My gym recently kicked-off a 60-day nutrition challenge. Last week was all about establishing a baseline and prepping for the next two months.
It was a time to get to know others in the group, read through the booklet, and ask questions. The challenge is being led by Emily Field, who is a registered dietician that works with CrossFit Kingfield.
She laid out the rules and will be helping everyone throughout the process as we remove trigger foods (i.e. refined carbohydrates, industrial seed oils, sugar, artificial sweeteners and alcohol) and focus on clean eating.
Over the last few days I have been thinking what I want to accomplish with this challenge. The thought I kept coming back to was that 60 days isn’t enough.
Since July 2011 when I started going to CrossFit classes I have made a huge amount of progress.
I entered the gym not being able to do a pull-up and tripping over myself while jumping rope. Now my technique for my lifts has greatly improved, I’m doing double-unders and hand stand pushups, and regularly doing all the WODs at the prescribed weight.
However, despite all this progress, I haven’t seen the full physical transformation that I have wanted.
I definitely look better now at age 33 than I ever did in my 20s (mostly thanks to a full beard), but the physical changes have plateaued and to a degree so have my results in the gym.
I realize the main contributing factor to this is that I have never truly dedicated myself to my nutrition.
We have all heard that it’s 80% diet, 20% exercise. Well I have done the 21-day sugar detox and gone strict Paleo for a month or so at a time, but I have never committed to a sustainable diet.
My eating comes and goes in waves and thus I haven’t seen the true transformation that I want. The fact is that you can’t do the diet 80% of the time, it has to be 100% all year round.
With that in mind, I have decided that I am going to make this a 100-day challenge.
I want to push myself to go beyond the comfort levels and not resort to the typical ebbs and flows of my eating habits. You can’t do a sugar detox and than go back to cookies and beer. You just to nullify your results.
With these 100 days, my goal is to lower my body fat percentage to below 10% by May 15th. In the past when I have done body composition assessments, my body fat percentage was around 15-17%.
I believe given my current weight that I am probably hovering around there still. I am going to try and do the Bod Pod within the next week or so to check.
So why 10% or less? Well I want to be in incredible shape this summer. I want to see my abs by Memorial Day and feel good about ditching my shirt when I do the “Murph” workout.
I believe eliminating the trigger foods in my gym’s challenge rules will put me on the right path.
I also anticipate that Emily will be able to help steer me as needed towards hitting the right amount of daily macros.
In addition to Emily and the coaching staff at CrossFit Kingfield, I have also built a network over the years that I can look to for support.
I decided to reach out to Miles Dombrovoski, whom is a bodybuilder that I met through Los Campeones Gym.
As someone who has much success losing and gaining weight for his physique competitions I asked him for some tips.
Miles said, “I would just recommend adding 15-20 minutes of cardio after your workouts and to really track and pay attention to your carb intake.
You’ll need to be in a caloric deficit to lose body fat, but it doesn’t need to be extreme especially if you’re doing it over a few months
I also spoke to Kirk DeWindt, a trainer and competitive runner that I have worked with in the past. He echoed Miles’ advice saying, “I would say adding in two days of endurance training to endure a higher caloric deficit would be beneficial – focusing on running if you can.
Strength training and nutrition is key but I do think you’ll progress faster if you stick in some cardio/running work of 45 minutes plus twice a week.
I’d also potentially consider carb cycling as I have seen clients get some great results with this. It takes some tracking but it can definitely be worth it.”
With this Minnesota winter, even despite the lack of heavy snow, I’m not much for outside running at the moment.
However, I do have a rowing machine at home and plan on doing some cardio/endurance workouts on the erg on Tuesday and Thursday mornings.
When it warms up a bit more outside, than I’ll be ready to hit the pavement. (And I’ll need to as I committed to running a 1/2 marathon with some friends in Chicago on May 22nd.)
In thinking about this goal, I’ve attempted to not get lost down the rabbit hole on the internet looking at countless articles about the subject.
I am, however, reading “Level Up Your Life” by Steve Kamb, and was inspired by the story of his friend who set a similar goal in anticipation of his wedding.
My big takeaway from the article was how I came up with the 100-days and the metric. His friend, Saint, was successful because he set a specific goal by a specific date – again mine is to drop my body fat percentage below 10% by May 15, 2016.
Saint gave himself 5 full months and started at 203 pounds, 21% body fat. He also put $500 on the line to hold himself accountable.
Ultimately, he accomplished his goal ahead of schedule and was ripped for his honeymoon. He also was showed true dedication, made no excuses and changing his mindset.
I am really interested to see how committing to my nutrition for a long period of time translates into my performance in the gym, energy levels at work, sleep and mental clarity.
The aesthetic goal of wanting to drop my body fat and to look good naked might be considered shallow but I really don’t care. I am doing this for myself.
The countdown has begun and you know that I will continue to share my journey – the good, the bad and the ugly.