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Thread: May Challenge - newbie tries primal page

  1. #1
    Nasno's Avatar
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    May Challenge - newbie tries primal

    Primal Fuel
    I’ve been lurking on the forum for a few weeks, and ready to take the plunge.

    I’m 35, married, and a father who has always been on the “husky” side of things.

    Aside from a year of college when I was too poor/busy to eat anything other than couscous and Guinness and looked anorexic, and a two year period where I got heavily into weight lifting, I have worked half-heartedly to stay in the range of “could stand to lose a few pounds.” I have some associated body image and food issues (thanks dad), but for the most part I have always been healthy.

    I decided to renew my efforts to get into shape last fall. The night before my 35th birthday I attended a mixed martial arts class with two friends who suggested I give it a try. Just 5 minutes into the warm-up I was wheezing and puking.

    Between the realization of what condition I was actually in, along with the intensity and action of the class, I became determined to get into the shape necessary to participate at the same level of the existing class members.

    I cleaned up my diet, began a basic routine of cycling and interval training on a treadmill to improve my aerobic and anaerobic abilities. Returning to my interest in weight training, I researched what lifts would benefit a combat athlete the best, and started a basic 5x5 routine of squats, bench and shoulder presses, and dead lifts. While it was odd to forget the isolation and muscle group routines of my past in favor of focused core and explosive power lifts, the reduced time moving steel was welcome.

    The results were fantastic. I joined the class, worked hard, and soon caught up with my conditioning (skills are another thing entirely). Weight began to melt away, and I managed to drop from 217 to 190 in a few months, building back lots of muscle along the way. With my strength and endurance increasing, and spring finally here, I moved from the treadmill to the real world, and began running, setting my goal on training for my first 5k race, which I will run tomorrow.

    So where does Primal fit in?
    Lately I’ve been feeling like I need to change things up a bit in order to see more gains. My body recomposition has been fantastic, but has begun to slow. Lately my focus has been on running, not strength training or MMA, so I’m not adding muscle mass at the same rate. I also had become so used to watching numbers on the scale get smaller, that I have been putting too much focus on my calorie intake and macronutrient breakdowns, often eating too little for someone of my size and activity level.

    In terms of food, I had followed a CKD diet back when I was into lifting. It did an ok job of allowing me to gain muscle mass while not adding weight, but I wasn’t getting as lean as I would have liked. It taught me that my body does well on reduced carbs. Since last fall, I’ve been trying to stick to a 40% protein / 30% fat / 30% carb diet (as tracked my fitday). With my gains (or losses) stalled, and a recent viewing of Food, Inc., I felt it was time to try something different.

    Since Monday I have been striving for “primal.” Between my MMA classes and running, it was very easy to deplete my glycogen stores and get into ketosis, and I’ve been able to get under 50g of carbs a day, with splits of 50% p / 40% f / 10% carbs at around 2000 to 2300 calories. As a test, I had a beer and some whole wheat crackers while making dinner last night, and developed a headache within half an hour.

    I believe that I’m ready.
    I understand that there are no absolutes.
    I realize that this will be a challenge.

    Stats:
    5’11”, 188 pounds, currently running a regular 3.5 mile route around 8:15 mile with a best of 8:00. May 1st is my first 5k, May 30th is my second. My goal for May is to be leaner and faster.
    Last edited by Nasno; 04-30-2010 at 11:02 AM.

  2. #2
    Evita's Avatar
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    Ahh yes the booze and whole grains test!! Isn't it amazing ?! Thanks for sharing a bit of you past and talking courageously about the future!!! Im an avid runner, and love more than anything to be outdoors-admiring the combination of my body and nature moving together.
    Keep us updated , Im always excited by challenges

  3. #3
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    Ran the race today with my older brother, his wife, my younger brother and his wife.
    My older SIL is an avid runner, and my younger brother runs often, usually 6-7 miles. Their spouses run, not sure on frequency.

    I finished the course, which was more hilly than everyone else expected, in 24:12 (7:48 mile) and surprised the family by being the fastest by at least 3:35. Lots of compliments from my siblings about my conditioning, Including my older brother who mentioned he's never seen me in such good shape. I'm glad I trained here in town with lots of hills.

    We all celebrated at our house with a BBQ. I got up at six to light off the smoker. Smoked pork shoulder, a butterflied chicken, and a chuck roast were fantastic. Slaws and salads, lots of veggies, and some crackers and chips that were easy to avoid. I enjoyed a few cold beers to herald my victory, but otherwise I'm headed into the primal trip full speed ahead, with thanks to being over zealous with the BBQ, lots of appropriate left overs.
    Last edited by Nasno; 05-03-2010 at 06:46 PM.

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    Sunday 5/2
    Sunday morning brought an unscheduled trip to the supermarket for coffee. Decided to take my bike (its .75 of a mile trip).
    Some yard work, playing with kiddo, nice lazy recovery day.

    B-4 egg whites, 3 eggs, 3 oz spinach in an omelette
    L-2 burgers w/o buns, red cabbage slaw w/citrus dressing, green bean and tomato salad
    D-pulled pork, pickles, olives

    Monday 5/3
    Wifey announced she was starting a fitday account, and jumped back into some treadmill work and working her heavy bag.
    MMA class was cancelled, so after dinner I scouted a new running route by bike, and lifted for the first time in a few weeks.

    I'm really enjoying making being outside and having fun a priority.

    B-first attempt at IF
    L-smoked chicken, red cabbage slaw w/citrus dressing
    D-last of the burgers, avocado, celery
    1 oz of pumpkin seeds for snacks

  5. #5
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    Tuesday 5/4
    3.5 mile run before breakfast

    B-eggs
    L-smoked chicken, mixed greens, avocado
    D-lsteak and broccoli
    1 oz of pumpkin seeds for snacks
    smoothie-protein powder, 1/2c cottage cheese, 12 oz water

    Wednesday 5/5
    No MMA or yoga today. Ran a new route of 3.75 miles after work. More of a back roads and farm land route. Enjoyed smelling the russian olive that is in bloom.
    Wifey wants to go on a walk after dinner.

    B - 5 whites, 3 eggs, coconut oil
    L - BAS smoked chicken, avocado, tomato, pepper, spinach
    D- grilled salmon & green beans

    Snacks:
    1 oz of pumpkin seeds for snacks
    smoothie-protein powder, 1/2c cottage cheese, 12 oz water
    swiss cheese

    Calories: 1,948
    Fat: 104.0 (47%)
    Carbs: 57.0 (11%)
    Protein: 199.0 (42%)

    Note:
    We managed a brief walk, but our 5 yo took a tumble and scraped her knees and hands. I did manage to get some heavy weight lifting in, as I removed a transfer case and transmission from a Jeep CJ after kiddo went to bed. Not bad bench pressing a 90 lbs piece of cast iron followed by a 70 lbs chunk of aluminum.
    Last edited by Nasno; 05-06-2010 at 03:41 AM.

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    Thursday 5/6
    The planets aligned this morning, and between my wife's workout (she's jumped back in) and making lunches and breakfasts, I found a spare half hour before work. With forecasts of rain, I decided that even though I should take the day off, that I'd do my regular 3.5 mile run. I stretched out, grabbed my iPod, and the rest was like I had set cruise control. Hills were effortless, people I passed were smiling, traffic was light.

    Dare I say what was once a chore has become an addiction?

    When I got back, my wife informed me that she had lost a few pounds. The funny thing was on my run, I had been thinking about how her noticing a change might steer her towards the primal side. Since she started her fitday account and has seen what she's been eating, she has asked how much of what she should be looking for in her daily food intake. Figuring that losing fat and gaining muscle mass was her key, I offered her the suggestion of a "gate way" plan, limiting calories to your daily rate with a comfortable deficit to achieve her weight loss goal, .7 grams of protein per lb of body mass, and looking to balance carbs, fat and protein intake at around 33% each (it worked for me last fall).

    I'm hoping she sees some results, finds what works and what doesn't for her, and possibly joins me in giving primal a try. She's read Omnivore's Dilemma, has steered me towards shopping at the local farmer's market, and wants to try to "get off the grid" in terms of cornfed meats, HFCS, and factory farmed produce. This makes me happy.

    Yesterday was the 14th anniversary of our first date.
    Today I jumped on the scale and was 185.
    When I told my wife, she said "you haven't been 185 since we started seeing each other."

    I weigh the same, but am in better shape, than I was at 21.

    B - 4 whites, 4 eggs, coconut oil
    L - BAS steak, avocado, tomato, pepper, spinach
    D- 2 pork chops, asparagus, grape tomatoes with sesame oil and cilantro

    Snacks:
    1 oz of pumpkin seeds for snacks
    smoothie-protein powder, 1c cottage cheese, 12 oz water
    swiss cheese
    1 c sliced strawberries w/balsamic vinegar

    Calories: 2437
    Fat: 148.0 (54%)
    Carbs: 54.0 (8%)
    Protein: 223.0 (38%)
    Last edited by Nasno; 05-07-2010 at 08:56 AM.

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    Friday 5/7
    Up early, but no chance for a workout yet. Decided that my intake was looking a little lean, so I pumped things up today

    B - 4 whites, 4 eggs, coconut oil, and a grilled pork chop
    L - BAS 2 cans of tuna (running short on animals), avocado, tomato, spinach
    D- Should be local grass fed italian sausage, broccoli, spinach

    Snacks:
    1 oz of pumpkin seeds for snacks
    1/2c cottage cheese, 1/2 c sliced strawberries

    Feeling really good. Sleeping well and waking up early and easily. I have noticed that I start dozing off earlier.

    Wifey wants to go to a Sheep and Wool festival this weekend (she's a hard core knitter). I wonder if any food vendors will be serving lamb?
    Last edited by Nasno; 05-07-2010 at 08:58 AM.

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    I'm glad I wrote "should be" for last night's dinner, as I ran into my first awkward primal social moment.

    On my way home from work, wifey phoned me to tell me she heard from our sister in law that lives near by. Seems some ants were found in their house, and they had the house sprayed, and needed to stay away for a few more hours, and called to see if we wanted to go out for pizza at our favorite local pizza joint.

    I wasn't really excited about Friday nights at the busiest pizza joint in town before my primal experiment, as it is more crowded then I like, and dealing with the limited food options and their awesome beer selection was going to make it even more difficult. I sucked it up and agreed, as it would be fun to get our daughter together with her cousins and see my sister in law.

    We met up, found a table, and the girls went to order slices. I hung out with kidlet and the nieces, and asked wifey to order me a salad. They came back with the best smelling pizza and an acceptable house salad. I dug in, as did everyone else, and we enjoyed some conversation. After a few bites my sister in law looked at me and said, "wow, no pizza, and not even a beer. what's up?"

    I shrugged it off as balancing out a huge breakfast, and she understood, as in the last year she has gone to great lengths to get into awesome shape herself. After dinner, we brought the kids to the park to play, and ended the evening with a trip to the local ice cream stand, which happens to serve my favorite locally made organic ice cream. Again I excused myself from the tasty treats, even after my SIL called me a wet blanket.

    We got home, got kiddo ready for bed, and I read her some stories. Later, I reviewed my fitday account and tried to fill in the gaps with what we had in our almost empty kitchen, and was left with a protein drink.

    So, how do you explain "going primal" to family and friends when they notice your choice, or lack, in participating with a meal or event?

    I'm sure this will pop up again during my month long project.

  9. #9
    Grol's Avatar
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    This is a good read Nasno. I think you're doing awesome. I just searched pizza to find you because I just had a similar experience, but I handled it a little differently. I am limiting dairy but not avoiding it completely. I took one slice, carefully scraped the sauce, cheese and toppings off the crust and enjoyed myself with a fork. My sister was actually impressed with my willpower to keep it low carb.

  10. #10
    Nasno's Avatar
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    PrimalCon New York
    Thanks Grol, I appreciate the feedback.

    Even though I'm only a week in, it has been tough. I'm a huge beer fan. I make beer, I grow hops, I go to beer festivals, regularly attend tastings. I love beer, but there isn't a place for it in my month long challenge. Thursday night a buddy came by to help me with a project and brought a six pack over, and I had to excuse myself. Friday was pizza and beer, and again, I opted out. Yesterday I stopped by a friend's shop, and he tossed me a new limited release summer ale to try. I explained that I was trying something for May to hit my target weight and get faster. He said, "If you lose any more weight, you'll look like Karen Carpenter."

    I know my friend was kidding around, but it got me thinking about how far was enough.

    Yesterday morning I realized that when I wake in the morning, I'm pretty much ready to go. Just a few weeks ago I tossed and turned in the morning, waking slowly. Feeling it, I decided to pop out of bed and go for a run (instead of enjoying a cup or two of coffee and taking my time). I enjoyed a 4.5 mile run in the rain, leaving my ipod at home. I got home, and stepped on the scale before hopping in the shower.

    182

    That works out to be 35 pounds since turning 35, in just under 25 weeks.
    I had hit a small goal I set for myself.
    I feel strong, my ribs are just visible, but I still have a slight belly and love handles.
    As someone who has always been "chunky", my goal has been to enjoy a summer where I don't feel self conscious without a shirt on.

    But is 5"11 and 182 too skinny for me?

    According to the never correct BMI charts, I'm overweight.

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