Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Halfway Point, Whole Life Challenge + Eat to Perform Principles

Later this week, I'll pass the halfway point of the 8 week long Whole Life Challenge. In my pre-challenge post, I talked about the ways I'd be performance/biohacking in order to work smarter this time around to maximize my results with minimal sense of restriction.

With the exception of my husband and I binge-watching Breaking Bad (and thus losing some sleep) these last couple of weeks, my strategies so far have been pretty well executed. Last week I joined some ladies for a one hour hike through a local state park. I am Crossfitting 3-4 times per week and hot yoga-ing 3-4 times per week.

I am also eating crazy amounts of food. Way, way more carbs than I've ever eaten in previous challenges. Favoring starchy carbs over fruit because of their superiority as a muscle-building option. The nights before heavy training days (lots of weights, or maybe a CrossFit WOD and a hot yoga class on the same day), I carb up.

What has that night-before carbing-up looked like? Well, one night recently, I knew we were doing deadlift one rep maxes the next morning. I had just done an 8 p.m. hot yoga class. Whereas I'd normally have eaten little or nothing between then and the next morning, I ate some chicken and TWO entire sweet potatoes. And...I hit a new PR at 280 lb. of my deadlift! My previous 1 rep PR was 255, so it not only was a PR, it was a big one. Suddenly a 300 lb. deadlift does not seem out of the realm of possibility. Another carbing-up night I mixed cooked buckwheat groats (these are allowed at the level I've chosen on the WLC) with egg whites, water, a banana, and 4 chopped dates. CARB CRAZY. But I set a new 3 rep tap'n'go max for my deadlift, at 245 lb. x 3!

One day's worth of carbs. (Kidding!)
The whole time I have been tracking and logging my food, making sure my protein is adequate, and that my carbs are suitably high depending on my level of activity. If I am on a rest day with no workout the next day, as per Eat to Perform's suggestions, I go much lower carb, relying heavily on protein and fat for my fuel. If I do work out the next day, then I stay low carb all day long on the rest day, until evening, when I carb up in preparation for my 6 a.m. WOD.

I am targeting 130-150 g of protein every day on average. My carbs start around 100g/day, and on calorie spike/"carb up" days, my carbs can go as high as 200+g, all from whole, gluten free foods that are permitted on my WLC level. My calories range from 1600 to 3000 daily, depending on activity levels.
Prosciutto chips with half a sweet potato,
mashed. That's how my snacks are rolling

I recently weighed myself. I am officially down 6 lb. from the start of the challenge. At 4 weeks in, 6 lb. down, and setting PRs while holding decent metcon performances, I am thrilled with my progress...and can't  truly believe that I'm making that kind of progress while still eating the amount of carbs I'm eating! Not only that, I can really see some differences -- our hot yoga class room has wall-to-wall mirrors, and sometimes while holding a pose I notice a muscle pop out that I have never in my life observed on myself! It doesn't mean I still don't have trouble spots where I'd like to lose more body fat, but I am excited to see new definition in my arms, shoulders, and thighs that has never been there before.

This is a fellow challenger's supplies brought
to her hotel so that she could stay on track!
What perseverance! MY HERO!
Just as exciting for me is observing my fellow challengers' progress. Some challengers are not rookies, but instead are taking great strides to keep themselves on track while travelling, shuttling kids to soccer games, and just tackling life in general. Others are dialing in their nutrition seriously for the first time ever, and are making new connections every day as to how their food intake and quality impacts their performances, their waistlines, and their energy levels. So fun seeing their epiphanies lock into place! I cannot wait to see the unveiling of the winner...there are definitely a few frontrunners who have made dazzling progress in the first 4 weeks alone, and I celebrate what they could continue to do in the second half of the challenge!

Have you ever experimented with upping your carbs and calories in a bid to rev your metabolism, boost performance, and improve body composition? What was your experience like?



  1. Hey, I really like your idea of an "8 week challenge" I know alot of people that are struggling to make the changes required to live a healthy life. Setting themselves a challenge like you have done maybe the best first step to take as it does not "appear" to be a long term commitment if that makes sense?

  2. It's good to see new muscles, not just to feel them in pain when we work more than we are used to! Of course, there is always place for improvement, but hey, otherwise what would we work for?

  3. Very cool post. I also like the 8 week challenge concept. I think it might help some folks get started. Thanks for sharing!


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