Month: May 2013

The Results

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Well, the numbers are in.  Here are my figures post Whole30 (i.e. a 30 day change):

  • Weight: 74.9017 kg (-5.79691 kg)
  • Lean Mass: 61.7 kg (-3.1 kg)
  • Body Fat Percentage: 17.7% (-2.1%)

I lost some lean mass, it’s a bit annoying but I understand why.  There are 2 reasons for this:

  • I didn’t eat enough protein during the first 20-23 days.  It was only towards the end of the Whole30 that I realised that I calculated my protein intake.  I should have been eating approximately 1g of protein per pound of body weight (start weight was 80.6986 kg, so I should have been eating 177.91 grams of protein per day.  I was way off this, probably at somewhere around ~90-100g/day.
  • My training wasn’t as regular and as structured during the programme as it had been before.  I was eating pretty low-carb and wanted to focus on “healing and getting better” rather than beating the dog piss out of myself by overdoing it with the CrossFit, and digging into the glycolytic pathway so hard that I caused a cortisol release and blocked healing and fat-loss.  I love CrossFit, it’s great, but you have to know when it’s appropriate and how to fuel for it.

So what next?

I had a bowl of ice cream to mark the end of my Whole 30 and have committed to staying away from gluten and continuing to eat this way.  That means no more beer.  I don’t care though as I look, feel and perform so much better that it’s not worth going back.  As per my last post – I’ll go off road for social events, but I won’t schedule cheat meals in.

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The Whole 30 – how to lose body fat and feel great

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It’s been a while since I’ve posted here.  I’ve been experimenting a lot with my diet and training over the last few months and so have some interesting observations.

As you’ll see from previous posts, I first started tinkering with my nutrition in March 2012 when I started following Tim Ferriss’ “Slow Carb Diet” from his book, the 4 Hour Body.  This diet worked incredibly well for a number of months and I dropped weight pretty quickly.  The diet incorporates a cheat day – one day per week where you are permitted to eat whatever you like in whatever quantities you like.  Every Saturday I ate all the crap that I’d missed during the week.  It worked, but it was neither healthy nor sustainable.  Fat loss plateaued and despite many tweaks to kick it off again, it didn’t happen.

With my growing interest in CrossFit came a growing interest in nutrition and getting it right.  I read Robb Wolf’s book, the Paleo Solution and was sold on Paleo.  Incidentally, the Paleo Solution is by far the best book that I’ve bought for a long time – it taught me so much about how my body works.  I switched to eating a paleo diet (i.e. meat and vegetables, nuts and seeds, some fruit, little starch and no sugar) 6 out of 7 days per week.  My weight and body composition fluctuated, probably due to increased calorie intake through excess dietary fat.

After a few more months of Paleo and almost zero progress on the body composition front, I was at a loss.  Where was I going wrong?

The Problem

I did a lot of reading around and recorded each meal for a few days.  Here’s what I discovered:

  • It’s pretty easy to over eat when you are including nuts and seeds in your diet – cashews were a problem for me, I love them!
  • I was having a cheat day every week, so wasn’t giving my body time to heal from the damage caused by poor food choices over the past years.
  • I was doing CrossFit 3-4 times per week, but without being fat adapted and with insufficient carbs in my diet.  This caused blood sugar crashes during my WODs which were answered by cortisol release.  Cortisol cock-blocks fat loss.  Game over.

The Changes

I decided that I needed to be a bit smarter with my approach to this:

  • I decided to do the Whole30 to allow my gut to heal.  30 days of nothing but good, solid food – no cheats, no grains, legumes, dairy or alcohol.
  • I put CrossFit on hold for a few weeks.  I increased the amount of training I was doing, but decreased intensity so I wasn’t digging into my glycolytic pathways.  I focussed on bodyweight resistance training – isometric holds on the rings, ring dips, pull ups, Abmat sit-ups, push-ups, body rows, kettlebell rows and a solid dose of mobility work recommended by KStarr at MobilityWOD.

The Results

I’ve visibly dropped a significant amount of fat, still holding some around the mid-section, but that’s finally giving up now I’ve started to get better sleep.  I can’t say how much I’ve lost yet as one of the rules of the Whole30 is not to get on the scales – my last weigh in using Beyond the Whiteboard was as follows:

Weigh-in: 80.6986 kg / Lean Mass: 64.7 kg / Body Fat Percentage: 19.8%

Today is day 29 – I’ve been feeling so great during the last 29 days that I’m just going to continue eating this way.  I may have a cheat meal from time to time (rather than a cheat day), but it won’t be a scheduled affair – I’ll just go off-road for social events.

To anybody considering the Whole30 – do it.  Today.  It’s an absolute game changer.  Oh, and buy the Paleo Solution right now.

Matt
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