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Archive for the ‘Fitness’ Category

Going barefoot

One of the things you’ll read about a lot in the Primal/Paleo lifestyle is the idea of going barefoot.

There are numerous reasons for going barefoot but the one I wish to address today is the impact going barefoot has on running. I’ve never really liked running long distance. I had lots of problems with my achilles when I was younger and I also never really saw the appeal in running because I found it to be so, well, boring.  I’m not the only one who has problems with getting injured though it seems – approximately 60-80% of runners become injured every year. That’s a heck of a lot and it makes me wonder what we’re doing wrong while we run? I came across this problem and its answer about a month ago thanks to Richard Nikoley. He posted a video on his blog from Terra Plana that demonstrates what we are doing wrong while we run. Basically our major problem is that we run heel-toe when we should be running on the balls of our feet. Do you remember running barefoot? Do you remember ever putting your heel down first while you ran? Of course you didn’t. It’s only because of the expensive running shoes that we buy ourselves that we are “able” to do it. However, we’re obviously not that able because 60-80% of us get injured every year…

Sometimes I find it a little frustrating that a lot of the things I learn about the Primal/Paleo lifestyle are completely against Conventional Wisdom. I don’t mean that I don’t like what I have learnt in these last 3 months – in fact, it couldn’t be further from the truth. What’s difficult for me is the part where I try and explain my lifestyle choices to people. I actually tend to just avoid it because some of the ideas behind it seem so radical to them… that and they don’t want to give up their vices :). Just yesterday I was sitting outside enjoying the sunshine in the plaza next to my apartment building. A family of three were also there having a lovely time. The daughter, who was maybe around 4 years old, was running circles around the plaza… on the balls of her feet. I didn’t notice this until her father called out to her and said “no, you’re not running correctly. You have to put your heel down first and then the balls of your feet” and proceeded to give her a demonstration. I cringed inwardly and almost got up and said something… I was *this* close to it lol. But it wasn’t my business to interfere in their lives so I just observed. His little girl paid him no heed (yay); she was too happy just playing and doing her own thing :).

There are, of course, safety issues with going barefoot (eg broken glass, sharp stones) so there are companies who have developed shoes that allow you to move as though you were wearing nothing. The most common of these kinds of shoes that you will hear about on Primal/Paleo blogs are the Vibram Five Fingers. They are odd looking, I’ll give you that. I am used to the sight of them now and I’m not too worried if people will look at me strangely. I haven’t bought myself a pair yet, though, because I’m moving back home to New Zealand in 1.5 months and I don’t want to have to carry back more things than are necessary. I shall be sure to post about them when I finally order myself some later this year :). In the meantime, who has already has Vibram Five Fingers? Do you find them comfortable? How have they affected your walking/running etc.?

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Overtraining

I’ve had a sneaking suspicion that I’m overtraining. I started thinking that I needed to build more muscle which would in turn use more energy and I would lose body fat… but it didn’t quite work out like that. I didn’t change body fat (at least there were no visible changes to my eyes), I was eating more, and feeling tired while exercising.

I started wondering a bit if I was overtraining after working out 5 days in a row, having one rest day and then another 5 in a row (in addition to walking at least 2kms most days). Seems obvious in retrospect huh!

I’ve decided to not exercise more than 3 days straight and do some more sprinting. It’s winter, however, and the cold air hurts my chest when I sprint outside so I’ve started sprinting up and down the stairs in my apartment building. Anything goes really in the paleo lifestyle :).

Has anyone else fallen into this trap? What’s the longest you’ve gone without taking a break from training?

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Ok, so I didn’t exactly follow the exercises outlined in the Primal Blueprint Fitness Challenge (intermediate level) over at Mark’s Daily Apple. I changed some of them and I didn’t time myself. But you know what? That’s what is awesome about this way of life – you don’t have to follow any strict rules. Make it up as you go along (learn how to do each exercise correctly though of course) but just remember to enjoy yourself while you do it :).

So without further ado, here was my workout for the day (in addition to walking about 3km)

pushups 20
bunny hops 30m
lunges 30m
spidermans 20
Grok Crawl 30m
pushups 20
Squats 50 x 2
spidermans 20
pushups alternating one leg raised 20

I must admit, I was a little cocky going into this exercise routine. I thought the Bunny Hops and the Grok Crawl were going to be very, very easy. Don’t let the names fool you – you’ll feel your muscles protesting before long (especially if, like me, you’ve never tried these particular ones before). If you are unsure as to what these different exercises are, then check out the following video from a fellow primal lifestyler, Primal Toad.

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I thought my workout yesterday would result in really stiff and sore muscles today… guess I must be getting stronger :D. I also recently had my carb-load day – perhaps that’s what gave me the energy to do so many reps yesterday.

Monday’s workout:

Mountain Climbers 50 x 4 sets
Sprinting reptile 50 x 4 sets
Squats 50 x 6 sets
Push ups (man style) 10 x 8 sets
Lunges 25 per leg
Side lunge 25 per leg x 2 sets

Today’s workout  was less intense… well kind of. I experienced the “burning sensation” one gets after doing repeated reps like I’ve never felt it before heh.

Mountain Climbers 100 x sets
Squats 100 x 3 sets
Planks 1 min (3 diferent positions) x 3
Push ups (man style) 10 x 3 sets
Push ups (alternate leg in air) 10 x 3 sets
Reptile thing* 10 x 6 sets

* I don’t know the name of this exercise. It’s very similar to the Sprinting Reptile except that you do it more slowly and maintain a plank position for longer. If anyone has any ideas as to what it could be, let me know :).

A bit about my exercise history… until recently (try May 2010) I was a chronic cardioer. I changed my exercise habits when I came across the Primal Lifestyle and, although it has only been a short while, I am already seeing it’s effects on my slight frame. Go the weights!

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