I went to Efficient Exercise. It was, hands down, the best workout I’ve ever had. It’s a 30 minute workout that uses a number of protocols including eccentric only, super slow motion, and body weight to give strength, cardio and flexibility benefits.
I arrived and met my trainer – Mark Rogers. One of the coolest things about this is that it’s a one on one situation so I was the only one in the gym. As I explained in my previous post about this, I had mentioned in my e-mail that my goals are strength, stamina, and flexibility and that I didn’t want to discuss weight loss and he was very respectful of that.
He explained the efficient exercise theories, we talked about my goals and my workout schedule. Then he asked the fateful question “Do you want me to go easy on you for this first time or do you want me to hurt you?”. My stupid jock side took over and I said “Hurt me”. That was dumb.
I laid down on what I can only describe as a massive contraption. I put my feet up on a platform. This was an eccentric only exercise so we easily pushed the bar up. Then he pulled the bar and a bunch of weight toward me while I tried to push it away as hard as I could. The more my legs bent (and therefore the weaker I was) the slower he pulled and the more difficult it was. My legs were BURNING UP. We did similar exercises with military press and pull downs. My upper body is definitely not as strong as I would like it to be. We set a goal for me to be able to do a full pull-up. I was ready to say thanks and go home.
But wait, there’s more.
We moved on to cables. That probably calls to mind images of something really helpful and secure. Those images would be wrong. The cables are metal handles attached to ropes attached to a metal frame. I tilted my body out at about a 55 degree angle with the floor and did push-ups into my own hands, then flipped and did pull-ups. If you are now picturing something that looks death-defying then you’ve got it about right. I was able to do them though and it’s actually really cool – it’s almost like a carnival ride – if they made you do push-ups at the carnival.
Then, we started the most evil exercises ever.
He told me to lay on the ground on my back which, at my current level of exhaustion, sounded like a fabulous idea. That’s about when things went downhill. He had me put my feet in free hanging slings. I had to bridge my hips and pull my feet in and out 15 times. That was not fun. I thought about mentioning that I had only actually agreed to the laying down part but I didn’t want to whine (or vomit…) so I just tried to concentrate on breathing (and not vomiting). He made me flip over, do a plank (with my feet still in the slings) and pull my feet in and out 15 times. At some point during those reps I wondered if I could fake my own death to get out of doing anymore. I had to rest a couple of times but I did all 15 reps.
Finally, he said that I should pike my body up (so that my butt was up over my shoulders and my body was in a reverse V). I laughed. Out loud. Now, I do this move in pilates all the time but not after someone has just tried to kill be with a 20 minute workout. I explained to him that I didn’t think it was physically possible but that I was willing to try. I did one that was respectable, 9 that were patheti-sad and then I just couldn’t do anymore. He reached out his hand and I realized that he actually expected me to GET UP off the floor. Obviously just a bad idea, what could he be thinking? I wanted to be proud and get up on my own, then I looked down and observed that my legs were actually shaking. So I let him take my hand and thanked all the gods that he was a power lifter. I got to my feet in a manner much less graceful than befits a dancer and barely made it to my car.
It. Was. Awesome. I asked him how I had done (I have a need to be above average at everything – it’s a personality flaw) and he graciously said that I had done well. I was a little sore the rest of that day. I was SORE on Wednesday (sore enough that I had friends doing things for me so that I could sit) and am still just a little sore today. I noticed flexibility gains immediately and am now only about an inch away from doing my splits. This is the biggest flexibility gain I’ve ever seen in this short of a time (I was about 3 inches away before the workout). I’m going back Tuesday. I immediately called my oldest friend and told him to do it and now he is hooked as well.
If you are in Austin you can check them out in real life at www.efficientexercise.com. The first workout is free! I highly recommend Mark Rogers, you can tell him that Ragen sent you and he’ll be extra nice (or extra mean).