Fin: That Itch GRADUATION POST
It's been about seven days since the program ended. What has changed? I've lightened up on the diet and exercises and have started going out more, but I'm redescovering how truly unfulfilling my old lifestyle was. The food, the drinking, the staying out late, while it sometimes has its merits, it is by far not worth giving up the things we've worked so hard for.
That itch. That tingling feeling in the back of your mind that whispers, "Work out. Eat healthy." It is constant. I find myself more conscious than ever of what I am eating, determining the time of day it is against what I have eaten for the day and feel I need nutrition-wise. If there's anything I already need to cut back, it's the alcohol. These drinks are laden with calories, though my pristine tastebuds still warn me of saturated fats and sweets. I had a grilled portabella mushroom sandwhich the other day that had a marinara sauce so sweet I could hardly eat it. Meanwhile, I'm still opting for healthier choices when I do find myself out, and I'm still cooking at home a good amount, though I still struggle to eat as much as I should.
What is the takeaway from all of this? Mindfulness, forgiveness, resilience — these are all things I acquired or deepened during my time on the program. I came very close to quitting, but I stuck it out and am the better for it.
My new motivation is a better me. A couple weeks ago, I was walking downtown on a bright, sunny day, listening to music with a smile on my face as I thought of how good I felt. I want that feeling often, and I'll only retain it through mindfulness and discipline.
May we grow ever stronger.
After all this dieting, I must say that my skin is the clearest it's been in well over a decade. This alone is worth the lifestyle change.
Workouts have been okay. Been off track a bit, but still pushing to finish. There's also something that's clicked in my head where I am looking forward to workouts, there's that itch to do them.
I don't know how it happened, but I feel like I can keep these workouts up regularly.
(Read in the voice of Dr. Steve Brule) BROTIP: When planking until fail, place a cushion under your penis for when you come down hard. It's not called the Penis Conditioning Project.
For your health!
"I felt sorry for guys packing into gyms, trying to look how Calvin Klein or Tommy Hilfiger told them to." — From "Fight Club"
Ah, the closer we get to the end, the greater temptation raises its head.
A cafe I frequent is undergoing ownership changes and renovations. As a part of that, they're changing up the food menu. I know the new owner's sister, so the other day she started bringing out plates of the new menu for my friend and to try. I felt like a jerk, but I couldn't eat it. My friend did, though, and offered them some good feedback (the food was gorgeous, I might add.) When she came back and asked if I had tried any, and I said "No," she scoffed. She knows I'm doing this project, but there always seems to be people that fail to appreciate the efforts and reasons put into something like this.
This isn't the Nice Conditioning Project, the Good Enough Conditioning Project or the Better Than Most People's Health Conditioning Project. It's the Peak Conditioning Project. Our lives are our own, and we should cherish them as such, regardless of other's expectations.
Finally, as I've seen some others post, it's a bit scary thinking of Day 91. How do we continue this without our wonderful teammates and trainers, without constant streams of new information? I've already fell off the wagon many times with regard to the workouts, yet I have noticed a change in myself all things considered: I itch to move.
We've been told this would happen, but it is both true and wonderful when you feel it. Your muscles beg to be exercised. Remaining couscous of this is a key indicator to keeping shape. Diet is another part of the equation, of course, though I find myself vigilant there. The last piece perhaps is pride; not arrogance, but a pride in what we have put ourselves through and what we have achieved. Whenever I see someone running, especially if they are out of shape, I say a little word of encouragement to them in my mind. It's hard to get in shape - really, really hard; and to anyone that does even ever so incrementally, I commend them.
We should commend ourselves. I can't fault myself too much for my failures because I am miles ahead of where I was over a month ago. Don't fault yourself either. That's just Resistance trying to get you back to your slothful self.
Press on with pride.
For our second indulgence I had more Thai. This time, I went all out — spring rolls, yellow curry with tofu, medium spice, and Thai tea. I'm not going to lie: it tasted phenomenal. However, the aftermath... An hour or so later, whenever I would sit up and put pressure on my intestines, I would feel a fiery sensation. Combined with the prandial coma I experienced after the meal, it's hard to justify eating like this. It's a good reminder to indulge in small dosages and on occasion.
Last week's PCP did not go well for me. I've been A+ in staying on diet, but I am still struggling to consume all the required food. Often I only get through lunch and occasionally just Morning Snack. When I get busy, it's hard to take time to eat when I'm not hungry. It also makes it incredibly hard to get out of the house when I have, or am supposed to, eat every two hours. Having a nice office to work out of would help my cafe addiction.
Anyway, I'm terribly behind in physique, and I certainly won't have the results I could have had; but the goal for me this PCP has been to wire myself to do this indefinitely. I'm back on track. Here's to finishing as strong as I can.
Strength is an interesting thing when you think about it. You start off weak. You try to lift something heavy and you struggle. As you workout, though, the next time you try to lift that heavy object, it's not as if you struggle and somehow you pull through. It's passive. That additional strength is just there, and lifting that heavy object is effortless. Remaining conscious of this is a good indicator as to weather one's strength is waning.
Body fat is another shifting perspective. The first few weeks of the program is a blast. Enthusiasm is high and you're thinning out quickly. Just as quickly as it started, this fat loss tapers. We start approaching incremental gains where the effort required to burn the remaining fat begins to maximize. Fortunately, we have our newfound strength and wonderful trainers to pull us through this. We would do well to remind ourselves that this is a life-long program: We have 90 days to begin our new lives with our new bodies.
Because I love both the PCP and Rage Comics, the two had to meet. I'm sure many of us can relate to this when we check our new diets.
I'm pretty sure the trainers are trying to kill us with the planks. I failed twenty-five seconds into the third set. I still finished them all, though. I'm also glad to be done with my workout within 2 hours and 15 minutes of waking. Considering this morning was also filled with cooking and cleaning, that's pretty good. Now I can enjoy the rest of the day.
I've noticed there's a bit of a stigma here in the West, and perhaps in other parts of the world as well. Whenever I tell people I am doing an extreme conditioning project, they always ask, "Why?" I tell them it's for my own health and wellness. If I were to say I am an athlete, however, I would not have to defend myself. It goes to show how uncommon taking care of oneself is, what our expectations are as a society. The same expectations live with regards to alcohol: "You're eating healthy? Oh, okay. Wait, you don't drink!? What!?"
I hope we see a change in the coming decades in which personal wellness choices are not only respected but elevated.
Yesterday I shattered my record of 750 consecutive jumps with… 1200 jumps! Yes, I did the entire set in one go. Tickets to the jump rope show will be on sale soon.
I've been eating a lot of pasta as my carbs lately. Correction: I accidentally made a lot of pasta, and I have been trying to get through it all. I only used half of the pack too! This has showed me one thing:
We eat a metric ton of pasta here in America.
Seriously. Order any pasta dinner at a restaurant, fast food or otherwise. Now compare that 170 g of pasta on the scale.
You can start weeping now.
No wonder we're so overweight.
I'm debating as to whether I should choose a mocha or Thai curry for my indulgence. I'm pretty sure these are the same things I chose last PCP, however they have been staples of my dietary life. I haven't consumed mochas in the past year like I have a couple years or so ago, but I've still partaken more often than I should have. That being said, I'm really not drawn to them right now. The thought of having one isn't repulsive, but it's not appealing either. As for Thai curry, well, I love Thai curry. My apprehension is that "thick" feeling I get afterwards. That's not appealing to me either, though the taste of the curry certainly is.
I'm a little concerned that tasting Thai curry is going to wet my appetite for more. I'm thinking the best choice is to only eat half and give the rest away. That way it's not sitting around tempting me, and I will have made a conscious choice to not consume until I am completely full.
Pull-ups, you are my nemesis. I'm still struggling with these, but I'm hoping to catch up with the "grease the groove" method. The idea is that you hang the pull-up bar in a doorway you frequent. Every time you walk through the doorway, you pop out 3 - 5 pull-ups, chin-ups, or neutral-grips. So far so good, though I don't know that the back is being targeted properly. It's hard to mess up a pull-up, but I feel like the movement is more in my arms than my back.
I'm also not getting a lot of burn on the thumbs-up curls, though I do struggle on the last contraction. I'm only getting a little burn on the standing ovations, and harder resistances make it hard to keep my stance without leaning into the motion. Perhaps I'm doing something wrong here. Shoulder presses are nice and painful.
On the positive side, I'm definitely starting to see a little shape in my upper arms! WHO WANTS TWO TICKETS TO THE GUN SHOW!?
My workout last night was rough as I did it after a long day of work. I keep telling myself to workout first thing in the morning as I have blogged about here before, but it's really hard to turn around when you just did your workout the night before.
Today's workout was average. It was challenging but not excruciating. I am having a really hard time making it through a set of pull-ups, and I don't know that I'm targeting my back muscles properly. Patrick did tell us, though, that it's hard to get a good burn in the back muscles. I enjoy the curls, but I'm not getting a deep burn either, even though my muscles are failing. On a positive note, I am experimenting more with food combinations, which is refreshing. Today for lunch I had salmon, rice, a potatoe, asparagus, and a little beef. This sure beat my usual meal of rice, beef or chicken, and a ton of lettuce or carrots.
Overall, I'm at that point we were forewarned of: that feeling of stagnation. I know it'll pass though; we simply must persevere.
I've definitely noticed my stomach thin out, which is great, for as a software developer, this contributes a lot to self-disgust and hacker-back. This in itself is highly motivating. Alas, as Patrick has described, motivation is fleeting. We must be disciplined, determined!
Around Day 10 I really felt something: the diets kick in during workouts. When you first start working out after a long, sedentary period, you feel awful. I presume it's all the junk one has been eating being burned off. Around Day 10, though, I was no longer fighting my former diet. I felt I had, and have since, all the energy I need to complete workouts. The hard part is simply pushing through the strength training.
I've certainly felt more alert as well. Nothing magical or super-conscious, by any means, but I do feel as though my energy levels sustain and don't waver as they did before. I can't wait to see what all of this feels like around Day 90. I can't wait to see what we all look like in just 75 days.
Can you believe we are 16% of the way through the program already!?