Wednesday, March 30, 2011

End of the summer season - primal learnings

So that's it, Summer is done. Wistful Autumn is here!

What primal mindfuls do I have so far?

  1. You can have too much of a good thing. I tend to think of myself as a mindful eater, but it's still easy to fool yourself into thinking you are in control when really you ain't! It's always good to step back and take a look at the bigger picture to see the real story. The same for training - I tried to gulp down as much outdoor primal activity as I could, but I needed more balance to get the most out of it.
  2. Barefoot versus Shoes. It turns out for me it's not a war of two philosophies, rather it is about "if the shoe fits". By that I mean; barefoot is great for some things, like feeling good on your feet outdoors, and training more in tune with nature, and developing strength that you can't do with shoes. But shoes are a performance aid, and when you want to attack an event that requires foot protection - the shoe fits.
  3. Renewed respect for nature. I love it and fear it. Playing in nature is one of the greatest things in life, but it can bite you back when you least expect it. 
  4. You need to speed up and slow down. My current thinking; CrossFit training gets you more comfortable with the uncomfortable, whereas Primal training is a bit more"zen". I think the intensity of CrossFit (or other aggressive sports) and the  flow of Primal training (or MovNat, or other chilled or exploratory sports) are both required for true balance.
So over Autumn I will be in search of balance, that's what all the above is really about after all... 

Monday, March 28, 2011

Primal Guinea Pigs Gone Bad

Bad Guinea Pig!

The Primal Guinea Pigs have gone bad!

After a good start from the um...start, the PGP's have all fallen from grace.
Wife and Sister In Law have pulled the work/life stress card, food standards have slid, training is minimal.
Work colleague has actually been very good with the food, but a bit slack on the training. And she had an impressive carb binge in the weekend! check it out!!!

To be honest, I have not been a good mentor, I have not held their hands through the process,  - more like cut them adrift...and my own un-primal food binging has crept up lately (photos withheld).

So what are we gonna do about it? REGROUP!

I have booked a potluck dinner date for us all to get together and eat-talk primal. And from there it will be time to set the next fitness assesment. Dates and events create motivation! Maybe we will find a race to enter...this one looks good:

Go the primal Guinea Pigs!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

My primal favourites week: workouts with rocks, rabbit chasing, tree climbing, log lifting and movement through uneven terrain…

Monday Rock workout:
Using appropriate weight rocks…20 ground to overhead (touch and go), 10 overhead lunges, rock rolls for 10m out and back, farmers walk, uphill run with rugby ball shaped rock – 10 rock throws. Run back.
Only did 3 rounds - was running late
Cows kept me company; extra skill factor was having to doge the cow pats. Whoops, I don’t have that much skill…

Tuesday rabbit chasing:
I chased 14 rabbits in total. Only one good run though of about 350m, all the others were short staggers on uneven terrain. This was probably the most fun workout of the week! You never know when you are going to run until you spot the rabbit, and you never know where you are going to end up running. The one constant is that the rabbits disappear as soon as you take your eyes off them…

Wednesday tree play:
This session is tree based and basically “does what the tree tells you to do”. There are 5 trees; tree 1 is the pull-up/muscle up/jump up tree, number 2 is the climb and circle tree, and under branch shimmy, tree 3 is the jump climb tree with 4 different approaches, tree 4 is similar but is jump and swing through and land, rather than climb. Tree 5 is basically an upper body merry goes round.
Man it was dark! I had to use caution and did not find the KSO Treks that great on the trees – need to be able to jam my feet in more.
 I had fun putting a little circuit together on tree 4 with jump ups and descents that started to get a good flow on.

Thursday log workout:
5 commando pull-ups on a tree (shoulder to branch), 5 log clean & squats, 2 rock cleans and throws over a fallen tree, 5 log clean 7 overheads, walk down hill, heavy rock farmers walk, 3 log flips, over the shoulder log carry uphill and back.
This morning was even darker! I trained with DC, and I was a little worried about him getting hurt. Turns out I should have worried more about myself! I had some great humpty dumpty falls – due to slippery shoes I had on, and the darkness made a huge difference. Usually I can walk uphill with a log on my shoulder fairly well, but it was nearly impossible that morning. That said, the falling was quite fun, I had it under control, and no real injuries.

Friday – “the Grid”
This is called the Grid because you cut a grid through uneven terrain in a varied natural obstacle course. There are tight squeezes under logs, balance walking along branches, crawling through a small tunnel, a blindfolded uphill bear crawl, tree climbing and rock climbing.
I was tired from the weeks training and just did this session as one short round of movement therapy.

This week has got too dark for good primal training so I have adjusted my next week to be “dark friendly’ and then I will do one final primal week in good light after daylight savings ends.

So who else is doing this stuff out there? It’s not just training – it’s living!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

My Primal Training: Respect Week - March

It's been a tough training week - I have been breaking my own rules of avoiding chronic cardio by doing my "Primal Extreme" programme for a little too long (like all summer) - it should really only be about a month long as a kinda "boot camp" extra effort.  But I have been greedy for primal workouts I guess.

I did my Mt Eden workout - it's got a rope climb, hill clambering, trail running, downhill bear crawling, some tree climbing, plus sit-ups, lunges and burpees for good measure! I was enjoying it so much I did an extra rope climb and hill clamber at the end.

Hill Sprints...8 x 200 or so metres. This was just pain - my hill starts gradually and builds up just when the lactic starts to kick in- ugh!  I wore the Vibrams for this and they were good, they seem to be best for my "barefoot" sprint workouts so far.

"The Ditch Jumper" - this one is pretty bootcampish - it starts with some rock squats, some extended ditch jumps (jump down, climb back up, jump down etc), a sprint to a small hill with some repeated climbs/descents, more ditch jumping followed by a good solid session of monkey bar work such as dead hang pull ups, parrallette push ups, dips, knees to elbows, vaults, box jumps, verticle jumps, bear crawling and some other stuff...

"MovNat 101" - this one is like a "buffet of Movnat inspired activities". It starts with balance beam walking(the darkness in early morning made this more difficult than usual - I had to bail out a few times!), tree climbing, a field sprint, some running through trees, boulder climbing, hill clambering and crab walk descents, log lifting and uphill walking over uneven terrain, finished up with some rock lifting and throwing.

"Hill Attack". I trained with Dave (DC) on this one - nice to have some company on this fairly grueling workout. This one "attacks' the hills, or volcanic craters in our case at One Tree Hill. The format is simple; we have  three craters to attack, all with three sides that have a different role to play. The first side is the "sprint effort" - usually it is so steep that it is more of a staggering bear crawl than a run. The decent is best done crab walk style, although it can get pretty close to skiing instead. Quite good fun.
The opposite side is the less steep option, and calls for an uphill and downhill bear crawl, although in the steepest parts it becomes more of an army style arm crawl.(yep, that counts as upper body...)
The last ascent is the 'long effort" and it a pure endurance effort of between 150 to 300 or so metres depending on the crater. Just get on up!
We do easy "transport running" in between craters, and after the nine hill repeats the finisher is a long clamber to the top of One Tree Hill, while the rabbits laugh at us because our legs are so useless by then we pose no threat to them at all.

So I have noticed that my primal workouts that fit into the "respect" week are all very bootcamp style. Next week will be quite different - it's my favourites week! It will be much more akin to MovNat, very elemental with workouts based around rocks, trees, logs, rabbit chasing and movement on uneven terrain. I will try and get some video of some of it.
Till then!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Harmony Beef & Bacon Sausages!

It's about time I did a food post.  I LOVE FOOD! Real food makes me happy - clean taste, clean feel. Ever since I have been eating paleo/primal/caveman or whatever, I have been much more into cooking.  My wife is not complaining, in fact she would be glad for me to cook every night these days. It's weird, but I get the same feeling from cooking that I do when I am doing some artwork. Enjoying that creative process, and tranquility.

When I started out I clung on to about half a dozen or so recipes that I followed religiously, and that was ok. Now I am much more intuitive, based around the very simple concept of protein + veges + flavour. Flavour being anything from pure butter to spices, to selected herbs from the garden. I have got to the stage where I enjoy the challenge of making a taste sensation out of whatever is left in the fridge or pantry. Real food never lets you down! Here's a dish that I made up like that - it probably doesn't sound that amazing, but I had fun making it  - luxuriating in the green colours of the grated courgette mixing with the browns of the mushrooms, the smell of the butter merging with the garlic - mmmm!

Anyway - here's the flow of it;

Ghee melted on a medium heated pan, some garlic, then a whole  bag of mushrooms, sliced. A little time to settle in, then I added some grated courgette (2) and a couple of sliced capsicums with 4 chopped tomatoes, plus some kumara I had precooked. While all those guys made friends, I cooked the beef & bacon sausages in another pan, in some ghee.

By the way, did I mention that these sausages kick ass? Harmony know what good meat is, and in doing so they take sausages out of the realm of "processed food' back to the real food camp - yeah it's good for you! 

From here I just added  some herbs from my garden that I felt would add flavour in the right way - rosemary, tarragon and basil. End result? Kinda a risotto - ish/roast flavour mix that might be better suited to winter in that it created "cosy" feelings. It got the thumbs up from the wife and that's the main thing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

The North Shore Coastal Challenge 2011

(sorry for this popping up here, I am still learning about blogging and needed to re post it!)

Ok, so this Saturday March 5th we (Me, Mat peters and Dave Carran - AKA the relay team "The Complex Carbs") did the Coastal Challenge together, 3 legs of 11k each doing the Arkles Bay to Devonport
Run - Walk - Wade - Scramble - Rock Hop!

Our main aim was just to enjoy it all and have some primal fun. The weather was completely different to the previous weeks, pouring rain! At least the air was warm, and the sea was warmer.  I was in trouble at the beginning - I couldn't get the tune from Guy Sebastian out of my head (jokes), I have heard it on the radio too much - "who's that girl? just walked into the club?" Oh god! Luckily it went straight out of my head at the start of the race - it could have been ugly if that tune had followed me out onto the course.
I got a good start which is what I like to do, probably around 10 people in front of me when we hit the cliffs. All the primal training I did about 3-4 weeks  out had definitely got me enough stamina to play with for my leg of the race. I was trialling the Vibram Five Fingers My initial review here. Here is what I learnt!

I love my vibrams, but they suck in a race over technical rock terrain. I thought I had got it sorted out during training, but it's different on race day. I always had my doubts, and they were confirmed. So they are great for training in - they make you more skilled and stronger - but when it comes to racing I want some good off road shoes for when I smash my foot on the rocks! Brian MacKenzie of CrossFit Endurance got it right on his Unscared' blog when he compared shoe running to barefoot when it comes to race performance. go the innov8. But go barefoot for training sometimes - it's good for you. I saw quite a few others out there with Vibrams on - I wonder how they found it?

Oh yeah, results-wise, we cam 5th out of 21 teams, 3rd in the 3 team member category. But much more importantly, we had great FUN! I felt pretty damn close to nature that's for sure. There were some great fellow athletes out on the course - I respected the company.  

It's funny though how even when you are not being that competitive, you still want to get good results when you have finished the event. My primal training so far has been really good fun, and does get me pretty fit, but not as fit as when I do CrossFit. However, I have some more primal training experiments to perform on myself yet, and the next one is to create a weekly format that is a hybrid of Primal-CrossFit

Friday, March 11, 2011

Training - W/C March 7th

I have one more full month of pure primal training before I switch into maintenance mode as we head into Winter. So following my system (which is more for my mind than my body) last week I did all new workouts that I had never done before. At this stage that means borrowing from Mark's Daily Apple for some "Workout's Of The Week" or "WOWs" for some easily adopted primal workouts.

Monday was very basic - a 25 minute climb session.
 I just found some of my favourite boulders at One Tree Hill and climbed up and down them for about half an hour. Simple.

Tuesday was a sprint-walk-sprint-repeat session.

Complete 15 minutes of:
6-second Sprint
6-second Sprint

 I did this in the Vibrams and they were great for this. I found 6 trees to act as a measure that were spaced out about how long it took me to sprint 6 seconds. This one was pure joy and I will be doing this again and again. Pure speed!

Wednesday - the-sweatstone  - break out the rocks!

1 cycle for time:
25 Meters Stone Crawl Push x 4
10 Shot Puts (5 each hand)
10 Overhead Throws
10 Chest Throws

I already have some rock based workouts so I was a bit snobbish about doing this one, but it turned out to be a good one. So it's worth trying new things right?!

Thursday - my workout this time - I trialled a workout that  I created a while back that is Parkour based, - "Parkour primer" - this involved the APK warm up to start with (just the 3 rounds circuit), followed by rail drills alternated with a vault circuit. I had planned to do more, but I was stuffed! I reckon I might add some wall skill work such as wall shimmys, and head to my fave wall for jumps and rolls there. More to be done here, but it shows promise. It takes longer to make your own workouts than to borrow one but it is more rewarding in the long term. Over the next few weeks I will be doing 10 primal workouts all created by myself, and they are my favourites.

Friday and it's back to  MDA's for the last new workout for the week; the explosion-complex.

5 cycles of:
10 Russian Lunges (5 each leg)
8 Explosive Clapping Pushups
5 Explosive Pullups
5 Weight Tosses

I loved this one, short and sweet, it's gonna be a fave.

So all in all, the Marks Daily Apple WOWs are great! Next week I am doing the "respect" week - tough workouts that I grudgingly endure for my own good...