6: Exercise

Section 6: Exercise
Exercise is a broad subject, and if you don’t know much about weight lifting or how to properly train aerobically than you should refer to a good book, anyway. Although not a Caveman diet book, we recommend Body for Life by Bill Phillips, his simple explanations on how to exercise is spot on and the book is filled with good pics on proper form.

If there is any topic on the bookshelf that might give “dieting” a run for its money, it’s “exercise.” And just as I wrote about dieting, that nobody has a patent on the one best method, the same goes for all of these myriad workout schemes. That being said, you won’t get anywhere if you ride an exercise bike for three hours or if you lift light weights–for instance you lift a five-pound weight fifty times because you want to get “toned.” That’s total bullshit. The only thing you will get is tennis elbow and in the way of someone who wants to use the bench. Unfortunately this is the workout most women were taught at some point in their lives and still follow.

If you are exercising to lose weight, you will want to be workout out six days a week, trading off between strength training and aerobic HIIT training.

Rules to Losing Weight with Exercise:
Rule #1: Lift weights.
Rule #2: Lift heavy. If you can do more than ten reps, you need to be lifting more weight. It goes for men and women. You want to lose weight, you need to lift weights.
Rule #3: Lift more weight than you did the last time.
Rule #4: Don’t lift weights more than 45 minutes.
Rule #5: Exercise aerobically using High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT).
Rule #6: Don’t train aerobically for more than 20 minutes.
Rule #7: Eat a balanced meal within 30 minutes of finishing workout.
Rule #8: Workout six days a week, trading off between strength training and aerobic HIIT training.

There is a reason why there are muscle gyms that only allow serious, knowledgeable body builders to join them, it’s because all the other gyms are filled with jokers pushing chains and getting in the way. Someone surmised that most people don’t go to a gym to workout, they go to a gym to be able to tell other people they work out. I think it’s true. Or to pick up chicks. Most people in a 24-Hour Fitness are not working out. Anyone riding a bike while reading a magazine is not working out. Anyone chatting between reps or sets is not working out. Anyone who has the energy to watch TV while stair-stepping is not working out.  Anyone who brings their mobile phone into the gym and takes or makes calls is not working out. And if you have been to a gym lately, this covers most people, maybe even you. We’ve all done it–it’s because we didn’t know better. I used to sit on the bike for a whole hour and watch TV, never breaking a sweat. Then pick up a girl. People working out are sweating, grunting, panting, and gasping. People on The Biggest Loser are working out. If you want to lose weight, this should be you.

Lifting weights is the most important thing you can do to lose weight. When you lift weights you not only burn calories but you also build muscles, and muscles, just sleeping muscles, burn calories. Sleeping, or waking, fat does nothing, it’s not metabolically active. If you are a woman, you won’t bulk up and look like a Russian power lifter. Women don’t have the testosterone to build muscles like men. There are other positives to weight lifting that the elliptical trainer can’t grant:

  • Kicks up your metabolism for 24-hours post workout.
  • Increases lean body mass which burns more calories and prevents loss of lean body mass that can happen when dieting or aging.
  • Tones and shapes your body.
  • Strengthens bones, joints, and connective tissue.
  • Increases your strength and prevents injuries.

Your strength workout should be no more than 45 minutes long. This means you will be racing to get through your prescribed workout, also causing you to pant and sweat, basically working out aerobically as well. Workouts longer than 45 minutes open you to potential injury as you become tired, also you lose focus.

You will want to keep track of your progress, how much you lifted on a daily basis, in a notebook. Again, we’re not going to cover what exercises you should do or what workout schedule you should follow, Body for Life and other books describe in detail the resting times between sets and reps and how to draft upper and lower body workouts, but when you do step into that gym you need to have your workout planned. You should never go into a gym and look around to try and decide what exercise you will do first, then second, etc. Sit down and sketch out your plan at breakfast or the night before. Enter the gym with a purpose. Look at the clock, 45 minutes to go–complete the exercises on schedule and write down the weight lifted and reps completed as you go.

And the next time you are in the gym doing the same exercise, you need to add weight or a rep to it. Never do the same amount, never ever do less–you must always increase the amount of work, Rule #3. Always.

When it comes to choosing the exercises for your strength training workout there are some good guidelines to follow that will help with the dizzying array of choices:

1) Chose multi-joint exercises over single-joint exercises. The more joints engaged and muscles fired the better. For instance, both pushups and bench press workout your chest, but the pushup engages your entire body in the process, building coordination and overall body strength. A seated leg press is ok, but a back squat, which engages your entire body, is better. Of course you can’t avoid single-joint exercises, but this guideline is more to push you toward big multi-joint exercises, bringing us to our next point:
2) The two best strength training exercises are the back squat and dead lift. Neither are dangerous if done properly, and don’t use one of those big belts, they actually can lead to injury. If I had to chose only one exercise, it would be the back squat. It uses every muscle in your body.  And you are able to lift a sizable amount of weight, and the more you lift, the more calories you burn and more muscles you gain.
3) Pushups, pullups, body squats, and dips are fabulous exercises. You don’t need to use weights all the time. If you can’t do pushups, start on your knees. Many gyms have bands that assist you with dips or pullups.
4) Avoid the Smith Machine, and most other machines. Machines lock your body and movements in place, are single-joint focused, making you susceptible to injury as well as not affording you the chance to build strength, balance, and coordination from muliti-joint exercises that use movable weights like dumbbells. Leave the machines open so teenage girls can sit on them and send text messages.

Crossfit Option
If you are interested in Crossfit training or are engaged in Crossfit training, you can substitute this for the weight training.

The Aerobic Workout

You will want to also workout aerobically, but as stated, no more than 20 minutes at a go. This 20 minutes should be intense and have you wishing you were dead.  You should follow the HIIT or High-Intensity Interval Training model.

A HIIT session on, for instance, an eliptical trainer, consists of a warmup period of two minutes followed by six to ten minutes of intense exercise interspaced with six to ten minutes of medium intensity exercise, followed by a cooldown. The session should last for at least fifteen minutes but no more than twenty.

You can utilize HIIT on a stationary bike, stair-stepper, jogging, cycling, running etc.

If you are exercising to lose weight, you will want to be workout out six days a week, trading off between strength training and aerobic HIIT training.

Post Workout
When you are done with your workout, make sure you eat one of your meals within 30 minutes of completing it. Studies have shown that your muscles will be ready to take in nutrients during this 30-minute window than at any other time. Try and eat protein and carbs, as the carbs help to move the proteins into the cells. But if you’re on the <50g or <40g regime, you won’t be able to eat too many.

What if my workout partner wants to workout in some other way?
It’s easier to workout alone than with a partner while you are on an individual weight loss regime. If you need a spot for something like a bench press, ask someone to jump in.
When I do the exercise it hurts! Oh, it hurts!
It depends on the type of pain. If it is a sharp pain, like a tear, or a deep pain, you will need to stop what you are doing, ice it, seek medical attention etc. If it is a dull “my old joints are feeling it” sort of pain or your knees are creaking, you should keep pushing yourself. Your joints will become stronger and after a month or two you will be over the hump.
If 20 minutes of aerobic exercise is good, than why would 120 minutes be six times as good?
Aerobic over training can lead to repetitive stress type injuries. But more ironically, when you put your body through hours of elliptical training or stair-stepping, you induce stress and your body will go into it’s survival/starvation mode and actually hamper you efforts to burn fat.
Can’t I do aerobic HIIT in the morning, and lift weights at night, getting in double the workouts per week?
Your body needs to rest in order to build muscles and recover from the previous workout. Two days minimum. Piling workout on top of workout hampers your ability to recover and build muscle and joint/tendon strength. If you feel as if you have the energy to workout twice a day, than you did not workout hard enough the first time.

Section 1: Introduction to the Caveman Diet
Section 2: Introduction to Dieting in General
Section 3: Introduction to Weight Loss
Section 4: The Caveman Diet to Lose Weight
Section 5: Menu planning
Section 6: Exercise