Week V – The Calm Before the Storm

The fourth week had been very interesting – I continued losing weight and the workouts felt lighter to do. I remember there was a workout from Insanity that I consistently struggled to do 100% – his majesty Shaun T implored me to do nearly 200 push-ups during 55-minute long workout in combination with other cardio exercises. It was mental. I did that workout more than ten times for the past half a year and I would not even come close to 120 or so push-ups. By Jove it was rough! This week, however, I overcame myself and did all of the push-ups that were in the programme. I had to break out of my comfort zone, alter my diet even more and I continued walking up the ladder of progress. That feeling kept me pumped throughout the whole week. Nothing felt impossible.

This weekend, though, I continued with eating as usual – I ate at certain times of the day rather than gulping as much as I could (like I did in the first couple of weeks). I have to admit that it still felt like a struggle last week but I overcame my urge and stayed in the game. I really felt proud of myself and that turnaround paid off. I believe that one’s body needs to become a machine – it needs to learn the routine, what to eat, how much of it should eat and how often. The fewer surprises it encounters, the more responsive it will be during your workouts and day-to-day activities. Sticking to scheduled meals and non-alcoholic drinks will do the magic. It will also help you understand what to eat/drink before your workouts and what combinations don’t work well. For instance, I came to realisation that I had to not eat meat before my workout (my third meal of the day) as I could feel that the food would not settle down as well in my stomach while working out. I will still try to eat fish instead and see how that works. And you can try out the same – eat different foods (try eating one kind of a meal consistently for a week or two) to see how they influence your workouts. See if drinking green tea or coffee or any other drink would boost you up throughout the work. Or may be it would be salmon. Or just a glass of water half an hour before the workout would do miracles for you and you would feel like Hercules in the gym. Try out what works best for you and stick to those meals/drinks with few a iterations. I would say that on days when you don’t workout, you can play around with foods/drinks more to see how you feel throughout the day. For instance, on top of my third meal excluding meat, I am also eating more fruits before my workout and after some meals. I reduced the coffee intake and try to drink more black tea during the day.

As you are figuring out what diet works the best for you, don’t feel bad about not doing your workout 100%. Of course, you always need to push yourself to do as much as you can but you have to remain reasonable and treat your body with care. If you are doing interval type of a workout and do not manage to do all of the exercises or sets within a set time, don’t be afraid of taking a break or even better – just do those sets/exercises after the workout (although, try not to make it a habit as this might discourage you from pushing yourself to improve upon your workout). What helped me quite a lot was to start doing pull-ups after my workout session (the pull-ups were extra and not included in the workouts though – I just did them for myself). I was absolutely nowhere even close to making even one pull-up so I would just hang mid-air half way through the pull-up for as long as I could. I would do three sets, ten seconds each after every workout that I did. It gradually allowed me to do my first pull-up, so I would do a pull-up and three sets again and so on. I then started to randomly do pull-ups on breaks in the workouts (I did not count them just so that my body would not feel too comfortable but rather be surprised by additional pressure that I put it under) and after a few months I am confident that I could do at least five to ten pull-ups without any breaks.

I had confidence in myself and that I would complete the pact but mate, was it a challenge. The biggest challenge in my life, in fact – I have never done it before in my life! And that had opened my mind to experiment with my lifestyle, habits and diet. I cut out the cheat meals, sticked to an eating routine (even during the weekends) and I have to admit that it feels amazing – when your body is healthy then so is your mind. That allows you to be more productive, more energetic and have a different overview on things in general. Because of that pact, I actually consider to not start eating sweets again – not even for the sake trying something new out. I mean, if you put a load of sugar into something and add flavour on top of it, I am sure that anything would taste tasty. It just feels so fake to me that I do not feel like eating anything artificially sweetened – when I cut out the sugars, every other food started tasting differently and more enjoyable, I must say, and I would like to keep it that way. I am not sure about junk food though. I might eat it from time to time but certainly not as often as I used to. I also need to have a chat with myself about drinking zero-sugar Coke…it is so good though though. I might leave it as an exception in case that I need to mix any strong alcohol with it. We’ll see.

It will still be challenging to buy food from supermarkets – quite a lot of it is just full of bad nutrients but I have started discovering vegan food and you know what, it tastes amazing. And my stomach loves it too – vegan food is quite light on stomach and it feels great to workout after eating it. It will be interesting to give you a few recipes and what I eat on daily basis – what do you reckon? If you have any recommendations on healthy foods/recipes, feel free to drop them in the comments and I’ll give them a try.

In the meantime, onwards to the next and last week of the pact. I will finish strong and will be looking forward to more challenges, which I will keep you posted on.

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