“A little learning is a dang’rous thing;
Drink deep, or taste not the Pierian spring:
There shallow draughts intoxicate the brain,
And drinking largely sobers us again.”—Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism
The Whole 30 Journal - Week 1 in the books and feeling like a million bucks.
A few random thoughts - in unorthodox journalistic style I saved the best for last.
I learned a few things about eating out this week. It’s hard. Extreme PIA for waiters and waitresses.
Otherwise, the ebook is solid on recommending how to order and what to ask for.
On another note 1 WEEK DOWN! Feeling like a million bucks. Except, traveling this week, and maybe super-sensitivity to low quality ingredients and/or crappy cooking oils like veg/peanut oils seemed to have an effect on me overall. I’m pretty sure even though I asked in every case, I got exposed to some of that crap. I’ll know better when I’m eating at home again and only getting the best, unadulterated stuff.
Also, for two or three years now, training as much as I do, and having a few little knee issues, I’ve regularly taken Aleve for anti-inflammatory purposes. Had surgery on my left knee for a tear in my patellar cartilage last May. Again, more, fairly consistent Aleve to reduce inflammation from training. Since going on The Whole 30, I haven’t taken Aleve once. I literally have no fluid or swelling in my knee at all. Loose as a goose…no tightness. I’ve trained as normal, in fact Monday and Wednesday sessions were wicked on the knees. Wednesday was GVT Front Squats. That is:
*Speed/agility work on the field with some bear crawls
Front squat - 10x10 (135#)
Good morning - 4x12
Plate slide ham curls - 4x12
That’s 100 reps of front squats and no inflammation in my knee at all after a good few years of consistent inflammation.
I’m suggesting that my chronic joint inflammation could very well be correlated to diet. Purely anecdotal yes. Real, yes. Hmmmmmm.
Workout journal + The Whole 30 Bonus Journal Entry - Day 6
A note about today’s training and workout on empty - this is what I believe so far and what I’ve gathered from discussion and reading. Please clarify or correct if I’m wrong:
So, I talked to Melissa Hartwig, just briefly, a few weeks ago about training on The Whole 30. She said, you’re really focusing on getting your body to tap into one of its best energy sources: body fat. When you load up on sugary fruits and pre-intra-post workout drinks, even when they’re “sugar” free, you’re telling you body, hey, use this sugar instead. It gets used to that. This is re-training you to use dietary and body fats for energy. Fats sustain you, metabolically speaking, much longer than sugars.
DID survive traveling, yes. Barely. I didn’t plan well. Brought a bag of raw almonds and a larabar (both “eat occasional” choices) and downed them both before we got in the air. Had nothing left for last night or pre workout this morning. So I chugged a double-strength cup of green tea I brewed and refrigerated overnight. Felt sick for the entire conditioning circuit. Last time I do that.
Anyway, sorry for the book, but I had to digress on the info above.
D1 workout today. GVT - German Volume Training *Laps and Field warmup *Conditioning - 4xstairs running (rest 60s after 4th) - 4xstairs hops (rest same as above) - 4xstairs skaters (rest same as above) *Strength: - 10x10 Front squat (135#) - 4x12 good morning - 4x12 plate slide ham curls (25#) *Finisher: - 3x10yd reverse uphill bear crawls
Oh, and BTW recovery from Tues nights slayer Gym Jones training session was perfect. I felt fine yesterday and working out today. Good stuff.
Here’s to planning better! Progress folks, progress.
Workout journal + The Whole 30 Bonus Journal Entry
What was done on Day 4 of The Whole 30:
So my mantra will be <insert Arnold’s voice> “GET TO THE CHOPPA!!!”
3x10 of ea. Clean, FS, Good Morning 2x10 ea. way KB round the world Then for time: 30x Strict Press @ #75 40x Pull-up 50x KB swing @ #53 60x Sit up 70x Burpee Finished this in 16:55 (meh). Had to go across the gym for stuff and burned time. Couldve maybe shaved a minute. Energy was decent, not great. First time with this series and maybe no pre/during supplements. Plus: 3x5 resisted lateral jumps (ea) 3x5 resisted broad jumps 2x5 resisted 50ft bear crawls 500m row (1:50 - meh)
Post workout meal was grass-fed skirt steak and organic chicken thighs marinated in white wine vinegar, EVOO, and dried ancho chile, red chile, fresh garlic, s&p, and fresh lime juice. Grilled, to medium/done, then seared hot n fast in my wok to finish. So, fajitas basically, with sautéed sweet peppers and mushrooms (same seasoning). Ate about 8oz of meat and two portions of veg. Added about fist size portion of watermelon. Drank a liter of water during my workout + a liter of water for post workout recovery and added a pinch of unrefined sea salt.
A short story of how, and why, I decided to try The Whole 30 Challenge. A couple of questions, that if you knew me well, you might ask:
Why are you doing this when you already eat healthy and look good?
What do you expect to get out of this?
Why do The Whole 30 and not just go Paleo or Vegetarian?
Where did you get all of this info?
So, we can safely assume that by the standards of most Americans, I eat a sensible, well-balanced diet and have much better than average health - that is physical, social/emotional, psychological, and so on. If you saw the national statistics in these categories, you’d see why I’m confident in writing that.
Also, a quick preamble about the behavior change process or transtheoretical model (TTM). There are five stages for healthy behaviors such as exercise, healthy eating, healthy weight, and so on. They are:
Precontemplation: not really thinking about it (the behavior)
Contemplation: thinking/thought about it occasionally OR you would consider taking action to adopt the healthy behavior in the next 6 months
Preparation: you’ve thought it <healthy behavior> and you’re ready to make a change in the next 30 days
Action: you’ve been doing <healthy behavior> for less than 6 months
Maintenance: you’ve been doing <healthy behavior> for more than 6 months
There is one (or sometimes a few) metric associated with each behavior. That’s how you say, I’m doing this healthy behavior. Ex. If you eat 5 fruits and veg everyday, you’re in action or maintenance for Healthy Eating (the behavior) as defined by the model.
Alright, so how did I get from eating sensibly, including my 5 F/V everyday, to The Whole 30 Challenge? It started by exposing myself regularly to great nutrition sources (content and programs) like Precision Nutrition (google it) and Jonny Bowden (google him), etc. So I read on the topic regularly. Sometimes I have questions I want answered, and sometimes I’m just surfing and reading. I always check my source to make sure they have credentials and know what they’re talking about. I also KNOW that things change quickly and frequently, so I take all of this with a slow, deliberate mindset.
Also, I’ve been reading and experimenting with intermittent fasting (IF), AND been reading a bit on elimination diets. This is what happens when you frequently visit good sources; this stuff just comes to you. It’s like frequenting a store, eventually you’re highly-likely to spend some money there.
The two examples above, are generally building self-efficacy, confidence, key knowledge, and at some point, unknowingly, building up the benefits. It magically happens when you read a lot from good sources, put good information (pictures, content, how-to’s, programs, etc.) in front of you, think about the subjects, etc. Before you know it, you’re trying something you may have never thought you would. Even something you may have thought, “I don’t need that”. In the final analysis, The Whole 30 is just an elimination diet and paleo, which is also a subject I’ve read a lot about, reskinned. There are some other things that need to happen to be successful long-term, but that’s another book. This is certainly not comprehensive either, just a stab at journaling the process.
Quick entry for the morning of Day 4, and yes that’s a proper noun. :)
Slept like shit last night. Probably completely unrelated to diet.
B-fast is a smoothie:
Coconut milk (canned - Whole Foods brand)
Organic carrot juice
Handful organic spinach
Organic, unsweetened coconut flakes
Matcha green tea powder
ice and blend + I took 4g Barlean’s fish oil and (1) Biotest Flameout with the first sip
Definitely takes some getting used to. Since I’m off sugar and all sugar substitutes like agave or honey AND all protein supplements (which all contain sucralose or aspartame) my smoothies take on quite a different flavor. They taste like fruit and veg all blended together. Oh wait, that’s what they are. My wife, Marcie, can’t handle it. I suck it down regardless because I know all those ingredients are necessary for my health and appetite right now.
As far as tasty beverages go, kombucha is my saving grace. I’m sorry, but I get “water taste boredom”. Seriously. I can only suck down so much water without the need for some extra punch. Variety is the spice of life. Again, Marcie hates it; she says it tastes like beer, and she hates beer. :)
I’ve got leftover tri-tip, some organic chicken thighs, and some grass-fed skirt steak to work with today and tomorrow. Then, I’m off to TN for the week. That’ll be easy and hard. I can hit Whole Foods on my per diem to get some quick, easy, compliant stuff to eat, but I’ll have to be really cautious on the eating out part. I eat out for almost every meal when I travel, so… I’ve got a few ideas, but need to really plan this out.
ALSO, I did garner a bit of social support out there, so I have peeps who are doing this challenge with me that I can band together with - tactics my friend, tactics. I’m no dummy. I know the power of “the community”.
Quick recap (ala Infinitely Curious - long ass paleo blog):
Started the day with a flight home from Tennessee to Salt Lake. All I had that was compliant was raw almonds and water. I snacked on them until I landed, then went straight to Whole Foods and bought a no salt rotisserie chicken and a salad from the salad bar and slayed about 3/4 of the chicken, skin and all in about 5 min.
Preworkout was: kombucha + a handful of grapes
Workout - what was done:
RAMP (no core)
W/U heavy deadlift (something like 10,6,3,1,1,1,1,1) to #405 could’ve got higher but worked technique at the higher weights. Better bottom position, activating lats and middle back, etc.
Tailpipe [REBATE] with Ben Fogel AND I held it…no drops. Stoked about that.
Postworkout was: ~8oz coconut milk, frozen banana, blueberry, raspberry, big handful spinach, coconut flakes (compliant), macadamia nuts, and matcha powder.
A note on my smoothie, if I had an avocado, I would’ve added that. Also, no sweetener - I drank my smoothie much slower, kind of ultra-aware, tasting all of those fruity/veggie flavors. Weird AND good. So, I’ll do that again. Probably about every day. Seems like a good habit and a pretty filling one.
Dinner was - thinking recovery as well: fired up the grill - organic chicken thighs, marinated in Annie’s natural green garlic dressing, then salt/pepper, wrapped in NITRITE FREE, some farm that allows these pigs a reasonably happy life, BACON. Certainly will use bacon sparingly, but it helped last night. Plus roasted yams - EVOO + s/p.
Finished the night with the rest of my bottle of kombucha and a glass of iced white/mate/chai tea from Teavana.
It’s Day 2 a.m. and I’m hungry as hell, so I’m off to make some eggs n veg and maybe add a handful of organic bing cherries that broke my friggin wallet.
One note on the psychology of this: Taking it slow, putting my meals “ahead” of me. Focusing on awareness and mindfulness. Doing very well so far.
One note on the physiology of this: I’ve felt mildly hungry a few times yesterday, and this morning my stomach is growling. Yesterday when I trained, I felt great, but when I was done, I was in serious need of some nutrition, and the smoothie helped a lot. Other than that, smooth sailing. I won’t comment on BM’s or anything like that. I’ll save that stuff for discussion with my doc. :))
New guy story: First off, you can work out in anything you want, and I won’t judge you. But, when you show up to workout, where you know you’re going to sweat your ass off, in khaki cargo shorts and tennies, well, I am judging you. I’m saying to myself, this guy is in trouble. And, he was. After (3) 60 yard shuttles, he was sitting out. I was asked to help him through the vertical sets (journaled below). We started with the standard bar (no other load). About half way through he went to the bathroom. When he came back, I told him to sit out. So, he said to me, “I never realized how out of shape I was until I showed up here today.” This is where I was a bit jerky I guess, but a dose of reality never hurt anyone - not too badly anyway. I said to him, “You didn’t know you were making your own bed all that time when you were sitting on your ass? Well, now it’s time to sleep in it.” BIG SMILE. BACK TO MY #95 BARBELL, CUZ IT BECKONS.
So here’s what was done:
*2 laps and stairs + standard field warmup (at 25 yards) + 2 laps no stairs
Question: what is the primary reason you exercise?
Common answers (in order of frequency):
To lose weight
To have the body I’ve always wanted
To “tone” up
To get lean
etc., etc., etc., more along those lines
First things first: If you want to lose weight or get any of the answers 1-5 it would be BEST, and I really mean BEST, to focus serious attention on making permanent changes to your diet. BTW I highly recommend reading (at least cliff notes) the book Switch for some self-direction on that topic. Also, never forget “the journey IS the reward.”
If answers 1-5 are secondary, and you exercise for physical fitness reasons, carry on. I have no good advice for you; you’re on the right path.
Oh wait, I do have something: Dan John once said on the topic of fitness/strength training, “everything works, nothing works forever.”
So my advice, follow the science. By that I mean, periodization, progression, etc. Don’t just throw shit at the wall and see what sticks.
Find good sources and great coaches
Don’t settle for what you can “afford”
Take your training seriously
Know the difference between enthusiasts and experts/masters
Get your head right
Train your ass off
Lift heavy stuff
In so many cases, and I’m learning this anew, training is a psychological battle. Win the battle.
Oh and one more thing…life isn’t slow. It’s fast. So get your ass in gear and get fast…and strong…and mentally strong.
Two articles to read - both are well worth the time:
After my Gym Jones sessions last week and Friday night 1RM Deadlift + the destruction of Jonestown crawl, my body was telling me to rest. And rest I have…from training yes, but also from a healthy diet…which is bad. Now, the physical rest is negated by dietary shittyness. Ok, not that bad, but bad enough. So here’s to real recovery and getting back into a solid routine.
BTW - I felt a bit lethargic today and was definitely not able to train at my normal pace. I blame bad diet for that. Really. So here’s what was done today - showing a comparison of what was planned.
My manifesto over the next two weeks in prep for The Whole 30
Your only job in the coming months is to make good food choices. Transition from processed foods with empty calories to nutrient dense foods that make you healthier. Kick your Diet Coke habit once and for all. Embrace healthy fat sources and slay your sugar demons.
Eating healthy for life...a few thoughts on making change stick.
If you’ve been thinking about eating healthier, there are two things that will likely help you move from thinking about it to doing something about it.
1. You might want to grab a pen and paper. Making a small list of your own pros and cons can clarify a lot. Are the pros outweighing the cons yet? Ask a friend or family member, who you know eats healthy, about his/her pros and cons. Post your pros list on the wall or on the bathroom mirror. You can even go as far as making affirmations out of them. Think this is hokie? Some of the most inspiring athletes in history used this powerful little psychological practice. Think Michael Jordan, and many, many more.
2. Don’t skip the preparation. The old saying goes, when you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Preparing to eat healthy regularly can be a big undertaking. What if you don’t have family/friend support? What if your environment isn’t setup for success, e.g. cupboards and fridge are full of unhealthy foods? Skip the prep and those foods will be calling your name every time you open the fridge or get bored and crack open the cupboard. In your moments of weakness (where old habits die hard) they have a good chance of breaking your resolve. So plan! Also, learn the rules of thumbs and success tips.
Bonus tip: finding and joining a community of people who also eat healthy can be a tremendous help.