I Think I Overdid The Kettlebells

So for day 1 of Skye's protocol, I did my high intensity workout by swinging a kettlebell. I only made it 11 minutes before my head hurt and I was breathing so hard I could taste blood. And I couldn't hold the kettlebell reliably anymore so I stopped.


 


That was Monday. It's now Thursday and I still can't walk right or bend over cause it makes my thighs hurt.


 


I have no idea how I'm supposed to do another workout tomorrow.


 


Was even the 11 minutes I did too much? Go for 10 next time? 


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Comments

  • I mean, I probably did kettlebell swings like 5 years ago? But it was probably my first actual workout in months.


  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited July 2015

    I agree with Jason on nutrition, but you also jumped into the deep end with exercise after years off, and it sounds like you pushed a little too hard. If you're head hurt and your breathing was overwhelmed, odds are good that you sacrificed form and got into some pretty compromised positions while swinging weight around well before you completed your workout. 


     


    As I wrote about here, despite having reliably done ~150 swings at 50lbs in my workouts for years, with what I thought was good form, when I tried to go to 500 swings it exposed minor issues with form and really messed me up. To the point of splitting headaches from neck muscle tension, and not being able to turn my head to the left. Sounds like you went even harder, and with less warmup and experience to check your form. 


     


    Also, your thighs hurt? That also makes me wonder about your form. Everyone's different, but the muscles producing the primary force in the KB swing are the glutes, and for me I feel it most in my butt and back after a KB workout. If your thighs hurt the most, I think that's a problem. Perhaps you were squatting more than hinging at the hip. 


     


    So...


     


    - Do some mobility work. Not just static stretches, foam roll or lacrosse ball and get into the painful tissue, regain your normal flexibility. 


     


    - Before you even consider KB swings again, take a close look at some videos on proper form. If you have a smartphone that can record video, record yourself with a few swings from the side and maybe the front, and evaluate your form. 


     


    - I think the goal with an exercise like that, if you want to max out, is to max out in terms of effort to retain proper form. Put all your effort on keeping your shoulders back, not rounding your back, surging forward with your glutes instead of pulling with your arms, and when that fails, the workout is over. Otherwise you're just using your cardio to hurt your soft tissues. If you prioritize going for a certain amount of time, by definition that deprioritizes form and you can get hurt. If you must hit a certain amount of time working out, take breaks that are long enough to let your muscles recover so you can continue with proper form, but not long enough to let your heart rate go down too far. This might mean many sets of 25 swings, or a few of 75. 


     


    By the way, were you actually swinging for all 11 minutes? No breaks? If so, damn. I've been swinging for a while and I like sets of 75 (about 2 minutes of swings) with 1-2 minute breaks in between. 


  • Perhaps starting with an uber-beginner kettlebell workout, or just practicing the moves at a slower speed and focusing on form? Kettlebell workouts are more intense than they appear. I wonder if you did a little too much for your thigh muscles. Could you do an upper body workout until this heals a bit, or an upper body workout and just walking to stretch out those thigh muscles and get the blood and lymph moving a bit more? Skye considers walking to be 'active rest' if I remember correctly, it might be just what your injured muscles need.


  • It wasn't 11 whole minutes. It was 10 swings at the top of a minute, rest for the remainder of the minute. Then 10 swings again. It was supposed to be 15 minutes of that, but I couldn't do 15 minutes. I should maybe do fewer than 10 each time, too.


     


    I'm sure I have bad form and was doing more of a squat than you're supposed to do. It's the backs of my thighs that still hurt although I can at least walk normally now.


     


    I'm supposed to do another workout today, but that doesn't seem like a great idea since I'm still sore from the last one. Even though this one would be push-ups and squats, it seems like a bad idea because the squats would work what's still sore.


  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭


    It wasn't 11 whole minutes. It was 10 swings at the top of a minute, rest for the remainder of the minute. Then 10 swings again. It was supposed to be 15 minutes of that, but I couldn't do 15 minutes. I should maybe do fewer than 10 each time, too.


     


    I'm sure I have bad form and was doing more of a squat than you're supposed to do. It's the backs of my thighs that still hurt although I can at least walk normally now.


     


    I'm supposed to do another workout today, but that doesn't seem like a great idea since I'm still sore from the last one. Even though this one would be push-ups and squats, it seems like a bad idea because the squats would work what's still sore.




     


    Doing some of those movements might help with soreness, but I agree a full workout isn't a good idea. I'd wait until you're fully recovered to do another workout, if you're sore, your body is diverting resources and nutrition to repairing the tissue, adding a workout will only add to that burden. 


     


    If you like the top of the minute structure, I'd either reduce the number, or skip a minute if you have to, for a two minute break later in the workout. But I still say prioritize form above all else. 


     


    I'm not sure of Skye's nutrition plan, but can you group some food around the workout? Ideally fast-digesting carbs and protein afterwards. 

  • For the first 10 days you're supposed to workout without carbs to deplete your body of glycogen. I probably already didn't have much/any, since I wasn't coming off a SAD. But the books was very insistent about how you *must* follow this intro rule. And I figured 10 days without eating carbs is pretty easy, so why not follow through.


     


    After that, you have carbs and protein after your workout.


     


    I may see about going to an intro kettlebell class so they can teach me to do it right.


  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited July 2015


    For the first 10 days you're supposed to workout without carbs to deplete your body of glycogen. I probably already didn't have much/any, since I wasn't coming off a SAD. But the books was very insistent about how you *must* follow this intro rule. And I figured 10 days without eating carbs is pretty easy, so why not follow through.


     


    After that, you have carbs and protein after your workout.


     


    I may see about going to an intro kettlebell class so they can teach me to do it right.




     


    Hmm. Yeah, you might not have had enough glycogen to warrant 10 days, or if you were coming from a diet with changing or low carb levels, you could certainly mobilize it faster than someone going low carb for the first time. Personally 10 days seems like a good amount of time for glycogen depletion without exercise, but a bit much for having exercise thrown in. 


     


    Even having protein without carbs after a workout should help, though, since whey especially will cause insulin release, and either way your muscles will be primed to pull in nutrients. 


     


    I think perhaps part of the problem for you is that you did a high-intensity exercise (good for burning glycogen) but chose one that also works your muscles, and ideally you'd eat carbs and protein to counter that. Are sprints an alternative option in Skye's plan? That would burn glycogen but might be less stressful on your muscles. 


     


    I generally followed the kettlebell form advice from Tim Ferriss in this blog post, and seemed to do OK without a class. That covers the basics and is good enough, but as I've learned more, I would say he makes a mistake in the video when he keeps his head up on the downswing, instead he should keep his spine straight, such that on the downswing his face is pointing at the floor a few feet in front of him. You don't want to constantly bend/unbend any part of the spine while doing this type of motion. Also, I would add external rotation on the kettlebell handle (as if you're trying to turn your left hand counter-clockwise and right hand clockwise, as if you could bend or break the handle.) That external rotation force through the arms should help keep your shoulders back and locked in place, rather than sagging forward, creating a stress in the back. 


  • Sprints are also a recommended exercise. Although I ended up with ankle/foot pain the last time I tried to do that. I decided running may not be my thing.


     


    It sounds based on what you've said that once I get beyond the 10 days and do start having carbs on the workout days, recovery will be greatly improved. I did 6 minutes of push-up/squat tabatas on Saturday and I'm sore kinda everywhere, although largely the quads instead of the hamstrings (as with the kettlebell). I typically get DOMS anyway, but it's sort of surprising how bad it is with like 10 minutes or less of moving.


     


    Will check out the blog post. Thanks!


  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭
    edited July 2015

    Since you're starting from not having exercised in a while and jumping in with intensity, there's going to be some DOMS. But yes, at least for me getting some fast-digesting carbs and protein in right after exercise makes a big difference, or slower digesting carbs a little before the workout. And once you have a carb refeed you'll have more glycogen to power the muscles. A little bit of warmup and cool-down movement around the workout might help too. 


     


    Sprints can definitely be high-impact starting out. I have a not-so-great knee, and can also end up with shin splints and ankle pain, but if I can find a grassy hill to sprint up I do much, much better. The soil is more forgiving than pavement, and going uphill prevents heel striking making the whole movement lower impact. 


  • I have to admit that I erred on the side of easier-than-recommended workouts, especially for the first 10 days of Skye's plan. I had been working out but had never tried the HIIT or kettlebells until then so I did short, less than full intensity sprints and some bursts of lifting weights instead. I was also recovering from a shoulder injury (which is still healing and much better...shoulders seem to take a long time) so I was a little scared of the kettlebells at first. I did eventually work up to the kettlebells and they seemed to be good for my shoulder but I was very cautious at first which I think helped me not to injure myself with the workouts. Having a few injuries over the past few years (the shoulder and a stress fracture in my one of my shins) gave me appreciation for taking it slow and working my way up...it's better than being sidelined and NOT being able to work out! Keep at it Magess, your body is getting stronger!


  • Scales are pointless, right?


    Scales are pointless. Because the scale says I've put on the 2lb I lost doing the BPD intro weeks, and that would be annoying, especially after giving up nightshades to most closely follow Skye's book.


     


    Today is my second try at the kettlebell. Hopefully I don't make my hamstrings useless for a week again. And I get to have carbs after I'm done this time! Sweet potatoes and white rice, here I come. I wish I knew what "moderate fat" was. That could be like 3-4T of butter given what my normal fat intake is. 


     


    Maybe I won't have as much trouble sleeping afterward. My sleep hasn't been as good since I cut out the raw honey hack. Figured if I was doing a carb depletion, eating honey wasn't in the right spirit.


  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭


    I wish I knew what "moderate fat" was. That could be like 3-4T of butter given what my normal fat intake is. 




     


    I'm not sure, but that's not moderate fat with the post-workout carbs and protein, is it? I'd follow this workout nutrient timing chart

  • The chart in Skye's book says this for today:


     


    • Wake, take probiotic, vitamins D3 & K2, drink BP coffee until 1pm
    • 11:00am - 2-5 capsules activated charcoal
    • 1:00pm-5:00pm - Eat fat, vaggies, and protein
    • Workout sometime between 3pm and 6pm
    • 5:00pm-9:00pm - Eat safe starches, veggies, protein, and a little less fat

    It's the "little less" that I find very non-specific. On another page she says to keep fat intake to a minimum. Yeah, it's technically possible to do that, but I've gotten really used to cooking with lots of fat in dishes, so my scale for "little less" and "minimum" is probably higher than what those words imply. 


     


    I think the chart you posted is saying the same thing. 


  • Okay, I did 13 minutes using the pattern I described before and trying to pay attention to moving like I was deadlifting. This felt like a much smaller movement than the first time I tried. Don't feel like I'm going to cough up blood though, which is nice. I seemed to mostly feel the strain in my lower back, which I'm fairly sure isn't right either.


  • ACH85ACH85 ✭✭


    I seemed to mostly feel the strain in my lower back, which I'm fairly sure isn't right either.




     


    Lost track of this thread, sorry. 


     


    Definite improvement! Lower back is where I feel it most too, though as I did it more it moved higher up near where the lowest ribs meet the spine, not way down in the lumbar. While it's the glutes driving the effort, try to keep your abs "turned on" and tight as well, which should protect the low back. Kelly Starrett has a bracing technique for standing: screw your feet into the ground (as if you're trying to drive your toes out to your sides and your heels closer together, but held in place due to friction on the floor,) clench your butt and your abs as hard as you can. Now your spine is braced. Ideally shoulders back too, since most of us round them forward from sitting at desks, texting, driving... modern life. If you hold that braced position at perhaps 20% of full power, you won't round your back when you go to pick up the kettlebell and it will force you to hinge at your hips. I try to maintain that braced posture as best I can while doing swings. The foot screwing thing is a little harder with your feet further apart, but it still helps. For me, I try to treat the exercise as "can I maintain good form while under muscular and cardio load?" just as much as, "can I move the weight X number of times?" That's what I mean by "prioritizing form." Soreness is to be expected, but IMO debilitating soreness means you overdid something, likely in a bad position. 


     


    I'm not sure what "a little less fat" means either, but personally I eat only carbs and protein immediately post workout, then don't worry about it at later meals. 


     


    I think Skye's recommended probiotic is soil based? I don't want to give you too much to think about while you make these changes, but I'd also be remiss if I didn't say I'm not a fan of soil based probiotics, for the reasons John Brisson outlines in the Fix Your Gut live stream #11 (found in the Gangster Banter forum) and also on his blog. Plenty of people have had good results with them, though, and I've consumed them accidentally in kombucha and don't freak out about it. But my understanding is any bacteria can become opportunistic in rare bad circumstances, and soil based bacteria are harder to remove from your body in that event. I support those who know that and take them with that knowledge, but I'd like to see that written on the packaging.

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