Tuesday, June 1, 2010

The Proper Protocal

A friend of mine posted this in her status update on FaceBook the other day.

"If you join a FB page, it and your comments come up when you are searched in Google."

So out of curiosity I googled myself. I used to only have on or two things come up but it looks like I've become quite busy. Several months ago I posted a question about Kettlebells vs Clubbells on one of Scott Sonnan's blogs. I had forgotten all about my question and when it came up in my search I discovered that Scott Sonnan had replied to my query.

I stumbled onto Scott Sonnan's training videos when I was searching for some exercises to do for my knees that were hurting. First I found his joint mobility DVD, then later I found his "Grappler's Toolbox" which was pretty cool because I had started taking BJJ classes. Which then lead me to discover his "soft work" which looks strikingly like Systema. And then I stumbled onto the Clubbell Circular Strength Training one of Scott Sonnan's tradmarked programs. It looked pretty cool, made a lot of sense and I could see how it would be a nice addition to my growing collection of exercise knowledge, DVD's and equipment collection.

I bought my Clubbells about two and a half years ago. I also purchased Scott Sonnan's
"The Encyclopedia of Clubbell Training". I liked the idea of training with Clubbells very much. Scott's encyclopedia is quite thorough and easy to follow. I was very excited to embark on my Circular Strength Training adventure. Then a few short weeks later, my BJJ instructor moved our Womens' class to Sunday and added a Kettle Bell class in front of it. When I started to attend those classes I put my Clubbells on the back burner. Mostly because I felt I was getting the same benefits from the Kettle Bells that I would be getting from Clubbells and it was a class which makes it easier to commit. I played around with my Clubbells learned the exercises, methodically moved my way through the encyclopedia. But it was a little overwhelming to figure out how to integrate it with the rest of my strength training.

I liked the Kettle Bells from the very beginning. The workouts are short, about a half hour, and also intense. I like that. We have class three times a week which fits quite nicely with the rest of my training. Some of the movements remind me of Systema moves so I wanted my karate instructor to try it because I thought that it would be a nice compliment to our movements. This lead me to inquire about kettlebell certification and eventually becoming certified to teach. The certification was very thorough and interesting to me.
I'm learning so much. Each new inquiry leads me to something else. I haven't been this excited about learning in a long time. And I can see how ideas overlap and all of these things will contribute to making me a better martial artist and over all healthier and physically fit.

The more I learn about fitness the more I want to learn. It seems like the industry has changed a lot in the past 25-30 years. When I was in my twenties getting in shape was a bit humiliating. Aerobics was really big. I tried a few classes but never enjoyed them. And, well, it was in the eighties, so working out required spandex tights with leg holes that extended to the belly button. And it seemed like all the instructors to those classes were all extemely tall, unrealistically thin and blonde. I'm afraid it damaged my self esteem more than it helped it. I liked free weights. That was more my speed. When I was 20 I went to the dilapidated old gym at my university and poked around with my roommate for a few semesters. One of the guys, just a random nice guy, helped us out and gave us some ideas and a routine. It was grungy and not very crowded so I was quite comfortable in my t-shirt and sweats. I liked it a lot.

Viewing fitness through the eyes of a martial artist has grounded it in something more meaningful. If I had only known then what I know now. Martial arts crossed my path at least five times before I seriously considered doing it myself. And now here I am in the sunset side of my forties rolling around on the ground, putting people in arm bars, learning to take a hit as well as punching very hard. Doing burpees, and Kettle bell snatches and guy push ups. I think the universe gives us many many opportunities to discover the paths that we were intended to travel. We are exposed to things and if we are not quite ready to grasp it, the opportunity will come back to us again. In the past two years I have learned a wealth of information and it's exciting to learn, each pathway leads to the next.

Tabata protocol or high intensity interval training (HIIT) is something that I have only recently become aware of. It was developed in the nineties but it is growing in popularity. One of Scott Sonnan's latest training programs, "TACFIT" is based on the Tabata protocol. His program is more detailed than this but in a basic form a Tabata workout is six exercises or movements performed for 20 second bursts with a 10 second rest in between times eight. For the twenty seconds you are fully committed to do as many reps as you can. Rest 60 seconds between each exercise and continue to do all six exercises 20 seconds on, 10 seconds rest, for eight times. So the whole thing can be done in 20 minutes or so. In Tabata's study, the researchers found that people who used the routine five days a week for six weeks improved their maximum aerobic capacity (a measure of your body's ability to consume oxygen--the more oxygen you can take in, the longer and harder you'll be able to run) by 14%. It also improved anaerobic capacity (which measures your speed endurance, or the duration you're able to sprint at full effort) by 28%. So the Tabata Protocol is the rare workout that benefits both endurance athletes and sprinters. Tabata protocol is based on a 2:1 ratio and other interval training is based on a 3:1 ratio. It's difficult, it's not intended for people who are new to fitness. We do more of a 3:1 ratio in my regular kettle bell class but I have been flirting with incorporating the Tabata protocol into my workouts at home. I follow one of Scott Sonnan's TACFIT workouts. He has nine variations and a particular schedule and nutrition plan to use. But I'm still just trying it on for size as sort of an add on. I'm still at Level 1, program A.

Back to this blog where I made the comment. It was showing a series of clubbell exercises, 4 total. I knew the techniques. They are all in the Clubbell encyclopedia. Even though it is only 4 exercises he is suggesting to follow the Tabaat protocol for the workout. Back in September when I made the comment, Tabata workouts were unfamiliar but now eight months later I'm actually ready to try the workout. Last evening I did the four Clubbell exercises and then I added 8, 20 second rounds of push ups and another clubbell exercise that had a pulling motion to counter the pushing motion of the push ups. It was difficult but not impossible. Through Facebook the universe gave me another chance and this time I was ready for the challenge. I might even take Mr Sonnan's challenge to do it 2-3 times a week for the next three weeks.
If you want to see the workout just Google "Teresa Westkaemper" and it will come up.