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Workout Journals / Chris' Gymnastics Log [Cycle 2]
« on: July 26, 2011, 01:14:55 PM »
Chris' Gymnastics Log

In an effort to ensure I'm training consistently, I've created this log as a way of personally keeping track and, for anyone who's interested, to see how I train.

As well as the gymnastic strength training, I am recording my karate training sessions in this log too. While I am really enjoying gymnastics, karate has and will always be my main priority.

Current Target: Increase maximal gymnastic strength to perform high-level gymnastics.
Training will focus in the 3x5 set/rep scheme for strength and myofibrillar hypertrophy.
For gymnastic movements that I have reached the peek of (e.g. planche push ups), the focus is then to increase reps to improve tendon strength in these movements.
Estimated Time to Target: Likely 2 years to strongest movements; achieving a manna will take longer. Advanced ring strength after completion of basic gymnastic strength, can't really say; unless in the 2 years more books from Coach Sommer are released.

Training is done in cycles of 10 weeks. There is no training to failure or progressive overload during this time. The cycle places the body through overload, adaptation and underload. This ensures more complete physical muscle/tendon adaptation to the intensity of the training, rather than pushing strength gains from the early improvements gained by the CNS becoming more efficient. The longer time frame helps to reduce chance of injury and also provides extra time for tendon strength to improve, which takes longer to recover and adapt than muscle.

Cycle 1 -- 25th July '11 to 6th November '11
End of Cycle 1 -- Movement Progression and Strength Testing

Cycle 2 -- 14th November '11 to ...

Diet and nutrition / The Lightbulb is making us fat!
« on: March 10, 2011, 08:30:24 AM »
Found an interesting article on Underground Wellness that discusses how longer days and shorter nights make us crave carbs!


Diet and nutrition / Nutty Issues
« on: November 08, 2010, 10:11:01 AM »
I've been having bowel issues when eating nuts. Usually, movement is fine, but add some nuts and it goes a bit all over the place. I've been sticking to almonds and walnuts mostly, and almonds seem to give me the most trouble.

Has anyone else had problems when eating nuts?

Exercises / Training Schedule
« on: November 08, 2010, 09:52:07 AM »
I'm looking for some advice on my current training schedule. I'm going into full time work, so I need to organise my time more and fit my training in.

My current training is:
  • Karate - 3 times a week; 2 hours per session
  • Gymnastics - 3 times a week; 1 hour per session

Previously, I had combined my training together on the same day (e.g. gymnastics in the morning; karate in the evening) to ensure I got 4 full days of rest. Now that I'm going to be working full time, that won't be so easy to do.

My karate training is currently Mondays, Thursdays and Saturdays. I can easily combine my gymnastics training on the Saturday, but I need to fit in two more sessions. Really, I just want to make sure I'm not hindering recovery by not having enough passive rest.

What are your thoughts?

Diet and nutrition / Cut out nuts - struggling to get enough calories
« on: June 24, 2010, 08:57:21 AM »
I've recently cut out nuts from my diet because they are wrecking havoc with bowel movement and, after some research, it seems you don't get much nutrients out of them anyway! (Only 5% of omega 3 fats from walnuts are absorbed? Crazy.)

Anyway, I've cut nuts out and hopefully BM will go back to normal. My issue now is that my calories are significantly lower. Currently, I'm eating 1800-2000 calories a day, high protein and high fat. However, seeing as I'm doing gymnastic training, surely I should be getting more calories to recover strength and some hypertrophy? My weight has normalised at 147lbs and hasn't moved despite the lower calories, and my body fat has gone done, so maybe it isn't an issue? At the moment, I'm eating until I'm full. More meat would help, but I'm already stuffed and I haven't got the money to be buying even more meat! :-[

Can anyone give some advice? Or possibly recommend some high calorie foods other than nuts?
Thank you.

Diet and nutrition / Are "excess calories" really necessary?
« on: June 19, 2010, 07:58:41 AM »
This is something that has always kind of bothered me in the back of my mind and I thought it'd make a good discussion point?

Are excess calories really necessary?

I'm going to say this is aimed more towards those of us who train to increase our muscle mass. Common bodybuilding advice for people following SAD is to eat more calories, to eat calories into excess, and that this will build muscle.

Firstly, surely anabolic hormones = muscle growth? So why would more calories mean more muscle? And the SAD places an emphasis on lots of carbs, which stunts anabolic hormones and increases the amount of fat you store.

Now, for someone who eats a Paleolithic diet, their testosterone and human growth hormone (HGH) will be higher from eating more fat and fewer carbs. Insulin growth hormone (IGH) will be lower, but can be spiked to our advantage. All of these hormones are anabolic and will help increase muscle mass.

We train to build strength, whether by weights, calisthenics, gymnastics, the work we do, whatever it is. This movement requires calories.

Now, provided we're Paleo and our hunger isn't caused by high insulin, shouldn't we let our bodies determine how many calories we need to eat? Anabolic hormones cause muscle mass, so why eat when your body is not hungry? The amount we move and work during the day determines the amount of calories we need, surely? The more we move/work, the hungrier we become and the more we need to eat before we are satiated. If we're weight training to increase muscle mass, our hunger will reflect that and we will eat more. So is there really a need for excess calories?

Diet and nutrition / Picking up the spear again!
« on: June 12, 2010, 04:01:26 PM »
So, this Monday, I finish college. I'm now able to spend my money on something other than petrol... FOOD! Which can mean only one thing on this forum... I'm going back to being Paleo! :)

Money is still a bit of concern, but will improve once I'm working more hours. However, considering my budget, I just wanted to show what my typical daily food is going to look like to get your guys opinion. I'm just going to keep it simple for now before I mix things up.

I figure for breakfast or lunches, I'll stick to lots of eggs or leftover meat from previous days. The main meal will be a large cut of meat with some veg or salad, and I'll eat as much of the meat as I can. Fruit will be kept minimal, sticking to eating some post-workout to give spike insulin. I'll eat nuts throughout the day to up my calories and fat intake, which should boost energy!

In fact, I can get 250g packets of almonds which work out to about 1570 calories with 132g of fats. It's a lot to get through but should be a good daily boost.

I'll aim to have pork at least once a week for its high Thiamine (vitamin B1) content. I'll also aim to get fish in once a week, might have to stick to canned sardines for now though. Would liver be ideal to include once a week alongside something, seeing as its such a nutritious organ?

Should I be concerned of the possibility of developing allergies? There isn't much variety at the moment, and I'll probably eat a lot of almonds on a daily basis and from what I've heard its possibly to become allergic to them. Of course, being Paleo, that might not happen at all, but safer to ask! :)

If anyone can provide some good tips when being Paleo on a lower budget, I'd be vary grateful.

Thanks everyone!

Exercises / For the future: workout progression
« on: May 17, 2010, 10:36:12 AM »
Hey there, I'm looking for some advise for my future training.

I'm currently following a routine that combines the Stronglifts 5x5 routine (squats, deadlift, power clean, overhead press, bench press, pull ups) with gymnastic exercises (handstands, frog stand, tuck front lever, etc.) Now, for those who are unfamiliar with Stronglifts, the idea of it is to train up to a 1.2-1.5 x bodyweight squat. Weight increases are done every workout, provided you don't stall. At some point, it's going to get very tough to progress once you're squatting heavy. Stronglifts recommends to change your workout if you've stalled twice on 5x5 squats.

Although it'll be a while before I'm squatting that heavy, I'm looking for some advise now as to how to progress my workout from that point on. A number of suggestions I've seen include:
  • Change from 5x5 to 3x5
  • Do weekly increases in weight rather than every workout (either continuing 5x5 or switching to 3x5)
  • Change to Stronglifts Advanced (heavy week, medium week, light week; cycle)
  • Change to a more intermediate/advanced workout programme

Now I'm not really sure what to do here, as I definitely want to continue developing my gymnastic strength but also want to continue using weights. I have Coach Sommer's Gymnastic Bodies book on order, which will probably lead to me changing or including more gymnastic work into my workout.

What would you recommend for me?
Thank you!

Exercises / Persistence hunting
« on: January 30, 2010, 03:03:33 PM »
I watched a great documentary and did some research on the idea of persistence hunting; hunting where the predator chases its prey to the point of exhaustion over many hours. There's a 7 minute clip of a persistence hunt by a San tribesman here. Researchers believe that, before the development of hunting tools and weapons, this was how humans would have hunted.

Taking this into consideration, would a true Paleolithic way of exercise be long-distance running for several hours? It seems ironic; I've noticed more and more fitness websites advising people to avoid long-distance endurance running.  :-\ What are your thoughts on this?

Personally, I'm continuing on my strength-endurance and strength routine because I want to build up some muscle on me. However, I'd definitely consider putting in some endurance training in the future after researching this!

Diet and nutrition / Eating one meal a day?
« on: January 20, 2010, 02:42:25 PM »
Can anyone give me some good advise if I want to start eating one main meal a day? I figure it's a more economical and  possibly a more natural way of eating. Anyway, I'd like to give this a try and look to see if I see any improvements or changes by eating this way. Any advise on snacking would also be useful too! :)

Diet and nutrition / "It's extreme and it's boring!" ...
« on: January 14, 2010, 02:57:39 PM »
So, me and my Mum had a bit of an argument today. Turns out she's not so happy about my change of diet than I would have hoped.

She's been saying it's too much of an extreme diet. Well, that isn't my concern. Everyone here is well aware of the benefits of the Paleolithic diet, even if my parent can't see it. Though what bothers me more is she isn't even trying to understand it, and it's getting increasingly frustrating for me.

She also says it's boring. Ouch. Now, taking all into consideration: one, I'm learning to cook as I go; two, I'm making a big change in my life; and three, I'm new at this. I've limited my variety of vegetables and meat cuts to those that I'm comfortable with, which does mean I'm eating largely the same foods for the past two weeks. With time, I want to try out specific recipes and create more interesting meals. But what are some good ways to make meals more "interesting"? With the vast amount of fruit, vegetables and meats available I'm sure this diet is far from boring!

Also, any motivation you can provide would be most welcome. This has not been the best day for me or my diet!

Diet and nutrition / So, nightshades...
« on: January 12, 2010, 11:29:37 AM »
I've read a lot about nightshades and New World foods not being allowed on the Paleo diet, for perfectly valid reasons. While I may not drop nightshades straight away, I just want to clarify what vegetables are New World foods. What I've found so far are:
  • Avocados
  • Cucumbers
  • Zucchini
  • Tomatoes
  • Potatoes (obviously!)
  • Peppers
  • Aubergine
  • Paprika
  • Eggplant

Have I missed out any other vegetables or made a mistake with any?

Diet and nutrition / The Pea
« on: January 10, 2010, 07:37:36 AM »
So, me and my parents have had a bit of a conflict when it comes to peas.

On the one hand, I have argued that the pea is a legume and thus not allowed on the Paloelithic diet due to the small amount of toxins legumes have and that they cause a a high glycemic index.

However, my Mum and Dad were telling me that they would often eat fresh peas from the pods growing in their parents garden.

What's going on here then? As far as I'm aware, peas are a legume and wouldn't be eaten by hunter-gatherers, but if they can be eaten raw, wouldn't that make it part of the Paleo diet?  ???

Workout Journals / Chris' Workout Journal
« on: January 10, 2010, 07:21:18 AM »
Here I hope to keep a weekly record of my workout, to receive feedback from others and to view how well I'm progressing. So, let's get to it!

I'm hoping, within the next few years, I'll be able to join a Fire and Rescue Service somewhere in England. Naturally, a high level of fitness is a crucial element as a serving firefighter. In order to do this, I am following a workout program I have created, combining the Stronglifts 5x5 Beginner program with my gymnastic progressive exercises.

From a Paleo point of view, I imagine hunter-gatherers spent a lot of time using their bodyweight. Building shelter, hunting animals, using tools, and the like. They would have also had to deal with weight at times too (e.g. carrying a hunted animal back to their band). Weightlifting and gymnastic exercises will hopefully help to simulate the strength Paleolithic people used.

The Workout
The workout is split into two: A and B. Each workout has three barbell exercises and four gymnastic exercises.

Workout A
Squat (5x5)
Overhead Press (5x5)
Deadlift (1x5)
Pull Ups
One Legged Squats
Wall Handstand
Tuck Front Lever

Workout B
Front Squat (5x5)
Bench Press (5x5)
Power Cleans (5x5)
Incline One Arm Push Ups
Fingertip L-Seat
Wall Handstand Negative Push Ups
Frog Stand

The gymnastic/bodyweight exercises progress as shown below:
(prog: l-seat >> fingertip l-seat >> fingertip v-seat)
(prog: wall handstand >> wall handstand negative push ups >> wall handstand push ups >> freestanding handstand >> freestanding handstand push ups)
(prog: frog stand >> straight arm frog stand >> tuck planche >> adv tuck plance >> adv tuck planche push ups >> straddle tuck planche >> straddle tuck planche push ups >> planche >> planche push ups)
Front Lever
(prog: tuck front lever >> adv tuck front lever >> adv tuck front lever pull ups >> straddle front lever >> straddle front lever pull ups >> front lever >> front lever pull ups)
One Legged Squats
(prog: one legged squats >> stationary jump ols >> distance jump ols >> box jump ols)
Push Ups
(prog: push ups >> incline one arm push ups >> one arm push ups)
Pull Ups
(prog: pull ups >> one arm/one finger pull ups + negatives >> one arm pull ups)

Weight Exercises
The exercises and 5x5 rep scheme is that used in Stronglifts 5x5 Beginner Program.

Measuring Progression
Every 12 weeks, I will make a record of how my fitness and body is changing or improving. These tests include:
Muscular Strength-Endurance: Measured by reps/time held, e.g. am I doing more reps of a push up than before? Can I hold a frog stand longer than before? Can I do a more difficult gymnastic hold/movement?
Muscular Strength: Measured by 1 rep max, e.g. am I able to deadlift more than before?
Muscular Mass: Measured by bodyweight, i.e. do I weigh more than before?
Speed: Measured by sprint time, i.e. am I sprinting faster than before?
VO2 Max and CV: Measured by 12 minute run, i.e. am I covering more distance in 12 minutes? Has my VO2 max improved as a result? (As calculated on the Fire Service website)

And that's the workout!
So, that's my workout. I was doing it regularly before Christmas but stopped for a couple of weeks as I prepared to switch to the Paleo diet and to give my body a longer rest. Seeing as it isn't a conventional weightlifting routine, I'd love to hear your opinion of it!

*Revised 17/01/2010*
The following changes have been made:
  • Removed diamond push ups, push ups on fist, incline push ups, Atlas push ups, handclap push ups, bench dips, chin ups and close grip chin ups.
  • Added the weightlifting exercises squats, deadlift, overhead press, power clean, bench press and bent over row.
  • Reduced isometric exercises from 8 to 6.

*Revised 05/02/2010*
The following changes have been made:
  • Weightlifting exercises are now strictly 5x5 to emphasise strength and power, rather than strength-endurance.

*Revised 08/03/2010*
  • Workout split into A and B; based on Stronglifts' beginner program
  • Gymnastic progressions fully listed
  • Gymnastic and advanced bodyweight exercises replace the multiple strength-endurance exercises from before

Food Journals / Chris' Paleolithic Food Log
« on: January 09, 2010, 11:53:55 AM »
Hey there! I'm looking to use this as a good way of keeping me on track on the Paleo diet. I'm also going to make note of how my health is changing over time. If you want to make any comments, please feel free :)

Saturday 9th January 2010

Scrambled eggs (no milk used)

Cold roasted pork and ham meat with salad (spinach, iceberg lettuce, grapes; tossed with olive oil)


Sirloin steak with boiled carrots and parsnips

About 7 pints of water

So, this is my first day on the Paleolithic diet. I definitely felt tired after lunch from the drop in carbohydrates. Admittedly, I ate the banana and Clementine as a means to get some sugar in me, though it didn't really give me much of a boost (at least I kept the carbs Paleo!) I almost nodded off whilst lying on my bed, though had to quickly stop myself as I had to work with my Dad on the farm. I'm keeping things simple for now as I'm learning to cook alongside the change of diet. I've enjoyed my meals immensely and will look to keep it up tomorrow.

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