* In 1997, at 6’ tall 215 lbs on a medium framed 20-something man, eating the SAD, I began to work out: 3 or 4 days a week of weight training, with some stationary bike thrown in. Within a year, I was in the 185 - 190 lbs range, where I stayed for several years.
* In 2002, I began eating healthy according to conventional wisdom: more fruits and vegetables (the good), but also low fat and whole grains (the bad). This got me to 180.
* In 2006, I switched from 3 or 4 days of weight training a week, to 1 day of weights plus 3 or 4 days of walking (typically a one hour walk). This was for life style reasons, but had little impact on my weight and body composition.
* In October 2011 still at 180 lbs, I went primal. Diet was 80/20 to 90/10, and relatively high carb at 200 grams/day. Calorie break down was 40% from fat, 30% from carbs, 30% from protein. Weight began to fall off me.
*** I also went more primal in my exercise routine at this point. I was getting exercise 6 or 7 days a week. I would do weights 1 day/week, sprints 1 day/week, walks 2 to 4 days/week, yoga 1 day/week, with yard work and play regularly in the mix.* In February 2012, at 155 lbs, 5 pounds UNDER my target weight, with no decline in the speed of weight loss and my wife complaining that I was too skinny, I decided to up my carbs. I added some additional safe starches, bringing up my daily average between 230 and 250 grams. My weight immediately stabilized at 155 lbs where I am still at today.
* Near the end of April 2012, I decided to change things up in order to reach two separate goals: 1) add some muscle. 2) lose the last little bit of belly fat around my middle. There were a series of changes that I implemented, all at the same time (for better or worse):
*** Increased my calorie and BCAA intake via a daily meal replacement shake. What was in the shake varied from day to day, but a typical shake would have a banana, a table spoon of coconut oil, and 25 grams of protein from BCAA rich chocolate whey protein mix.* Two weeks ago I started icing my belly fat while taking my half hour cold baths. I don’t think I’ve been doing this right. I think I’m moving the ice around too much (more or less constant, as opposed to leaving it in one spot for a few minutes). When I get out of the tub, my stomach is colder to the touch than the rest of me, but it’s not pink. There is no visible difference in skin color. I plan to start not moving it around so much and see how that works.
*** I began working in more resistance training. I would do a 30 to 60 minute workout one day a week and a 10 to 30 minute workout 2 days per week. My exercise was otherwise unchanged. I would do things like after completing an hour of yard work, do 10 minutes of resistance training, cycling through 2 sets each of pushups, pull ups, and pistol squats.
*** Began a CT trial. It started off with daily cold showers, and once I worked up to 15 minute showers I graduated to baths. I’m now at 30 minute baths. This is with 70 degree tap water.
*** Finally, and this was not on purpose, but my diet went to shit right around this time. Instead of my normal 80/20 to 90/10, I’ve probably been closer to 70/30. It is not the result of being hungrier due to CT. I’ve noticed no change in appetite. Rather, it is the result of my wife, who is not primal, going on a serious cooking and baking bender. The house has been loaded with delicious non-primal homemade foods. For example, I’ve probably only gone 3 or 4 days without having a non-primal dessert in the last 6 weeks!
* A few days ago I started doing face dunks.
* Tolerance of cold. This is BY FAR the biggest change. I was a total pussy when it came to cold. It’s pretty neat to now be the tough guy in the house when the temperature drops. Whether it’s going outside without a jacket on a chilly morning, or going with my daughter into the ocean or a cold lake while my wife refuses to go anywhere near it, I’m now the most tolerant person around. It’s been fun outlasting my daughter in cold water, where she will (eventually) get cold and want to go home and I’m still totally comfortable. That would have never happened in the past! Just today we were at Lake Michigan. My wife stuck a toe in and said “No way.” My daughter came in with me for about 5 minutes and then went to play on the beach. I stayed in for 30 or 40 minutes, swimming and just relaxing.
* Tolerance of heat. I’ve also noticed I’m way more comfortable in the heat than I used to be. My range of comfortable temperatures is now very wide. I was just the other day sitting at my daughter’s soccer game in 90 degree weather. My wife was sweating buckets and complaining about being miserable. I was dry and completely comfortable.
* Serenity. I absolutely love my cold bathes and look forward to them every day. It’s disappointing to me on the days when I don’t have time for a 30 minute bath. (On those days I typically take a 5 to 10 minute cold shower.) I especially look forward to them if I’ve been having a stressful or otherwise bad day. I come out feeling completely serene. I feel like overall my mental wellbeing has improved noticeably the last 6 weeks, and I don’t just mean for the calm period after a cold bath. Just overall all the time it’s improved.
*** It’s worth noting that this could just be the result of giving myself 30 minutes a day to relax and do nothing. I might get the same results if I meditated for 30 minutes in a warm room every day, not sure.* Body composition. My weight has stayed at 155 the whole time, yet I’ve definitely lost some belly fat. I can now see the upper half of my six pack. I was a chubby kid growing up, and I’d never been able to see my ab muscles…till now! My upper body and leg muscles also look a bit bigger and more defined. Considering that A) my weight is unchanged, B) I can now see my abs when before I could not, and C) my muscles look bigger and more defined, I think it’s safe to say I’ve lost some fat and added some muscle. I think this is even more impressive, as it has occurred during a span where my diet has been relatively poor, and my carbs and total calorie intake is certainly higher.
*** It is worth noting that I changed my exercise routine at the same time as I started CT. I’m not doing a tremendous amount more of exercise, if any, but the type of workouts I’m doing is different (i.e. more resistance training).* Deeper Sleep. I’ve been getting up each morning shortly after the sun rises, but before my alarm went off. This NEVER happened before. I was always that guy who hit snooze 3 or 4 times before getting up. Also, I used to remember 0 to 2 dreams per night. Now I remember 2 to 4 dreams a night! I couldn’t tell you the last time I woke up not remembering at least 2 different dreams. Think about that! To me, all these additional dreams is a pretty big deal.
* Tighter pores. I began the face dunks mainly b/c I wanted the benefits some mentioned of looking younger. I’ve got large pores on my face, especially on my nose, that I’m not fond of. I’ve done face dunk sessions just 3 times so far, and already the pores on my nose are noticeably smaller! Talk about fast results!
* Invigoration. I find the face dunks and cold showers really invigorating. The cold bathes are less invigorating, but I think this is because I spend an extended period in there (30 minutes) and I come out calm as a cucumber. While the serenity of the cold bath is awesome, the invigorating effect of the cold shower and face dunks is not bad either. I’m seriously considering a cold shower or face dunks first thing in the morning to wake me up. I’m a total caffeine addict, but between the deeper sleep I’m now getting and a CT jolt upon wake up, I wonder if I couldn’t kick the habit?
* Relieving tired muscles. I’m not so sure that I’m getting much anti-inflammatory effects in just 70 degree water, but I have noticed that when I take a cold bath with tired muscles they feel much better. It’s not like they’re good as new and I’m ready to go run hills or anything, but that uncomfortable feeling of tired muscles is gone. There is definitely a significant difference, especially when I have tired legs.
* Since starting CT (and the other changes I made in April 2012), I’ve had some lightheadedness. The first 2 or 3 weeks it was relatively bad, happening every time I would stand up! Now I get lightheaded just a few times a week. They are also no longer very strong. Although I never hit the deck like quelson, I use to have to grab on to something and wait 30 to 60 seconds for the stars to clear from my vision. Now it’s just a mild feeling that passes in a few seconds and doesn’t cause me to break stride.