Sometimes I need to give myself a pep talk.
I’ve Got the Goods
Week Two is off to a solid start. Morale is high, but so is cedar. I had to skip Monday’s training to catch up on some sleep and nurse the sinuses. I had a pretty nasty case of vertigo and figured 24 back squats at 210 pounds was not what the doctor ordered. I slept straight from Sunday afternoon through Monday morning; even took off from work an hour early to sleep some more. Hey, I ain’t tripping, though. The rest was well deserved after last week’s intro. I did make sure to get a substantial serving of protein in my off time.
Roughly three weeks before I started powerlifting, I began maintaining a strict clean diet, consisting of primarily chicken and some greens (usually kale, asparagus, or spinach). This had more to do with a three week cycle called “Community Gains” my gym puts on every twelve weeks or so. The objective of Community Gains is to test your capacity during weeks dedicated to conditioning, strength, and stamina. I did especially well this time around, which is partly why I decided to start this powerlifting cycle: because, as they say, I’ve got the goods.
My diet is pretty standard for this sort of thing. While I’m probably not getting 140 grams of protein yet, I’m getting a lot more than normal. That usually consists of lean meats (mostly chicken, rarely beef, sometimes fish, and often eggs—not meat, but close enough), as well as some supplemental proteins from bars and shakes (when money is flowin’). The only thing that isn’t “normal,” at least outside the context of fitness, is I don’t really eat as much gluten or sugar anymore. I’ll have maybe four slices of bread per week, and it gives me hella gas now! Of course, that’s not just after three weeks of clean eating. I started reducing my wheat (and sugar) intake mid-June, but I didn’t get strict about it until now. I didn’t notice the gas until a few weeks ago when I ate a sub and walked two blocks only to get a nasty side stitch. I found the more I cut from my diet, the easier I can fine-tune my intake for optimal performance and disposition. Call it a placebo, if you want, but this placebo is getting me to run faster and lift heavier.
I know a lot of folks have some strong feelings about gluten and people who decide not to put it into their own bodies. All I can say is that I know how my body reacts to stuff like wheat bread. It’s become pretty apparent that each time I cut back on gluteny products, I feel better. When I eat it again, I need to rebuild a tolerance in order to enjoy myself. That said, I still eat two sandwiches per week, but make sure to take a dual action Pepcid tablet immediately after. Look, you can eat all the bread you want. That’s not my problem. I just don’t like feeling bloated, ever. And if your body doesn’t react that way, more power to you.
My point is, eating “for fuel” and not “for fun,” to quote Adam from Girls, is proving to have been the missing link in my fitness program. For the longest time, I felt like I wasn’t making any strides, that I was sleepy during workouts, and I was not getting stronger. Some of that came from self-confidence issues from a debilitating period of depression, the other half was from far too much sugar intake—including everything that just straight up turns into sugar if not eaten strategically. That includes bread. Making this change wasn’t easy. Everyone I know who’s done it talks about how cranky they feel for the first few weeks. That’s the hardest part to make it through, but I found that if you gradually weaned yourself off sugar and bread, it worked better. So I didn’t just quit cold turkey.
I was watching an interview with Chris Pratt a few weeks ago about his “secret” to getting ripped for Guardians of the Galaxy. He basically said there is no “secret,” at least not in the way that Jared from Subway thinks there’s a secret. There are only months and months of work. Take into account this guy was getting paid a ton of money to get ripped for a two-hour adventure in space, and maybe five seconds of shirtless time.
Now, my goal has never been to look like Chris Pratt, or even be Guardians of the Galaxy ripped. I always felt I was more of a Joel Egerton in Warrior type anyway: functional muscles over vanity muscles. My goal was always to be incredibly strong. That’s where Chris Pratt is absolutely correct. There is no secret to strength. It’s just a lot of hard work over a long period of time—in my case, three years. This training cycle is just a way to put numbers to it, to have a goal to hit, repeat, and then surpass. The diet is just a way to get to that point through proper tissue regeneration, and without feeling like shit. There’s nothing worse than working out with a side stitch. Ugh. It’s like a flashback to my preteens. Lord knows I do not want to be back there!
We’ll talk about that later.
Back squat 8 sets, 3 reps at 210lbs
Romanian deadlift 5 sets, 6 reps at 170lbs
Bent over row 5 sets, 10 reps at 105lbs
50 Weighted situps w/ 20lb plates