Perhaps it was the time change. A longer day meant more hours to find yourself motivated to hit the driveway and workout hard. More sun means more lucious wonderful time outside with your grill and a basket of organic veggies and proteins to grill. More time to consider my life as I watched the sun set and think about where things went astray. The Spare Tire Project was never meant to be this wonderful tale about how I became an Obstacle Racer or a world class athlete. It was simply meant to be a story about how I transformed my body. Somewhere along the line, I lost the narrative.
Rewind a bit, to last year as I started Slow Carb and 4HB and I was motivated to LOSE weight. I knew my project and I knew the plan at the time. Cut to about three months later and I inexplicably changed everything. Then I stopped losing weight, gained some back, and now I’m struggling to find my way.
Cut to Sunday. I had just finished my first ever FGB workout and ended it with the WOD from the Spartan Race. I felt really good for having done both, but realized that I’m still struggling with the same issues. I’m big. And it’s tough to do the most difficult Athletic movements when you’re carrying about 80 extra pounds. Now, rest assured, I’m in much better shape than a year ago, but the margins of performance seem too narrow. It’s been a year, shouldn’t I be better at this? I’m killing myself in workouts, why isn’t the weight melting off. Why can’t I move faster and jump even higher? I drank my water and stared at my spare tire protruding from my abdomen. A constant reminder that I’m not where I wanted to be nearly a year later.
This is where you readers get nervous that I’m having a breakdown. I’m emotionally discouraged and malcontent. Well, Fuck that. I’m not discouraged or disillusioned. Simple truth is, I lost my way. I strayed off track. I took a great small step, and then I tried to take a big step and I tripped, and I fell, and I’m just now realizing that I’ve been on the ground for the last six months.
I had been haunted all week by this comment from my results post a few weeks back from Justin:
“I don’t know how much you workout, but it seems like a lot. My experience helping people is that if you are working out lots, eating 1/2 decent and not losing it is because of sleep and cortisol issues, which excessive cardio will make even worse.”
I thought about this and realized, that I was over-doing it. In my quest to be more athletic and compete in the Tough Mudders and Spartan Races of the world, I was looking too far ahead and I wasn’t looking at where I was. I looked down to the concrete. I saw the Sweat pouring down my face and a belly hanging over my waistline. I thought to myself, “It’s been this way for a while, something isn’t right.”
So, I went back to the beginning and used one of my only real skills, my ability to speed read. I re-read the ‘Fundamentals’ portion of 4HB again yesterday, and realized I screwed up the path. The section on MED is what really got me. The Minimum Effective Dose strategy made me slap palm to face. I’ve been over-doing it. I’ve been over-doing it for a long time. The MED revolves around what Tim Ferris is known for. Minimum effort to yield maximum results. No wasted effort. Apply this theory to weight loss, and (you can argue the science of this) you only need to do about 30 minutes of intensive workouts twice a week to yield weight loss by adjusting your nutrition and spiking your caloric in-take once a week. Very simple changes.
I did this and in week one and I lost six pounds. The following week I lost four. 10 pounds in 2 weeks. Then I started to tinker. The weight loss continued, and by the end of about four months, I had dropped 30 lbs, this included a streak of 11 consecutive weeks of weight loss. Then around the same time I started training harder to run the Spartan Sprint. It was a big goal for me, which meant more frequent work outs, and harder workouts. I stopped losing weight, then I took a break, gained some back. And cut to today.
What was my goal when I started?
Right, lose 100 lbs.
Was it to run obstacle races and marathons? Nope
Now, I agree that having something to train for really does motivate you to continue training and being active; however, truth be told, my body is far from being elite. Sure, I completed the Spartan Sprint… barely. I need to really focus on weight loss and what I can do to effectively set myself back on that trend. As soon as I drop down to 250, then I should start looking at obstacle racing again. It will come to me. I will get back to it, but right now I need to focus on my weight and less on being Awesome and I need to accept that.
The simple plan goes back to the beginning.
- Work Out: Tuesday and either Thursday or Friday of the same Week.
- Eat Following the Slow Carb Method.
- One Cheat Day per week.
- Manage my Stress levels to keep the Cortisol from killing me.
- Drink only water, tea, coffee or red wine.
- Relax, allow this to be simple again. Give it a month.
My hope is that I find that swing that I lost. If I don’t then I go do something else entirely, but this adjustment will take me through a full 12 month cycle on Slow Carb. If it didn’t work in the year, I do something completely different. Regardless, the Spare Tire Project continues. It’s a work in process.