A New Beginning: Phase 2 Launches

Month 1 of the Paleo Experiment is complete. I published some preliminary results in my last blog, but to recap:
1) Strength: no effect.
2) Size: no significant change.
3) Weight: no significant change.
4) Speed: no effect – repeat benchmarks will happen next week.
5) Recovery: much improved. Faster and more full recovery, without ibuprofen.

So, the food quality has helped recovery, but it hasn’t been a magic formula for fat loss, body recomposition, or performance improvement.

I like recovering faster, but as stated many times – I want to be big and strong when I grow up. Therefore, I want to eat in a method that supports strength gains without undue fattitude. Seeing the athletes at the CrossFit Northeast Regionals, there ain’t a whole lot of extra body fat on those people. I’m pretty sure losing ineffective mass (fat) will help all my bodyweight movements (pullups, squats, etc) get faster and better.

So my goals are to gain strength, add mass, and cut fat. Why am I not seeing these results?

I consulted with a great many paleo advocates on the topic. Universally I heard “eat more calories”, which is a pretty damn hard thing to accept for a former fat kid. I remember all too clearly just how much effort, how much constant conscious choice it required to LOSE all those pounds. 5 months of work to get rid of that 70 pounds. I am pretty happy maintaining. The thought of becoming fat again triggers some pretty strong reactions for me, and my mind recoils from the prospect.

Then again, I know how to cut. I can do it again if I have to. What I don’t know how to do is get big and strong. So, in the spirit of the CrossFit open-source try-it-and-see approach, I’m going to try something new and see how it works.

In addition to “eat more calories”, the most sure-footed advice I got was through a series of conversations with EC Synkowski, one of the traveling CrossFit certification coaches and an all-round good person in my experience. She had a lot to say, but it boiled down to the following:

1) Cut out all the fruits, nuts, and paleo junk food.
2) Eat meat & veggies until satisfied.
3) Limit additional fat consumption beyond what you need to cook with and put on salad dressing.

There’s more to the conversation, but for the purposes of guiding Phase 2, those are the rules. A few more guidelines:
– track carbs, keep them about 50g carbs per day or below.
– don’t try to overconsume, don’t try to underconsume. Just eat.
– sleep 8 hours per night minimum, 9+ optimally.

So there’s phase 2. I have a tendency to get frustrated when I don’t perceive progress. This is why I record data meticulously in my journal and in this blog. I can plot the points and revisit the data when my mind starts spinning over the results or lack thereof. I’m going to stick to this new regime for 2 weeks before altering it, staying on my current training regime – which is the same as yours, since I work out in the classes with you people, plus a little homework for some strength improvement.

Measurements as of 5/27/10:
Waist/Hip Ratio: 33/40.5
Body Fat (by 3-point caliper method): 16.5%

I’ll also hit my benchmark workouts in the next few days to get a mid-way measure on those. Meanwhile, enjoy the new regime, with a few days of food logs and the first day of Phase 2!

See you next time, with some thoughts on addiction and withdrawal.

Tuesday 5/25/10

Almonds (170/6)
Almond milk (30/1)
2 Tilapia Fillets (200/46)
Almonds (170/6)
Almond Butter + Jelly (200/10)
Paleo Dinner; Roast Beef w butternut squash (640/45)
Oscar Mayer 98% fat free Ham (75/17)
– contrains trace amount of soy lecithin. Sue me.
Almond butter (160/5)
1/4 Chicken (250/50)
12 grilled shrimp (skewers) (120/24)
Broccoli (80/8)
Almond Butter (160/5)
TOTAL: 2255 cals, 223g protein
– I finally got around to trying another one of the frozen “Paleo Gourmet” dinners from Paleo Brands. It was not as bad as the last one I tried… but it’s still pretty bad. Bland taste, unappealing texture, and just not enough food to feel like I’m making a dent. More like an unappetizing snack, really. Still, it’s a microwave dinner, so that is perhaps unsurprising.

Wednesday 5/26/10

Almond Butter (200/8)
Alaska pink Salmon can (300/40)
Pistachios (150/4)
Wild alaska salmon can (180/39)
Larabar (240/5)
7oz steak (350/42)
Broccoli (80/8)
Raisins (130/1)
Raisins (130/1)
Raw revo bar (270/8)
12 oz burgers (600/90)
Filet (220/22)
Broccoli (50/5)
Almond butter and Jelly (200/10)
TOTAL: 3100 cals, 273g protein
– I like using cans of salmon as a snack. I think it will happen a lot in the next few weeks. Meanwhile, I went apeshit eating a lot of fruit that I won’t be free to indulge in over the next few weeks. MMMMmmmm, raisins. I’ll miss you.

Thursday 5/27/10 – 80.6 kg – Beginning of Phase 2

All food counts will now be in the format of (cals/carb g/fat g/prot g)
For carb g, I will be subtracting FIBER g from the total.
Ham Steak (180/4/4/30)
Shrimp, 1 lb (300/0/0/65)
Sauce (50/0/12/0)
Ham Steak (180/4/4/30)
2 Boneless Grilled Filets, KFC (260/0/4/54)
2 large shrimp (35/0/1/7)
2 oysters (20/1/1/2)
grilled calamari (50/0/1/10)
Crab Cobb Salad (465/1/25/57)
– 6oz crabmeat, 3 eggs, 2 strips bacon, lettuce
3 pound boiled Lobster (480/0/5/99)
TOTAL 2020 cals, 10g carbs, 57g fat, 354g protein

Hmm. I seem to have skipped the “vegetables” part of “Eat Meat And Vegetables”. I’ll have to work on that. Still, welcome to Day 1. Ham Steak is the new Protein Bar. A bag of cooked shrimp made a great snack at work. And the absurd amounts of seafood came courtesy of a corporate event dinner at the Summer Shack. “Yes, do continue bringing me grilled foods, with no sauces. Thanks.”

Join me in a few days to dive deeper into my skull. Until then, enjoy your Memorial Day weekend, have some fun, and be sure to thank a member of our Armed Forces for their service.

3 thoughts on “A New Beginning: Phase 2 Launches”

  1. JT, I’ll be following this blog as I did for phase one. It seems as though we both have the same goals. I am also looking to gain muscle mass while leaning out, which seems like an impossible oxymoron. Ideally I would like to gain about 15 to 20 pounds while keeping my bodyfat percentage below 10%. I am looking forward to seeing any and all data that stems from phase two.

  2. This weekend could prove interesting, btw. I’m bringing my own massive supply of almonds to help fill out some of the meals.

    Also, I’m looking forward to morning XFitting with you!!

  3. For what it’s worth, this former fat kid also hated to accept the “eat more calories” prescription but, when done right, it works. Upped calories from roughly 1800 to 2300/day, reduced training volume, leaning out without it feeling hard. Been the best month (when factoring in mental health, physical health, and results) I’ve had. If Phase 2 doesn’t work, listen to the experts!

    – Guy who lost 100#, now at similar BF% and seeking sub-10%

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *