The last year or so I’ve been trying to get in better shape but have had to start from a pretty low level. With the help of some pretty major weight loss (thanks to the Primal diet) and a steady exercise routine I’m ready to kick it up a notch or two. I’ve thought about joining a gym but wonder if I should put my money toward some home equipment instead. I’ve been pretty basic up to this point. Where would you suggest I start? Is it worth it for a beginner like myself to join a gym? I don’t think there are any CrossFit clubs where I live.
As you know by now, inefficient equipment can lead to great workouts. It’s why we prefer free weights to machines, and it’s why kettlebells, slosh tubes, and sandbags have gotten so much attention from us recently. The more work the equipment does for you, whether it’s a bench press machine keeping your press perfectly aligned or even a symmetrical dumbbell with perfect balance, the less work you’re actually performing. And a workout’s effectiveness depends exactly on that: the amount of work performed. Using symmetrical free weights like a barbell or a dumbbell is great and allows you to focus purely on moving tons of weight (a form of work); using machines that guide and assist you is actually counterproductive (don’t be a slacker) and ineffective.
Sandbags have traditionally been much-maligned in the strength and fitness communities for their instability, unbalanced weight distribution, odd shape, and general impracticality. As you might imagine, I take a slightly contrary view on the sandbag. In fact, all those characteristics I just listed as reasons sandbags don’t make good workout equipment? I posit that the difficulty of handling a sandbag actually makes it one of the better Primal workout tools. They’re unstable (struggle is key), unbalanced (too much balance makes things too easy), and oddly shaped (meaning you’ll get a different workout every time) – but I find them incredibly practical. Being malleable and essentially shapeless, a sandbag can fit snugly into any nook or cranny in your house. They’re cheap to make, too, doubly so if you live near a natural source of sand (or better yet near an area with tons of construction work and little security going on…kidding!).
I am a loyal Daily Apple reader who’s just begun a full-scale primal + IF + HIIT lifestyle. My only worry is that of muscle loss or impeded muscle growth. As a friend of multiple muscle builders, I’ve been told that carbohydrates are necessary for that muscle growth. While I’m not about to go back to my high-carb ways, I am willing to make an exception for post-lifting meals (within an hour window). I’ve heard this is the optimal time for carb-intake as your muscles are depleted of glycogen stores. I am wondering if you could shed light on this. Is this method actually effective for muscle growth? If so, how many carbs should I consume, and of what kind? And finally, will making this one compromise induce inflammation or impede fat loss?
But not with alcohol (save that for after the workout). Nope, I’m talking about working out with a slosh tube.
A slosh tube is a large PVC pipe filled with water and capped on the ends. It’s a surprisingly effective workout tool. Best of all, you can build one yourself for less than twenty bucks.
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