Friday, January 20, 2012

Week 2 Day 5 of BBB

It's late Friday evening, closing in on the end of the second week of Brutal Beauty Bootcamp. I'm pretty pleased with how things are going, notwithstanding that stupid piece of junk in my bathroom that calls itself a scale. Grr!

Ok, ok. I understand that it's a bad thing (supposedly) to weigh yourself every day. I understand that sometimes you can see the scale not move (or even go up!) yet still lose inches. I get it. I really do. But. I weigh myself every day. It's just a thing I do. And it's not because I want to punish myself about what I ate yesterday, or didn't's because, well...I kind of look at this like an experiment.

For example: I've noticed a trend over the last two weeks. The day after a training day, my weight is always up. It seems that the more carbs I eat, the more my weight goes up. It's a positive correlation. My calories are on-target, my protein is nice and high, I'm eating REALLY CLEAN...there's no other reason why I could be gaining weight. So, it must be water.

Last week, when I first noticed it, that weight (plus some) disappeared by the morning of the next training day. Today, I was up a pound from three days ago (the morning of my first workout day this week, the furthest I can get from a carb re-feed).

Last night, I got curious. I can't really tell much by my waistband if I'm losing any fat from the belly. I see some change in my face and neck, but I haven't measured my neck (hmm should do that, now that I think of it). So I measured myself. I was pleasantly surprised. In total, since I last measured myself at the end of December, I've lost an inch off my waist, an inch off my thigh, 3/4 of an inch off my upper arm, and an inch off my bust measurement. Wow. Not bad for - essentially - two weeks of serious bootcamp and one week of half-assed somewhat Paleo eating and a couple workouts!

I'm pretty pleased. I think I'll keep this up!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

End of Week One of BBB

It's Sunday evening, which marks the 7th day of Brutal Beauty Bootcamp. I've completed all three training workouts now - a three-day split, as per my preference. I'm feeling pretty good.

I worked back and biceps on Tuesday, legs on Thursday, and chest/shoulders/triceps on Saturday. I did not get a chance to do sprints, mostly because my legs and arse are so damned sore from Thursday's workout! The crappy snowy weather doesn't help, either. I've asked Gemma for some ideas for some in-house sprint workouts.

I've been within calories for the week - 1200 on rest days, 1500 on training days (plus or minus 200 on a couple days, it all evened out in the end, so I'm all good). I'm working at a deficit because I'm cutting. I'm not aiming to gain a lot of muscle, because you can't bulk and cut at the same time - science doesn't work like that, yo. In any case, I'm aiming to improve my protein intake in the next two weeks to keep it over 100g a day. I'm also going to try to keep my fat below 50g on training days, and carbs below 50 on rest days. The carbs restriction is part of my plan, but the limit on fat grams is my idea. If I lower my fat intake, that'll leave me more room for protein whilst staying within my macros.

So - how am I feeling about the restricted calories? I'm doing pretty well, all things considered. I get occasional cravings, mostly for sweet stuff. Or potato chips. Or bread. But really - it's all the same, right? Carbs = sugar. So I bought some red seedless grapes and froze them, I'll enjoy them on training days. Sweet and crunchy! I also made almond flour crackers, but they're wildly addictive. I might need to be careful with those! Here's a pic of one:
They were super simple to make. 1 cup almond flour, 1 egg white, and a pinch of salt. I sprinkled a bit of salt on top before I put them in the oven. I'll post the recipe later.

I actually seem to feel fuller on rest days, likely because of the higher fat and lower carbs. Did you know that carbs actually activate your hunger pangs? Ridiculous. I'm reading Robb Wolf's The Paleo Solution: The Original Human Diet and it's fully of cool geeky science stuff about food and the human body. It's written in a manner that non-geeks will enjoy (or you can skip those parts) as much as people like me (ok, I'm totally a geek when it comes to nutrition and stuff).

I'm losing weight, too. On Friday, I was down 3.5 pounds since my "before' weigh-in. I had actually dropped down 4 pounds but it went up half a pound Friday, probably because my legs sucked water in to repair the damage I caused them on Thursday. Yowza! It will be interesting to see if these incredible losses continue into  the second week.

I'm really enjoying the interaction and support from the other BBB participants and Gemma, the personal trainer in charge of us all. She gave me some tips and suggestions on Friday during my FB Chat check-in.

Are you wondering what a typical meal looks like on a rest day? Here's a photo of my dinner from tonight:
That yellowish/cream blob that looks like mashed potatoes is actually an equal mix of rutabaga and cauliflower with butter and pepper. I love it - it's probably my most favourite side veg! The beef patty is made from pastured beef, a splash of ketchup, and some mustard. It wasn't quite 5oz after I cooked, it, so the calories are probably counted a bit high here. Oh well. Here's a cut and paste from for this meal (beside the items, the first number is fat grams, the second number is carbs, third numbers is protein, and last number is calories):

1 baby carrot, sliced:  0   1.32   0.33   5
¼ C broccoli              0.10  1.73  0.57  8
1 T butter   11.52  0.01  0.12  102
1/3 C cauliflower   1.41  1.72  0.76  21
5 oz ground beef    21.26  0  26.35  305
1/3 T ketchup  0.02  1.24  0.09  5
½ C sliced mushrooms 0.09  1.79  0.29  8
1/3 C rutabaga  0.09  3.76  0.55  17

34.61g fat   
12.72g carbs   
30.14g protein   
479 calories

I am so full, I have no need to eat anything more tonight, so I'll be a little under my cals for the day, which is fine (only by about 65, so nothing serious). I'm boiling water for a tea right now, and will drink a couple more glasses of water before bed.
So - there you have it! One full week done, 11 to go!

Stay tuned for that almond flour cracker recipe (with directions)!




Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Training Day #1

I must say that I was a little apprehensive today before I started my first Boot Camp workout. It was designed to be done strictly at home, using bodyweight in exercise such as pushups and chin ups, and light 10-lb weights such as with hammer curls and one legged deadlifts, which is all I have at the moment. I thought maybe it wouldn't be intense enough for me, or - conversely, that I wouldn't have the strength or energy to get through a workout due to the restricted calories and inadequate amount of protein I've been forced to adapt to due to low food budget. By the way, I totally LOVE one legged dead lifts! Who knew?

I'm very pleased to say that I kicked ass on the workout today. My strength did not appear to have suffered since a) my protein is so low; b) my cals are lower than I like; and c) I've not worked out regularly for over a month, aside from last week. In fact, I am convinced that my back is stronger than ever and that I will actually be able to do unassisted chin ups (no jinx) by the end of this 12-week course. Yay!

Additionally, the back and biceps workout designed for me is crazy. Simple, with 5 moves (plus ab exercise added by me) meant to be done in sets of three, they all piled up to make certain movements slightly uncomfortable tonight. I really pushed myself, and know that I'll probably be really feeling it in the morning. (Each of the three-day split routines have five moves plus abs - planks, bicycle crunches, or hanging leg raise.)

Tomorrow is a rest day, and I plan on working on some articles, basic house stuff, and generally not moving very much. My calories will be lower tomorrow, and my carbs lower too, so I'll have to be careful about what I put in my face. I am really looking forward to seeing the results at the end of the week, to find out if strict adherence will actually net me a loss of 2 lb this week, as I anticipate. We'll see.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Countdown to Boot Camp

Today was my last day of "free" eating before boot camp starts. To be honest, I've been eating pretty clean - no processed foods, and very little grain. I've seen a two-pound weight loss since going back onto my "mostly" primal diet last week, with three workouts in there for good measure.

Yesterday (Saturday) I went out with friends to an all-you-can-eat sushi restaurant and I gorged on salmon sashimi, salmon and crab sushi, crispy spicy salmon rolls, and California rolls. I figured my total dinner calories (plus three large beers) was 2218, with carbs: 254g, fat: 44g and protein: 79g. Wowza.

Tomorrow marks the first day of my bootcamp program. My goals are to lose fat (cut) and gain strength. I've been provided with a nutritional plan, a workout plan, and will chat one-on-one with my trainer once a week and will have access to a private FB group where all the members can provide each other with support and encouragement.

My ultimate goal for this 12-week session is to lose 20 pounds. Theoretically, I could lose more, but I'll be very happy with 20 pounds in three months. I'll keep going, of course - because I think I could go down a bit more; but as long as my old clothes fit, I'll be singing with joy. Obviously, I will make enormous strength gains, and I hope that by the end of three months, I'll be able to do at least one unassisted chin up. We'll see.

I've taken my "before" photo (shudder) and will post it alongside my "after" photo when this is all over.

And now...I must go to bed before I decide to eat something, like a handful of oreo cookies. ;)

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Workout of the Day - BRUTAL

Wow. Someone suggested to me The WOD Shop for ideas for bodyweight exercises. A random generator provides insane circuit training routines that you can scroll through until you find one that sounds appealing or murderous, depending on your preferences. I chose one called Hit the Deck. You use a deck of cards. (not sure why the font is messed, Blogger won't let me change it)

For time
Complete the following chipper using a shuffled deck of cards:
Spades = Squats
Hearts = Burpees (I did jumping jacks instead to be kind to my downstairs neighbour)
Diamonds = Pushups
Clubs = Crunches
8 of clubs would be 8x crunches, 6 of hearts 6x burpees, etc.
Face cards are worth 10 reps, Aces are 11 reps

I had the idea that doing an entire deck would probably be too much for me, considering I haven't been working out regularly for over a month. So I decided to set my timer to 10 minutes and see what I could do in that time. Here's what I did:
43 pushups
63 jumping jacks
82 squats
67 crunches
I got through 35 cards.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Diet Analysis

Upon analysis of my diet - not diet, as popular society thinks of a diet (I mean, food and beverage intake) - I have come to realize several things.

1) I don't drink enough water, since one cannot count caffeinated beverages as water. I can fix that. As of tomorrow, I will aim to drink at least 2L of water a day, or eight 8oz glasses for you people who don't do metric. NB: I have zero intentions of reducing my coffee intake, so forget it.

2) I don't eat enough protein, but I cannot do anything about that, because I am poor. I know one of my major goals is to gain muscle, and you can't do that without protein. I am going to aim for 60g per day, even though I should be getting at LEAST 100g according to popular wisdom, but that just isn't feasible at this point in time. When I start making more money, I'll buy my protein again and start eating more meat. I promise.

3) I generally don't eat enough calories, period. My average this week (Sunday thru Thursday) is 1214 calories with Thursday's being the lowest at 995 and Wednesday's being the highest at 1407. My BMR (basal metabolic rate), which is the number of calories my body uses just to EXIST (breathe, pump my blood, digest food, etc) is (supposedly) 1512  per day. That means that, on average, I'm consuming around 300 too few calories per day just to live. Which means that, theoretically, if I stayed in bed all day and did absolutely nothing, I would lose weight. Add in all my activity (working out, walking, playing with D, cooking, etc), and that weight loss should be accelerated. And I should probably be hungry. I'm not. I will talk to my personal trainer in the AM to see if she has any suggestions. Considering that my #1 goal IS to lose fat, I'm not worried. As long as I have the energy to get through my days and my workouts, I'm ok with being on the lower end of calories.


I am very excited to have been chosen to be part of my friend's 12-week inaugural Bootcamp program. She will design a workout plan, make suggestions re changes in my diet, and will monitor my progress via a private FB page and 1x weekly Skype chat. There are a total of 11 participants, although not all have forwarded their info to her so at this point it might only be 8 of us doing the bootcamp.

Officially, the BBB (I will tell you the name of the program once I get permission) starts Monday. Until then, I have started easing back into Primal-ish eating - I totally gave up for Christmas - and have picked up my workouts again, which I had paused due to knee and elbow pain. I've stepped it up a bit, and am incorporating some non-compound moves in there, because I don't have access to a barbell to do chest presses or deadlifts.

-lose at least 15 pounds (although I am not stuck on this, I am sure it is possible. As long as I go down at least 3 sizes I'll be happy)
-build muscle
-gain strength (I would love to be able to do an unassisted pullup)
-improve flexibility

My biggest challenge will be the cessation of all alcohol consumed in the 12 week period. For the first 3-4 weeks of my original Primal lifestyle back in November, I didn't drink anything, and lost an average of 2 lb per week. As soon as I started enjoying a drink every now and again, my weight loss plateaued. So I know it is detrimental to fat loss and will totally cut it out until I am at my goal weight. Once there, I will imbibe only occasionally, and only vodka and club soda (low cal, low carb).

Because I don't have a lot of fitness equipment, my entire workout plan will involve 2-3 days of training a week using body weight, a chinup bar, and 10-lb dumbbells, unless I am able to buy some kettlebells in the interim. I will likely continue to do sprints once a week.

As part of my deal with the personal trainer, I will provide before and after photos, weekly blog posts, and a testimonial for her website. She is starting a new business and finishing her personal training certification. I will also be posting on here for friends and family to follow, if they wish. I will link any new blog posts to my FB page.

I anticipate the next 12 weeks will be difficult and challenging. I look forward to the challenge, and I really think the motivation of a personal trainer and the support from the other participants will help me keep on-track for success.