Primal Journal - Kwayzar
Hello everyone, my name's Kevin.
I'm 20 and originally from the Twin Cities metro area.
I've been following this site for quite a while now. I made one journal post on here about a half a year ago, but I lost it and thought it would be better to start it over with a proper title. It has come to the point where I feel the need to make a journal, to express my thoughts that many times feel trapped in my mind, and also to mentally work through my challenges that I currently face, as well as dreams that I want to accomplish. Ultimately, I need a way to express myself, and I'm choosing this as my medium.
I'll start with where my primal journey began.
Roughly a year ago, in August of 2011, I was sitting in the living room of my old apartment musing over optimal health (like I do frequently) when thankfully, I asked myself the question: "why do we eat grains as a society if they are a product of the Neolithic Era, wouldn't we not have adapted to eating grains by now?"
Maybe I should go back a little bit farther.
Ever since I was a little kid I loved heroes, and I have always been extremely curious. Sure this probably isn't too unique, I think a lot of kids my age wanted to be a hero too. For me, heroes or superheros represented the ultimate human potential. The way they moved in their enviroment was inspiring. What I think was most fascinating for me however, was that they had full control over their bodies, rather than being trapped in them as so many people unfortunately are today.
This fascination for reaching full potential carried with me as I grew up throughout elementary and highschool. I dabbled in many different activities and sports growing up. I never thought I could be competing in the olympics, but my fascination for peak potential never left. My mind was opened to philosophy as I first watched the Matrix at age 13. I learned to appreciate letting go and relaxation as I experimented in meditation. All of the experiences that I had leading up to when I first discovered this website facilitated to understanding the concepts better.
That's why when I google searched "are grains neccesary" about a year ago, and after discovering this website, everything just clicked. In the following months as I read more of Mark's posts I started to experiment more.
The more Primal I've been, the better I've felt and looked. However for me it has been an up and down process, and still remains to be so up until this day. I might be doing really well for a couple weeks, and then boom a relapse sets in and I binge on unhealthy food for a few days, knocking down my energy levels and progress. Since my journey began, there are moments where I have felt amazing. Moments where I cook a meal and as I'm eating I want to shout to the world how good I feel, where my body is extremely lean and I have boundless clean energy. It feels so powerful yet peaceful at the same time.
Then, there are other instances where I go to the completely other side of the spectrum, where I give in to my impulses and feel absolutely sick from all of the food (and type of food) I shove down my throat in one sitting. Sometimes I have felt so sick where and bloated where I could barely even move. I now know what are some causes that might trigger these episodes, although sometimes I'm not exactly sure. If Im too tired, if I get too caught up in instant gratification, if I try to eat my emotions away, or if I eat large amounts of carbs in one sitting... the cravings come back. When this happens, I get depressed sometimes because I wonder "When are these relapses going to stop? When am I going to be stable?" I don't want my eating habits to be full of ups and downs for the rest of my life, and I don't want to feel like I'm being too extreme with my diet.
I also know that I have a huge tendency towards perfectionism, something that I think contributes to this problem. At the same time though, it keeps my dreams alive of being the healthiest I can be. I have never been considered "overweight", because I've always fluctuated 5 pounds at the most. I feel incredible lucky sometimes because I'm not at the point where I need 50+ pounds to lose. It's interesting, because on general appearance I look very fit compared to most and many people would satisfied if they were in the same shape I was in.. But I know I'm capable of SO much more. I'm on this planet to thrive after all. However rather than having a bunch of small ups and downs that keep me stagnated in my progress, I would like to make consistent gains with my physical health (as well as other facets of my health). I want to feel truly in control of my habits, and feel myself steadily realizing my goals. I hope to inspire people, and no better way to that than lead by example.
What I aspire to do is simple: be the best person that I can be. I know that primal living is a huge part of that.
More specifically however, I want to do these things:
-Eat primal at least 80% of the time, consistently.
-Develop strength and muscle (right now my goal is to be able to do a muscle up)
-Make meditation a regular part of my life (eventually everyday, for however long)
I feel that these things are building blocks to great health. Right now I think its a good start.
Some of the challenges that I'm facing right now at achieving this are due to that I'm currently studying abroad in Buenos Aires, Argentina. I'm trying to learn about the culture and improve my fluency in Spanish. This takes time and energy, which is something to take into consideration. Also, because I'm living with a host family I have to eat their dinners (not required, but Im paying a lot for it), so it will be very hard to eat 100% percent primal all of the time. Occasionally I will skip out of dinner if I really feel like eating my own food.
My study abroad started in the middle of July, and will end the following July of 2013. This whole experience, and how it affects my health goals, so far has been mentally occuping me a lot lately. It's very bitter sweet because I want to appreciate this cultural experience the most I can, but living Primal has been becoming increasingly more important for me. In some ways they conflict with eachother. The more Primal I try to be, the more I feel distant to the culture to some degree. I know this means for the time being I have to be more modest with my Primal goals so I don't beat myself up over "failures". At the very least, it would be great to have a steady schedule of working out, meditation, with discipline and consistency for eating clean. As passionate as I am about this, I also would not want to over obsess to the point where its unhealthy. Maybe someday living closer to my biological roots will be a bigger part of my life. And I hope to share a primal lifestyle with my next future girlfriend (this would be SO amazing), but who knows when that day might come. Right now in Bs As, it would be nice to at least meet some more people that share the same Primal values. Back in Minneapolis I opened the eyes of few people but none stayed as serious as I, maybe its cause we're all still young with no serious health problems (many people my age still take it for granted) or maybe I just haven't met the right people.
I'm going to post photos of how I am now to remind myself where I am and want to be. I will also add more of my thoughts and update this journal at least weekly to hold myself accountable for my goals.
Also, I want to say how thankful I am for knowing this awesome community, you all have truly inspired me! Thank you for taking the time to read my journal too.
After doing my workout this morning at the park, I reflected on how I felt and how much better my body functions since I started getting myself back on track this past weekend. I'm trying to remind myself to take it slower... A more sustainable, mentally relaxed route so that I dont go too extreme too quick and burn myself out. I think what would really make it easier is if I had locals here to work out with. Being the end of my second month here in Buenos Aires, I feel much more adjusted and I want to explore the possibility of working out with Porteņos. It feels awesome though! And I'm closer to getting a muscle up than I was at my last peak almost a few weeks ago. Im working on increasing explosiveness for my pullup and transition to the dip position. For my 21 Day Primal Challenge I'm choosing to not have one carb binge for the whole time period. This would be a great step in the direction of a sustainable lifestyle and increased self control. I just have to focus on doing the next best thing! Peace, thats it for now.
I just typed up my newest journal post, spent almost an hour of typing and my iPod crashed, erasing what I wrote. So being that my patience is a little low right now, and I wont be as detailed with this post as my previous attempt. But I who knows..
I learned that my weekly food binges (this past sunday night/yesterday- a fat binge rather than carb bing, but still too much food) are most likely caused by my insulin sensitivity increasing throughout the week, followed by a high carb (heavy noodle, rice, beans) dinner served by my host parents. Especially since I don't get dinner served from them on Saturdays (which means 100% primal saturdays), so leading up to Sunday dinner I'm epecially sensitive. I'm doing my best throughout the week to counteract their meals, this means little or no fruit, and mostly meat throughout the day.*
I've definitely gained muscle mass over these past few weeks, and even with the overeating yesterday I'm still *quite a bit leaner than I was last weekend, maintaining a 6 pack (with number 7and 8 budding up).*
Overall Im getting closer to my first muscle up. I'm working out basically everyday, just focusing on different muscles each time, trying to give them a rest on the days Im not directly recruiting them. This might be too much, but in the following weeks I'll learn more. Yesterday I was supposed to work on my muscle up progression but I was feeling particularly weak, so I instead did headstand wall presses. My highest PR of most bicep pullups and sternum pullups in one day is 90 reps each exercise, broken up into 5 rep sets. I also did 80 assisted muscle ups (bar is low enough where if I jump I give myself a boost).
These sets of 5 are working great for pumping out volume, which is helping me with strength (and size woo). The only problem is that its time consuming. Its a trip to visit the bars I need for working on muscle ups, and as fun as this progress is, it would be great if I can cut down the time. Im gonna see if I can start doing 10 rep sets, and if my total reps is lower thats fine, but I'll adapt to eventually bust out more.
The downers in my life right now have been my loneliness above everything else. Ive been spending a lot of time working out, eating, studying alone. I am getting out but I feel like its not enough. Im an introvert extrovert mix, and although sometimes I just feel like relaxing by myself, I feed off other human energy *considerably. Sometimes my shyness is my own worst enemy.
My social goal is to combine my primal/active lifestyle with more people. I want to spend at least a few times a week doing something physical with locals or people with my program. I dont want feel like I'm socially closing myself out from the world, and at times with my focus on working out/eating primally, I feel like I am. Ive had good moments this past week, but I feel like I should be connecting more with people, especially the locals here.
However, I'm still having fantasies of living in a more primal enviroment or living in a more sustainable community. Over the course of the past year, I have had increasing inklings/feelings that this could be my destiny.
Many of the other students in my programs have been traveling a lot, and meeting more locals compared to me. I'm no hermit, but for this I feel they're having more of a culturally rich Buenos Aires experience. I don't want to have to sacrifice a social life for being in shape, I think its just a matter of finding those who share the same passion as I do. Its a little more challenging with the language barrier but thats why I decided to be here for a year in the first place. An athletic Porteņo girlfriend would definitely take care of this predicament haha. Finding an attractive paleo/primal girlfriend would be a dream come true, something I think a lot about too. Funny how my priorities in what I want in a girlfriend have changed since a year ago. Thanks Mark.
Either way, I just gotta hold onto those ideals and keep working hard. I am proud for what I've accomplished despite being in this foreign culture, but its the mix of the assimilation into the new territory and progression of my core ideals that I feel will make this study abroad experience much more rich.
As always, I gladly welcome your thoughts/opinions. Thank you for reading!
Today has been a good day so far. After looking on the internet for other muscle/strength building bodyweight workouts I came across one that captured my interest. I'm still in the process of completing my first muscle up (both arms, NOT staggered). I'm getting closer and closer and its getting more exciting. Right now I'm aiming to increase my power output on the pullup and single bar dips, as well as work on the dynamic and more transitional movements in the muscle up. The only problem was that with my previous model I was spending hours at the park working out, more time than preferred.*
After working out with the new model I was pleasantly surprised! I was able to complete the same number of total reps in 15 minutes that previously took me an hour or even two hours.*
For 15 minutes, I did 30 sets at 3 reps of pullups (overhand). I matched my previous max.
And for 15 more minutes, I did 28 sets at 3 reps of single bar dips. I surpassed my previous max.
I realized I simply was resting for too long before. I added some other supplementary excercises as well. For my following workouts I would like to focus on completing better quality repetitions in addition to obviously doing more.
Also with my diet, I fell off the horse for a few days last week, it really affected my mood and was a damper on everything. Crazy, some moments I felt almost depressed, its amazing how much it affects my mood. This weekend I came into a new focus on adding more fat, snacking on eggs/avocados rather than too many nuts, and keeping my insulin as low as I can since my host parents still often give me a whole plate of "healthy" grains every dinner. I realized the more I snack on sugary foods and carbs througout the day, the more my body is going to take a toll at night. So, my goal is to make sure as much of those carbs at night (from dinner) as possible are going to refill my glycogen stores from working out, rather than spiking it too high and affecting my self-control in the process. At this point I cant be fully primal, so the higher my insulin spikes, the greater chance Im gonna have at "falling off the horse" and gorging on more carb based foods. Right now its more of damage control more than anything, I wish I could be taking in more veggies and nutrients (as well as bypass the phytic acid from the grains) but right now I just have to do the best I can. Im so glad I brought my multivitamins and fish oils from home. Another strategy I came up with for developing more consistency in my diet is to top my dinner off with a hard boiled egg or avocado (something fatty with maybe a little protein) rather than having the last thing I eat be a carbohydrate based food. By this I hope to give my body more substance, so when the food processes I dont get hungry within a few hours and feel the insulin drop as dramatically.
Despite not having a more ideal diet and falling off the boat, I retained, if not gained a considerable amount of muscle mass, and I'm stronger! Woop woop! Haha, its interesting too, cause I think these bodyweight based work outs are giving me a more overall chisled look (and feel) than Ive felt in the past. Perhaps its because in bodyweight workouts theres less isolated muscle contractions. Ideally Id still love to throw some barbell squats/dealifts in, but for the time being I'm more than satisfied to say the least, and Im realizing I can so much with just my body and some bars.*I'm excited for whats to come!*
More next week everybody,
It has come to my awareness that what I had planned on doing might not get me the exact results that I am aiming for.
The pictures that Im putting up today are taken on this morning and flexing without a pump.*
I seem to linger around this body shape by just sticking 80% primal. If Im more dilligent with the diet (right now I simply can't) I can get a tad bit leaner, exposing my lower two ablets little bit more. The lighting isn't that great in the photo, but I can already see them a bit. I'm 5'9.5" tall, and I haven't weighed myself since I got to Buenos Aires (since July 12th, 2012). Back then I was floating at 160ish lbs.
*From what I feel however, I think I have a little more muscle mass, and considerable more bodyweight strength, as that has been a result of my bodyweight oriented workouts.
After I workout today I post where Im at on my excercises after the first week.
However my goal is to get bigger, stronger, and faster. After looking at the Leangains protocol Im starting to think that I will need to start modeling my diet closer after that if I want to gain a considerable amount of muscle mass *while staying lean.
However, with my situation I cannot manipulate all of my meals, nor do I have money for a gym to hit the deadlifts and squats (as well as BCAA's). Because of this I beleive I simply cannot follow the Leangains protocol effectively. Thus, I will need to reframe my goals. When I get back to the states next year I'd love to give this a try.
I still aim to get bigger, faster, and stronger, but I will have to limit my expecations on how much size I will gain. For now, I will stick to as much of a Primal plan as possible, but going heavy on the meat everyday, trying to get 1g of protein per lb of lean body mass, I think its 130-140. Im guessing Im around 10% bodyfat right now give or take. I will also stick to the mass gaining aimed bodyweight routine I'm doing right now. I'll try to hit that every other day unless I need a rest day. Carb cycling will be hard, but because theres a good chance my host mom will have a buttload of noodles at night Im going to still take that into account during the day and go low carb throughout. On the weekend when I have more control over my food, I'll go as low carb as I feel. Yesterday I felt pretty good at around 50ish (enough room for a big salad, carrots and broccoli pesto). But generally throughout the day I'll load up on fat and (more importantly) protein. Right now itll be too hard to carb cycle. But I'm doing a mini intermittent fasting everyday by only having coffee with butter for my breakfasts almost every morning. Im also going to try to find some sources of iodine, maybe seaweed/kelp. I'm also taking Mark's suggestion of doing a dozen eggs everyday, on top of the normal meats, for bulking, so my fat intake will be generally high on most days.*
Most of all, especially at my young/hardly-experience age of 20 years old, I need to teach myself patience, consistency, and self-control. Hell, I started this journal just shy of 1 month ago, I can't be jumping the gun and changing my program every week or I wont see any concrete progress (or at least easily measurable). I need to stick witha protocol for a good 3 months or so and then anaylze. Thats why i
Im going to stick with my routine, add play, add my additional muscle up training (not even a workout), eat a primal diet bulked on protein and fat with 50-150 carbs depending on day (with possible occasional slips too), but with a focus on CONSISTENCY to one program for a given time. Im super dedicated to health and fitness, so Im sure Ill get the results Im looking for eventually.
If I could be happy as to so much as simply maintain my body comp, while gaining functional body strength, explosiveness, speed, self-control and patience... I think those would be good building blocks for whatever other protocol I choose to persue in the future. After all, this is about longevity, heath, and sustainability. I think I can AT LEAST do that while gaining some bodyweight strength.
Alright, now time to hit the bars!*
Here are my results from yesterday:
With 15 minutes each excercise I got:
Pull-ups: 34 sets of 3 reps
Dips: 33 sets of 3 reps
Skull crushers: 31 sets of 3 reps
Elevated block pushups: 38 sets pf 3 reps
Overall I had way better power and form than the previous workout. After doing all this I did a few bicep pullups and I literally smacked my chest against the bar at the top of my reps because I had so much power. I wasn't expecting to improve so much so quickly. Today, despite lack of adequate sleep last night I felt good and leaner than ever. Aside from my usual servibg of meat and veggies I had a little dark chocolate and peanuts for a snack. My host parents are serving pizza for dinner, so if I have 3 slices I should end up at 150 grams of carbs today, if 4 slices then 180g of carbs. My goal for the rest of the night is to rest and recuperate before I hit the bars again tomorrow. My mind is pretty active at night so sometimes its hard for me to relax and it takes me a long time to go to bed and/or I get broken sleep like last night. Im going to try my best to relax tonight.