Category Archives: Workouts

Nutrition – the last 7 days

As you can see, this is showing that I have under eaten by approx. 1,409 calories over the past 7 days. This has to be viewed with a fair amount of scepticism. Now that my shoulders are improving week on week, I have been pushing up the poundage on my weight training with a view to adding some muscle. To this end I had initially increased the calories to give me a surplus of around 3,000 – 5,000 per week. Thinking this would allow me to add 1 – 2 pounds of muscle each week. The trouble was although I was adding muscle, I was worried I was also adding too much fat, so I scaled this back.

I’ve been working towards adding some muscle bulk now for around 6 weeks and so far have added approx 9 lb of muscles and 1 lb of fat. Which I am very happy with. The trouble is that I know that this is technically not possible to do this while under eating so what’s going on? Continue reading


Shoulder rehab exercises

This is pretty much what my current shoulder rehab programme looks like.

Takes me about 45 mins. At the moment very light weights, 10 – 20 reps x 3 sets per exercise. I am hopping to build up to 3 x 8 reps with a progressively more weight over the next six weeks. At which time I’ll reduce the workouts from three times a week to twice a week to allow more recovery time to compensate for the extra load.

Enjoy running – it’s good for you

As anyone who has followed this blog for the past month or so will know I have undertaken programme of running aimed at building my base cardio ability while I rehab my left shoulder. I’m also trying to do this (with some small success as being short and muscular I’m not a natural distance runner) on a high fat/low carb diet.

I’ve blogged a few times here and here on some research that I have found that suggests that this should be perfectly possible, and underlying this has been my assumption that distance running was a perfectly natural and healthy thing to do. I don’t mean 10+ hours a week full on marathon training, what I’m talking about is an hour or so at an easy pace a couple of times a week.

I have thought of writing a post on this subject in some detail for a while, but having seen these two excellent posts today I think I’ll save myself the bother, because both of these excellent posts pretty much sum up exactly how I feel about the subject.

Here’s a few excerpts to give you a flavour, but please read the whole articles.

The first is called There’s running and there’s running over at Train Now Live latter

Art Devany’s blog post, Top Ten Reasons Not to Run Marathons was my first exposure to an emerging doctrine on exercise, which ultimately led me into the Paleo/Primal arena and to the more general principle that exercise patterns that do not mimic our ancestral ones – such as the kind of training marathon runners perform – are likely to be bad for us.

Recently Kurt at PāNu re-opened the topic in the Paleo blogging sphere with his post, Still not Born to Run. Chris at Conditioning Research added some little insight with his post Long Distance Running – Bad for the Heart and drew some interesting conversations from commenters, some of whom raised the point I am going to make here.

There is a fundamental problem with the debate about whether or not running is good for you, or whether we were ‘born to run.’ Simply – there are different ways of running; and the problem with many of the studies fuelling the debate is that they use as their subjects the types of runners whose training program is about as far from our ancestral activity patterns as it’s possible to get – elite distance runners.

Let’s say that once per week I jog in Vibram Five Fingers for 3 hours around my local hills at a pace allowing me to easily chat with my running partner at a sub-150 heart rate. Am I having the same effect on my body as an elite marathoner who spends at least 10 hours per week in Nikes on the road with a much more aggressive heart rate profile?

Clearly not.

Yet we both run; we are both ‘runners’; we are both endurance ‘athletes’ in the loosest sense of the word.

So until someone studies some real people running in all the different ways it’s possible to run, I won’t pay too much attention to the headlines and will carry on running, sticking to a pattern that feels appropriate given what I’ve read and my own instinct.

The second is titled Born to run over at Free the Animal

The other arguments against running that pop up in the LC world usually have to do with negative medical consequences. I’m sorry, but no one has ever conducted a valid, long term study of the effects of running on health, because no one has EVER had a big enough population of runners eating a species-appropriate diet to make a valid sample, free from the influence of a toxic diet.

One LC blogger begrudgingly said that diet might have something to do with health problems among runners… Might? MIGHT?!?! The enormous and horrendous health problems of our nation can be linked directly to the crappy USDA food pyramid diet, and runners are the worst carboholics! In Advanced Marathoning, by Pete Pfitzinger (one of the most popular distance training books), there is a section entitled “Hope You Like Carbs.” An entire industry exists to provide runners with little packets of sugar-gels they can suck down every 20 minutes. It’s insane to study these people as a model of runners’ health! You might as well study heroine addicts to determine the health effects of wearing denim. I suppose they could study the tribes that still practice Persistence Hunting, but instead they insist on sticking sugar burners on treadmills.

Workout 27 March

  • Running 45 mins – nice and slow
  • Leg extensions 5 x 10-12 (slow)
  • Leg curls 5 x 10-12 (slow)
  • Shoulder rehab – Press-ups, internal and external cable pulls, shrugs, triceps pull downs

Arthur Jones and High Intensity Training

Colorado experiment

Casey Viator before and after the Colorado experiment

Arthur Jones was one of the giants of modern body building, and his ideas are still controversial in the body building world today. He was famously the originator of High Intensity Training.  A training method he developed in the 70’s  that relied on short, single sets with high intensity (always to failure), which, according to Jones, triggers maximal muscular growth.

Jones was a highly unconventional man. Born on November 22 1926 in Mrilton, Arkansas, both his parents were doctors. Jones taught himself to read and by the time he was 5 he could understand both German and English Newspapers [1]. He started flying planes at the age of 13 and maintained a log of every flight he ever made (14,090 flights, 17,393.6 hours, across every state in America and 56 countries [1]. He joined the Navy in 1941 (at only 15) with almost a perfect test score on the entry exam. After the war Jones lived in Mexico, South America and Africa, before returning to America where he invented several weight training exercise machines and most famously created the Nautilus company to produce and market his Nautilus machines. He then went on to founded MedX Corporation, in which he invested millions to develop medical-based exercise and testing equipment. Jones was also the creator of the “Jumbolair” estate, 350 acres (1.4 km²) of wildlife sanctuary for orphaned African elephants and other wildlife.

He had great success with his training methods, and many famous world-class body builders, including; Casey Viator, Mike Mentzer, Sergio Oliva & Dorian Yates credit his methods with their success. Continue reading

A break from the steady state cardio today.

  • Tabata protocol: Stationary bike level 25: 20 second @70 revolutions per minute/10 seconds rest x 8
  • Dead lifts: 90 kg 5 x 10
  • Shoulder rehab: Pressups, cable pulls, shrugs, rows, bicep curls, triceps extensions (all 5 x 12-20)

A look at Tabata training

mechanically braked bicycle ergometer

Bicycle ergometer, similar to the one used for the original Tabata training tests.

Tabata training

Regular readers will know that I am currently undertaking a training block aimed at improving my base aerobic capacity and that I’m primarily using long, slow treadmill and bike sessions to do this. But today I thought I would have a quick look at Tabata training because a) towards the end of this block I will be doing some High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) and b) a lot of people keep telling me that I am wasting my time with the steady state cardio and all I need to do are some Tabatas.

What is the Tabata protocol?

Tabatas or Tabata training protocol training are phrases that are very popular now, particularly among the primal online community. However, very few people seem to know what the original Tabata[1] training was and as a result mostly what they are doing is actually a kind of more generalised HIIT.

The Tabata method is a training method named after Izumi Tabata and is based on a series of experiments he did on interval training, the results of which were published together with K Nishimura and M Kouzaki in 1996 in a publication called Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise in a paper called, “Effects of moderate-intensity endurance and high-intensity intermittent training on anaerobic capacity and VO2max”.

What Tabata did was to compare one group who did nothing but steady state cardio with another who did a mixture of steady state cardio and HIIT. All exercises were done on a stationary exercise bike.

Tabata and his colleagues looked primarily at two functions: VO2 Max and accumulated oxygen deficit (AOD). AOD is actually a test of anaerobic capacity not aerobic capacity (a very important fact and one that is often overlooked).

The control group carried out a standard steady state aerobic training program, where they exercised 5 days/week at 70% VO2 max for 60 minutes on a stationary bike at 70 RPM for the entire 6 weeks. Tabata tested the subjects and increased the resistance on the bikes each week to make sure that as their fitness improved the resistance was increased to keep them exercising at a constant 70% of VO2.

The second group undertook the Tabata’s version of HIIT.  For four days each week of the experiment they did 7-8 sets of 20 seconds at 170% of VO2 max with 10 seconds rest between sets. If more than 9 sets could be completed, the wattage was increased by 11 watts.  When the subjects couldn’t maintain 85 RPM, the test was stopped. For the fifth day they did 30 minutes of steady state cardio/aerobic exercise at 70% of VO2 max followed by 4 sets of the Tabata HIIT exercise but this session was designed to be not exhaustive. Continue reading