Eating like and Adult

Recently J and I have been considering and discussing each of our respective gym, food and body goals. He wants to bulk up, and I want to slim down. By which I mean he wants to gain muscle, and I want to lose fat. While both of us are reasonably (reeeeasonably) happy with our exercise regimes, we both know our food needs to change in order to see the results we want. The question is- can we eat the same things, and still achieve our (very different) goals? We’re going to give it a shot.

We’ve got a window of opportunity coming up which provides us with a neat two months to makes some changes. It’s not a deadline, nor will life particularly change in any other way during this time- it’s just an opportunity to measure some time in ways other than setting deadlines. So yesterday J suggested we use this time to really bunker down and commit to some new habits. The question was, is there a set of new habits we can both commit to, that will help us achieve our respective goals?

I’ve played with the idea of Paleo for a while. Pete Evans’ The Paleo Way certainly seems appealing, with its many positive Facebook testimonials and its daily meal planners and recipes. But J isn’t sold on paleo as a way to bulk, and I’m not sold on the idea of ridding my life of dairy. I’ve also played with the idea of Cyndi O’Meara’s Hunter Gatherer Elimination Protocol. I like the idea of elimination foods then slowly reintroducing them to see how my body feels when I consume them. But even Cyndi admits that this protocol is, at its heart, a paleo diet. Then there’s Sarah Wilson’s I Quit Sugar. I’m coming around to this one, although I haven’t read terribly much about it yet. But I do think there’s elements in there I could adopt. Then of course there’s Low Carb High Fat, which is the lifestyle of choice for some in my household at the moment. I could write a lot about LCHF, but I’m not going to. It will turn into a rant, and I’ll start arguing for and against it at the same time.

I’ve written before about how I’m confused about what I should or shouldn’t be eating, and which diet is best, so when J suggested we start down this path I was worried that I was heading towards another slippery slide of confusion. Then he suggested that we eat like adults. We. Eat. Like. Adults. At first I thought this wouldn’t work for me. It’s too broad, there’s no parametres, and I can talk myself out of/around it too easily. Who knows- maybe I will. But I’m going to attempt a list of what eating like an adult means to me, and once I’ve got that then J and I can figure out what it means for us. For this to work we both need to be doing similar stuff. Really similar stuff. Preparing two different types of meals won’t work, and handing him a big plate of processed carbs while I suck up the green veg won’t work either. My Eat Like An Adult list will come later (maybe later today). This will be interesting.

Finding motivation: counting down to Spartan

Spartan-Race-Spartan-Logo2

I’ve lost some motivation recently. Not only with my eating (which didn’t surprise me at all), but also in my training (which did). Losing training motivation snuck up on me and yes, it surprised me a bit, because for the majority of the last 18 months my motivation’s been strong. While I’ve not enjoyed specific exercises, or had down days in the gym, for the most part I’ve wanted to be there and I’ve wanted the results. But over the past couple of months I’ve found myself consistently thinking about skipping-out on PT sessions, and dragging my way through them when they do happen. My PT’s noticed it too. At the start of the year I set a couple of goals for myself- weight loss (not specific), to be able to deadlift my own body weight, and to do a pull-up.

Turns out I’m very motivated by an end-point, but when I set that end-point myself I don’t work so well. This isn’t new to me- I’m constantly dealing with this exact same thing in the workplace when it comes to deadlines- but it’s a new concept for me in the gym. Needless to say, with no ‘other-imposed’ due date on those goals, they weren’t pushing me very hard.

Late last year I completed The Stampede, a 10 km obstacle event. It’s not a race- it’s supposed to be fun, supportive and non-competitive. My partner couldn’t do that event, so we’ve been keeping tabs on the obstacle race calender for a similar event to do together ever since. There’s been plenty happening across the first half of the year, but none of them at a convenient time. Anyway, Spartan Race recently announced their next Melbourne dates and races – on September 12 their running a 7 km, 21 km, and completely insane 42 km. So we signed up for the 7 km.

It’s crazy, but the day after I paid my cash and signed up, my motivation in the gym shot through the roof. Suddenly I had a six month time frame in which to achieve some fresh goals, and my mind was really really happy with that. Spartan seems to have a lot of monkey-bar style challenges (although it’s hard to tell, because they don’t release a map of the course), so my first goal is to improve my grip and upper body strength enough to be able to complete at least one of those obstacles. And if I can do one, hopefully I can do more.

We’ve signed up for the 7 km, because let’s face it, 21 km is just a bit nuts. The furthest I’ve ever run non-stop is about 3.5 km, and I’m definitely not up to running that right now, so my second goal is to get my running back up to a fairly decent standard. I’d like to be able to run 5 km of the 7- which should be doable, seeing as there’ll be obstacles breaking up the running. So it’s back to the Couch to 5km running app for me- and with six months, I know that’s realistic. I think the time-frame is the best bit about all of this. Not only do I have my motivation back, but I also have goals that I can actually achieve in the time frame. Run 5 km, do one monkey bar obstacle, and of course generally kick the rest of the course’s bum.

I know Spartan is a tougher, more competitive course and environment than the very family-friendly Stampede, but I’m really looking forward to giving it a go- and giving my body a go at pushing hard.