Even Easier Strength – Week 1 Update

As planned, last week I completed the first week of Dan John’s Even Easier Strength program.

Day 1 – 2×5 Deadlifts, Overhead Press, Seated Cable Row (3×5), Hip Thrust and three sets of farmer’s walks.

Day 2 – Ditto

Day 3 – 5/3/2 of all of the above lifts, plus three sets of farmer’s walks

Day 4 – 2×5 again + three sets of seated rows and farmer’s walks

Day 5 – 2×5 + three sets of seated rows and farmer’s walks

All in all, I feel pretty good. When I started my shoulders were a bit cranky with the overhead presses, but now, halfway through week two, I have no pain at all. That dovetails nicely with Matt Foreman’s book, where he posits that frequent movement makes your joints healthier.

Also, I love the quickness of the workouts. They have been taking me anywhere from 35-45 minutes, which for me is downright speedy. I am a slow worker-outer, usually piddling around for 60-90 minutes. With Even Easier Strength, I even have time for pre-workout mobility and stretching and still get through everything in a timely manner without taking all freaking day. Win.

My diet was absolute shit, though. What else is new? Working on getting the daily lifting a habit, then eating better a habit.

 

Ending Radio Silence

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The last few months have been pretty crazy around this place. Large numbers of bovines have needed to be fed and watered every day. LIttle tiny, impossibly cute bovines have needed to be picked up out of snow banks and creek bottoms where their mothers inexplicably decided to give birth to them. Chickens need to be hand fed – literally, fed out of my hand – because getting down on the floor to eat with the other evolved dinosaurs is just too hard. Eh, whatever. She’s a good listener while she’s eating, and I don’t get to town much, and I need someone to tell all my problems to. And so on, and so forth…

The Lean Eating program is going fairly well. Basically, it’s just a series of habits. Every two weeks they give us a new habit to practice (eat five servings of vegetables per day, for example.) Each habit builds on the one before. I must say, it is a highly effective method of reaching a goal. It’s much more achievable than saying “I’m going to eat ultra strict Paleo for the next 90 days,” and before three days are out you are standing in front of the pantry scarfing down chocolate chips out of the bag.

OK, maybe that’s just me.

What I’m trying to say is that taking lots of little baby steps and forming a pattern and a habit seems to me to be more effective than taking one giant leap at once.

The Lean Eating program also includes an optional workout routine (optional, but they really try to push you into doing it.) I did it for the first week, but I found it incredibly boring. Split squats, stability ball leg curls, band pull-downs, etc. Not my cup of tea.

Calving was coming up, and I needed to build some raw strength fast, so I did a Dan John 40 day program, which took me up to about the last week of March. I’ll go into detail with my results and thoughts on that in a future post.

Once calving season started all semblance of a schedule flew out the window, so I basically did some quick kettlebell complexes or swing workouts whenever I had a spare moment. Fun stuff. More on calving + kettlebells in a future post as well.

Now, with calving winding down (two heifers left – push ’em out, girls!) I’m up for a new challenge. I have been fascinated with Gym Jones for a long time, and I anted up the money to subscribe to their site. I have access to all their online training programs, articles and videos. Starting this week I am (fingers crossed) going to start their Women’s Foundation program. I’ll try to post every day what I’m doing. I won’t be able to be specific, of course. If you want one of their programs, pony up the money and subscribe.

It’s not easy to find an honest, unbiased account of an extremely average woman doing a Gym Jones program, so maybe this next month’s blog account will be of interest or use to someone.

Let the adventure begin!

No Fruit For You!

As I mentioned before, I signed up for Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating program this year.

Basically, it’s an online coaching program for people who want to lose body fat and lean up. I did try one of those before, and it was a disaster. Coincidentally, it also had the word “Lean” in it’s name, but it was nothing like this program.

It was my fault for not researching better, but the first program basically was a cookie cutter (no pun intended) low carb program. You weren’t even allowed to eat fruit. Well, that’s not true – you were allowed one “cheat meal” per week and that is when you were allowed to eat fruit or starchy veggies like sweet potatoes.

That might work for men, but in my opinion you have to be very careful in implementing low carb diets with women. That’s an express ticket on the thyroid disfunction train right there. In my personal experience, I lose weight faster and easier on a whole foods diet (including fruit and starchy veg) that I do on a low carb diet.

That is probably not true for everyone, but it is very true for me. I do not lose weight on a low carb diet, and I’m miserable the whole time. Strike one for the first “Lean” coaching program.

You were also supposed to have unlimited access to your coach, but I only heard from mine one time (to tell me not to eat fruit, after I entered it in my first log), despite me repeatedly asking questions. At first I gave them the benefit of the doubt, thinking maybe they were too busy. Then after about a month I accidentally stumbled on a way to see if your coach had even looked at your logs. Mine didn’t – not once after the first food log I entered.

I thought, “Hey screw that. I’m not paying someone $65 a month to ignore me and tell me not to eat fruit or my contract will be terminated.” Strike two.

So I just quit doing it, and they never charged me again, despite my having signed on for a six month term. Guess they didn’t even care enough to bill me. Strike three, you’re out there!

I was (understandably) reluctant to enter into another coaching program, but after a frustrating year in which I got injured, got sick, got frustrated, and got fat, I decided I needed help. One day Krista Scott Dixon (aka Stumptuous) had an article about PN’s Lean Eating program and I just decided to do it. The opportunity to win $25,000 didn’t hurt, either.

So far, I’m one week in, and I love it. No cookie cutter diets, no one to threaten to terminate me if I eat a strawberry. There are daily lessons, daily habits to practice (starting with taking fish oil and a probiotic), and workout prescriptions.

Oh, and an awesome coach and an fantastic group of women to be on my “team.”

Rock on!

Liquid Alfalfa and Other Miscellaney

Still trudging up and down mount doom periodically. One day the wind was howling about thirty miles an hour, which was ok on the way down as it was at my back. But the trip back to the top with that in my face, whooo boy! It honestly felt like I was pulling a 200 pound sled behind me. One trip was enough that day.

I got into Precision Nutrition’s Lean Eating program for this year. I even got the coach that I wanted, so I’m super excited to be starting that.

It officially started this week, and the first thing they asked us to do was take fish oil and a probiotic. I mistakenly thought we were going to take fish oil and a multivitamin, so that is what I planned for. When you are 85 miles from the nearest burg of civilization, you better be able to plan well.

My options for vitamin purchase were Walgreens, GNC or WalMart. The only multi I found that didn’t have soy and/or wheat added was a powdered greens mix at GNC.

I’ve never tried the powdered greens before (obviously, or I wouldn’t have bought it) and I thought, “Hey, it’s got natural flavors! Can’t be that bad!”

Oh, the flavors are natural, all right.

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Mmmmm. Natural flavors.

I mixed it up and took a sniff. Uh-oh. It smelled EXACTLY like the alfalfa cubes I feed to the cows. EXACTLY!

Trembling with trepidation, I lifted it to my lips and chugged it. Yep, it also TASTED exactly like the alfalfa cubes I feed the cows.

And, yeah, I really have tried the alfalfa cubes. If you stand around watching cows blissfully eat something for long enough, eventually you think “I wonder what that tastes like?” Or maybe that’s just me.

Also, ranching is messy. Sometimes stuff gets in your mouth.

Anyway, I’m really glad I didn’t shell out $77 bucks for the Athletic Greens stuff. But, like my grandma always used to say “You never would have known if you hadn’t tried it.”