In The Blink of An Eye – a wrap up of sorts
Well it has been twelve weeks since stating on the thrive Thr1ve 12 Week Challenge. A lot has happened since then. I rode in a big bike ride, got a second place in a kendo tournament, changed jobs, threw out some suits, ate a lot of good food and had a good time. Losing the weight and getting a bit stronger defiantly helped with the positive mood.
As I wrote in a blog entry back when we started, I was looking for something to shift me out of a plateau. That has definably been achieved. I have dropped about one or two trouser sizes. This is a massive win and I must thank all the fun team at Canberra Thr1ve and particularly to Josh for his critical pieces of advice along the way.
The Challenge was for 12 weeks. At the beginning that 12 weeks looked like a long time. Standing here at the end, the Challenge has slipped by, a fleeting moment but crowded with so many things both important and ephemeral. I suppose the big news is my success in the Challenge. Not to down play this too much, I think this will be a fleeting moment. The true achievement of the last few months has been gaining new habits and learning on how to walk a healthy path. These are lifelong lesions indeed.
So what was I doing for the Challenge to get to where I am now? I’ll break it down into various bits. Here goes.
I have always been an active person. I ride mountain bikes and am heavily involved in martial arts. Despite all the activity my weight levels have steadily increased.
The best piece of advice I was given at the start of the Challenge was to cut back on the workouts/exercise. In this matter less was definably more. So I cut back to one gym session a week lifting heavy weights. Lifting things or doing weights is absolutely essential to improving your body composition. Everyone should do some resistance training. You will never bulk up and look like the Terminator as body building is a very different activity and takes a stupid amount of work and dedication. So once in the gym, I would work through squats, deadlifts, pull ups and some bench presses. This would work most of the major muscle groups. I would do these with as big a weight I could manage and do a few repetitions until I could not continue. I could be in and out of the gym in 30 minutes.
1 The trick is to go hard
The important part of this is giving yourself time to recover properly. I could only manage a good session once a week. Be sure to get a good night sleep. I would aim for eight hours in as dark a room as I could. I often did not get this and sorting out the curtains is going to be a job for 2014.
Added to the lifting heavy things I tried to get in what I would call a ‘sprint’ workout once a week. This was something where I got my heart rate up as high as I could. This could be doing hill climbs on the bike at lunch times, or finding a hill and running up and walking down for 20 minutes.
I also had two martial arts training sessions a week. I should include them in this as they do provide a limited level of cardio or replaced a sprint session.
Food and Eating
I love food and I have a particular weakness for caramel slices (oh how I love them). So for the 12 week Challenge to aim was to totally stay away from grains, including bread and all the things with sugar. I know many people think it is difficult doing without the bread products. My wife owns three pizza shops, so I am constantly surrounded by lots of yummy food all sitting on a non paleo pizza base…
I also gave myself the task of doing without alcohol during the Challenge. This is probably a bit extreme as a glass of red is not a bad thing and I was scheduled to host a cocktail party during the time of the Challenge. An amusing part of this is I was tagged as the ‘Tea Party’ as I would be with friends at the pub happily drinking cups of tea instead of a pint.
I simply do not have the time to cook at home that often. In this dropping in and ordering bowl from Thr1ve was the mainstay of my catering.
Breakfast was egg whites, grilled salmon, tomatoes and spinach. This was the staple almost every morning. I find it a good idea to find a few meals that you like and stick to them for a majority of meals. I think too many people get sidetracked due to chasing novelty and it all becomes just too hard to maintain.
Lunches were mostly a lunch bowl from Thrive. Again I liked the salmon and also the lamb burger and would often add some extras depending on what I felt like.
Dinner is often the tricky meal of the day. This alternated between early Thrive bowls straight after work or a quick bit of kangaroo stake or grilled fish with as many veggies as I could pile in.
Due to staying away from grains and having plenty of fats and protein I almost never needed to do the mid morning or afternoon snack thing. I got into a habit of keeping some protein bars in my bag in case I had an attack of the munchies. I kept a tub of Thr1ve’s Proforma Protein at work so I could have a shake thing if I knew it was going to be a long time to the next meal.
I also gave some intermittent fasting a go. The idea is I would hold off eating as long as possible on a given day. The fast would help with the recoposition process and allow for a release of things such as growth hormones, all good stuff. While not for everyone, I found the fast was mostly a head space thing and would also add to my energy levels.
Making Friends and Influencing People
By far the hardest part of the Challenge has been dealing with the attitudes of those around me. While I have had a great deal of support from friends and family there is still a strong push to give way to poor choices. I got a lot of comments about ‘that weird diet you are on’, while I sat there having stake and veg. The ‘why don’t you relax and have a drink’ and ‘stop being so precious and have some cake”.
I tried to let most of the negative reactions wash over me but it mounts up and gets hard. It is almost as some people took offense at my choice to look after my own health. With these reactions, like many of life’s trials, you smile to yourself and move on.
The Point of Departure is not to Return
Confession time, when it comes to things like working on health and fitness, I HATE the term ‘journey’. For me it is not some story, played out in weekly installments with the emotional moment 2/3 through the episode. I have been struggling with my weight for a long time. I have tried many different things and wasted a lot of time effort and emotion. Some things have worked to a point and other things I have not followed through on.
To me this is just about the everyday. What matters is that today is better than yesterday. Through the Thr1ve 12 Week Challenge I have found habits and ways of doing things that works for me and I suspect would work well for most people. It is not a journey but simply a way of being, a way of say this is who I am and how I chose to live.
I mentioned that I train in martial arts, both Japanese (kendo) and European Medieval Combat (Society for Creative Anachronism). I used to make medieval armor for a living. I love riding mountain bikes. I am about to turn 43. I remember reading somewhere a definition of fitness as ‘being able to do what you want to do’. I want to keep doing all these things and do them well. I am now lighter and fitter than I have been in a very long time. There will always be challenges to come but they will be different to those faced and conquered over the past 12 weeks. So thank you to Josh Sparks and all his team at Thr1ve. Your store will remain a regular stopping point during my day. Were I end up between visits, I have no idea, but it will be fun.