Category Archives: healthy living

IIFYM: Week One

Remember a few weeks ago when I blogged about all my fitness goals for 2016? Turns out, lifting heavy shit requires big muscles, so I’ve been looking into various nutrition plans to help me build muscle mass/lose body fat.

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I decided I wanted to try a macro-based approach, which is something I was initially apprehensive about because have you ever searched the IIFYM (“If It Fits Your Macros”) hashtag on Instagram? It’s almost all photos of people stuffing their faces with pizza/pop tarts/doughnuts and being all BUT IT FITS MY MACROS. Apparently there’s this whole rivalry between IIFYM-ers and “clean eaters,” with the IIFYM group being all “I EAT PIZZA EVERY DAY AND STILL LOOK GOOD,” and the clean eaters being like, “awesome dudebro, enjoy your upcoming quadruple bypass.” I think I fall somewhere in the middle – I want to eat mostly healthy, minimally-processed foods but still have the flexibility to house the occasional wedge of brie.

Anyway, I asked my CrossFit coach to calculate my macros (ideal grams of protein/fat/carbs I should be eating every day) and make me a plan. In addition to involving much more food than I’m used to eating, it requires eating a gram of protein per pound of body weight every day. I feel like I’m singlehandedly eating my way through the nation’s livestock in order to get enough protein.

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GIVE ME YOUR PROTEINZ

My usual routine is to take a few minutes in the evening and enter the next day’s food into MyFitnessPal, which helps me to stay on track and not have to think too much about what/when to eat. Thursday night was the first night I tried to make my food hit my new macro goals, and it went like this:

“OK, I need 30 more grams of protein, so I’ll add another egg to my breakfast. Shit, now I’m over my fat. OK, I’ll do a ½ cup of cottage cheese instead. Now I’m under on my protein, and I still need carbs. OK I’ve got canned tuna and corn tortillas, I’ll make tuna tacos for lunch. Are tuna tacos a thing? Probably not. Better Google it. Oh look, cat gifs!”

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I have a feeling it’ll go better this week now that I’ve had a chance to stock my fridge with a small farm’s worth of poultry and plan my meals for the week. I’ve pre-portioned as much as I can to avoid having to constantly pull out the scale and/or eat weird combinations to make sure everything adds up at the end of the day (ahem, canned tuna tacos).

As for what I’ll be eating, it’s not much different than how I normally eat, I’m mostly just eating the same stuff in different quantities: eggs, chicken breast, turkey, sweet potatoes, avocado, salmon, fruit, veggies, almond butter, cottage cheese, oatmeal, pasta, rice, quinoa, etc. Plus some maybe not-as-great stuff that I love too much to give up: coffee creamer, tortillas, Laughing Cow cheese, pretzels. Sorry not sorry.

I’m excited to see whether this makes a big difference in my body composition and performance, although I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little anxious about how many calories I’m eating. My coach warned me that I’ll probably gain weight in the next few weeks while my body adjusts, and even though I know it’s temporary, it’s still kind of tough to put a ton of effort into eating healthy and watch yourself blow up like the Stay-Puft man. I don’t have a specific weight goal in mind – I actually don’t really care if I wind up gaining weight in the long term – as long as my body fat decreases, my strength increases, and I like what I’m seeing in the mirror.

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2016 Goals

The week between Christmas and New Year’s Eve is my least favorite week of the year. The holiday festivities start winding down and everybody starts pondering how much they suck at life and tries to convince themselves that they’re going to suck less in the coming year. I read somewhere that like 80% of new year’s resolutions have to do with fitness, and apparently I’m no different. For instance: it would be awesome if I didn’t have to lay down and say a prayer to the patron saint of diabeetus prevention to get my skinny jeans to zip.

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Thankfully I haven’t had to resort to lotion to get my pants on. Yet.

I’m pretty confident that I’ll shed my holiday poundage pretty quickly now that I’m back to my usual eating routine that doesn’t include cookies, fudge, and hot chocolate every day, so here are a few more long-term goals I’ve made for the coming year:

Master kipping pull-ups

I can currently do 3-4 strict pull-ups (depending on how sore my arms are), which I am actually pretty proud of considering that I had literally never done a single pull-up in my entire life when I started CrossFit last summer. While I will continue to work on my strict pull-ups, I also need to learn to kip so that I can start RXing those workouts with a million pull-ups (I’m looking at you, Fran). I’m just going to keep chipping away at it during my warm-ups and hope that someday soon I’ll stop looking like I’m having a grand mal seizure on the bar and look more like this:

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Master double unders

I got a  Rogue RX custom jump rope a few months ago, which has made double unders a little easier for me. (For non CrossFit folks: a double under is when the rope makes two passes per jump instead of just one.) On a good day, I can string together 5 or 6. Most days I just wind up whipping my legs repeatedly with my rope and screaming obscenities.

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Back squat 225#

My most recent back squat max was 150#, but that was back in October so I’m hoping the next time I go for a max I’ll be closer to 175#. I honestly have no idea if 225# is possible for me to hit next year, but I’m going to try!

Deadlift 300#

Again, no idea if this will be possible, but I’ve added 50# to my deadlift since September so I figure I may as well aim high! (My current max is 205#)

Continue to focus on diet

My diet is SO much better than it was a few years ago. I used to eat a ton of frozen meals and “diet” foods, which were low calorie but filled with all kinds of artificial crap. For the last five months or so I’ve been really making an effort to cut back on highly processed, pre-packaged foods. I’ve noticed my body starting to change, particularly in the stomach area:

Before and After

Note the sweet shoulder bruise in the photo on the right. Maybe “fix my slow elbows” should be on this list.

The photo on the left was the week after I started CrossFit (August), and the one on the right was three months later (November). It’s not an Earth-shattering transformation or anything, but I definitely think I look less puffy and a little more toned in the one on the right. I haven’t ever taken progress photos before, but I’m finding it’s great motivation to actually be able to see the difference you’re making because it can be hard to see change on a day-to-day basis.

That’s it for me …  I’d love to hear your goals for 2016, if you have some!

My First CrossFit Experience

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A new CrossFit box recently opened in Yreka, and my friend Jayne talked me into going with her  Saturday morning. Full disclosure: I avoided CrossFit for a long time because I was pretty afraid of dying/puking/somebody telling me I should stop eating cheese because CAVEMEN. (Calm down, Paleo fans: I’m sure your body is better than mine and you will outlive me by decades. I still choose Brie.)

The good news: I had a ton of fun, and nobody diet-shamed me. The bad news: I’m afraid to go back because I haven’t been able to lift my arms above waist level since Saturday. Seriously, I had to ask Dave to put my pajamas on me like a damn toddler on Saturday night.

Me, every time I move.

Me, every time I move.

I am happy to report that I’m already seeing some positive changes in my health. For example, I thought about drinking a beer Saturday night, but decided it wouldn’t be worth the effort to lift the bottle to my mouth. Maybe this is CrossFit’s secret to success: tiring the arm muscles to the point where they’re physically incapable of lifting anything heavier than a kale leaf.

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Hey Ryan, you can start with my triceps.

All joking aside: I can’t wait to go back. I had no idea my upper body was so weak, and I’m determined to do something about it. I also wouldn’t be mad if my butt was a little more Beyonce and a little less Roseanne Barr. I know it can be a good thing to work through sore muscles, but at this point I feel like it might not be wise to lift heavy stuff when the act of fastening my bra feels like summiting Everest. Any CrossFit experts reading? Please advise in the comments.