Phase 1 of 2017’s Goal Accountability project was a disaster, as I chronicled here. Phase 1 ended weak, really non-existent adherence, which rolled into Phase 2 beginning equally weak; but I got my butt in gear one week in and finished it strong!
When I wrote about kicking off 2017 (link) with a new push for goal accountability I specifically stated that it wasn’t a new years resolution and that those don’t work for me anyway. If my performance in the first phase isn’t a pointed tail of that I don’t know what is. Continue reading 2017 Phase 1 Goal Accountability: A Dud
October 16, 2016, when I got back from my honeymoon, I said I was going to be emphasizing a fitness focus by looking at using a goal accountability report card. Really this is getting the tempo for doing these things more into 2017 and beyond. Work and life took my eye off the ball but it didn’t stop me from actually keeping the report card. What’s the point of an accountability exercise if you only do it when you know you are going to score well? That’s like only going to the doctor when you are healthy. The sobering reality is that right now I’m failing on my five goals, but I didn’t need a report card to actually tell me that.
I’m one month into my exercise isolation experiment to see what would happen if I really crank up my crappy exercise regiment (which means not exercising at all) while holding my pretty decent diet pretty static. Over the month I’ve seen some good changes, but some other things stayed more static than I was expecting. A full writeup of my experiment methodology is here. I’ll do a full break down later, but I wanted to do a quick summary with the last day done.
I’m surprised at how fast the months of the experiment are flying by. It seems like I just started the Virgin Diet a couple weeks ago, yet I’m now almost through with the testing phase and getting ready to move onto the first real diet phase, The Paleo Diet. While life got in the way of some of the process, I mostly adhered to what I was trying to do with the testing and did get some interesting results.
December has now come and gone and so has the year 2013. As is typical for most people, including me, the year ended with a lot of excessive indulgences, holiday cheer (aka parties) and enjoying the company of friends and family. It also ended with me completing one of my life objectives, running a full marathon. Instead of a month of eating healthy and maintaining a new exercise regiment post-marathon, I instead fell into a regiment of working too much and eating too much crap food. Thankfully the three months of JJ Virgin’s elimination diet should provide the initial buffer that I was looking for to begin experiments.
Beginning the month of January my body measurements took a predictably bad turn. Between excessive eating throughout the month as parties, family gatherings and tasty morsels presented themselves throughout the month I picked up a bit of extra weight and girth. I also didn’t do any exercise after my marathon early in the month. All of that trends poorly. Again, I was hoping to not start any of the diet experiment phases with skewed body chemistry and state, but I think the three months of the elimination diet before the core trials begin will make this not a complete tragedy.
Although I just did my “November” measurements back on the 10th, I wanted to get into the beginning of the month tempo to make sure I’m getting literally monthly updates on my body measurements. Because of that I wasn’t expecting too much change in my stats being as there was only two and a half weeks between them. Surprisingly there were some relatively large changes in my body measurements and composition, especially with such little time elapsing.
A few notable things happened over the course of those three weeks. One important thing is that I cleaned up my diet a little bit. That means that I was eating a lot cleaner and more whole foods, but was still indulging from things several times a week. I was far from perfect, but I wasn’t a junk food junkie. Between those dates I also stopped ramping up my distances for my marathon training and was deep into my “taper” period. That means the distance I was running each week was dropping from a peak of 28 miles in a week down to just 6 (the week I did the measurement). Lastly, starting in late September I started taking some herbal supplements to help augment testosterone production since my testosterone levels had dropped between my second and third quarter blood tests. This common problem with endurance training is something I wanted to mitigate, but once I was no longer building up mileage I figured I no longer needed to be taking these supplements. Therefore a few days after my longest long run (20 miles) I stopped taking them. Any one of those things could have caused the changes I’m seeing, but the results are what they are.
As noted in other areas, my weight actually dropped considerably, but it happened over such a short period of time that most of it must be water weight. That is born out by the measurements as well. While all my torso measurements went down by a quarter inch or more, my skin fold measurement came out just slightly less than in the previous measurement. That put my percent body fat down from 17% to 16.5%. That drop is pretty consistent with the drop measured on my scale (which using bioelectric impedance to measure body fat). Unfortunately other “good” measurements seemed to have dropped well. My arms either stayed the same or dropped an eight of an inch (both in forearm and bicep area). My upper legs shrank almost half an inch while my calves stayed the same.
With my marathon training done until next summer I’m going to keep a good running base of 8-12 miles a week. This will give me a lot of time to crank up strength training to see what I can do about my overall body composition and strength (especially upper body). I’m not sure how much of that I will get to crank up with my post-marathon recovery taking a week or so and the holidays taking its toll from a time and nutrition perspective. I can’t wait to see though, since that’s the last set before I head into the experiment.
November is now in the record books and even with a huge Thanksgiving feast and some travel it still went quite well in terms of my overall health. After two months of eating mostly crap I decided I needed to start dialing in my nutritional practices. I had no choice but to power through my marathon distance training, but I didn’t end up incorporating as much cross training as often as I would have liked. While the experiment is set to begin in earnest in about a month, I didn’t have much I needed to get done for that but time is quickly going a way for when I can dabble with the first phase recipes.
After all of the gorging in September and October I felt that a good part of my training problems were really due to poor diet. Yes, I was technically getting all the micronutrients I was supposed to be getting but I was getting a lot of gunk with it too. I didn’t totally clean up my diet, after all there was plenty of Thanksgiving and practice cooking (and eating) for Thanksgiving, but compared to the previous months I ate much cleaner. The only two nutrients I was even somewhat deficient on were Vitamin E and calcium. Both of these were just slightly below the recommended levels (96% and 92% respectively). I’m not buying the levels on the calcium however because I often fail to record the mineral water I’m drinking and each serving of mineral water (Pellegrino and Perrier anyway) has 4% of your daily value of calcium. I’m a bit high on my fat and saturated fat (about 140%), which I wouldn’t care as much about if I was eating all good fats but I know a bunch of that came from ice cream and cheesecake. A lot of my calories were coming from food that is now home made rather than store bought, things like home made health bars and yogurt. Lastly, with the exception of Thanksgiving weekend, I didn’t have any huge gorge fest weekends.
All that said I had a hard time keeping to my original calorie budget plan. Training for the marathon is believed to be a way to stay lean. I think it has the opposite effect. I often found myself famished. That didn’t happen as much on the day of my long trainings, which were hard to me to eat healthily up to the level I burned that day. It was more the out days. Even up to three or four days later I would be craving carb rich food (both healthy and unhealthy) and really felt like I needed to give my body what it needed. In the beginning I did that the easy way out, by having another slice of cheesecake or scoop of ice cream. However after I had my little talk with myself about straightening up my nutrition I was doing that with apples, carrots, plain yogurt and berries.
My weight kept going up and up until mid month when it suddenly plummeted. I’m not sure what exactly was going on but I have two theories, both of them dealing with excessive water retention. The first theory was that my body was more inflamed as I kept on increasing the training mileage. As a result of that inflammation it was taking on more and more water weight, distributing it pretty evenly. My second theory was that it was due to some supplements I had started to take in September. These supplements are supposed to help boost testosterone production. No, I’m not looking to a “natural” steroid replacement or anything like that. What I was trying to do was up regulate my testosterone production while I was increasing my mileage. Between my various blood tests I had a pretty good drop between the second and third quarter results. Knowing that endurance training can create that effect I figured I would try to give my body some tools to fight that. I stopped the supplements right about the time I also stopped the mileage build up. I therefore can’t tell which of the two caused it. I could possibly due an experiment to find out, but I mostly don’t care at this point.
The overall summary for November was one where I got kept my marathon training in check but I didn’t get my cross training ramped up like I had hoped. I was able to get my nutritional profile better but still not great. Lastly, I believe I’m on target to begin the experiment in the beginning of January 2014. Overall, I’d say that’s a pretty good month.
From a fitness and wellness perspective, October 2013 was a bit of a mixed bag. I did a good job keeping up with my running routine in preparation for the marathon at the end of this year. I didn’t keep up with my cross training at all. That is actually a pretty bad thing. While running does wonders for the cardiovascular system and does work some muscles, there are lots of other muscles that are important for running without injury that really should be worked out by doing other things. I did get some cycling in, but I totally skipped out on yoga, swimming and/or strength training. As I said this time last year when I finished my first half marathon, I’ll concentrate on that after the race. I didn’t hold to it last year, perhaps I will this.