Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Personal Training - 4/12/11

Last night, we did our first joint personal training session. I think it went extremely well. here's what we did.

First, we did a quick 6-minute warmup on the treadmill together, just to get the blood flowing a bit. Then we did our three big stretches (both of us are super tight all along the backs of our legs, so we stretch glutes, hamstrings and calves) on the stretching tables. Then Gilles took us over to another couple of treadmills and had us do the climbing thing. Start out at 0% incline and a comfortable fast walking pace, then every minute, increase the incline by 2% until you get to 12, then increase to 15% for the last minute. I was wearing my HRM and after we got home I watched my heart rate graph just climb and climb while we were doing that. It's a very good way to slowly and steadily increase your heart rate, for sure. I think I got up to about 165 bpm or so.

That's the prep phase. I like it because it gets your really warm and gets your heart pumping, so the circuit training stuff just sorta keeps your heart rate high. Speaking of circuit training, that's what we did next. He took us over to a squat cage and brought a half-ball thingy called a Bosu, a floor mat and a medicine ball. He said he likes the squat cage for pushups because you can adjust the bar up and down to make them harder or easier. I hadn't thought of that, but it's really pretty ingenious. So we did 30-second stations. 30 seconds of pushups, then 30 seconds of squatting on the Bosu, 30 seconds of one-leg plank (half with each leg) and 30 seconds of "Chops," which is what he calls a v-sit with a medicine ball touching it side to side. Then a minute rest, then all the same, but for 40 seconds. Gilles is big on doing exercises that have progressions, which I like. Pushups too hard? Don't stop, just raise the bar and do easier pushups. Too easy? Put your feet on the bar and do the pushups on the floor (we're not there, so I'm guessing that's what you could do). Squatting on the ball too hard? Just stand on it, or squat a little higher. Too easy? Maybe do one leg standing and eventually one leg squatting. Again, we haven't gotten to that point, but I'm seeing how the exercises he's picking allow you to increase and decrease the difficulty across a whole range. Planks, you can do one leg, both legs or drop to your knees if you have to. The v-sits you can use the medicine ball, just sit, or sit and support with your hands behind your butt if you have to. That way you're not just wearing yourself out and twiddling your thumbs for the rest of the station, you get to keep working for the whole time.

Next, we took a decent break and then went and got some resistance bands with handles on them. We did shoulder presses and bicep curls. i tried to do the presses with the band, but the angles were weird and the bands just ended up rubbing on my arms the whole time. not the end of the world, but very distracting and uncomfortable. One thing I will mention is that Gilles had us take a different stance for shoulder presses than I usually do. He said that standing with your feet together (front and back-wise) has a tendency to make you lean back at the waist, which is bad for your back. So he had us put one foot forward and lean our chest out over the front leg and push up from there. It was different, but I could definitely tell that it took a lot of strain off my back. I was only using 10-pound dumbbells (when the band wasn't working so hot) and still struggling like mad after the pushups. For whatever reason, pushups make my shoulders tired before just about anything else. I think it's because they're one of my weakest links. I know my form is good, so I don't think that's the issue. Anyway, these shoulder presses with 10-pound dumbbells are really kicking my butt. I finish them out and we do resistance band bicep curls. Those aren't as bad. I can hang with those. Then we go back and do more shoulder presses. I'm really struggling. I finish them, but just barely. More curls. Gilles gets me 5-pound dumbbells for the next set of presses. I mention that I'm really glad that I'm married because I am picking up exactly zero chicks with my current lifting regimen. The 5-pounders are still tough. My shoulders are just freaking shot after the pushups. Gilles says he has some pink vinyl-covered 2.5 pounders he could grab, but he won't do that to me. I appreciate it. I manage to finish that set, then do my curls. He gives us a longer break for water and I'm able to pound out all the presses with the 5-pounders after that. Then he has us do the curls, but he has me keep doing them as fast as I can until Jenna finished hers.

We finish up with more stretches, and we're all done. Neither of us could really use our arms effectively. We drove through chick-fil-a to get non-fried chicken sandwiches because we weren't confident we'd be able to use our arms well enough to make food at home. I was so worn out I couldn't even pick the tomato off my sandwich. I just ate it. Like a chump. And it wasn't very good, but I did it anyway because I was starving and exhausted.

Here's what I learned: Every workout has four components, which I had learned previously: Cardio, Strength, Core and Stability. This time, Gilles actually went through them with us one by one and had us identify which component each of our workouts was working on. So for Cardio, the treadmill obviously, and also the quick pace of the circuit workouts. For Strength, basically everything. for Core, the planks and the chops, but also the bosu ball squats and the pushups to a lesser extent. For Stability, certainly the bosu ball and the chops, with the planks a little bit as well. He also asked us what we felt the focus of the workout was. We worked our legs a little and our cores a lot, but it was definitely mostly an upper body day. It was cool that he had us identify what we were doing and what it was working on for us. It's helping us figure out how to build routines for ourselves, how to put together circuits for different days, what exercises are good for what, and how they complement each other. That's all exactly the sort of stuff I wanted out of my training time.

So there you have it. Day one of our joint sessions. Thursday will be lower body, and we're both looking forward to that in a dread sort of way. Can't wait to see what Gilles has in store for us!

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