Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Update on USAW cert and general diet progress

Today's Weigh-In: 204.2
Weighted Moving Average: 204.8

After a bit of a (planned) hiccup over the weekend I'm back on track. My friends are having a baby, and they threw a baby shower/big ass party on Saturday, where I had quite a few adult beverages and some off-the-reservation foods. But I did a fair job at keeping the damage contained to that day, and after a bit of stomach/digestive issues over the subsequent two days I'm totally back to being clean. I just really love the way I feel when I eat strict and sleep well, and I hate the way I feel when I don't. So that helps a lot with staying on the straight and narrow.

I got another comment from a coworker on how much weight I've lost (this is someone I only see every few months, so it's probably easier for her to notice). She even took the time to ask me what I am doing, and seemed genuinely interested in my answer (which was basically "avoid grains and vegetable oil, eat meat, veggies, fruit, and coconut"), which makes me feel good. I am fully convinced that this is the way to eat for life, and it makes me feel good to share this information with others who might benefit from it.

I just realized I've never really shared some of my favorite Paleo/Primal/Ancestral eating sites and resources; I've added a resources section to the side of the blog to remedy this failure to share this valuable information. Take the time to check them out and get your life on track.

Ooh, I just got an email from USA Weightlifting: I passed the certification test! I'm now officially a USAW Certified Sports Performance Coach! I wasn't too sure if I passed the test, because it was hard. I studied the materials pretty in-depth, and I'm fairly well-versed on technique, but it was still really tough. That's a relief, though; you have to pay to re-take the test online, and I really didn't want the added expense. I'm feeling very happy right now!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Feeling confident

Weigh-In: 204.2
Average: 205.5

Had a great time at the USAW Level 1 certification this weekend. I learned a ton about performing and coaching the Olympic lifts, as well as program design and assistance movements. Once my shoulder is back to 100% and I fix some of the mobility issues I've been having I would really like to do a 12-week weightlifting cycle, ending in another competition. I would also like to compete in the 85kg weight class this time, instead of 94kg like last time.

I'm making good progress on the weight-loss front. I have had a couple of cheats (a couple beers one day, some corn tortillas another) but in general I've been really strict, even on the weekends. I've managed to completely avoid wheat which is something I plan to continue as strictly as possible forever. My digestion is so much better without it, and I think cutting it out is what has led to me losing much of the chub from around my waist (see the new book Wheat Belly by Dr. William Davis for more info).

I'm now comfortably using the 4th hole in my belt after being stuck on the 3rd (and even the 2nd, at times) for a few years. I think this time I've finally managed to get fully back on track to reach my goals. I know I'm still a ways away, but I feel pretty confident now that I have the ability and drive to get there. It's a good feeling.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Leveling up my knowledge

This weekend I'm going to be attending the USA Weightlifting Sports Performance Coach Level 1 Certification being held at our gym. I wasn't planning on it, but one of the owners of the gym can't make it, so the opportunity falls to me. This is an awesome opportunity, as I've been teaching the Olympic lifts as part of our beginner's intro course, and also when I help out with the classes, and to be honest I probably enjoy that aspect of coaching the most. There's just so much to learn in the O-lifts, it never gets boring, but it does require me to continue to stretch my limits as a coach and increase my knowledge about the technical aspects of these lifts. I've attended a couple of seminars put on by local Oly coaches, but this is the first real USAW class and cert for me. I've thought about starting a weightlifting club at Crossfit 714 at some point in the future, and USAW requires certification to do that, so this is a good step in that direction, should I choose to go down that road.

While this is an awesome thing, it's going to make it tough to find the time to cook my meals for the upcoming week, but I'm going to do my best to make the time, even if I can only do a couple of slow-cooker recipes. I'm really making good progress with regards to my body-fat, strength, and performance, so I need to be on top of my nutrition to keep the ball rolling.

I've actually gotten 3 remarks in the past few days with people saying I'm looking lean, or more buff, and one lady I've never spoken to before started talking to me about healthy eating and that she could tell I was into that. It's a really great motivator when others comment on your progress, and I'm hoping that'll help keep me on track mentally to reach my goals.

Training has been good this week. I hit new personal records in the power clean (230# for 1 rep, 5# PR) and front squat (290# for 1 rep, 15# PR). I completed Murph as prescribed on Tuesday (took just under an hour) and hit my PRs on Wednesday, so I can only imagine that those numbers could be a little bit better if my body was fresher. My shoulder is continuing to feel better and better, and even the 100 pull-ups in Murph didn't bother it. All in all I'm feeling really good with where I'm at and where I'm going.

Edit: I wanted to post a recent picture, for posterity, cuz I haven't posted anything in a while. Here's me from a few weeks ago during my birthday party.

I've dropped a few points of body-fat percentage since then, but it's fairly indicative of where I'm at now.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Making progress

Today's Weigh-In: 205.4
Moving Average: 206.9

Looks like my weight is starting to move downward. I've weighed in under 206 the past 3 days. My goal is to be under 200 by October 1st, so I've got 17 days left in this month. I'm not sure if I'll make that goal, and I really don't want to try to hit it through restricting my calories drastically, but I'm hoping now that everything seems to be dialed in that the weight will drop more consistently. We'll see.

The thing that is surprising to me is that I have made absolutely zero effort to restrict the quantity of food I'm taking in. I've been eating tons of meat, fruit, coconut, nuts, vegetables, sweet potatoes, etc., even to the point of fullness and I'm still leaning out and dropping weight. I doubt that will continue forever, because from what I've seen and read it does take some restriction to get down to sub-10% levels of body-fat, but I'm going to ride this as long as I can, and when I stall out then I'll think about modifying my intake or counting calories.

My girlfriend and I came up with a delicious healthy snack to help with those times where you just want something a little sweet and comforting. I've had a big tub of shredded coconut just sitting in my cabinet for over a year now, so we decided to take a couple scoops of that and mix it with the vanilla coconut milk from Trader Joe's. On its own it tastes similar to Frosted Mini-Wheats if you let them sit in milk for a long time, but instead of being filled with poisonous gluten and gliadin it's full of healthy MCTs and fiber. We experimented even more with it, and my girlfriend came up with a mixture of shredded coconut, coconut milk, chocolate whey protein, cocoa powder, a little sweetener (stevia or sucralose), and a touch of coffee, which is absolutely delicious. It's a chocolatey treat with a balanced amount of protein and fat, with only a small amount of carbs. Yum!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Good first week of clean Paleo

Today's Weigh-In: 207.4
Average: 207.4

Last post I mentioned starting a strict 30-day Paleo routine that I would be starting September 1st. I have indeed started, and am now just over a week in. Even after just a week I am feeling tremendous! The first few days without caffeine were rough, and I slept a lot over the weekend. What this tells me is that I was sleep-deprived, and was using caffeine and energy drinks to prop myself up, when what I really needed was good, restful sleep. After the first few days I started to feel much more energized, my brain cleared, and avoiding caffeine has become routine. To ease into this whole thing I didn't restrict myself (quantity-wise) at all the first week, just eating to fullness, and eating more fruit and nuts than I normally would. This has had a good effect on my digestion, as before I was not regular, nor did I have healthy BMs (sorry, TMI, I know), but now everything is moving through excellently. And from the information I've been consuming it looks like a healthy gut is key to a healthy life. I'd been damaging mine with alcohol, wheat, and sucralose (Splenda) and now it's beginning to heal.

But, the biggest benefit I've experienced is, by far, my increased performance in the gym. Yesterday, which was my third day working out in a row, I beat everyone in the gym on the workout, even those guys who usually destroy my times. I felt super fresh the whole time, and my recovery between the end of the WOD and the cool-down was noticeably faster than usual. Usually after a hard metcon it will take me a good 10-15 minutes to scrape myself off the floor and get moving again, but yesterday it only took about 3 or 4 minutes. Then, right after, we did 3x400m sprints, and they felt better than I can ever remember, and again my recovery between attempts was very quick.

My shoulder is healing up pretty nicely. The anti-inflammatory effect of the Paleo diet is definitely helping in this regard. I am able to do pressing movements (shoulder press, push-ups) as well as power cleans again already.  The only thing that still hurts are dips, pull-ups (if I kip too much), and I haven't even attempted muscle-ups because I know the risk of re-injuring myself is high if I try them when I'm not ready. So I'm just taking it slow, doing my mobility and rehab/prehab work, and substituting troublesome movements with ones I can do pain-free.

As you can see I haven't lost any scale weight lately, but a look in the mirror shows me at the leanest I've ever been, more so even than when I weighed 196 a few years ago. I'm beginning to see veins in my arms (which I've never had), and I've been complimented on more than one occasion about my chest and shoulders looking strong. My waist size has also dropped, to the point where some of my boardshorts I wear for working out are almost falling off, even when tied as tightly as possible. The only downside to this increased muscle is that my thighs rub together again, which makes running a pain.  I'm hoping that as I drop some more fat that will become less of an issue, but I don't know to be honest.

I know I promised more posts this month, but I've taken on the responsibility of doing daily blog posts for the gym so that may not work out as I had thought.  We'll see.