Sunday, April 4, 2010

Who needs a gym to break a sweat? Montreal Country Workout with a log!

A beautiful Sunday morning here in the country about an hour and a half outside of Montreal. We arrived yesterday afternoon and basked in the wonderful heat for the rest of the day. My uncle Steve and his wife Helene have a gem of a cottage on a pristine little lake but it is by no means a "roughing it" style of accommodation. It is a wonderful getaway for them and I can't imagine how beautiful this place is when nature is in full bloom come mid summer. It is surrounded by 17 wineries (one of which we visited today and their cider ice wine was out of this world) and has a beautiful hilly layout with windy roads and trails.

In my normal life I am surrounded by athletes and we just banter at each other about everything. This is fine but I am really enjoying the change in pace with my family as they are all intellects and have great life experience. My uncle is a master at team leading and problem resolution in the corporate world; his wife is a world expert in child birth and has written multiple books on the subject; and my cousin Nicho and his partner Natalia (of Columbia) are world class logistical experts and mission directors for non profit medical aid organizations and have just landed from a 9 month contract in Boguila for Doctors without Borders. As you can imagine this has lead to an abundance of conversations and discussions! I am really enjoying their views on life and aid as well as sharing my own limited life experiences. 

Now for the workout. I told myself yesterday I was going to go for a run. For those of you who know me, I hate running. I would rather jump into shark infested waters and swim while bleeding over running but the country air must have softened my displeasure. After breakfast this morning I was asked what conditions I wanted to run in and the following discussion led to a family walk (while I ran) on a fabulous country road about. This was perfect as it allowed me to run, do my sprint intervals and get into some specific movement patterns while the rest of my family walked 5kms. 

I brought my heart rate monitor and I wanted to get sweaty and suffer greatly. Our sand training over the last 3 months hasn't been all that intense and I really wanted to bust my butt and feel a burn so I targeted my run to have 3 different phases. The first was a warm up run for 10 minutes at about 150-160 beats per minute (bpm) which turned out to be a higher pace than I thought cause I wasn't running on sand (apparently running on sand adds between 5-10 bpm due to the difficulty). I then wanted to do 10, 30 second high paced intervals (ending 30 seconds at 175-185 bpm) split by 30 second active rest periods but that also had to be adjusted since I found it incredibly difficult to get to 185 bmp because running on the hard surface was so easy! I altered it to 30 second sprints ending with a heart rate of 185bmp split by 1 minute (30 seconds more than originally planned) of active rest because the demand was higher than anticipated to get to185 bpm. Lastly, I wanted to throw in a Crossfit style workout involving timed reps of different weight lifting movements to include my upper body. Since I was on a country road I had to get creative so I went into the bush and grabbed a little branch.

The running felt light and I really enjoyed it (this could mean I could become a runner!) and the interval training hit my legs hard. I really felt the burn and completing the final 10 seconds of my sprints forced me to dig into a reserve I haven't touched in a while. As for the Crossfit style, I have included photos for your enjoyment!!

My legs were clearly warm (actually jello) but grabbed a 40-50 pound log and freestyled the following workout.
20 reps of all exercises done in a no rest circuit, sequenced 3 times. (60 reps total for each)


                         Overhead Lunges

                          Overhead Squats

Overhead Tricep Extensions 

Bicep Curls 
Medium grip explosive push ups

This workout kicked my butt!!! My muscles aren't used to the impact of hard surfaces (I always work out in sand) and the Crossfit no rest style workout forced every muscle to cooperate to complete the task. 

So the next time you are in the country and don't have a gym, there are no excuses! Go for a run and then grab a log from the side of the road and get into some heavies!!! 


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