Just before the incident with the fence

I thought 10 days in would be a good point to review where things are at. It’s given me a full week plus (crucially) 2 weekends with which to measure whether my approach is workable — in terms of results I’ll obviously have to keep it up a bit longer.

Part 1 is here.

Activity level has been high. I’ve completed 5 sessions of a full-body 2 day push-pull routine, and followed each session with a 15–30 minute HIIT workout. This is probably not optimal for building muscle but I’m burning a lot of extra calories this way. I’m still experimenting with the individual exercises across both types of session but one key difference to how I’ve normally trained is with greater use of kettlebells. Whether it’s squats, cleans or swings all the movements seem to be relatively joint friendly and all are aiding in getting the heart rate up. Speaking of which, skipping without a rope is another good, quick calorie burner I’m incorporating into the HIIT sessions — it’s an easy way to get HR to 150 when I’d typically max out at 140ish for sustained activity on the spin bike for example.

I’ve tried to up the activity level on a weekend with a longish run on Sundays and more extended strength / HIIT sessions on a Saturday. This is because (a) I have plenty of time with not much to do in lockdown, and (b) I need to balance out the food and booze which I haven’t entirely given up on yet.

The other thing I’ve added in is walking. Been out for a couple of walks over this time. Interesting that walking in the snow burned almost twice as many calories as when there was none. Also bought a warm jacket for the first time in my life.

Like I said above, I haven’t given up the booze or bad food completely. That being said, I’ve massively improved things in this area. I’ve pretty much knocked booze, cakes & biscuits on the head during the week and eating relatively healthy meals. I’m eating more fruit, and started drinking green tea. I’m drinking more water (at least eight 400ml glasses a day). During the weekend I’ll still have a pizza or a burger plus a couple of glasses of wine and/or a few beers. Pastries for breakfast are also a regular occurance on a weekend.

The difference is that, even on a weekend, I’ve committed to keeping myself in a calorie deficit. With this last weekend being the wildcard NFL playoffs I knew I was in for a challenge, but 10 days in, I’ve kept to that commitment. There were a few things that I needed to do to maintain this over the weekend:

  • I burned an additional 1,000 calories of exercise each day. On Saturday this was an hour walking in the snow, 90 minutes of fairly intense weights, and a 30 minute HIIT session. On Sunday it was a 10k run/walk/climb across the snow fields with some sliding down ice banks and jumping barbed wire fences thrown in.
  • After pretty much every beer, I’d have a glass of sparkling water. This slowed me up a bit and also kept me hydrated. Towards the end of the evening I’d swap a beer for a gin and tonic. I don’t really like gin and tonic so this slowed me up some more.
  • I counted the calories in everything. At any point I knew what calories I had to play with and planned what I was going to ‘spend’ them on. So 250 calories meant a beer and a g&t or a bowl of granola with milk. I surprised myself how often I went for granola and milk!

I kept to a calorie deficit every day, with an average deficit of 265. This seems fairly sustainable so I don’t want to change anything about this.

My overall diet has definitely improved — plenty more good stuff going in, less bad stuff, more hydrated. Could it be better if I cut the crap at the weekend? Yes. Do I want to do that? Not really. Think this is fine for now.

I’ve exercised pretty much every day. Intensely. Strength, High intensity, medium-high intensity… I’ve averaged over 500 calories a day in exercise. I think that’s good, and hopefully sustainable but aware other stuff might get in the way at some point. Keep an eye on this one.

I’m aiming for 120g protein a day. I’ve hit that target 50% of the time, come close a couple of times but been under 100g on 3 occasions. It’s hard to get enough protein and be in a deficit but think this is an important metric to get right. Where I typically fail is on a weekend when I have lots of nice cheesy carbs, but I love the cheesy carbs too much…

Strength training has felt a little disjointed. I think it’s a combination of not having trained in a while, starting a new routine and introducing some new movements. I’m exercising lots but I don’t feel like I have that pattern down yet where you know tomorrow is chest day and you’re doing x, y, z and hope to improve 2.5kg in this lift etc. THink this one might need to change up a bit.

I gashed my leg something rotten on a barbed wire fence whilst out for a run. Think it’s going to be OK but makes me think that a random injury could easily derail my plans. So the least I can do is cut out stupid shit like jumping over barbed wire fences…

Next Up

I’m honestly pretty happy with how everything has gone so far. I think the only thing I’m going to change is the strength / HIIT sessions. With the strength sessions being full body it’s quite a lot of reps to get through, and knowing that I then have a HIIT session afterwards means I end up rushing or missing out some of the complementary lifts. So I’m going to separate these out, with the exception of Saturday where (a) I’ve got time to do both, and (b) an additional calorie burn is usually required anyway. So my week is now going to look like:

Mon: Rest

Tue: Push/Pull

Wed: HIIT

Thur: Push/Pull

Fri: HIIT

Sat: Push/Pull, HIIT

Sun: Run

That gives me 3 strength sessions, each body part worked at least every 5 days and a day off between each one. The HIIT sessions will duplicate some of those movements but they’ll be much lighter weights. The more I look at this, the better I like it.