The Slide

When we talk Fire, the tripartate equation is Fuel, Air, and Heat. For performance improvement, it’s Food, Sleep, and Work. You need all 3 elements to get what you want, be it a fire or a performance modification.

Note the phrasing: it doesn’t matter if you’re trying to get Big and Strong, or if you’re trying to lean out, or pursue any given speed or power goal. Your training is a huge part of it, and we’ve pretty much got that covered here at CrossFit Fenway.

Still, that’s only 1 hour of your day. That leaves the other 23 hours for you to support or sabotage your goals with your food intake and your sleep/rest schedule.

For myself, I’d been doing my big squat set every other day in addition to the CrossFit Fenway regular programming, and trying to eat big while staying on a paleo+dairy prescription. Turns out, it started to look more like a “dairy ONLY” prescription. Drinking dairy and powders is just so much easier than cooking meat. Too bad it’s not as effective at getting the rest of the nutrients that come from cooked meat.

Tuesday, July 13th

1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
2 pounds Shrimp (770/0/0/119)
Sauce (40/8/0/0)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
2 chicken breasts (400/0/4/96)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
2 cups whole milk (300/24/16/16)
ice cream (260/28/14/6)
almonds (340/4/30/12)
Totals: 3510 calories. 124g carbs, 89g fat, 477g protein.

Wednesday, July 14th

6 eggs (420/6/27/36)
Cheese (110/1/9/6)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
2 cups whole milk (300/24/16/16)
2 chicken breasts (400/0/4/96)
8oz chicken thighs (280/0/14/40)
ice cream (390/42/21/9)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
Pistachios (170/2/15/6)
Totals: 3340 calories. 124g carbs, 131g fat, 416g protein.
– This is the last of the Good Days, believe it or not. After this, I’m starting to travel again… and even now, I’m taking the lazy way out with more dairy than shrimp and meats. Oh, and those who notice the absolute lack of vegetables are completely correct. It’s not good. At least I’m getting protein, if not all the calories I need. (Carbs are a bit high with all the dairy, too. I’ve been trying to stay under 100g carbs.)

My goal to gain weight and strength was dependent on getting all three of those factors together… and as you people know from my travel schedule in the last two weeks, it’s been shatteringly hard to keep to a regimen that focuses on dramatic strength training. In the previous weeks, I was able to force myself to set down my work and get to bed. Cooking enough red meat and chicken was augmented with 2 pound bags of frozen shrimp and loads of kefir, milk, and whey protein – all of which live in my fridge and are much harder to obtain on the road.

What I learned is that the time to build strength is when you are at home. It requires dedication not just in the facility for your hour of training, but that you align your choices throughout your days – prioritizing food, sleep, and work. If I’m going to travel, I need to schedule the flights such that I am sacrificing daytime hours instead of sleep. Instead, I booked late nights and red-eyes. I need to make time to cook and let administrative tasks slide – instead, I brought Rast back to Boston and leapt head-first into a dozen projects.

Did I fall apart? No, but the Plan sure did. Here’s some logs to show you:

Thursday, July 15th. 84.9kg body weight.

4 servings, Pistachios (680/8/60/24)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
2 pounds Shrimp (770/0/0/119)
Sauce (40/8/0/0)
Whey Shake (160/2/3/30)
Fage greek yogurt + 2 scoops whey protein (270/11/0/55)
Total: 2500 calories. 55g carbs, 69g fat, 330g protein
– A bad sign: the start of my slide. I was so busy getting ready to leave town and catch my flight out to LA that I undershot my calories by 40%. That’s not going to mean good things for my strength… and neither is the cross-country flight, to be honest.

Friday, July 16th

3 packs organic beef sticks (1200/24/36/168)
Mac attack cookie, paleo treats (210/13/16/4)
Brownie (440/32/32/8)
12 oz steak (600/0/21/90)
5oz cheese (550/5/45/30)
Totals: 2780 calories. 58g carbs, 134g fat, 296g protein.
– Not NEARLY enough. Not enough sleep, not enough food, not enough water. Arrived late in LA, got a few hours of sleep. Hit my squats in the morning and missed my 5kg jump for 20 reps. Then I went after a WOD and tore up my hands. Then I spent all day in the sun at the CrossFit Games, and didn’t get enough sleep that night.

Saturday, July 17th

Organic beef sticks (400/8/12/56)
2x Double Down, Grilled (960/8/50/120)
2x ice cream (280/36/12/10)
popsicles (200/32/7/0)
Organic beef sticks (400/8/12/56)
Progenex pack (90/1/0/20)
Totals: 2330 calories. 93g carbs, 93g fat, 262g protein.
– You may notice that the bulk of my calories are coming from the Double Down – god bless KFC, I says – and these “Organic Beef Sticks”. Now, hosting the CF Games at the Home Depot Center was awesome in a lot of ways, but quality food service for cavemen is not one of those ways. Pizza and hot dogs = no thanks. Fortunately, Steve of Steve’s Club and Steve’s Originals was debuting a new product: organic paleo beef sticks. Erin totally hooked me up with tasty beef and excellent conversation.

They’re fabulous, but they sold out of beef – and after that, I got awful hungry. When the second large production batch happens, I’ll buy some wholesale for CrossFit Fenway and make them available to you here. They’re excellent. Meanwhile, they kept me alive in the stadium and ready to work all night building walls.

Sunday, July 18th

Progenex pack (90/1/0/20)
Organic beef sticks 400/8/12/56
3oz Serving chix (140/0/3/26)
2oz Serving bbq beef (90/10/2/8)
Paleo crunch (180/12/12/7)
Brownie (440/32/32/8)
Chocolate cookie (220/16/16/4)
2x Double Down, Grilled (960/8/50/120)
Almonds (260/3/24/9)
Trail mix, yogurt raisins (240/24/12/6)
scotch (90/0/0/0)
Totals: 3130 calories. 114g carbs, 163g fat, 264g protein.
– Still 1000 below my calorie target for the day, and still nowhere near the protein I need to add muscle mass. At this pace, I am just barely maintaining my weight… at least I’m not losing any more pounds.

I am incredibly grateful that there was a KFC within walking distance of the stadium. It kept me going. That, and the paleo-snack-vendors at the games. However, my carbs are high and my protein is way low. I’ve got to get this back under control.

Starting real soon now, of course. Tonight I’m on a plane, red-eye flight to Boston. Scotch and trail mix were courtesy of the United Red Carpet Club. Thanks, United! I will land, catch a few hours of sleep, and am off to the races with a full business week of schedule. Oh, and I’m coaching at Fenway tonight. Sure, I’ll get plenty of food and rest… *sigh*

And so the slide continued. That was 1 week ago. I have been keeping food logs since then, but they’re nowhere near the quality of the rest of my data. I’ve been getting my lifts back together, but it’s been slow progress because I haven’t been getting enough sleep to support max effort squat sets. I’ve been eating less than 3000 calories per day – with too much dairy and not enough meat and vegetables – but I haven’t backslid into grains or loads of sugar.

All in all, it’s not the end of the world. I’m just not going to hit my goals on building strength without prioritizing that program… and I’ve lost a few weeks of progress as a result.

When we slide, we can ignore it. That doesn’t make it go away. If we acknowledge the slide and choose to do something about it, then we’re ready to make progress again. I’m doing exactly that – seeing the slide and turning it around. As best as I can… at least now I’m back to my fridge and kitchen. Of course, it’s a busy week ahead, so my sleep suffers, but with better nutrition and at least somewhat better sleep my lifts go back to improving, and that’s important. Even more important, I’m surrounded by this awesome CrossFit Fenway community that keeps pushing me forward!

Monday, July 19th

Ice cream (130/14/7/3)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
4 eggs (280/4/18/24)
Cheese (110/1/9/6)
Ice cream (130/14/7/3)
Pistachios (170/2/15/6)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
1 cup whole milk (150/12/8/8)
4 mahi mahi burgers (480/0/20/72)
Ice cream (130/14/7/3)
Fage greek yogurt + 2 scoops whey protein (270/11/0/55)
Almonds (190/2/16/5)
Totals: 2620 calories. 100g carbs, 113g fat, 287g protein.
– Not enough food. Not enough fat or protein. At least the carbs are down. I probably could have done without ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner too.

Tuesday, July 20th

Pistachios (170/2/15/6)
4 eggs (280/4/18/24)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
Almonds (190/2/16/5)
Cheesecake (500/30/40/7)
Longhorn Steakhouse special: fish, chicken, steak (860/24/37/107)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
ice cream (330/36/16/8)
Totals: 2950 calories. 127g carbs, 153g fat, 256g protein.
– Eating like this is just going to add fat, not muscle. What was I thinking? I was thinking “cheesecake and ice cream is delicious”, and not “I want to get big and strong”.

Wednesday, July 21st

6 eggs (420/6/27/36)
Cheese (110/1/9/6)
1 cup milk (150/12/8/8)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
Chipotle meat salad (675/11/36/67)
1 cup kefir + 2 scoops whey protein (290/13/3/51)
Pistachios (170/2/15/6)
Fage greek yogurt + 2 scoops whey protein (270/11/0/55)
4 mahi mahi burgers (480/0/20/72)
Ice cream (130/14/7/3)
cream cheese (120/2/12/2)
Totals: 3145 calories. 88g carbs, 156g fat, 354g protein.
– Oh thank goodness. If I had just managed andother 50g of protein, I think I would have been happy with this. Unfortunately, this balance wasn’t going to be maintained.

Thursday, July 22nd. 83.9kg bodyweight – down 1 kg from prior week.

6 eggs (420/6/27/36)
Cheese (110/1/9/6)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
Kale Crisps (from Marshall’s Farm Stand next door) ()
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
Trail Mix
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
1 cup whole milk + 2 scoops whey (330/16/8/48)
Foie Gras (250/1/24/6)
Fish (110/1/1/22)
Wine (125/0/0/0)
Partial Totals: 2335 calories. 73g carbs, 114g fat, 262g protein. – will update later today when I get the kale crisp nutritional info
– Here, the food log tells a pretty plain story. I woke up and had a good breakfast. Then I spent the rest of the day at CrossFit Fenway, eating just what I could buy next door and supplementing it with protein powder mixed into my whole milk. When I finally stumbled out of there after the last class of the day, my friends Kat and David took me in and fed me gourmet treats before I passed out. Simple.

Then came the weekend. Friday started out with good food, and ended in… I don’t even remember. I was so wiped out and exhausted that I kept no logs. No memory. Saturday? I didn’t eat until after Invasion, around 3pm. I got about 1000 calories of food, and drank a ton of wine at the CrossFit BBQ at Kristin’s, and then partied til Dawn at another fete. Not good dietary choices – but a splendid way to blow off steam.

Now the question is: Will I continue? After falling off, the best course of action is to get back on the horse. I went grocery shopping last night. The freezer is full of shrimp, and the meat drawer is packed once again. Sliding back a few times doesn’t make me a bad person, and it doesn’t ruin all the rest of my effort, past and future.

Every moment is a chance for me to choose something different. It’s that simple.

I’ll be back in a few to tell you how we finish out. Given the options, I think my choice will be to finish strong.

2 thoughts on “The Slide”

  1. Good rule of thumb, which you know of course- if it has eyes and can run, swim or fly away from you, it’s meant to be eaten! 🙂

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