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Lessons From 10 Days of CBL

Well, it’s done. Ten days of “earning” my carbohydrates through hard work and heavy lifting. Has it made a difference? I can’t tell based on strength or conditioning, since I’ve only gone through one cycle of lifting, but I feel like my jeans are a little looser in the hips, and I can see my shoulders/biceps a little better than when I started this whole charade.

The numbers don’t lie:
May 7 – 186 lb, 17.4% body fat (32.4 lb fat, 153.6 lb lean body mass)
May 18 – 184 lb, 17% body fat (31.3 lb fat, 152.7 lb lean body mass)

Correcting for general inaccuracies in using a crummy body fat measuring implement, I do *feel* like it made a tiny tiny change, and it would have done even better had I been a more discriminate gorger (purely rice, potatoes, chocolate, and ice cream) and done more cardio (sprinting 1-2 times a week, maybe a leisurely 5K run to keep The Terrorist happy). Was it worth the hassle? Maybe. I did learn a couple things that I plan on incorporating:

1. Earning your carbs – I guess the root question to ask whenever something related to fitness or nutrition comes up is: what would a caveman do? The answer is a bit convoluted because cavemen probably didn’t train to build big muscles and gain mass, it was more a by-product of their daily lives. Unplanned walks, sprints, and lifting heavy things when it happened to be necessary. To fuel themselves, they probably found roots/tubers here and there, recognized them as a replenishing food source for when they were exhausted/weak, and ate accordingly.

Timed overeating of carbs is probably a helpful hack to gain some muscle and burn some fat, but am I going to continue it? Maybe when it comes to ‘cheats’. I don’t think a sweet potato or a piece of dark chocolate here and there is going to kill me, but I’d like to avoid them unless I just went for a long walk. Ice cream and rice, on the other hand, I’m saving almost-exclusively for a post-workout window. It just seems intuitive. Eating low-carb on my rest days was actually fun. It reaffirmed my love affair with bacon and eggs. Add some cheap in-season avocados and a few chunks of cheddar to that and you have a dream breakfast. Or breakfast for lunch. Or breakfast for dinner.

2. The importance of sleep – I was lucky to have a few days off from early-morning work shifts on days 7-10 of this experiment, and I learned that I was way behind on my sleep requirement. When left to my natural rhythms, I slept from 11pm until about 8:30-9:30, so at least 9 hours a night. A 7:30-5 work schedule + good Western Conference NBA playoff games are a BAD combination. I felt like a LOAD when I got under 7 hours on any given night. For the future – try my best to get my 8 hours/night, and maybe take up daily napping (my little nook at work pictured below:)

So what’s the next experiment? Possibly two weeks with a strict Paleo diet, which seems like good repentance for the debauchery that’s about to take place in New Orleans this weekend. Sprinting or some sort of CrossFit-like workout 3 days a week in the mornings with some sweet potatoes afterward, lifting weights 3 days a week, and add to it a lot of walking (a goal of 2-3 miles a day). I’ll come up with something, and with any luck, it’ll be sustainable…

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