical effectiveness of a single specialty exercise all of which I can do in my home, where I am often tethered as a mother who works at home, these are not only appealing, they exactly fit my life's needs.

The most basic exercise recommended is the simple "Glut-4" routine. It consists of @40 air squats, @40 chest pulls and @40 wall presses. These are specifically designed to activate the muscle's ability to pull in glucose, instead of having the body store glucose as fat. The whole thing takes about 5 minutes.

The clincher - because everything comes at a price, even if it is small - is that this simple little workout should be done 15 minutes before meals and 90 minutes after meals. This means that, combined with the weight lost from eating limited slow carbs and unlimited proteins, you will be adding muscle without having to become a gym rat or own a weight bench.

If you don't have a habit of exercise, like me, start slow.

I wasn't actually sure I would be able to do more than a couple of air squats. I'm a big woman: tall and heavy with the bad knees and ankles that go with that. I was so sure I wouldn't be able to do the squats that I've been doing the 4 Hour Body thing for 6 weeks and never tried a single squat.

That's not to say I haven't worked out at all. During the second week of slow carb I did the Perfect Posterior workout three times.

This workout is also fast and remarkably simple. It is 20 glute activation raises (think a pelvic thrust lying down with feet flat on the ground), 30 flying dogs (15 per side - lift opposite arm and extend leg, alternating from one side to the other) and @50 kettle bell swings. I do 30 kb swings, swinging the kettle bells from slightly behind my thighs to just above shoulder height.

The first workout was ridiculously hard and knocked me out of commission for a couple of days. After that, my body adapted quickly. The kb swings are an amazing cardio workout. But they also give a great total body workout: thighs and glutes from the squatting and pelvic "popping", shoulders and back from swing the weight.

Just three quick workouts in a single week made me feel taller, helped me fall asleep and stay asleep at night and eliminated the hip pain I get when I sleep. At the end of the week, despite screwing up my slow carb eating every single day (a cookie here, a meal with buns or rice there...) and putting on a half pound or so, my BMI (as recorded every single week on our Wii) went down! I was recompositioning my body and I'd only done 3 workouts!

The following week, I slacked off. And the week after that, and the week after that. Etc.

I noticed, after two weeks of not working out at all, I was slouching again, my sleep was poor and my hips were killing me at night. I had a revelation: my body wants to be strong. My body wants to have strong muscles. I'm meant to do this. It feels good to be stronger and healthier!

It took a couple weeks to feel ready to work out again. I started with the Perfect Posterior on Monday. I was happy to see that I could do all 30 swings in a single set instead of 3 separate sets. But, I knew I would have to face the Glut-4 exercises soon. I steeled myself to the fact that even doing 5 air squats (heck, even 3!) would be not only acceptable, but good!

I managed to do 2 sets of 10 squats, in fact! In between them, I did 30 chest pulls. I skipped the wall presses because I was in the middle of making lunch.

I only did that once, instead of pre and post meals. And I only plan to do these a couple times a week, at first. I originally thought I'd do these squats and pulls once a day, ever day this week, but my thighs were so sore today that I was having trouble on stairs and inclines.

So, my goal for this week and next week is to work out once per day, every day. Switching between the Glut-4 set and the Perfect Posterior. After I can manage to get a workout in every day, I will reassess and start adding in extra Glut-4 sessions to the day.

My husband said to me, the other day, "Wouldn't it be kind of cool if you became one of those women who needs more of a workout and joins a gym?" That would be cool, wouldn't it?

1 comment:

  1. Just found your blog through a mutual friend and after reading all the archives, I'm hooked! I haven't laughed so much in along awhile. Thank you. I am about to start the 4HB as well so this has been very very useful. I'm a SAHM with a home business and found many things in your posts that resonated with me. A LOT!! I look forward to reading more of your posts!

    Hang in there!