So today I began something new: intermittent fasting.
It’s a rather radical decision to make, but I realized that the old saying is true: Nothing Changes if Nothing Changes. Before today, the only times I’ve done what’s now referred to as Intermittent Fasting was when I either a) didn’t have enough cash to buy breakfast and lunch, b) I lost my damn wallet on the #6 train, or c) I didn’t have enough time to breathe, let alone eat a meal during my work day. Let’s face it: I didn’t call it by some fancy name like Intermittent Fasting….I referred to it as I’m Cranky As Hell Because I Didn’t Eat.
I’ve done a lot of reading about this type of fasting, and I chose to go this route so that I can drop excess pounds quicker. This will allow me to train at a higher quality level than I’ve been hitting recently. This won’t be a lifestyle change for me – I like food WAAAAAY to much for that – but in order for me to finally go from where I am to where I want to be, something drastic needed to happen.
The way I see it, I’ll go the next 6 weeks trying this discipline of eating: there will be a window of time each day for caloric intake (I’m budgeting a 5 hour period between 10am and 3pm each work day). During this time period, I will eat a decent breakfast (around 10sm), and a decent lunch (as close to 3pm as a work schedule will allow). After 3pm, I can take in as much water, tea, or coffee (black, no sugar) that I feel like. When I wake up in the morning, it’s calorie-free fluids until the clock strikes 10am again.
Now my number one concern was my energy level and how the lack of calories will effect my training. Some experts say that proper calorie intake during your feeding window should permit a solid workout. However, my goal is to drop weight at a rather quick rate, so some hunger pangs and a grumbling stomach are part of the deal. As an Ironman Certified Coach, I would not recommend this type of diet to someone training for a triathlon, because the athlete needs fuel to get him/her through longer workouts at a high level of quality. But that’s just it for me: I feel like I’m not getting quality workouts in BECAUSE I’m carrying too much of myself around 24/7. I’m feeling sluggish. Unfocused. And my training plan has been a bit aggressive. Soooooo…..I burn 800 calories in an hour and then I take in 1400 empty calories as a “reward for a job well done”. NOT THE WAY TO DO THINGS. AT. ALL.
Instead of trying to get lighter, faster, and stronger all at once, I decided to prepare for what’s in store for me in phases…..
Phase One – Drop the Excess Me: Drop the piano that I’m constantly carrying on my back. This means six weeks of The Biggest Loser-type of training. Let’s get rid of the piano. In this phase, I’m expecting some headaches, hunger pangs, and some development of lean muscle (because I’m not ditching my workouts – I’m just altering them to sculpt a newer version of myself).
Phase Two – Crank Up the Mileage: As I begin to notice Phase One showing results, I will gradually up my endurance sessions (those high mileage run and bike sessions) while taking in slightly more calories and timing my meals to ensure healthy recovery post-workout. If Phase One has done it’s job, Phase Two should result in me having an easier time cranking up my running pace and hanging longer at 20+mph on the bike.
Phase Three – Play Mad Scientist: Once I have the body composition that is more conducive to being able to run 30-35 miles a day for 2 weeks (where I’ll need to be in 14 months), I’ll need to add some serious strength work to my routine, because long endurance events break down muscle, big time. So you gotta build yourself up to break yourself down.
So Phase One is geared toward making the load I’ll need to carry lighter, Phase Two will be focused on putting the tiger in the cat and using my lighter weight to go longer and faster, and Phase Three will be adding muscle so that I can endure next August and defend against injuries. I’ve tried doing everything at once. Now I’m changing things up – I focus now on one issue at a time. When you try to accomplish everything at once, you wind up accomplishing nothing well.
TODAY’S REPORT CARD
Sleep: A (Got 8 hours in. A good way to start the week.)
DIET: B+ (Day One on this plan, and I stuck to it. I did have a couple of Twix bars though!)
Swim: N/A (Not on the schedule today)
Bike: B (I didn’t get a bike in in the morning – I was too chicken to start my day in severe calorie debt, so I waited ’til the evening to get an hour in)
Run: C (Dreadmill. That sucked.)
Strength: B+ (I had a great evening upper body workout, Felt like Hans and Franz from SNL)