Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The Challenge

Last week I started a little challenge with a friend (as you will read from the copy of my journal entry below) that has actually started a pretty big ripple effect.

Post Cedar Point, I took some time off from training--and eating as clean as I normally do--and I put on some weight. I got softer. I lost endurance. I think I also lost some of my Mojo. I am a fitness professional and teach anywhere from 10-12 classes per week and on top of training clients, coaching athletes and everything else, I felt like MY training and nutrition took a back seat for a while.
I have been so undecided on what to race this year, going 140.6 or focus on some speed at shorter distances and really nail the half distance. Of course tackle Quassy...again.

This challenge has giving me new motivation, new direction and new goals. now, to let the story unfold.


1/12/14 Sunday Night, 6pm

I am undertaking a challenge, a test...an experiment if you will. Starting tomorrow.

You see, this experiment actually goes back many, many months-nearly a year. All kinds of people in my area starting using this “nutritional system” and it caused quite a stir at the fitness facility where I work. A couple trainers--including myself--were taken aback by this program and the “cleanse” that was part of the plan.

I am a firm believer in eating clean foods and I have NEVER been a supporter of cleanses, fasting or meal replacements. When I hear the word cleanse, I am automatically brought to the thought of some sort of GI cleanse. Eew!  Plus, I was sick of people asking me about this plan or that plan. My answer is simple. Just eat real food. Don’t starve yourself. Drink water. Exercise. Find something that works for your LIFESTYLE...not just a few weeks or months.
That is the miracle diet. That is the solution. End of story.

I got into a friendly debate with a friend regarding this program and she asked me to keep an open mind. She was having great success with weight loss, her energy was amazing and she was very happy...then she asked me to look at some of the supplements they offered. She asked if I had even looked at the ingredients before condemning the line. I admitted my ignorance to the specifics of the plan or the products. And, yes, I supplement my own diet with protein bars and protein powders. So I did look and the ingredients were very clean. No chemicals. Quality proteins and no fake sugars. I even tried one of the bars and it was delish!!

I was still not on board with this whole “cleanse” idea (liquids only for a day, vitamin supplements) and the friend and I continued to agree to disagree and left it at that. She left the door open if I had questions or wanted to try anything.

It’s now been a year since this program hit my local area and gym --the friend is still going strong with her program and has had great results. She feels good and she is always positive, full of energy. She is passionate about her message of being non-toxic and clean. I have since had several other athlete friends get on board with this nutritional program and I am still sitting firmly where I did a year ago.

I support my friend in her choice because I do believe that there is more than one way to achieve your goals. This is working for her and for that, I am happy.

So she is so sure that I will feel good trying this program, that she presented me with a challenge. TRY IT.

We have gone back and forth for weeks now and I finally decided to give it a try. I am just about to head into my training for the 2014 season and this is a time where I can play with my nutrition without killing my workouts.

I am going into this experiment with an open mind and will follow the plan exactly as written.
I have even agreed to give up caffeine (oh no!!). I spent this past week tapering off of my typical Starbucks rotation (2 cups at home in the morning and a refill of my Starbucks travel mug mid-morning). I will stick to 100% clean eating and will supplement with their protein powder and bars. The plan calls for 6 meals per day so I am certainly down with that. I already eat well but this will just tighten things up.  I will even try a cleanse day on my rest day.

I will weight myself tomorrow, take my measurements and take my BF% just to see if there is any impact there. I have put on some weight post Cedar Point so that would be a welcomed side effect.  I plan on journaling daily about the experience and we will see how I feel in two weeks time.

Bring on Day One!

1/13/14 Monday Morning, 8am

I survived the morning with no Starbucks. I instead had the ionic drink, 20 oz of water and then a cup of green tea with lemon & ginger. It was a rough morning to start my break from coffee since it was a very rough night of sleep.

My breakfast was a vanilla shake with frozen berries-shake was tasty. Not far different from my vega powder in taste and consistency. I taught my classes (5am bootcamp and 6am cycyling) and felt just fine--normal ME energy wise. My legs were sore on the bike but that is just from the weekend of training. :)

I spent some times between classes looking up info on the plan with endurance athletes. My personal refueling regime DOES include protein and I supplement with protein regularly. I also add fruit for carbs (bananas and honey being a favorite) as well as berries and spinach for it’s nutritive qualities.

Endurance Athletes (Swimmer, Runner, Cyclist, etc.)
The goals of endurance athletes are different than that of bodybuilders or high-intensity athletes. Cyclists and marathon runners, for example, expect to improve performance by increasing stamina. Traditionally, endurance athletes have not placed the same degree of emphasis on protein intake and timing as other types of athletes, because of their concern that too much muscle will be gained causing them to be heavier and less efficient at their sport. Unfortunately, this view has been harmful to endurance athletes of the past because protein does so much more than just stimulate muscle growth. Repetitive movements and long strenuous training sessions are hard on the bodies of endurance athletes. By ingesting optimal amounts of protein and strategically using the concept of protein timing to enhance performance, endurance athletes can benefit from faster and more efficient repair of muscles allowing them to have more frequent and higher quality training sessions.
Unlike bodybuilders and high intensity athletes, endurance athletes rely on carbohydrate timing as a strategy for delaying fatigue and improving performance. Endurance athletes use both carbohydrate and fat to fuel their activity, but since they are often moving for hours at a time without a break, their glycogen stores will eventually become depleted.
To increase the amount of glycogen stored in their muscle, endurance athletes often do something called “carbohydrate loading.” Carbohydrate loading involves trying to maximize glycogen stores by eating a large amount of carbohydrate in the days leading up to an endurance race, and by also taking advantage of the 30 minute-post workout window to rebuild lost glycogen.
Another advantage of consuming carbohydrate during and after training is that the stress hormone cortisol will be reduced, which helps prevent excessive suppression of the immune system that can occur as a result of prolonged and strenuous exercise (4,5). IsaLean Shake makes for a great meal replacement for endurance athletes. But instead of the two scoops as typically recommended, endurance athletes should use three scoops for about 36 grams of protein and 36 grams of carbohydrate. In addition, they should supplement with antioxidants to manage oxidative stress and support the immune system.

I also looked at the “Athlete” meal plan and it’s very easy to adjust your caloric intake and macros around a training schedule up to IM distance training.

My first day following the plan I felt great--even amounts of energy, I was not hungry since I was fueling my body every 2-3 hours and keeping my food clean. I drank lots of water.

Day One was a success! I taught 4 classes and participated in all of them. Two of them were cycling and I had lots of miles put down. I also got in some lifting and core work.

...and I did not miss Starbucks.

1/14/14 Tuesday Night, 7pm

I am feeling really, really good! I missed how I can really FEEL it when I keep my eating super clean. No sugar, no caffeine, lots of rest and tons of veggies! This is totally an eating regmine I can stick with and the lemon bars are TO DIE FOR delish!!

1/15/14 Wednesday, 5am

Today I try the cleanse day….let’s see how this goes. This has been the thing that kept me from considering this program for so long…I will report back in full detail!


Melissa Cunningham said...

very interesting!!!!
hope all goes well with the cleanse!!!

Unknown said...

Sounds great Jen!

I've been doing the Whole30 program for January and am enjoying a return to whole foods and clean eating too!

Lori said...

I don't know if I missed it in your post, but what is the program that you are trying?