Deep, Deep, Deep Off Season
Here’s the deal. I’m not quitting Crossfit outright, but I am taking a rather extended break for reasons I’ve touched on previously. Primarily, for the type of Competitive Exerciser I want to be, I just don’t have the time and energy right now to do all the things required, not just the workouts but the recovery and planning. It requires a lot of energy, more than ever before. What I’ve learned over the last 6 months is that beating your head against a wall like that doesn’t really make you a happy, fulfilled person. Lately I’ve simplified my goals, probably down to the simplest they’ve ever been. In a weird, big picture way, they are still Crossfit oriented, but for the next year, until I’m done with school, the goal is to move better, work on skills, and get as strong as possible without adding unnecessary weight. Pretty cut and dry I think. This way, when I graduate in December 2016, I can turn my attention back to Crossfit and hopefully be in solid enough shape to make a run at the 2016 Open. For now though, I needed to get rid of that negative energy, that feeling of failure, and that frustration. So I have.
With that said, I think a lot of people could benefit from this train of thought. And by a lot of people I mean a lot of people doing Crossfit, either for sport or for exercise, very few are truly strong enough to be competitive, but insist on doing metcon after metcon as the solution. Perhaps you’re in the genetic elite that can condition their balls off (or ovaries if you’re of the female persuasion), and still get stronger. I’m not in that category, nor probably are you, because its a fraction of a percent, you’d know by now, it’s not just hiding waiting to come out. The point is, getting stronger never hurt anyone in sport, save for maybe marathoners, but in general being stronger makes you more athletic, more powerful, and gives you more room to do more work. The biggest improvement I ever made in Crossfit is when I was doing the most strength work, and then stopped to focus on conditioning and skills. Partitioning your time can be much more effective than trying to do everything at once. In a way I’m sort of justifying this choice to myself, but in reality it’s already been made so it doesn’t really matter.
The other half of the equation here is of course diet. I’ve been on some sort of macro template for athletic performance for better than a year. The funny part is they really aren’t all that different, look at your lean body pass, assess your activity level, do some napkin math and boom here’s what you eat. The problem was really paleo. Paleo is a great starting template for someone trying to eat healthier, and provides an adequate amount of energy for the average person. Most of us aren’t average people, we have greater than average energy expenditure, we have greater than average muscle mass, we’re greater than average. Obviously you can still be paleo and train for athletics, but it requires some hard effort and thought, I’ve written about this before so I won’t break it down again. Let’s look at some specifics.
When I was training twice a day, about a year ago, I was following the guidelines of Dynamic Nutrition, and I was doing quite well, my target caloric intake per day was 3800 calories, 210-260g of protein, and a minimum of 215g of carbs, with the rest coming from fat. This was a vague guideline but I did alright with it, but I didn’t get enough carbohydrates, and the ones I was getting were centered around training, which wasn’t a bad thing in itself, but eventually wore me down. Tracking an average day was something like this 3652 calories, 338g carbs, 272g, protein. I ate like this for a long time, truthfully I’m not sure why I stopped. I switched to the RP diet when I got back from Italy, which had similar recommendations, with slightly different carbohydrate timings, and volume, eating large amounts close to training, and smaller amounts as you got further from training (not giving away many secrets here). The problem I had with it, is that there was almost too much freedom, I needed something dumber, the mix and match style just made meal prep too difficult, and my training schedule meant I had 3-4 templates to follow, which was similarly overwhelming. I know, boo hoo, diets are soooo hard. The last 8 weeks I was doing carb cycling, which is probably the least I’ve eaten in the last year, with some days carbohydrate intake being as low as 100-150g, and calories similarly lower. Now the real question is why am I rehashing the last year of diets, well I think its an opportunity to learn from my wandering, if you have something that works, just keep doing it. Finally, now I’m following a diet outlined by Charles Poliquin’s BioPrint courtesy of the one and only James Harris, which is super interesting, and requires weekly weigh-in’s with bodyfat caliper testing. My training day calories are 4,072 (the most I’ve ever consumed), with 311g of protein, 136g of fat, and 400g of carbohydrates (also the most I’ve ever eaten). The funny part is I don’t feel like I’m eating a lot, and I’m actually pretty hungry usually, that’s good right? Am I dying? Better WedMD this…. Cancer?! I knew it! Sorry cancer isn’t funny.
I think that’s it for not – goals, training, diet, nailed it! Happy Halloween internet friends!