Because most philosophies that frown on reproduction don't survive.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Stress Positions

You would think, given our Darwinian moniker, we would understand the value of fitness, and indeed there has been a gradually escalating attempt in the Darwin household over the last several months to get into shape. Those with long memories may recognize that much of this has to do with MrsDarwin's sibling inadequacy issues.

Reader and family friend Big Tex had recommended this book to MrsDarwin, and since it's easier to keep obligations that we share, MrsDarwin bought me the original men's The New Rules of Lifting as well.

A little over two months in, I've found that there's a deep satisfaction in the mechanical feeling of moving correctly through a lift. Though I've always made intermittent efforts to go to the gym at work, I'd always "worked the machines" and frankly had never seen any results. Doing free lifting is much more satisfying, though I find it difficult to do sets as close together as instructed. (Instead I stand holding a silent conversation with the barbell. "One more set. But this is going to be heavy. Oh man... One more set and then a full rest." Etc.)

However, though the traditional lifts are intimidating to the extent that one does them with more weight, what actually leaves one sore for the next day are the "combo moves". My current bane in this departments is the t-push up. You grab a pair of hex weights (I'm using a pair of 10lb ones, which may sound cream-puffish, but don't knock it till you've tried it) and get down to do a push up. After each push up, you rotate one arm out in an arc until you're vertically up on one arm with the other straight up in the arm, turning your body into a diagonal T. Then back down and do another push up. You alternate sides. Three sets of ten of these is plenty to kick my proverbial ass -- a burro which is getting increasingly cranky with all the abuse he's been taking lately.

(And no, despite my efforts I do not look remotely like the above specimen.)

These sorts of exercise regimens often suggest that you consume a protein shake after working out. Eating we're down with, and besides after doing this sort of thing slurping down something cold and semi-liquid is just what you want. However, most people (including all the smoothie chains) seem to make a protein shake with ice, and this is, to our minds, a big mistake. So the following is the Darwin workout shake recipe.

First off, you must buy bananas in bulk. At least 5lbs at a time. This is because the aptly nicknamed monkeys will steal half of them while they're sitting on the counter working on ripening. If your grocery store discounts bananas which are turning brown already, these are perfect: snap them up.

Peel and freeze gallon ziplocks full of slightly over-ripe bananas.

Now you're ready to make your shake.
Drop two frozen bananas into your blender.
Add milk to bring the level up to the 2.5 cup mark.
Add two scoops of protein powder (don't use chocolate or anything too sweetened -- ours is a basic vanilla)
Add 2-4 heaping spoonfuls of cocoa powder.
quick splash of vanilla extract

Blend. (Makes two adult size shakes.)

Part of the key here is to use lots of cocoa powder. The bananas are already plenty sweet, and the protein powder may be a bit sweet too. So the cocoa powder provides that bitter chocolate balance. It also makes it a lot richer.

And hey, you've just worked out, so you deserve a nice rich shake, right? Knock these back for a few months, and ice cream shakes actually start tasting rather paltry by comparison. Which is another healthy side effect.


Theocoid said...

T-ups are great for the core, too.

The shake sounds really good, but bananas are too high on the glycemic index for people like me with insulin resistence. I might have to try the rest, though.

Have you tried Crossfit?

Big Tex said...

I used to think lunges were for sissies. Holy moly, I was wrong! Those t-pushups are hard, especially at the tail end of a workout.

The things that really kick my "burro" are the Bulgarian split squats, especially in sets of 15. Each leg. Ouch.

Rick Lugari said...

Too much like work. Try this one instead.

Rick Lugari said...

hmmm, the link didn't work. Attempt number 2