Being a fitness enthusiast, I not only want to look decent (in and out of clothes) but also feel good too. Why put so much effort into getting into "shape" only to feel crappy, tired, bored with food, etc.? It doesn't make any sense to me. Neither does Food Guilt; why eat something that you're only going to feel guilty about afterwards, because someone else deems it unhealthy or even you deem it unhealthy? Perhaps the food is total crap and just happens to be one of your vices that you can't live without... My motto is "if you're not going to feel good after eating it, don't eat it". Simple really.
It's for the above reasons and also due to there being so much bullshit nowadays about what you should eat, when you should eat it and how you should train, that I've decided to conduct my own Fitness Experiment to see what actually works for me. Being a parent is hard work and there must be a way that I can balance life, work and looking/feeling good...
Why am I doing this now? Well, I usually have pretty good willpower; I'm the guy at work who can ignore the buffet or the guy at home that can open the fridge and look past that bit of chocolate or homemade cake (cheers mum!) and think to myself "I'll enjoy that at the weekend". However, since becoming a dad I've found it harder to stick to a healthier eating regimen and much easier to just give in to my cravings. I'm now more likely to suggest walking to M&S Simply Food to grab something for lunch or dinner and forego the actual cooking of a decent meal from scratch. Don't get me wrong, the stuff M&S produces is top-notch, but from a healthy eating and healthy bank account point of view, it's not sustainable. And really, how hard is it to cook a meal each night? It's not. However, working full time and being a parent full time takes it out of you and ergo you skip the chore of cooking and go straight for the ready meal approach. Hello love handles!
I've also taken to having a drink during the week, which is something I never really did after Uni. Yeah, a special occasion or the odd tipple mid-week happens, but having it become a habit isn't that great for the old waistline; plus, inebriation leads to poorer food choices too - it's a vicious circle!
I have no issues going to the gym. In fact, I love it. I absolutely love training. Yeah, I'm weird. If I could get paid to train in the gym, that'd be the best job ever!
Nowadays I only train 3 days a week, but feel I've written a pretty sweet training plan that should allow me to strike that balance I was talking about. I want to prove that you don't have to spend 6 days in the gym each week (not realistic if you're a parent) and your food doesn't have to be boring! Who wants to eat chicken, broccoli and brown rice because they think it's healthy and the right thing to do? Not me. I see so many people through work, jumping on the chicken and brown rice train, only to fall off it after a week and feel like crap again because they failed. You really are only accountable to yourself, so do something that works for you.
What does the experiment look like? Easy:
1) Zero food guilt for a start; if I want to eat something I'm going to eat it and enjoy it. If I think I'll feel bad or guilty afterwards, I'll leave it alone and save it for the weekend. During the week I'll do my best to stick to home cooked meals, made from whole foods and skipping on the gluten and sugar like I used to - the less you have, the less you want it.
2) Diet-free weekends. The weekend is time for spending time with friends and family, doing stuff you can't do in the week or even just chilling out. Why worry about a diet as well? This won't be a licence to just pig-out all the time, but if I want pizza, pies and triple chocolate fudge cake, I'm going to damn-well have them!
3) Full-Body Workouts 3x a week. This is a realistic approach as it can be done first thing in the morning before work and not impact on my dad-time with Finn at the weekends or in the evenings. I get to hit each muscle group 3x a week and this alone can boost natural testosterone and GH levels, which are great for muscle-building and fat loss.
4) Intermittent Fasting: I already do a 16/8 approach (don't eat for 16 hours between 9pm and 1pm. Have my normal meals (feeding window) between 1pm and 9pm) - and believe me, it is much easier than you think - but being consistent and adding in a few longer fasts on non-training days will help with food cravings and fat loss too. I'll therefore train Mon, Weds, Fri and do a longer fast on Tues and Thurs - probably 20 or 22 hours; so basically not eating whilst at work and then having a snack when I get home and a mahoosive dinner later! I do love a decent sized meal...
5) Consistent Supplementation. I've already detailed my back protection and joint support regimen in another post, but again, consistency is key. I'll be taking a cocktail of a multivitamin, vitamins D (8,000iu), C (3g) and K (MK-7 at 200mcg), BCAAs (after training and at lunch), Whey Protein and some Amazing Grass Greens Powder (with my lunchtime BCAAs). I may also try a couple of fat burners or natural herbal hormone regulators to see if they really work, but this will be documented later if I do...
I know I've been banging on about before/progress/after pictures for some time, but as I've had to essentially start again (this story requires it's own post, but please see my Facebook page for the initial reason), I'm taking my "before" shots today. Progress ones will obviously follow in the coming weeks, along with what my training programme actually looks like and how it's working...
Starting from today, the experiment begins, so wish me luck!