It’s been quite a while since I posted anything of substance (assuming what I usually post is substance, that is). My blogging sabbatical has been for a myriad of reasons, two of which I’ll touch on here since they’re relevant to fitness and health/wellness. Away we go!
1. Life got crazy
In September, Matt and I closed on our house, which we bought in mint condition from the original owner…who built it in 1957. From September 25 until December 1, we spent every waking non-working moment at the house doing demolition, construction, overseeing contractors, and -finally- doing clean-up, moving, and spending way too much money on things I didn’t even know existed. Our to-do list is never-ending, but one thing we’ve made major headway with is our home gym!
It’s pretty modest right now, but we’ve got a great open space in the finished half our basement that we plan to use for our Olympic bar/plates, squat rack, and a treadmill. We still have gym memberships, so we aren’t totally relying on the home gym, but I’ve discovered some really amazing home workout programs that are doing the trick.
2. I shook things up
I mean I really shook things up.
In October 2013, I ran the Chicago Marathon. I followed a pretty intense training program last summer that was designed to increase my speed/improve my time without increasing my training dramatically. I busted my ass running sprints at the local track on Mondays, doing tempo runs on Thursdays, and doing long runs on Saturdays. I started working with a nutrition coach to get my eating in order, and found out that I was not eating enough calories or enough high quality food to support my training. I set out to work through some of my food issues, and imagined coming out the other side a super-lean athlete.
Much to my dismay, I finished my marathon in October feeling chubby and still very much at odds with my body and with food. I saw the photos taken of me that weekend, and I decided that something needed to change – there was no way that I was overeating when I was training at such a high intensity, so why did I feel so crappy and not look like the athlete I felt that I was?
After the marathon, I started doing some research in the hopes that I’d find some guidance on how to change my body. I stumbled upon a ton of resources, which can be summarized as:
- work smarter, not harder
- less cardio
- more weights
- eat more
As a caveat, not all of these would apply to everyone. If you’re currently sedentary, for example, doing less cardio definitely isn’t to your benefit ;) But if you’re overtrained, underfed, and living in the body of a formerly obese person (so basically, if you’re me) this seems to be the gold standard for body recomposition.
Enter: Kiki and Lucia, the lovely ladies behind EatMore2WeighLess. To save you from a 5000 word blog post, I won’t wax on for too long about this, but if you suspect that your metabolism is damaged, sluggish, or adapted to a low calorie diet OR if you’ve been training at a high intensity for months and months and are finding that you have to do more and more cardio and eat less calories to see the scale move, you need to make this site your best friend. Like, now!
So the punchline. From November until the beginning of March, I decreased my cardio to 2 sessions a week (an interval-style spin class, for example) and my weight training to 4 days/week with light cardio (treadmill walking for example) on those days if I felt so inclined. I used a calculator to determine my total daily energy expenditure increased my calories to match the number that popped out. It’s important that I mention here that I also started following If It Fits Your Macros (IIFYM) to get a sense of how much protein and fat and how many carbs I should be eating to reach my goals. In a nutshell, this meant that I got to eat WAY more carbs than I was used to, but also more protein (tough unless you’re veteran bodybuilder). Through IIFYM, I got to eat all the tasty foods I’d considered off limits for years (and would consequently binge on) as long as I was getting my vitamins and minerals and hitting my ‘prescribed’ macronutrient ratio. This is not for everyone, but it’s been a dream for me
It’s not all sunshine and roses from here, though; I gained about 8-10 lbs in the 4 months that I ate at this increased level, and that felt pretty awful even though it’s completely normal and to be expected whenever you increase your calories significantly in a short period of time.
However, I also saw incredible improvements in the gym, and watched as many of my food issues dissipated. It was truly an incredible journey. If you’ve ever restricted/dieted for an extended period of time and find that you can’t trust yourself around food, are obsessed with food, or are binge eating, please consider feeding your body appropriately.
Feel free to email (email@example.com) me and I’m happy to chat with you about this, because I really believe it’s a game changer :)
So now, I’m trying to lose some of the weight I gained during my ‘reset’ in time for summer (which ‘they’ claim is coming, but I’m skeptical). I feel like there’s so much to say about these past few months, so I can post more on how I’m approaching weight loss, or on anything else you might be interested in, if you let me know what you’d like to see :)
I’m glad to be back, and hope I can get into a consistent schedule again! Thanks for sticking around.