Have you guys seen Castaway? In the first half of the movie, when Tom Hanks is stuck on the island as a newbie, he goes out of his way to try and do things the civilized way. He catches a crab and tries to cook it up in his bonfire, with less than stellar results.
Then the movie flashes forward 4 years, and he's lost all his bodyfat and is like spearing fish and eating them raw with his bare hands.
In the PCP you go through a similar thing. At first, you're trying to duplicate all your old favorite recipes with low fat low sodium versions, you're a little generous with the cheese or honey which you're supposed to be using in moderation, you look longingly at the bakery window as you pass.
But once you cross the Day 60 line you're pretty much in eating raw fish with your bare hands mode. Because the palate and stomach have adjusted to a plainer, vegetable based diet, your old sauces and heavy carbs just aren't that appealing anymore. You start saving time by cutting out the decoration.
Thus, tonight Kazue and I just ate steamed vegetables and unseasoned proteins with the 100 yard stare of a jaded hunter gatherer. Hardcore!
Week 8 has come and gone. I was pretty good but not perfect, especially a few days where things got busy and I eyeballed a lot of snack portions and missed some altogether.
But I also had my indulgence. I usually like to go big and nasty for the indulgences, because its fun to see how your palate and stomach react to hardcore bad foods. This time I went to Hard Rock Cafe for lunch, and ordered these "spring rolls". They were basically rolled tortillas with beans and cheese in the middle, deep fried and eaten with a fresh salsa.
First bite: Wow! Taste explosion, I was picking up a ton of flavors, a slight smoky taste in the batter, the tang of the cheese, the vinegar in the salsa, and of course, and assault of salt. If I had stopped after that first bite I would have been totally satisfied. But no! I had to soldier on.
The "spring rolls" got progressively worse with each bite. Salty, greasy, way too many carbs vs. other ingredients. At some point the fried exterior set my teeth on edge. Hard to describe but each bite was like hurting my teeth.
I finished them and as with all good indulgences was thankful that I could now go back to fruits and vegetables as my daily sustenance.
Week 9 is upon us and these workouts get pretty tough. We're keeping our sense of humor and doing our best to get deep burns with a wild baby climbing all over us in the ab section!
A few people have asked me who my inspiration person is for this round of the PCP. I'll tell you the story.
This year I was on the road for some reason or another, and had a night stuck in a hotel room with basic cable. Flipping through channels I came across the 90's Disney movie George of the Jungle starring Brendan Fraser. I'd never seen it before and I was super impressed by the level of fitness Fraser had gotten himself into for the role.
This is just the kind of physique that we love on the PCP. He's gotten his body fat down near the single digits but has kept great natural looking muscle tone, and you can see from the long fluid shape of the muscle bellies that he's done most of his training using dynamic body work, not machines or weights. Very nice training result.
Whenever I see an actor get into our kind of shape I do a little digging to see if I can find out what system he or she used. In the process of looking for Brendan Fraser's training regimen I came across a bunch of pictures of the current Brendan Fraser here in 2012. It's a far cry from the George of the Jungle days.
In a lot of these pictures Fraser was walking around town with his family of young children. You can tell he's really enjoying being a dad, spending time with his family, and taking a loooong break from the fitness stuff.
What Brendan Fraser does is his business, but what resonated with me is that I could see how easy it is to slip into that zone when you have a kid. My daughter was born late in 2011, and as any parent can tell you having a baby kind of blows up your previous life. The stuff you used to care about dwindles in importance, and a whole new set of priorities shoots right to the top of the list.
When you're juggling bathtime, board meetings, diaper changes and expense reports, it's very tempting to let that workout time slide. And the added stress makes fast junky food more appetizing than ever.
I deal with this fitness stuff all day everyday, so I'm acutely aware of it, but I totally get less physically focused dads who just say "to hell with it" and let themselves go. In fact in the first six months of my daughter's life I gained about 8 kgs/17 pounds and wasn't doing any exercise except for some half-hearted pull ups.
So my inspiration is both the younger Brendan Fraser and the menace of the old Brendan Fraser who I could definitely become if I don't watch it. I don't want to be the kind of dad tells his kid to eat right and exercise but doesn't walk the talk. So I'm back in the fight, stronger than ever and getting leaner each and every day. Haven't missed a workout yet!
Everything going well here, laid down a couple of perfect PCP days this week, feeling strong and on top of things. Dinner is a depressing affair but that's how it goes. Muscle is really toning up, I'm pleased that my weight is still quite high at this stage despite belly fat being significantly thinner, it's a good sign that I'm really getting muscle mass results.
When I was jumping rope yesterday I experienced the telltale feeling of what I call the slinky effect. This probably happens to everyone, but if you don't know what's going on it can freak you out and demotivate you.
The effect is this. About a month into your program, during jumprope you'll start to get the kind of gross feeling of your belly fat sliding up and down and all around with each jump. You never felt this at the start of the program. You're supposed to losing belly fat, why is it flopping around so much. Have you done something wrong!? You feel like a blobby slinky.
Can you figure out what's happening here? Over the last month you've been hitting your abdominals each and every day, and combined with your good diet and sleep you've gone a long way towards toning them up.
When your abs and obliques are strong, they can very efficiently flex and provide your torso with a lot of stability when you exercise. As you jump, your new ab muscles will naturally stay somewhat engaged to allow you to jump more effectively.
However, it hasn't been quite enough time to shed the last of that belly fat, and as a result, the leftover fat slips and slides up and down the "hardened" abs. You feel this as being blobby and out of shape. But just the opposite is true. The slinky effect means that everything is going well! When you first started jumping with weak abs and a lot more belly fat, the whole system just jumbled around together so the effect wasn't as noticeable.
In time the last of that belly fat will go and the feeling will go away. But you can't circumvent the laws of physics and it just takes weeks and weeks of eating right and exercising to mobilize those old fat stores. Keep the faith and carry on!
Like a lot of PCPers I'm in egg white dinner land, which means after I finish lunch I won't be seeing any carbs until a loooong 18 hours at the next breakfast.
But the thing I love about this is how hungry I am when I wake up, and the knowledge that I've got a boatload of veggies and carbs waiting for my breakfast and lunch. I pop out of bed ready to eat a horse.
I think this is really good for my mental health and whole outlook on life. There's something quite deep and meaningful about the idea of "Waking up hungry." Hungry for breakfast, hungry for a productive day, hungry to squeeze out all the marrow of life.
Training and having a small dinner tilts the whole axis of the day towards the morning, a morning when you're never hungover, groggy, or out of sorts because you've been living right.
We spend a lot of time dwelling on the fat percentages and abs and all that stuff, but things like waking up hungry and excited to start the day, these are the intangible benefits of training that will ultimately raise your quality of life.
Onwards and upwards!
What a good week on the PCP. Hitting the workouts hard, getting some good speed with the rope. Cravings have dissipated. Muscle is coming in fast, man boobs are all but gone, but busting up stomach fat is slow as always.
Two days ago we had our indulgence on a day trip to a Odaiba. Kazue and I talked about what to eat for days and days. We finally settled on Thai food. When you only get one chance to splash out junk food just isn't very appealing.
This was skirting the 400 calorie limit pretty close, but since it was a small lunch portion I think it was safe. Very tasty green curry, didn't have any ill effects, the spices really popped after eating clean for three weeks. Photo is below.
Everything on track. Month 2 has arrived, time to kick it into high gear! Egg white dinners anyone?
These next two weeks my city is having Oktoberfest. Today the weather was picture perfect, the cruise ships were coming in all day blowing their horns and throwing streamers, and I was SORELY tempted to rationalize a nice German beer in the afternon sun.
But I didn't. And it stung. Worthwhile things are damned hard to do.
Phew, been a busy week, but have just gotten over a big work hump, so should be able to blog more.
Everything going well. If you're training properly you'll notice that you'll have certain clumps of days where you feel like you've been run over by a truck. It's easy to get discouraged by these, as you think, "Hey, I'm doing all this to get more energy and vitality, what's the DEAL MAN!?"
The truth is that these days are muscle rebuilding times. You've successfully torn up a bunch of fibers and your body is working overtime rebuilding you stronger and better than before. That rebuilding siphons off energy from other systems, making you feel run down and grumpy.
I know this cycle pretty well, so when I have a day where I feel like that I count it as a pure win. I don't try to do to much and put a priority on sleep. Hurts so good.
And the best part is that if you can just make it past the 2-3 day rebuild clump, you'll be refurbished with brand new muscle and will be feeling on top of the world.
Also have been jumping at sunset this week and all these bats come out and fly around in their weird bat way. So cool, makes the time fly by.
Really going for some PPCPDs (Perfect PCP Days, meaning every gram, every rep on target) but I keep missing my damn fruit snacks cause something takes way longer than I plan on.
Will have to start secreting fruit all over my body in various pockets. A haze of fruit flies will follow me everywhere like Pigpen from Charlie Brown.
Alright, now this is more like it! Tons of great food, nice full body workout, and I finally have some time to enjoy it all.
A little over a year ago I closed my yoga studio in Yokohama after 6 years of operation. The reason? PCP and its sister programs were really taking off, and I figured that I had taken my yoga teaching as far as I could and wanted a new challenge. Wellness Begins Here was born and a year later what used to be a part time thing I did after work became my main job.
All of this coincided with my wife's pregnancy and our daughter's birth 9 months ago. So for about a year I have consciously put my own fitness on the back burner to focus on these two big life changes.
With the company and baby both doing well, I'm finally feeling more relaxed and able to focus on my own health. Still quite strong, but fat percentage has crept up, compounded by my lack of time on the mat (when studio was open I was teaching more than 20 hours a week) and the fact that my new job has me sitting in front of a screen so much.
So this run of the PCP will be a test to see how fast the body can bounce back from a year of doing what the rest of the world considers normal, working at a desk most of the day and taking care of a family at night. I'll share my findings here of course!
Today's photos, my last half of a cookie, and breakfast this morning! Eat vegetables for breakfast. Don't eat cereal that stuff is the DEVIL!
It's been almost five years since Peak Condition Project Zero. A lot has happened, and the time has come for me to re-enter the arena and give the program a thorough once over to make sure it's up to our highest standards. Will write much more as soon as we get this group completely off the ground, watch this space PCPers!