Thursday, September 19, 2013

Why do you eat the way you eat?

Why do you eat the way you eat?

Did your trainer tell you that's the best way?

Did you read the latest blog post by some internet guru and they seem to know their shit?

Did your friends convince you through their impassioned arguments?

Did your doctor hand you a pamphlet and display concern for your health numbers?

Usually the diet we choose fits into one or more of the categories above. We follow the advice of some influence in our life, do it for a little while, fail and give up. I've been through that cycle a lot. Hell, I've been through the "try a diet, succeed, burn out, give up" cycle a million times, too.

What I often see are people who try the same diet over and over and over again. They'll note that "it worked for me last time" as they resolve to just resolve harder.

But if it really worked for you last time, why was there a last time and why are you having to do it all over again?

There isn't a one size fits all for everybody, especially when you get down to the nitty gritty details that so many diets push on people. Things like "eat 300g of carbs before bed" and "don't have more than 40g of protein in a sitting" or "if you eat breakfast before 10am you thighs will explode." That may or may not be true for you.

Not only that, but you need to be real about what your mentality and your lifestyle will allow. If your diet is saying you need to eat 6 times a day, but you have a work schedule that has you running around to meetings and clients all day, it's not going to stick. If you have a diet that says you can only eat X at a set time, but you're in a relationship that makes it hard to do, it's not going to stick.

There are a few rules that I think everyone can and should follow: eat real food, scale your carbs to your activity level, and make it fit into your non-food oriented lifestyle.

From there, you'll have to experiment with what works for you. If that's eating right upon waking because otherwise you're going to be grumpy with your kids, so be it. Don't beat yourself up. Figure out what foods in the morning won't lead to cravings later and cause a food meltdown.

Next post I'll talk about my experiments and how I chose to eat in each phase of my athletic career to this point.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Doing a Deload: Diet Style

This is gonna be short.

Most people who train regularly, especially those who compete, understand the importance of a deload week. You push push push, then you back off and are able to come back stronger. Most people who train hard also eat for performance, and I'm going to argue that sometimes you need a diet deload, too.

When most people "fall off the wagon" they really go off and their dinner plate looks like this:

Dessert coming up next... 

And thats often because because you waited too long to "deload" from a strict eating regiment. It's akin to getting burned out from training, and then not stepping foot in a gym for a month.

So just as a training deload doesn't mean that you stop going to the gym for a week, a diet deload doesn't mean you go nuts on the empty calories. It just means that you allow yourself a mindful selection of food, and maybe dessert, that
 you often avoid.

For me, that often means eating something with rice or noodles, because I love things like pad thai and bim bim bap. If some dessert looks really delectable, maybe I'll share it with ManFriend Matt but keep my main course inline with normal "performance eating".

Why would someone do this? Isn't this "cheating" and just a sign of being weak??

No. We push hard. Even steel bent enough times is going to break. And just as your body occassionally needs some extra time to recover, your mentality towards food could use the same thing. And it's super beneficial to occasionally experience the "normal" eating that you probably see everyone around you do.

I like to take a full week of mindful off-diet eating. I usually find that I do that every 2 months or so and I generally do it after a competition where I've been pushing really hard in both training and strict in diet to make weight and recover my best.

Then, as with training, it's back to the grind stone with a little better mindset.

Friday, September 13, 2013

Power Athlete Team Series RECAP

This has been a long time coming, I realize that. Thing is, ManFriend Matt and I have moved to Oakland, and most free time is spent moving the last dredges of our lives over to the new place and then trying to find our clothes in the many many boxes.

Last weekend was the Power Athlete Team Series run by the creators of CrossFit Football. What is CrossFit Football? Have I not talked enough about it? CFFB takes CF principals and applies them in a way that would be beneficial for power athletes, such as football players, rugby players, strongmen, etc. The WODs are shorter, the weights are heavier, you're not going to see high rep of almost anything except perhaps kettlebell swings.

After the power lifting portion, we were in 4th place. Here are the links to my team's lift videos:

James - Power cleans

Colleen - Squats

Trent - Bench press

Me - Deadlifts

So we knew we not only had to be consistent but also pull ourselves up a place if we wanted a shot at the prowler. In a way, we did just that. Looking at only the scores of the metcon, we can in third. However, if you add the combined Wilke's scores of the lifts and the scores we got from the metcon, we were in fourth.

So our team, Buns n' Guns, did great. Unfortunately, our doing great only put us in fourth place after the metcon portion of the day. By 0.32 points in a scoring system that had us in the mid-800's.

When that was announced, how close it was, our immediate reaction was... buy a beer and scowl a lot.

But really, we had a great time and can't wait to do it again next year. It was a totally different kind of competition experience for me, and I plan on continuing the conditioning in my program. Next year we'll only be stronger and faster, and we'll perhaps take it a little more seriously, from training to weigh-ins to lift attempts.

This week, I've totally given my body a break. I haven't lifted a single weight nor given a single fuck about it. Next week, it's back to the grind stone, as I have four more competitions of some sort before the end of the year.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Current Program: Two Week Cycle

I've been doing pretty well on my current program. I've had severalpeople ask me who is programming for me. I am.

I don't necessarily recommend many people go about it that way. But I've been training for something in some capacity since judo in college. So... over 10 years. I've been doing weightlifting for over 5 years now. I have a lot of data on how my body responds to different protocols. Places where I make progress and where I don't, and what works also for my mindset.

One thing I've learned is I can't take a lot of both intensity AND volume. I break down too fast and burn out. I'm also interested in pursuing goals other than simply clean and jerking and snatching the most I can. I want to compete in powerlifting. I'm signed up for a CrossFit Football competition. I want a general baseline of conditioning, more than "5 reps is cardio" too.

So here is the two week cycle I'm doing:

*CFFB = CrossFit Football WOD
*Cardio Abs = a WOD-like exercise focusing on trunk stability
*AMAP = As Many As Possible
*Trapeze = Damn straight I do my freaking double-classes of static trapeze class EVERY WEEK! Circus freaks! What's up!