By Steve Sharpton, Parsons Training, Tucson, Arizona
August 20, 2015
So there I was, panting hard and wondering what the heck was happening. My arms were becoming rubbery, at one point burning like a fire in the night (in the case of Arizona, on top of a mountain). I actually started feeling light headed, and had to call off the workout. This isn’t an old workout from the days of yore, this was this past Tuesday. Seriously, I felt like I was going to pass out if I kept on going, succumbing to the heat and the amount of oxygen I had burnt. I would have become a Fail Army video if I had continued, and considering I am still a pretty big guy, it would have been a problem for everyone involved if I passed out and needed moving. I had to tap out after 50 minutes, ten minutes short of what I actually had to do. Now, you might think I might have had too little to eat, but that really wasn’t the case this time around. I had plenty of water and other fluids. I had a good pasta breakfast before showing up, and had been awake for a good three hours before the workout. I even tried Christa’s new protein bar, which combined beets and coconut to give it a decent taste and a cool red color (still in the test phase, but a good first draft if I ever tried one! And I’m not a huge fan of beets either! Let’s hope the “Bear Down Bars” become a good seasonal favorite).
Needless to say, I haven’t felt that tired and shaky feeling in quite a long time, mainly because I don’t always get one-on-one training from Jon. But this is the lesson one has to attain when dealing with life and fitness. Never stop trying to improve, because no matter how good you may do, you still need some reminder that your fitness is a constantly changing paradigm. I’ll admit, I have gotten a decent amount of good news, especially with my weight, but it is time to start working on the strength aspect of my fitness once again. It’s no real secret that a good way to lose weight is to get your weight lifting going. I’ve always been surprised when people don’t try this part of weight loss more often when they have reached certain levels of obesity. Let’s face it, there are plenty of ways to lose that weight, whether it be juicing, extreme calorie counting or just simply changing your diet from an all fast food buffet to actual food (My cousin has lost 60 pounds alone just from cutting out some of the junk in his diet!). But why not some extreme weight lifting? Okay, I shouldn't say extreme, but you know, exchanging that chicken leg for a dumbbell. Now you will run into article after article that will state exercise and diet are a delicate balance. One post I ran into said weight loss is about 75% diet and 25% exercise. http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2014/04/30/exercise-vs-diet-for-weight-loss_n_5207271.html Now this sounds like a good percentage to start off on, but let’s face it, there could be some other factors that may help.
I will admit, the biggest issue with me for the longest time was my lack of consistency. On some days I would eat breakfast, some days I wouldn’t and some days I would have something that could only be described as “Lunner,” which was weird in itself. When you really observe the issue closely, I had a bad habit of only eating when I felt hungry, which is something you should probably never partake in. http://www.bodybuilding.com/fun/zaino16.htm Anyway, back to my Tuesday morning. Jon was incredibly inspired about my post in regards to German Volume Training, so much so that he had a giant smile on his face when I walked through the door.. While I was simply introduced to the concept of GVT in the most basic way last week, Jon decided to actually make me try a full on workout for the movement. Now I had no idea this was what was awaiting me, but man I’m glad I had some actual food before the workout. Since I have been struggling with my bench press, Jon figured it would be best to focus on that movement rather than try leg oriented workouts. Of course, he had a mixture of other things waiting for me, but the central theme would be the bench press. The way we were going to approach it was bench 115 pounds in sets of ten with 30 second rest intervals. We kind of cheated once again, adjusting the weight and rest time as we went along, for the idea was to get me to do all 100. Well, it started off like hell on wheels, because right away my right deltoid was giving me troubles. Now I had been taking measures to try and not sleep on my right side (which I think is the cause of my arm problem), I could still feel the burn and tightness in my arm. And the other bad part was the tendinitis in my hands was acting up as well, most likely from the previous work day where I literally shipped some 600 individual, tiny items that required a lot of grabbing and such. I got to tell you, my hands were tired as heck that night. Now I see why people that work these kind of jobs get hopped up on Aleve and such. Either way, I pushed through the first thirty sets reps, but was breathing hard just trying to keep up. We reduced the weight a little and then added 15 seconds to the intervals. We didn’t add another 15 seconds until I got 70 reps, which was a welcome sign since my body was just starting to get tired. Now I will admit this was not GVT in the pure sense, but I managed to survive the ordeal and then move on to an equally tough movement.
The one thing Jon really liked about Sunday’s blog was how we progressed with new ideas when I started getting too good at them. Well, Tuesday was sort of my refresher course, because we started doing some old TRX stuff I hadn’t done in quite a while. Jon first had me do some single pistol squats, which are great for unilateral movement building, which is something I definitely need. While my balance is probably better than ever, my abilities still show some weakness, especially on my left leg. I guess it is only fitting that my right arm and my left leg are my two weak points! So I had to do 15 of these on each leg, and of course, my balance issues usually forced to reset at eight or nine reps. The next thing he had me do was something that I used to be absolutely terrible at: TRX Pikes. Back in the day, this used to be hell for me. Heck, anything that required me to get into a plank or push-up kind of position was something I really hated to do. Well, it is easier to do these days due to the fact my stomach (A.K.A. my old dead weight….fat tire just doesn’t seem to describe it well enough) is much smaller than it used to be. But that doesn’t mean it was tough. If you don’t know what TRX pikes are, you basically put your feet in the TRX straps and them get yourself into a push-up position. You then raise you butt up to fold your body into a triangle. I used to fall down quite often, merely to the tune of being unable to handle my own girth. If anything, this exercise kind of proves that I have gotten much stronger in the core, merely because fatigue was really the only thing that slowed me down in regards to this exercise as opposed to weight nearly breaking my feeble arms. I kind of struggled to get 20 straight reps as Jon was demanding of me, but I finally got it when I hit the final set (I had to do three alternating sets between the TRX pistol squats and the pikes). By this time in the workout, something just wasn’t sitting right with me.
I was already feeling a little light headed, and I was feeling a little scared going into the hang clean squats. Fortunately we were not going too heavy with too many reps. If anything, the very point of the exercise was to try and fix some mechanicals problems. While I managed to get a good 185 pounds a couple weeks ago, I might have done a little too much arm swinging as opposed to getting underneath the weight. Anyway, I did the reps and got things moving along, but then my body just starting shaking. I was breathing weird and even though I had a good ten minutes left in the workout, I knew I had to stop. It was a stubborn thought in my mind, for I wanted to finish what Jon had me start, but the last two exercise he wanted me to do would require a lot of breathing and effort, which I was clearly running low on. So I called it off, and within seconds, I pretty much collapsed o the floor. My whole chest and body was shaking. I made the right decision to call off the workout, because who knows what was happening.
The most likely issue was I probably used up my glycogen stores. Let’s face it, this was one of the toughest workouts I had done in a while, mainly because I was utilizing good cardio and good weight lifting. If anything, the GVT really did it’s job in tearing me down. While I am concerned with building some muscle, it also put a huge dent in my calorie burning. My electronic stat tracker said I burned maybe 500 calories for the session, but I’m pretty sure it was way more than that, just from the amount of heavy breathing I did the entire time. Heck, I was so tapped that I didn’t even bother running that night. Now, I might have used up my glycogen stores, but I also might have been a little dehydrated from the intensity of the workout. Plus there is the caveat that maybe I was dehydrated already, especially since I was coming off a very hard work day the previous day (my shirt was pretty white from all of the sweat stains). Personally, I don’t really remember drinking that much water during the day. When you get into a lot of repetitive motion with the hard pressed idea of production in the back of your mind, you tend to forget things. Or maybe the heat in general just turned me into a drippy, sweaty mess. I don’t know, but one of the main problems with dehydration is the lack of energy, so who knows.
Anyway, I was feeling fine after a good lunch and some recovery after the workout. No one ever said being healthy was going to be an easy endeavor. But I was kind of happy with my effort in spite of having to cut it short. In the past, having to cut a workout short was a sign of weakness on my part, merely because my body just wasn’t ready for the rigors of the said workout method. But this past Tuesday was because I could handle the workout, just not the entire workout. My body just ran out of gas so to speak. If I hadn’t been shaking and feeling al little light headed, I would have continued and finished the darn thing off. Jon had wanted me to do some high intensity barbell overhead presses in addition to something he called “Ballbatas.” Basically I would be doing slam balls with the 20-pound ball for 20 seconds at a time for four minutes. Yeah, I would have failed miserably if that happened. Either way, I have mentioned before how important it is to try new things on the course of your fitness journey. But you always have to listen to the body when you start pushing yourself a little too hard, specially when you live 100+-degree heat like I do. Until next time!
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Parsons Training is a Tucson leader in fitness and personal wellness training. Every personal trainer with this company designs and implements effective fitness programs for their clients; these programs serve as the foundation for good health, fitness, and wellness. Additional information about Parsons Training is available at http://www.parsonspersonaltraining.com
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Steve, a Parsons Training Client, went from 400 pounds to Running half-marathons, from lifting pizzas to lifting hundreds of pounds through training with us.